Through the first two weeks of the season, the Las Vegas Raiders have shown glimpses of greatness they hope to continue this season.
However, even with glimpses, it would be improper for people to get ahead of themselves this early into the season. Despite suffering a few injuries to the offensive line, Derek Carr has been playing exceptionally well, and finding his receivers with ease. He'll have another difficult task ahead of him against the likes of Xavien Howard, Byron Jones and rookie safety Jevon Holland in the Dolphins secondary. The Raiders defense will also have to adjust to game planning against Jacoby Brissett after Tua Tagovailoa was ruled out of Sunday's game with fractured ribs.
Ryan Beckett asks...
"Will Derek Carr have to throw for another 400 yards this week? Or will we be able to run the football?"
Derek Carr could very well have another 400 yard game against the Dolphins. And I honestly wouldn't be opposed to him doing so.
Regardless if he does or not, the Raiders offense can still be successful with a high volume of passing. The Raiders have a known identity of running the ball and has been stifled in that category so far this season against stout Ravens and Steelers defenses. Nevertheless, it's only a matter of time before they can pick up the pace and return to what has brought them to the dance. Kenyan Drake and Peyton Barber are both proven running backs in this league and the more practice reps they get with their offensive line, the more it will translate to the game. The Raiders' run attack could very possibly be in full effect against the Dolphins, who currently have the fifth-worst run defense in the NFL.
Michael Lyn asks...
"How are the Raiders going to handle Brissett in Miami?"
Of course, planning for Jacoby Brissett is a bit different than Tua Tagovailoa, but the Raiders defense already has the recipe.
The defense had relative success against one of the greatest dual threat quarterbacks in history Week 1 against Lamar Jackson. While Brissett may not be as high-profile as Jackson, he is also a mobile quarterback and has proven that he can be a sufficient starting quarterback in the NFL. Brissett brings a lot to the table against the Raiders with his ability to extend plays with his feet. The Raiders will have to game plan around Brissett the same way they did for Jackson: Contain him in the pocket, put consistent pressure on him and make him beat you with his arm.
Brissett's career-high completion percentage for a season is 61.8, in comparison to Tagovailoa's, which was 64.1 percent his rookie season. Brissett threw for 169 yards, an interception and was sacked four times last week against the Buffalo Bills.
The atmosphere is pretty optimistic, yet very cautious among the team.
While the Raiders have celebrated their wins over two great AFC North teams, they're keeping their eyes on the prize. The team as a whole knows that the Miami Dolphins will be desperate to come into Allegiant Stadium for a win after getting shutout last week by the Bills.
"Everyone is feeling good about themselves going 2-0 and all that kind of stuff. Well, they don't hand any trophies out after two weeks," Derek Carr said to the media Wednesday. "They don't give you any kind of anything. We have a team coming in here that got after us. They beat us. We got a team coming in here who cares what happened last week. As competitors, something happens the week before, I know for sure they are going to show up this week. There's no doubt in our mind they are going to be ready to play and bring it."
As for my one player to have a breakout game, I'm going Foster Moreau. In the victory against the Steelers, he went for 34 receiving yards and a touchdown. He could have an increased role against the Dolphins if they decide to double or triple team Darren Waller, who had an 112 receiving yard game against the Dolphins last season.
The amount of injuries to the offensive line is concerning, but honestly it's just de ja vu at this point.
Last season, nine different offensive linemen started at least one game for the Raiders. This season, two games in – they're already at seven. Despite the injuries, like last season Carr has stay protected and is playing inspiration football. Even with Jermaine Eluemunor, Brandon Parker and John Simpson stepping up amid injuries, Carr is currently leading the league in passing yards and pass attempts. He's also third in pass completions behind Dak Prescott and Jared Goff.
We're now at the point that this offensive line has seen anything that can be thrown at them from a defensive or injury standpoint. Offensive line coach Tom Cable has run his unit like a well-oiled machine and has success at switching around parts to make the machine continue to operate. So Phil, to sum it up, I'm concerned but certainly not worried.
The Raiders return to Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center as they prepare for their Week 3 matchup against the Miami Dolphins.