Boy, talk about a rocket start to the offseason.
Even though the Silver and Black wrapped up the regular season just a few weeks ago, so much has changed for the organization since that Week 17 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
With a new head coach now roaming the halls at 1220 Harbor Bay Parkway, Jon Gruden has breathed new life into all things Oakland Raiders, and there's unquestionably a unique energy surrounding the team right now.
On the heels of Gruden being re-introduced as head coach, you had questions, and now, we have answers, so without further ado; here's our first offseason edition of the Raiders.com Mailbag.
EP:Adam Caplan told me long ago that the good teams – the teams that make noise in the postseason – build through the draft, and supplement through free agency. For the most part, the Raiders have done just that in recent years, and I expect them to do it again in 2018. Now, as talented as the roster is, the fact remains that the Silver and Black went 6-10 last year, a far cry from where most, if not all, people expected them to finish. So, looking at the roster, and seeing who is set to enter free agency at the start of the league year, I would expect to see the Raiders look to add some depth on defense, both at linebacker and at cornerback. Whether that's through the draft or free agency, remains to be seen, but those are two position groups I'd keep an eye on. Offensively, watch out for any available wide receivers, and if the past few years have taught us anything, you can never have too much depth on the offensive line.
EP:Tha's going to be a no from me. Did Amari statistically have a down year in 2017? No doubt, but look at the offense as a whole, from top to bottom, and you'll see players whose numbers collectively don't measure up to 2016. That being said, even though he struggled at times last year, "Coop" still set a career high with seven touchdowns, and if you need any evidence that he's still "got it," just look at his 11-catch, 210-yard performance against the Kansas City Chiefs. Amari will be just fine going forward; don't you worry about No. 89.
EP:Per usual, it's going to be, just win. I have a feeling though that you're asking how exactly the Silver and Black under Jon Gruden will get that done. Well, in speaking to Coach Gruden after he was hired, he stressed two things to me, preparation and presentation. He said that preparation is the key to nearly everything good that happens on the football field, and when that preparation is accurately presented, it should result in positive things for the Raiders. Now, I'm sure that we'd all like to see Derek Carr and the offense put up a few more points in 2018, but if all 53 guys on the roster hit the field prepared and ready to present, I think that's a great place to begin for the Silver and Black.
EP:As much as we'd like to see The G.O.A.T. run out of the tunnel at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum once again, I don't think it's going to happen. Charles has a pretty good gig at ESPN right now, so I think he's pretty content wearing suits and nice shoes, instead of cleats and pads. But hey, he did look pretty good in that Instagram video he posted after Gruden got hired….