While the Raiders finished 8-8 in 2020, their offense largely wasn’t the issue.
The club finished No. 8 in total yards and No. 10 in points scored in its first season in Southern Nevada. The Raiders’ 434 points were their most scored since reaching 450 in 2002 — the year they lost the Super Bowl to Jon Gruden’s Buccaneers.
But if there’s one area where the Raiders could improve, it’s their red-zone offense. They finished 23rd in the category last year, scoring touchdowns on 54.2 percent of their opportunities inside the 20. But even though they had running back Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas was one of the worst teams in goal-to-go situations. The Raiders finished No. 30 with just 62.2 percent of those possessions ending in TDs. Only Carolina (58.6 percent) and Dallas (62.1 percent) were worse.
Running back Kenyan Drake said Wednesday that he could help change those numbers in 2021. Drake, who received a two-year deal with $11 million guaranteed from the Raiders this offseason, is expected to be a flex player in Gruden’s scheme, making plays on the outside and out of the backfield.
“Just adding another playmaker that the defense will have to worry about,” Drake said of how he can affect red-zone scoring during his Wednesday press conference. “Creating those mismatches out the backfield or lining up out wide. Getting those coverage indicators, whether it’s man or zone. Just being another playmaker another weapon.
“When you have a multitude of guys to cover on the field, it stretches the defense real thin. So you have a guy like Darren Waller, who is obviously a red-zone threat. Henry Ruggs, Hunter Renfrow, [Bryan] Edwards — we have a lot of guys, especially everybody in this room, that can create mismatches and come out the backfield. It’s almost like a pick-your-poison type of situation. So hopefully we can just execute and let the chips fall where they may in terms of the playmakers making plays when they need to.”
As one of the best tight ends in the league, Waller should be Las Vegas’ primary red-zone target. But in addition to Drake, third-year tight end Foster Moreau can also be a significant scoring threat. Moreau had five TDs in 2019 as a rookie but had only two in 16 games last year, as his snaps went down in 2020 with Jason Witten on the roster.