The focus is going to be on the Las Vegas Raiders' youth and the guidance of Derek Carr in 2020. As the Silver and Black prepare for their Sunday matchup with the Carolina Panthers, let's explore three things that will lead to success this season.
Let the young guns run
If there is anything that the Raiders have proven throughout Training Camp this year, it's that they're not scared to use their young talent. Since hiring Coach Gruden and GM Mike Mayock in 2018, they have decided the rebuild the Raiders roster from the ground up.
After releasing the first depth chart of the 2020 season, 11 players listed as starters on offense and defense are rookies or second-year players. This includes two rookie wideouts in Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards and three rookie or second-year players in the secondary, including safety Johnathan Abram who missed the large majority of his 2019 rookie season with a torn labrum, second-year cornerback Trayvon Mullen and 2020 first-round draft pick Damon Arnette who has been given rave reviews from players and coaches during training camp.
DC is ready for a full send
Despite receiver Tyrell Williams undergoing season-ending surgery, Derek Carr should be excited for this upcoming 2020 season. Carr is looking to improve off an already impressive season that saw him throw for over 4,000 yards and 21 touchdowns with a 70.4 percent completion rate. The Raiders' front office has done everything in their power to put great pieces around Carr for this season that could potentially lead to him having his best statistical season yet. This begins with the Raiders putting back together a potent and healthy offensive line to battle at the line of scrimmage. Carr should have solid pass protection in front led by Pro Bowl linemen Trent Brown, Rodney Hudson and Richie Incognito.
The Raiders have also elevated their wide receiver and tight end depth this offseason, signing Nelson Agholor and spending first- and third-round draft picks on Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards. It's no secret they also also signed 11-time Pro Bowler Jason Witten, who played 15 seasons with Dallas Cowboys and ranks second all-time in receptions and receiving yards for a tight end in NFL history. Witten serves as a handy veteran backup and mentor to Darren Waller, who is coming off a 90-reception and 1145-yard season as Carr's leading pass catcher.
Head out to Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center for practice as the Raiders prepare for their regular-season opener against the Carolina Panthers.
The young DEs are ready to make an impact
It seems all of the Raiders' AFC West rivals have dominant defensive lines, and the Silver and Black are trying to elevate themselves into that conversation.
That will start with major production from two 2019 draft picks this season. Maxx Crosby is coming off an amazing rookie season that saw him total 43 tackles, 10 sacks and four forced fumbles. The 6-foot-5 lineman out of Eastern Michigan came out the gate to prove he has the potential to be the next great Raider defensive lineman for years to come.
On the other side of the line is Crosby's draft classmate Clelin Ferrell. Ferrell was the fourth pick in the 2019 NFL Draft after winning two National Championships at Clemson and being the recipient of the 2018 Ted Hendricks Award for the best defensive lineman in the nation. His coaches and teammates have talked at length about the improvement they've seen in Ferrell's mindset and abilities going into 2020. With Ferrell and Crosby demanding a lot of attention at the line of scrimmage alongside veteran defensive tackle and team captain Maliek Collins, the Raiders could harken back to a previous era of dominant and bruising D-lines.