Just over a half season into 2017 we check in with the early top contributors to the Raiders. But before I do, let me point out that this is not a projection of how the second half of the season will go. It is a look back at how these players and coaches performed over the first half. All of these players can either stay on this plane, fall from it, or redeem themselves over the final seven games this season. And keep in mind, it isn’t how you start, but how you finish that matters most.
It’s been a bit of a down year so far for Mack. And even still, he was a Baller 6 times over the first 9 games, including Top Baller twice. The key words on the first part of this are “so far” because Mack has long done his best work in the stretch run. He currently has just 4.5 sacks, but he has shown more than capable of putting up sacks in bunches late in the season and could still yet show up big time late in the season. They Raiders may need him to play out of his mind to have a chance to go on a playoff run.
He was Derek Carr’s security blanket through much of the first part of the season while Amari Cooper was going through an existential crisis, dropping 7 passes in the first four games (10 total). Crabtree was named a Baller five times and Twice a Top Baller. One of those times he caught 3 touchdowns to blow out the Jets in week two. He sits at 6 touchdowns this season which leads the team. He also leads the team with 56.4 yards per game.
What an addition Cook has been. He has been just the kind of mismatch the team had hoped he would be, giving the Raiders their first serious threat at tight end since 2010 when Zach Miller was still with the team. Cook was a Baller four times including Top Baller last week in Miami when he caught 8 passes for 126 yards. Three of his four Baller nods were Raiders wins (week 1, 7, and 9) including the big win over the Chiefs in week 7 in which he had his first 100-yard game with the team.
Mario Edwards Jr
Edwards is finally healthy and living up to all the hype he had as a rookie. He was named a Baller three times including in last week’s win over the Dolphins in Miami. Edwards is second on the team with 3.5 sacks, second with 9 QB hits and third with 4 tackles for loss.
Justin Ellis – He’s quietly putting up career numbers with 32 combined tackles (18 solo). Though he was a Baller just once due to opposing offenses finding their yards elsewhere, mostly through the air.
Marquette King – Was on another level early with some historic punting numbers. He’s cooled off of late with a groin issue, but is still among the league leaders in most categories.
TJ Carrie – The most consistent presence in an otherwise abysmal Raiders secondary.
Johnny Holton – He has had two opportunities to make a play and he made the play both times for touchdowns of 64 and 44 yards. We’ll see if that leads to a larger role in the offense.