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Oakland Raiders 2016 Season Preview




Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Posted on 7/16/2016.


What I said about the Oakland Raiders in 2014: Kevin Burnett registered 105 total tackles in 2014. Burnett is the only veteran from the 2013 Raiders team. Oakland spent a lot of money in the 2014 Free Agency Period. With Justin Tuck and Lamaar Woodey at defensive end, Burnett may register 110 tackles in 2014. Rookie Khalil Mack will play across from him at left outside linebacker.


What I am saying about the Oakland Raiders in 2015: Oakland may have found their quarterback in Derek Carr who ended up beating out Matt Schaub for the starting quarterback gig. The defense was a huge disappointment and was the biggest reason why the Raiders ended up with a top 5 draft pick in 2015 after starting 0-10 last season in 2014. Kevin Burnett got cut in Training Camp to clear up cap space and Lamaar Woodley signed with the Arizona Cardinals following the 2014-2015 season.


What I am saying about the Oakland Raiders in 2016: The Oakland Raiders began Derek Carr's rookie season 0-10 and some wondered if the team would get Winston or Mariota if they got the top pick. Oakland got Amari Cooper and Carr continued to make progress in year 2 during the 2015 season. Derek Carr is primed for a breakout third season with the Oakland Raiders.




Oakland Raiders Free Agency Recap


The Raiders paid a lot of starters. They got Kelechi Osmele the Baltimore Ravens left guard as their new left guard. They added Bruce Irvin the Seattle Seahawks 4-3 left outside linebacker. Oakland also got Shaun Smith a boundary cornerback on the Kansas City Chiefs to be their #1 field cornerback.



Oakland Raiders 2016 NFL Draft Grades




Oakland Raiders Quarterback Summary: Derek Carr has been a remarkable quarterback for Oakland. Carr had 3,987 passing yards, 32 passing touchdowns, and 13 interceptions in 2015. It doesn't matter who his offensive coordinator or his quarterback coach, the guy delivers. Connor Cook is gonna beat out Matt McGloin for the backup job despite being a fourth round pick.


Bill Musgrave is a terrible offensive coordinator. Having a remarkable quarterback like Derek Carr allows Musgrave to save face with his job. Todd Downing is a great quarterback coach and will continue to work his magic with Derek Carr while developing rookie Connor Cook.


Oakland Raiders Running Back Summary: Latavis Murray is the heart and soul of Oakland's backfield. He led the Raiders with 1,066 rushing yards last season. His 6 rushing touchdowns were meager, but Murray is by far and away Oakland's best running back. Taiwan Jones and Deandre Washington are pushing each other to be the #2 running back behind Murray on the depth chart. Roy Helu Jr. is going to be the fourth string running back assuming he makes the roster. Fullback Marcel Reece is one of the NFL's best fullbacks, but he will be suspended until week 5 of the 2016 NFL Season.


Running back coach Bernie Parmalee isn't a very good running back coach. He may need to be replaced if the Raiders running game struggles in 2016.


Oakland Raiders Wide Receiver Summary: Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree each had over 70 receptions and 900 receiving yards. Crabtree led the Raiders in receptions last season, but Cooper led the Raiders in receiving yards during his rookie season after being a highly touted rookie coming out of Alabama. Seth Russell is a great slot receiver. Andre Holmes and undrafted rookie Max McCaffery provide fantastic depth for the Raiders at wide receiver.


Former NFL wide receiver Rob Moore did a terrific job in his first season as the Oakland Raiders wide receivers coach. Expect Oakland's playmakers to do even more under Moore in 2016.


Oakland Raiders Tight End Summary: Lee Smith, Mychal Rivera, and Clive Walford will battle it out for the Raiders starting tight end job once again. I don't think the Raiders have a very good tight end coach in Bobby Johnson, but Johnson is the right man for the job if he can figure out which one of these tight ends will step up consistently in year two as the Raiders tight end coach.


Oakland Raiders Offensive Line Summary: Oakland has one of the leagues strongest offensive lines. The Raiders have Donald Penn at left tackle, Kelechi Osmele at left guard, Rodney Hudson at center, Gabe Jackson at right guard, and Austin Howard at right tackle.


Oakland also has Matt McCants as a backup left tackle and Menelik Watson as a backup right tackle. Oakland could have excellent depth at offensive tackle if all four of their offensive tackles stay healthy. You could say the same thing about their backup guard situation with Jon Feliciano as a backup left guard and Denver Kirkland as a backup right guard with Vadal Alexander their seventh round pick as a third string guard for depth.


Oakland doesn't have a backup center. Rodney Hudson cannot start only 13 games. Hudson must start 16 games in 2016. Mike Tice is the Raiders offensive line coach. I think Tice will put a huge emphasis on pass blocking, run blocking, and zone blocking in Oakland.


The Raiders were 17th in points per game, 24th in total yards, 16th in passing yards, and 28th in rushing yards in 2015. I think Oakland could get up to 12th in passing yards. Until the team moves on from Bill Musgrave the Raiders won't be a top 10 team in passing yards.



Oakland Raiders Defensive Line Summary: Khalil Mack is one of the leagues best 4-3 right ends. You also got rookie Jihad Ward pushing Justin Ellis for the starting defensive tackle spot across from Dan Williams. Shilique Calhoun is expected to start at 4-3 left end across from Mack despite being a third round rookie out of Michigan State. Aldon Smith should be back after the first ten games and Mario Edwards Jr. is hoping to recover from an injury. If those two are active Oakland will have excellent depth at defensive end down the stretch. Having defensive line coach Jethro Franklin also helps.


Oakland Raiders Linebacker Summary: Oakland has two veteran starters in Malcolm Smith at right outside linebacker and Bruce Irvin at left outside linebacker. Both Smith and Irvin were teammates on the Super Bowl 48 Seattle Seahawks. I'm not sure if Ben Heeney can be a three down middle linebacker, but Oakland seems to have faith in him at the moment.


Head Coach Jack Del Rio, defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., and linebacker coach Sal Sunseri all have experience developing linebackers. I expect Oakland's front 7 to take a huge step this upcoming season in 2016 as both Del Rio and Sunseri have experience developing players on the defensive line and at linebacker.


Oakland Raiders Defensive Backs Summary: Shaun Smith enters as the #1 cornerback. That concerns me against Demaryius Thomas and Keenan Allen. I feel like Oakland has enough to keep up with opposing offenses even if those receivers have career days. At the same time I always got this feeling that Shaun Smith was more of a Robin then a Batman at cornerback. When he played next to Vontae Davis in Miami he excelled as a Robin. After Davis got traded to the Colts he became a Batman and struggled. In Kansas City Smith dominated at first since he was a Robin to Brandon Flowers in his prime at his peak. Then Berry gets injured and Flowers goes to the Chargers in 2014 and Smith gets picked apart as a Batman once again. Then the Chiefs draft Marcus Peters and Smith goes back to being a Robin and puts together a remarkable season.


In Oakland Shaun Smith will have to be a Batman, a #1 field cornerback, and a guy that shuts down opposing receivers. David Amerson got a four year extension so Smith will have to play like a #1 cornerback as will Amerson. I think Smith and Amerson are both premium high end #2 corners, but #2 corners at best.


Oakland has Reggie Nelson starting at strong safety with Karl Joseph at free safety to compliment their corners. Oakland is putting a bigger importance on their safeties than their cornerbacks much like the Seahawks teams that made Super Bowl 48 and Super Bowl 49.


D.J. Hayden is expected to play the nickel. T.J. Carrie will move to a dime cornerback role. Oakland has a lot of depth at cornerback, but it feels like #1 receivers like Allen and Thomas can still have field days against these cornerbacks and that's the focus point I'm taking away from the Raiders secondary.


Marcus Robertson is an awesome defensive backs coach. Former NFL great Rod Woodson will be an assistant defensive backs coach. I think Rod Woodson could replace Marcus Robertson by the end of the year if Robertson does not make an instant impact.


The Raiders defense was a mess in 2015. Oakland was 15th in sacks, 22nd in points allowed, 22nd in total yards allowed, 26th in pass defense, and 13th in run defense. Oakland will be a top 10 team in sacks and run defense next season. I don't think they will improve in pass defense, but they will be a middle of the pack defense with points allowed and total yards allowed. That should be good enough to post a winning record, but may not good enough to make the playoffs.



Oakland Raiders Special Teams Summary: Sebastian Janikowski is still a top 15 kicker. Marquette King stepped up for Shane Lechler at punter. The Raiders have Taiwan Jones at kick returner and T.J. Carrie at punt returner. Brad Seely is now the Raiders special teams coordinator so expect Oakland's special teams to be a top 10 unit under Seely as Seely is a top 10 special teams coordinator. Seely was the Patriots Special Teams Coordinator during their Spygate Glory Days.




Oakland Raiders 2016 NFL Schedule


Week
Date
Opponent
Time
Cable Network
Result
Week 1
September 11
AT
1 PM EST
FOX
L
Week 2
September 18
VS
4:25 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 3
September 25
AT
1 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 4
October 2
AT
1 PM EST
CBS
L
Week 5
October 9
VS
4:25 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 6
October 16
VS
4:05 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 7
October 23
AT
1 PM EST
CBS
L
Week 8
October 30
AT
1 PM EST
CBS
L
Week 9
November 6
VS
8:30 PM EST
NBC
W
Week 10
Bye Week
Week 11
November 21
VS
8:30 PM EST
ESPN
W
Week 12
November 27
VS
4:25 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 13
December 4
VS
4:05 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 14
December 8
AT
8:25 EST
NBC
L
Week 15
December 18
AT
4:25 PM EST
CBS
L
Week 16
December 24
VS
4:05 PM EST
CBS
L
Week 17
January 1
AT
4:25 PM EST
CBS
W


Oakland Raiders 2016 Projected Record (9-7): Oakland will really grow this year. The Raiders will be 8-4 with 4 games left with control of their own destiny in the AFC West. The good news is the Raiders get to sweep the Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos. The bad news is your team is going to be one win short of making the playoffs.


Oakland is going to have a fairly easy schedule. The Raiders don't have a complete team yet, but this is their best team since they had Rich Gannon at quarterback which is why I see the Raiders improving quite a bit in 2016.









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