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39 things Raiders players have to prove this season

This is a team with more chips than shoulders

Detroit Lions v Oakland Raiders Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

When you hear the phrase “he’s got a chip on his shoulder,” what do you picture in your mind? A ruffled plain? A Cool Ranch Dorito? A french fry? A poker chip? For some reason, my main image is a perfectly formed, untouched, delicately seasoned Pringle, laying ever so lightly on a crumbed out blue blazer.

We all have “our” chips, don’t we?

The phrase dates back roughly 200 years, to when boys would fight with the intention to literally knock a “chip” (like the aforementioned poker variety but with no value beyond reputation) off the shoulder of his opponent. At the end of the 19th century, Mark Twain wrote:

“[I]f you want your fuss, and can’t wait till recess, which is regular, go at it right and fair; put a chip on your shoulder and dare him to knock it off.”

At NFL training camp, there’s rarely a moment when you can’t find a player daring someone to come f*** with his chip. When the season begins, that attitude doesn’t disappear, it simply manifests itself into the worldwide bets against these players and they often use that as their motivation to succeed.

Your doubt is their fuel.

So I quickly listed off 39 things that Raiders players have to prove this season and I won’t get into commentary beyond the slightest. And I’m never wrong. Oh, you doubt me? I got a sour cream and onion right here for you.

QB - Derek Carr

He’s more than Joe Flacco — or is at least 2012 Flacco

QB - Marcus Mariota

He deserves to start and to start for the Raiders

RB - Josh Jacobs

He’s an MVP caliber running back

TE - Darren Waller

He’s not a one-year wonder or a one-dimensional tight end

WR - Tyrell Williams

He’s worth his contract

WR - Henry Ruggs III

He’s the best receiver in the draft

WR - Bryan Edwards

He’s the best receiver in the draft

WR - Hunter Renfrow

He’s better than the best receiver in the 2020 draft

WR - Nelson Agholor

The biggest problem was his fit with Philadelphia

WR - Rico Gathers

That his position isn’t a typo

TE - Jason Witten

He’s not too old

RB - Lynn Bowden, Jr

At any position, he’s valuable. At every position, he’s unpredictable.

LT - Kolton Miller

He’s the perennial Pro Bowl left tackle that you’d expect in the mid-first round

LG - Richie Incognito

He’s a Hall of Fame caliber guard

C - Rodney Hudson

He’s a top-100 (or top 50) player

RG - Gabe Jackson

He’s as good as the linemen around him

RT - Trent Brown

He deserves to be the highest paid tackle in the NFL

LB - Cory Littleton

Worth every penny

LB - Nick Kwiatkoski

That everybody should have been watching him during free agency

LB - Nicholas Morrow

He’s a starter and a long term member of the defense

LB - Javin White

He should have been drafted and he’s ready right now

DE - Clelin Ferrell

He’s worthy of his draft pick

DE - Maxx Crosby

Wasn’t just lucky as a rookie

DT - Maliek Collins

A one-year, $6 million contract? Is that it?

DT - Maurice Hurst

Healthy and ready to dominate

DE - Carl Nassib

Better than his journeyman career would indicate

DE - Arden Key

He can get back on track he was on as sophomore at LSU

DT - Datone Jones

NFL career is far from over

DT - Johnathan Hankins

Don’t overlook the 7-year veteran who is still only 28

CB - Damon Arnette

He’s the best cornerback in the draft

CB - Lamarcus Joyner

First season with Raiders was a fluke, now he’s going to help make defense great

CB - Prince Amukamara

Is a solid starting outside cornerback

FS - Johnathan Abram

Healthy and ready to dominate

SS - Damarious Randall

Other teams should have never let him go

CB - Trayvon Mullen

He’s the best corner in the 2019 draft

CB - Amik Robertson

Fourth round?

S - Erik Harris

Shouldn’t be on the bench

K - Daniel Carlson

Will have a long NFL career

P - A.J. Cole

Punters always have something to prove