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Reviewing Raiders chapter in Football Outsiders Almanac

Analytical site previews 2021 Las Vegas season

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Football outsiders almanac has just been released and is one of the best football reads you will find. It has terrific information with tape reviews and great analytics that any football fan would enjoy.

What did they say about the Las Vegas Raiders?

It was a great write-up by Derrick Klassen, giving a fair outlook at what the 2021 Raiders could become. Here are a few notes from the Raiders chapter that stood out from the others:

Raiders opponents dropped 39 passes.

The Raiders defense was terrible in 2020, that is no question, and it is displayed in most of the stats you will find. An interesting stat that we saw in the Raiders chapter was they lucked out to 39 dropped passes by opponents, which was second in the NFL.

Just think if that was 20 dropped passes, the Raiders probably wouldn’t even hit eight wins. The Raiders will have to perform better because that luck is not going to follow them into 2021.

Jon Gruden was aggressive on 4th down.

Jon Gruden is known as a conservative coach who is not afraid to kick a field goal. The Raiders did make the most in 2020, but Gruden did change his approach. Football outsiders had him ranked 9th in their aggressiveness index on 4th down—his highest ranking since 2006.

The Raiders have grown their analytics department in recent years, and Gruden talks like he hates stats but was a quality control coach himself. Gruden needs to keep the pedal to the metal if he wants the Raiders to compete this next season.

The Raiders' unlucky offense.

People want to blame the offense for the fall-off in the second half, primarily because of the quarterback. The truth is the Raiders were one of the unluckiest offenses in the NFL. Raiders recovered five of their 20 fumbles on the season, which was second-worst in the NFL.

Luck plays a lot into wins and losses in football, and the Raiders didn’t have any on offense. Fumbling is awful and losing the fumble is even worse. Raiders need new fumble recovery drills.

Secondary has to improve its tackling.

It’s pretty known the Raiders could not tackle last year, and Football Outsiders counted a whopping 149 missed tackles. That is dead last, but the most prominent perpetrators were the secondary, which could not tackle a soul.

Johnathan Abram led the way with 17 missed tackles which are no surprise watching his tape. Trayvon Mullen, Damon Arnette, and Erik Harris all had more than a dozen missed tackles. Nevin Lawson was the best on the team with five missed tackles which is probably why he is getting talked up in the slot.

Other Tidbits

  • All three Raiders linebackers had coverage success rates over 50%.
  • Raiders were fifth in blown blocks in the run game but 18th in adjusted line yards, which means they didn’t get any push.
  • Raiders' interior defensive line went from 50 hurries in 2019 to 28 hurries in 2020.
  • Raiders’ edge defenders went up from 73 hurries in 2019 to 81 in 2020.