The Oakland Raiders have played five games, and during those five games, six different wide receivers have earned a start on Jon Gruden’s offense.
To put it another way, Derek Carr has already completed passes to 13 players in 2019, compared to 17 all of last season, and only three of the wide receivers currently active were on the team’s initial 53-man roster following the conclusion of the preseason.
With a bevy of injuries to Tyrell Williams and Dwayne Harris among others, the Silver and Black’s receiving corps has seemingly changed from week to week, and there hasn’t been much consistency – if any – for Derek Carr to find out wide.
“I think the most stability I had was when we had Seth [Roberts], Amari [Cooper] and ‘Crab’ [Michael Crabtree] two years, and that was pretty fun, but it is what it is, man,” said Carr. “At the end of the day, no one cares in this league. You have to go out and perform football games, and that’s number one… To be honest with you, it’s kind of exciting. I love the challenge. I wish it wasn’t the case, but I do like the challenge, because no one expected us in Indy or against Chicago to be able to throw the ball, or do anything, and we were able to go out there and play some good football. It is a fun challenge.”
As Carr said, even without the benefit of a constant set of wide receivers, the Raiders’ starting quarterback has played a quality brand of football as of late; he hasn’t thrown an interception since Week 3, and over the past two weeks, he’s completed nearly 73 percent of his passes.
And while No. 4 deserves a ton of credit for keeping the offense a float while throwing to different guys each week, credit is also due to the team’s wide receivers for getting themselves ready to go come game day.
“We’ve seen a lot of faces come in, but we’ve all adapted and got used to the guys, welcomed everybody in,” said Marcell Ateman, who has spent time on the practice squad, off the roster, and on the 53. “And for me, when I get called up, it’s nothing new, because I’ve done it before. I just go out there and execute my plays, the game plan, and just do what I have to do.”
Through the ebbs and flows of the still-developing 2019 campaign, the Silver and Black have no had no shortage of challenges thrown their way, but with a quality offensive output in London against the Bears and their stacked defense, Ateman thinks that type of game can give the group confidence headed into Lambeau Field.
“With the coaches, they game plan as well as anyone against any defense, any scheme,” he explained. “They prepare us for any situation. It’s just up to us to go out and compete and execute whatever’s being called, and just because of the names on the defense, that don’t mean nothing. You just go out there and look forward to it. You take advantage of whatever opportunity you get.”
With Tyrell Williams’ status for Sunday’s game still up in the air, the wide receiving corps that goes to work against the Green Bay Packers will likely look different once again, but regardless of who lines up out wide, Carr will get to work, just as he has all season.
Take a look at photos from Alameda, Calif. at Raiders Headquarters as the team preps for their Week 7 game against the Green Bay Packers.
“I think we all do wish there was stability, and we had our set guys for the next 10 years, and hopefully we do have them right now,” Carr explained. “Hopefully these guys are it. I know they hope so. I know I hope so, and time will tell, but it’s been a roller coaster of guys who we’ve had here, and not here, then back here, and then not here again, so I just go with the flow. I’m just here to control what I can control and do my job.”