The Raiders are coming off a season that started off chaotically with the departure of head coach Jon Gruden after it was discovered that he had sent emails in which he had used racist, homophobic and misogynistic slurs to refer to multiple people around the NFL, as well as a well-known politician.
But the team recovered nicely, winning a classic barnburner in Week 18 against the Los Angeles Chargers to sneak into the playoffs. Although it lost to the Cincinnati Bengals in the wild card round, it already had plenty to be hopeful about.
Now, with Adams on board, Raiders fans across the land are thinking Super Bowl. Is that a reasonable expectation for the team?
The Raiders Have Lots Of Talent
Las Vegas’ strengths start with quarterback Derek Carr. If he isn’t universally considered an elite signal-caller, he is certainly on the second tier of QBs, and it has been proven over the years that a team can win the world championship with a player of that caliber under center.
Although Carr wasn’t named to the Pro Bowl this past season, he may have had his best statistical season, throwing for a career-high 4,804 yards, along with 23 touchdowns.
Along with Adams, Carr will be able to rely on talented wideout Hunter Renfrow, who did get voted to appear in the Pro Bowl thanks to a breakout season of over 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns.
On the other side of the ball, Maxx Crosby is one of the more feared defensive ends in the NFL. He registered eight sacks in 2021 while delivering 30 hits on opposing QBs.
In addition, Crosby will have an outstanding running mate this coming season in linebacker Chandler Jones, who is also one of the top pass rushers around. Jones had 10.5 sacks for the Arizona Cardinals last season, and he said that his friendship with Crosby pushed him to sign with Las Vegas.
“Just to have the opportunity to rush on the opposite side of him is huge for me,” Jones said Thursday in his introductory news conference.
“He FaceTimed me when he found out the news and he was about to cry he was so happy. He was about to cry when I saw him down in the cafeteria earlier.”
The Raiders’ defense was seriously lacking in 2021, but with the addition of Jones, it should look considerably better.
Why The Raiders Probably Won’t Reach The Big Game
Although the Raiders have a strong roster, there are many obstacles around. Let’s start with the rest of the AFC West, which will be a bloodbath.
The Chargers could become contenders themselves after a couple of key additions to address their porous defense.
— NFL (@NFL) March 10, 2022
The most INTs in the NFL since 2019? New @Chargers CB J.C. Jackson with 22.
— NFL (@NFL) March 15, 2022
In addition, the Denver Broncos are back on the radar after acquiring a star QB who has a Super Bowl ring under his belt.
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) March 17, 2022
Elsewhere in the conference, there are other potential pitfalls for the Raiders, including the defending AFC champion Bengals, the Tennessee Titans (especially if Derrick Henry returns to form) and the Buffalo Bills, who will now have Von Miller fresh off winning the world championship.
To sum up, the Raiders could win the AFC this coming season, but so could as many as half a dozen other teams, so don’t count on it.