Explosive plays are what separate a good offense from a great one. With today’s NFL becoming a passing league, the importance of chunk gains through the air is paramount to success.
The Las Vegas Raiders grew in that department from 2019 to 2020. Derek Carr had his most impressive deep passing(20+yards in the air) season of his career, putting up career highs in almost every category
Deep passing rankings according to PFF(10% of total attempts threshold)
- 1043 yards (4th)
- 45% completion (6th)
- 117.4 rating (4th)
- Five drops (2nd)
- 10 TDs (9th)
According to PFF, Carr turned it on in the second half of the season, raising his target depth from 7.8 yards (22nd) to 9.2 (7th). The Raiders did lose a few heartbreakers during the last nine weeks, but the Week 17 matchup against the Broncos displayed how being aggressive keeps teams in the game. The Raiders score 32 points with four turnovers and achieved the victory.
Nelson Agholor helped the growth of the Raiders' starting quarterback with a career season. Agholor finished second in the league in TDs over 20 plus yards in the air. Carr believes the Raiders roster is ready for more significant plays going into the new season. He said;
“Well, we got a couple of our big play guys back. Obviously, we lost Nelly [Nelson Agholor], but Henry [Ruggs III] is back with that ability. [Darren] Waller obviously is back with that ability. [Hunter] Renfrow is back, he has that ability. He does it in a more sneaky way I guess, but he has that ability. To say that I don’t expect it or anything, that would be wrong. We expect to hit those plays.”
The offense should have confidence after the performance against the Los Angeles Rams. Carr connected on explosive plays all over the field against the former number one defense. He bounced back after an interception with this beauty to Waller.
Hunter Renfrow's big day caused Jalen Ramsey to go viral on Twitter. The rapport between Carr and the former Clemson Tiger shined on Wednesday, with the signal-caller gaining even more trust in his slot receiver. Carr went on;
“I mean I think anyone in this league, especially the nickel corners that we play against, are really good players. And they had Jalen inside today on Hunter on some things, and Jalen is one of, if not the best, corner in the NFL. So, I think that gives a lot of confidence in Hunter. It gives me the confidence to know that he can beat good corners.”
He finished off with a deep pass to Ruggs after a couple of drops earlier in the day.
“I know Henry had a couple of drops before that and obviously some words were said on the sideline with Gru, as Gruden gets, and to see him respond. I think we saw in the two-minute drill he caught the ball and had a burst of 35, 40-yard gain. Then we saw that big play. We know he can do it.”
If the Raiders can push the ball down with consistency once again, it could lead to more wins with an improved defense. Carr is gaining trust every day to give his pass-catchers opportunities to succeed. The offense could be unique if it happens on game days.