Final NFL Power Rankings

nfl power rankings
Chris Unger, Getty Images

These are the final NFL Power Rankings of the 2021 regular season. As we head into the playoffs, the season is officially over for over half the league. 14 teams still have some work to do to sort themselves through postseason football. But, the other 18 teams are all now locked in place until the first NFL Power Rankings of next season. Let’s see what the damage is.

32. New York Giants (4-13)

Last Week: 31

There were a lot of bad, pathetic losses across the NFL this week. But, I think the most pathetic loss belongs to the New York Giants. They were already treading the bottom of the NFL Power Rankings after a rough, drama filled finish to the 2021 season. But, after watching Jake Fromm take over for Mike Glennon and show the world how valuable Daniel Jones somehow is, I had no choice. John Mara, this is what you get for the taunting emphasis. Now, the whole NFL is teabagging your franchise. I feel absolutely no sympathy for you.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-14)

Last week: 32

I don’t know how, but the Jaguars absolutely OWN the Colts in Duval. They’re now 7-0 against their division “rivals” at home since the Jags absolutely plastered the Colts 51-16 in Week 14 of the 2015 season. They’re also 4-1 in December and January since 2017. They’ve got the No. 1 overall pick in 2022. But, you could probably argue that’s an advantage for whomever gets the Jaguars’ head coaching job this offseason.

30. Carolina Panthers (5-12)

Last Week: 28

It sounds like Matt Rhule is sticking around in Carolina. Personally, I think that’s the right move. He had this team looking solid until the quarterback situation imploded. If he can’t figure something out next year we can talk seriously about moving on. Still, I can’t get that 24-point desolation by the Bucs out of my head. They looked like they quit.

29. New York Jets (4-13)

Last Week: 29

I’ll give the Jets some credit for keeping it close with Buffalo until the fourth quarter. But, the Jets just don’t have the firepower to keep up with an offense like that forever. I still feel like Robert Salah has put some foundational pieces together they can build on going forward. But, there’s still a lot of work to do.

28. Detroit Lions (3-13-1)

Last Week: 30

The Lions have something with Dan Campbell. I know the Packers had nothing left to play for and Jordan Love played the second half of the game. But, the Lions were beating Aaron Rodgers at halftime. They have a ton of work to do to get to a truly competitive level. But, I think Lions fans should feel like there’s a spark in this franchise for the first time in a while.

27. Washington Football Team (6-11)

Last Week: 27

Good job ending the season with a win over the worst team in football. How long is it going to be until people start wondering if Ron Rivera is the right coach for this team? I know they went to the playoffs last year. But, this year was a major disappointment. I’m not saying the conversation should be happening now. But, this team doesn’t appear to be on the path to being a contender any time soon.

26. Houston Texans (4-13)

Last Week: 26

I was all ready to give the Texans a huge boost in the final NFL Power Rankings. Unfortunately, they couldn’t complete the comeback over the Tennessee Titans. I have to say though. I really think there’s something to that Davis Mills kid. If the Texans can create some stability going forward, this could work.

25. Chicago Bears (6-11)

Last Week: 22

Part of the reason I’m dropping the Bears in the final NFL Power Rankings is because they fired their coach. It just seems like the next logical step. If you don’t have a head coach, you’re clearly not in a good spot. I have to admit though, the Bears would have been worse off to keep trying to force the Nagy situation to bear fruit. Hopefully the coaching change doesn’t stunt Justin Fields’ growth.

24. Atlanta Falcons (7-10)

Last Week: 22

Cordarelle Patterson really believes in what Arthur Smith is building in Atlanta. I’m not sure I do, based on the fact that their tendency to choke continued to be a problem with this coaching staff. But, it’s not fair to judge them on the results of one season. They made a three game improvement over last season and were on the bitter outskirts of the playoff race until the final few weeks. That’s definitely progress.

23. Seattle Seahawks (7-10)

Last Week: 25

You may have very well seen the last game Russell Wilson will ever play in a Seahawks uniform. If that is the case, he went out a winner. That deserves respect from me. The win didn’t make much of a difference and, if anything, it probably just hurt their draft positioning. But, I’ll give them a boost in the final NFL Power Rankings purely out of respect.

22. Denver Broncos (7-10)

Last Week: 19

I wonder what it’s like to be a Broncos fan dealing with Drew Lock. He’s clearly talented enough to elevate the Broncos’ ability to compete. But, he’s also very limited in other areas that really hold the Broncos back from the potential that defense gives them. What do you even do with that?

21. Minnesota Vikings (8-9)

Last Week: 21

Welp. The Vikings beat the Bears pretty decisively. I was going to give them a boost in the final NFL Power Rankings. Then they fired Mike Zimmer. I get it. He got eight years and more than half of them the Vikings hovered right around .500. They made the playoffs a few times and even advanced twice. But, at some point you want to see more. Still, I think it’s a step back for the Vikings, so I’m not moving them.

20. Baltimore Ravens (8-9)

Last Week: 17

Of all the teams left in contention before Week 18, the Ravens had the lowest chance to make the playoffs. Those odds probably also took into consideration the fact that they’re just not very good. I get injuries are a factor. But, still, to go from 8-3 to 8-9 is how you get an entire fanbase screaming “COACH OF THE YEAR!” to wondering “Is Harbaugh the right guy?”

19. Cleveland Browns (8-9)

Last Week: 20

Credit to the Browns. They clearly wanted to end the season on the most positive note they could. So, they took advantage of a Bengals team that was resting almost every starter and finished the year with a win. Now, you have to figure out what to do with Baker Mayfield. I think you have to keep him unless you can get Rodgers or Wilson. But, I’m not sure they can.

18. Indianapolis Colts (9-8)

Last Week: 13

WOW! Remember when I had this team as the fifth best team in the NFL a couple of weeks ago? Now they’re not even going to make the playoffs! That slow start the Colts had came back to bite them after all. You know it’s bad when you’re playing the biggest game of your season against fans dressed like clowns and you still can’t make it happen.

17. Miami Dolphins (9-8)

Last Week: 18

I might be in the vast minority on this one. But, I think the Dolphins moving on from Brian Flores was the right move. Tua is a talented guy with plenty of upside but Flores refused to develop him. He also had a tendency to be extremely fickle with his players. I know his record in Miami has been impressive considering the circumstances. But, I think he’s as responsible for the circumstances as anyone this year.

16. New Orleans Saints (9-8)

Last Week: 16

The Saints took care of the business they needed to take care of this week. So, they could have been in the playoffs. That’s pretty impressive for a team with such a chaotic QB situation this year. But, they put themselves in the position of needing help to get in and didn’t get that help. I’m not forgetting about the rest of the season in the final NFL Power Rankings just because they won a key game.

15. Los Angeles Chargers (9-8)

Last Week: 11

Brandon Staley, what are you thinking? I get analytics and putting your team in the best position to succeed on each play. But, there’s this thing called situational awareness. I fully believe if he hadn’t taken that timeout, the Raiders wouldn’t have been as aggressive trying to win the game. There are very few situations where playing for the tie is the right move. But, I think this is one of those times. As brilliant of a young football mind as he is, he’s going to have to prove he can learn from this mistake to win back the trust of Chargers fans.

14. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7-1)

Last Week: 23

Before the Steelers get obliterated by the Chiefs in the Wild Card round, I have to admit something that makes me sick. Mike Tomlin deserves nothing but respect for the coaching job he did this year. He dragged this Steelers roster kicking and screaming into the postseason. Most other coaches would have gone 4-13 with this roster. As long as Mike Tomlin is in Pittsburgh, you can never truly count them out.

13. Philadelphia Eagles (9-8)

Last Week: 14

I don’t know how much the Eagles are capable of doing in the playoffs this year. But, the fact that they got there at all is a testament to Nick Siriani. Despite how ugly things went this offseason with Doug Pederson and Siriani failing to endear himself to anyone, he made it work. I think the Eagles are right on the verge of being truly competitive. I doubt they do anything impressive in the playoffs this year. But, they have back to back picks in the top 16 this year in addition to their own first round pick depending on where they finish. The future looks much brighter than we all thought.

12. Arizona Cardinals (11-6)

Last Week: 12

I feel like the Cardinals deserve to drop in the final NFL Power Rankings after losing to the Seahawks and failing to take the NFC West. The opportunity was there, but they couldn’t get it done. The Cardinals seem like they peaked at the wrong time and now they have to play a high powered Rams team they, most recently, lost to.

11. Las Vegas Raiders (10-7)

Last Week: 15

I’m so damn proud of the Raiders, and I’m not even a Raiders fan. To go through what they’ve gone through this year and to still end up in the playoffs is truly impressive. The Raiders are the first team since, from what I can tell, 1957 to change head coaches mid-season and make it to the postseason. Would you believe the last team to do it was the national champion Detroit Lions?

10. New England Patriots (10-7)

Last Week: 8

Losing to the eliminated Dolphins, who fired their head coach the next day, is not the way you want to head into the postseason. It wasn’t too long ago I thought this was the most dangerous team in the AFC. Now, I wonder how far they can even make it.

9. San Francisco 49ers (10-7)

Last Week: 10

The 49ers took care of business this week in a must-win game that punched their ticket to the playoffs. You have to give them credit. After starting 3-5 people were starting to question Kyle Shanahan’s job. And, unlike the Eagles and Dolphins, they turned their season around against impressive competition. They swept the Rams, beat the Bengals, and took down a Vikings team that was looking really dangerous at the time.

8. Tennessee Titans (12-5)

Last Week: 9

I am fascinated by the season the Titans have had. Despite losing Derrick Henry against the Colts in Week 8, they found a way to win. They’re now the No. 1 seed in the AFC despite looking pretty rough down the stretch at times. They almost messed it up against the Texans. But, credit where credit is due. That said, their run of form lately still has me a bit worried about their ability to string wins against other playoff teams together. Luckily, they have a bye week to try to get healthier.

7. Los Angeles Rams (12-5)

Last Week: 4

I was going to destroy the Rams in the final NFL Power Rankings for losing to the 49ers with the division on the line. Luckily for them, the Cardinals might be even more unreliable than they are. The crazy thing is this team has a ton of firepower and are damn near unstoppable when they are on. But, can they keep up that consistency for four games in a row? I doubt it.

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4)

Last Week: 7

How do you put the stench of almost losing to the Jets and watching AB end his career in the middle of a game behind you? Beat the shit out of the Panthers for the second time in three weeks. There are a few worrying trends with the Buccaneers over the last six weeks or so. But, they’re still worthy division champions and should handle business against an Eagles team they’ve already beaten this week.

5. Buffalo Bills (11-6)

Last Week: 6

The Bills’ slow start against the Jets in their season finale was a tad worrisome. But, they really turned on the jets (no pun intended) in the fourth quarter. They’ve now won four straight and ended up winning the AFC East despite some struggles in the middle of the year. This Bills team is as dangerous as anyone in the playoffs and I wouldn’t be shocked to see them make a deep run.

4. Dallas Cowboys (12-5)

Last Week: 5

I don’t know about the decision to play Dak and Zeke for a full game in Week 18 despite having the division wrapped up and no shot at the No. 1 seed. To be fair, Dak took full advantage of one last opportunity to wrap up his case for any postseason awards he’s after. But, there would be a ton of criticism if he had aggravated an injury this week. It seemed like an unnecessary risk to me. But, they still showed why they are one of the favorites in the NFC and why the rival Eagles are not.

3. Cincinnati Bengals (10-7)

Last Week: 3

The Bengals rested almost all of their starters this week against a Browns team that was resting way fewer starters than expected. And yet, they still came within an onside kick of coming away with a victory this week. With the seeding race working out to the Bengals drawing the Raiders instead of the Patriots in the Wild Card round, it almost felt like a win.

2. Kansas City Chiefs (12-5)

Last Week: 2

How good of a pickup was Mark Ingram for the Chiefs? The Broncos played the Chiefs tough this week, as they always do. But, the Chiefs proved to be a little too much to overcome, even when they aren’t playing at their best. Patrick Mahomes is a weapon. As long as he’s on the field, you have to consider them the favorite in the conference.

1. Green Bay Packers (13-4)

Last Week: 1

It feels weird to keep at team at the top of the final NFL Power Rankings after losing to the Lions. But, it was nothing but an exhibition game for the Packers. Aaron Rodgers rested after halftime. They locked up the NFC’s No. 1 seed last week, so why bother putting everything out there this week? And now Za’Darius Smith is coming back? Yeah. I have no reason to move them.

Why the Raiders Will Defeat the Chargers in Week 18

Las Vegas Raiders, QB, Derek Carr
Las Vegas Raiders, QB, Derek Carr

The Las Vegas Raiders are on the verge of making the playoffs for the first time since 2016. However, one hurdle stands between them and their goal – the Los Angeles Chargers. A winner-take-all primetime matchup bodes well for the Silver and Black for numerous reasons.

1. The Las Vegas Raiders have defied the odds this season.

The Raiders started the 2021 season with a blistering 5-2 record. In their wake, they defeated preseason playoff hopefuls in the Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins, and the Pittsburgh Steelers within the first three weeks. Then, however, a Week 5 loss to the Chicago Bears drastically changed their season.

The team also had to reconcile with a fatal tragic off-field incident with former first-round pick Henry Ruggs III. Yet, despite all these events, the team has won its last three games, and interim head coach Rich Bisaccia can potentially secure a full-time head coaching role with a victory in the finale versus the Chargers.

2. The energy in Allegiant Stadium will be next-level.

While Las Vegas, Nevada, is most certainly not the same atmosphere as Oakland, California, the engineers of Allegiant Stadium did a fantastic job. With a playoff berth on the line, trust and believe that Raider Nation will be representing. In addition, the passing of the legendary John Madden will affect the contest as well. Before kickoff, the Madden family will light the Al Davis torch. It is the Raiders’ first home contest since his passing, and they will do all they can to honor his legacy.

Atlanta Falcons Offseason: Breaking Down the Quarterbacks for 2022 (atbnetwork.com)

3. The Raiders have unfinished business to take care of against the Chargers.

The Chargers had the upper hand in the first matchup between these two teams. The Bolts utilized their ground attack as Austin Ekeler rushed for 117 yards scored two touchdowns as a receiver and rusher. Justin Herbert attacked the Silver and Black down the seams by turning Jared Cook against his former squad. A 28-14 defeat should sting in the team’s mouth. However, with the playoffs on the line, the magnitude will energize Derek Carr and company for many reasons:

  • John Madden
  • Revenge
  • Pride

Last but most certainly not least, a playoff appearance.

*Top photo: Derek Carr – by Getty Images

Ravens Report: Week 1 Review/Week 2 Preview – WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot

Welp, Monday Night Football has come & gone. Vacation is & has been over for almost a week now. Thursday Night Football has happened along with Friday Night Lights. And as most of us in the W2 world the first week back to work is well not the greatest. Originally had planned on this being written and released on Wednesday but… it didn’t.

Raiders fans were probably still partying till Wednesday night in celebration on their win, while we all bitched & moaned & wondering what the team is going to do next. Well with it being this late in the week we’ll mix the Week One Review with the Week 2 Preview. Will also try to make this kinda short & sweet. With that being said….

It was a tight game from the start on Monday.

Both Defenses were playing their hearts out and offenses were struggling to find their rhythm. We expected the Ravens’ D to shine and do what they do best. Yes they had some major and minor hiccups but most teams do in this day and age. It’s just the nature of it.

Also bear with me as I do my best to remember some key good things from the game as we go into the “constructive fan criticism” first.

Watching the defense do it’s thing even without Marcus Peters was fun to watch for the most part. Secondary was doing its thing. Averette & Humphrey were taking names most of the night at least in my opinion. Linebackers staying on top of their assignments, & DL stuffing the run…

But to quote one of my wife’s friend’s catchphrase “what the hairy hell?!” Where was most of the pass rush with the 5+ sacks or the LB/DB’s with the at least 2-3 INTs that we were expecting based off all the offseason & training camp hype?! It was no where I tell you.

Ok, I lied. The team got three Sacks, 5 TFL, & 1 INT. Along with 69 Total Tackles & 50 Solo. Which I honestly can’t be mad with.

What I can be mad at is the fact that going into overtime they let a wide open receiver score the game sealing touchdown. But I’m going little too far into it with that.

Queen, Humphrey, & Oweh all stayed on FIRE!

Going into some individual stuff again, it was absolutely amazing watching these three compete on such a high level. Star CB Marlon “Fruit Punch” Humphrey was just continuing to make hisself a house hold name in the MNF opener. 9 Total Tackles, 6 Solo, & 1 Pass Deflect, along with just keeping almost everyone he lined up against on lock down was a show to see! You literally can’t ask for a better guy on the team.

Patrick Queen is literally our modern day version of Ray Lewis. I honestly think the team got that void filled, outside of the amazing vocal leadership, with this young man. He was all over the field, stats similar to Marlon’s are as followed: 9 Total, 6 Solo, 1 Sack, 1 TFL, & 1 QB Hit. Top of the defensive leader board right here.

Odafe Oweh has the feel good story of the night in my book on the Ravens’ defense. Went from NO SACKS in college at Penn State to his first ever recorded sack in the NFL with 10 seconds left of the first half he was able to accomplish just that. If I could figure out how to put the team’s tweeted video of it on here I would, but just want to say it was incredible. His stat line isn’t as well put together as his more experienced teammates but oh well. Take a quick glance if you would. 2 Total, 2 Solo, 1 Sack, 1 TFL, & 2 QB Hits.

Just take a good look at the picture below or to the side cause you all know what we’re gonna talk about…

Look… I’m trying not to rub my temples together or go grab a bottle of booze but what in the double #@%$ happened?! Breathe, just breathe…

We’ve been expecting a good, strong, & effective offensive line this entire process going into Monday outside of the question mark at LG. Now we have questions everywhere. What are we gonna do long term at LG, LT(I’ll get to that soon), & RT.

Personally I expect to stick with 3/5 of the current starters but let’s wait a second to get into it, and I don’t want to get too far into this because of the preview side of the article. Lamar was sacked a total of 3 times and hit a total of 7 times. The pressure was put on our precious QB and there wasn’t much for him to do…

Or was there? While watching the entire offense all night there were times I thought to myself “Where is the Lamar that we know would take off when the pocket is collapsing and/or doesn’t have anyone to dump it off too?” Is LJ8, Roman, & Urban all sticking to a traditional pocket passer roll now?

We all have tons of questions for the Offense.

To answer some of the questions in the previous paragraph, I would say yes but no. LJ8 is about proving the narrative on him wrong. Everyone wants to make the RB playing QB joke still to this date but when you have a QB like Lamar, you let him turn on the gas and do what he does best. This season is still about proving critics wrong. Even though he had a 56.1 QBR, it was still better than Carr’s 50.3. LJ8 has a total stat line of 19/30 attempts for 235 yards, 1 TD(Passing), 12 rushing attempts, 86 yards, long of 28 yards. That’s good but not exactly what everyone was expecting. And I could guess what you all were looking for but anyways…

I’d like to also ask, Is Hollywood Brown & Sammy Watkins an official WR like good tag team? According to what I’ve seen on the TV and on the official stats, I would say yes! Sammy had a total of 4 Receptions, 96 Yards, Long of 49, & 8 Targets. Half is better than lower but he made out well with that game, almost 100 dang yards in such a short time. Marquise Brown went 6 for 6 of carries/targets, 69(Nice) yards, 1 TD on a nice extended play, & a long of 21. Honestly this makes me happy, & adding Rashod Bateman in a few weeks will make this WR group into something special.

But at the end of the night with everything being said the team couldn’t get the job done & put a tally in the win column…

Moving onto Week 2.

Or at least we all hope. This Sunday at 8:20 on NBC, The Baltimore Ravens will host the Kansas City Chiefs at M&T Bank Stadium. This will be the Ravens’ home opener & will expect a lot of excited fans too finally be back in the stands. I know if I lived in MD, I’d be making it to tailgate & have fun but yeah.

Anyways, there are still a lot to topic & questions going into this game following the loss in Vegas. Who is starting where? Is the Offense & Defense ready? What’s happening & why does this feel like 2015?

Just breathe. OK?

Yes there’s a lot of injuries, ok. Tyre Phillips & Chris Westry both placed on IR officially. And I’ll just post a picture of the Ravens’ injury report from today courtesy of the team social media & PR teams if you haven’t seen already.

Ronnie Stanley, Marlon Humphrey, Hollywood Brown, and so on & so on. Looking at this is painful. I’m not even gonna lie, lots of the active roster including the whole starting running back room is the 2015 feeling I was talking about before.

But there are some “bright sides” to this madness. The next man up mentality. That’s it, I’m being Harbaugh right now. With the Offensive Line being a little banged up and without a lot of chemistry, I expect to move forward and do well. What we could possibly be looking at going into Sunday’s match up could go like this:

  • LT: Alejandro Villanueva
  • LG: Ben Powers/Cleveland
  • C: Bradley Bozeman
  • RG: Kevin Zeitler
  • RT: Patrick Mekari

The reason I put Powers & Cleveland both on there is due to the fact of the big question mark still there. Anyways, Will this do the job? Maybe, because Powers was set to be a starting LG before Boze ultimately ended up winning the spot in 19 & 20 if not mistaken. Mekari is still proving himself to be a top versatile Lineman that’s able to step into any role & do it well. AV would be making his way back to his natural spot, so self explanatory. Bozeman will clean up his act and kick ass/take names in week 2, simple as that.

Believe in the OL!

Will the defense show up?

Marlon will be back in time & be ready for the game. I hope at least. The Ravens organization/team still has a good defense in general on hand. I’m expecting the pass rush/run stuff to be better equipped for Sunday night at home. Expect a big day out of Brandon Williams, Oweh, & Queen again. Also be prepared for AA, Elliott, & Clark to do some damage, in a good way, coming up.

Predictions as far as stats go will be as following:

73 Tackles, 6 TFL, 3 Sacks, 2 INTS, and a good handful of Pass Deflects or QB Hits.

Are these numbers realistic? I’m not sure to be honest. Ask someone who is more stat heavy to double check me.

LJ8 goes back to being LJ8

Yes, you all read that right. LJ8, John Harbaugh, Greg Roman, & James Urban along with the entire offense sat down, watched film, & figured out a good game plan. They’ll let Lamar & Co go out to have fun and do what they do best. That’s what they did when they went 14-2 & 11-5.

Listen I know that the RB Room & new OL is causing the O to simplify things & not let the team go full on but hey things are slowly but surely get better.

Expect to see LJ to connect with Sammy & Marquise on their own set of TDs. Let Murray or Williams get in the end zone with their own scores. Also He may walk/run his own score in. Who knows?

All we do know is that this will be a good and close game…

Yes, even with the scores predicted above & defense doing work, this game will be close. I’m talking like 28-26 close in favor of the Ravens. Andy Reid/Pat Mahomes & Co are coming to town with fight in their eyes. Ravens fans, at the game, you’ll have to all get loud and rowdy. At home, The Fock has to send all kinds of positive vibes.

Have patience, drink plenty of good fluids before & after, but remember to enjoy the game. Chose violence fore the hours of the game.

Quick Wrap Up.

Whew! Longer than expected but hope everyone enjoyed the piece. I know we moved on quick & suddenly but it’s time to nut up or shut up for game day!

Remember to follow everyone & everything on the ATB Network via website or social media! Have a great morning/day/evening!

Raiders defense needs to be simple to evolve.

Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Clelin Ferrell (99) and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley (Photo by Matt Aguirre/Las Vegas Raiders)

Every team needs to find that balance between the offense and the defense, and the Raiders have shown that the QB position is doing fine. Maybe with a not great but good Raiders defense, the overall improvement of the team can be immediately impacted.

The negative highlights of the Raiders defense and offense.

Aside of every opportunity the Raiders offense has to improve in every position, Derek Carr needs to secure more the ball when breaking the pocket, and also be more effective throwing the ball inside the red zone. According to PFF, last season Carr had the lower TD% in the red zone since 2016, the last year the Raiders played in the post season. The offense has every ingredient to deliver, and with Raider Nation’s patience is decreasing maybe faster than ever, we should see some big improvements next year.

The other important part is the defense, and even though the defense has bigger improvement areas, maybe the task of having a good defense won’t be that hard to accomplish. Under a new defensive coordination, the Raiders defense could start being effective.

Las Vegas Raiders linebacker Cory Littleton (42) and running back Kenyan Drake (23) (Photo by Matt Aguirre/Las Vegas Raiders)

There are a lot of (justified) uncertainty regarding of how or the Raiders defense will work or what results will it bring. Beyond that uncertainty, there are the facts, and the most important fact for the Raiders defense is that they finished just seven spots far of being the worst defense in the NFL.

Raiders evolving day in and day out.

The energy and the new scheme of Gus Bradley during training camp have been little by little absorbed by the players on the defensive side of the ball since OTA’s. Bradley needs to keep a simple defense, and by simple, I mean not complicated for the players to react given any play situation. To execute and perform a good defense, there needs to be a lot of constructive communication and feedback inside the field where Bradley is not. If the communication is effective and clear, it will have a lot to do with Bradley having an “anchor” player on every defensive group.

On the defensive line, his “anchor” player is defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (yah-NEEK in-GAH-kway). The kind of leadership and experience that the ex-Terrapin brings to the Raiders defense will help on translating and implementing Bradley’s scheme. Of course, this is Yannick’s first season in the Raiders defense, but the five year veteran has shown since year one his physical abilities and the capacity to play every year with a high level. The defensive line has a lot of depth, but it looks at least for this part of the season, that it is a very solid group. Maxx Crosby continues looking sharp, Quinton Jefferson is a solid run stopper, and having a four-time All-Pro in Gerald McCoy will also elevate the inside competition of an urgent needed effective defensive line.

The “anchor” player inside the LBs group has never played a snap for Bradley, but they’re known as opponents each other for a while and for now, Bradley made clear that Nicholas Morrow is a core guy for Bradley’s scheme. Since 2017, Morrow has become the LB with more continuity in the Raiders defense. LBs have come and gone but Morrow has been there and his performance speaks for itself, he finished the 2020 season as the only player in the NFL with at least three sacks and nine passes defensed, while his nine passes defensed ranked first in the league among all linebackers. Another valid reason for the Raiders to re-sign the Division III Greenville University graduate again on March 19, 2021.

On the defensive backs group, the “anchor” role belongs to Casey Hayward Jr. He obviously is familiar and comfortable playing under Bradley’s zone scheme. Hayward is looking to renovate himself in the Raiders defense and so far, he is ahead of Damon Arnette on the position battle. His contribution in a very young group of defensive backs could boost the unit right away and finally make them understand how to play in this new scheme.

RAIDERS 2021 Training Camp Preview

Quarterback Derek Carr (4) y running back Josh Jacobs (28) (Imagen de Michael Clemens/Las Vegas Raiders)

Los nuevos cambios para Josh Jacobs y Kenyan Drake.

Greg Olson tiene ahora para los Raiders en Kenyan Drake otro RB detrás de Josh Jacobs que deberá de ofrecer mejores resultados que los esperados por Devonta Booker la temporada pasada. Del 2016 al 2020, Drake consiguió 3,130 yardas por tierra frente a las 1,526 de Booker, Drake también terminó recibiendo 300 yardas más en ese mismo lapso.

Parece claro que el objetivo de la ofensiva es volverse más rápida, los atributos físicos con los que cuenta Derek Carr, a pesar de no ser un “dual-threat” QB, pueden llevar a los Raiders a conseguir el objetivo. La profundidad y el talento hacen de esta unidad uno de los grupos de corredores más sólidos y versátiles en la NFL.

Ya adentrados en el tema, analizaremos a los running backs de los Raiders de Las Vegas para la siguiente temporada.

2021 Raiders RBs

Josh Jacobs

Jersey: 28

Universidad: Alabama

Temporada en la NFL: 3

El estilo de correr de Josh Jacobs se ve tan ligero, a eso le podemos sumar que parece que ha ido madurando poco a poco y ha aprendido a leer mejor los huecos que le proporciona la línea ofensiva.

Definitivamente el juego aéreo de los Raiders podría beneficiarse más de las habilidades de Jacobs, pero por ahora parece que el plan para una de las múltiples selecciones de primera ronda del Draft del 2019 para los Raiders es claro, seguir corriendo el balón.

Jacobs puede ser productivo dividiendo snaps; demostró exactamente eso durante su trayecto en Alabama bajo el entrenador Nick Saban, en donde jugó Damien Harris, Bo Scarborough y Najee Harris.

Ahora, con una nueva temporada a la vuelta de la esquina, una línea ofensiva renovada, un nuevo compañero de equipo ex-Bama RB traído debido a sus habilidades como receptor y un HC que puede ser realmente creativo en el juego terrestre, la selección de primera ronda más productiva para los Raiders en los últimos años podría continuar acumulando más de mil yardas nuevamente la próxima temporada.

Running back Josh Jacobs (28) (Imagen de Matt Aguirre/Las Vegas Raiders)

Kenyan Drake

Jersey: 23

Universidad: Alabama

Temporada de la NFL: 6

Kenyan Drake llega a Las Vegas ganando el dinero de un RB titular en la NFL, su contrato de 2 años / $ 11,000,000.00 también incluye el tipo de versatilidad que la ofensiva necesita. En su primer año con los Raiders, obviamente, no será el caballito de batalla del grupo, pero su papel en la ofensiva será interesante.

Sus 10 touchdowns por tierra fueron el resultado de una ofensiva explosiva en la que el único jugador con más TD en Arizona fue Kyler Murray con 11, la primera vez en la historia de la franquicia que la franquicia de Arizona tiene más de un jugador con más de 10 TD por tierra en una temporada. Drake terminó consiguiendo 955 yardas, la mayor cantidad que ha corrido jugando en la NFL.

Con el retiro del entrenador Kirby Wilson, Tim Berbenich ahora tomará el mando de los RBs y la tarea para él con Drake es ajustarlo de la manera correcta para que continúe como uno de los corredores más productivos en la NFL. No debería de ser una tarea difícil si tenemos en cuenta que Drake no tendrá ese rol de RB1 y que, además, puede hacer mucho daño corriendo y atrapando el balón.

Quarterback Derek Carr (4) y running back Kenyan Drake (23) (Imagen de Michael Clemens/Las Vegas Raiders)

Jalen Richard

Jersey: 30

Universidad: Southern Miss

Temporada de la NFL: 6

Richard es otra herramienta versátil en el grupo de RB, y si quieres ser más rápido, como lo comentó el Coach Gruden en Junio, necesitas tener a los jugadores más versátiles en el equipo.

La continuidad de Jalen Richard en la organización negro y plata desde que llegó a través de la UDFA en el 2016 ha sido clave. Es el primer RB de los Raiders no drafteado en tener recepción para TD en cada una de sus dos primeras temporadas, además en su primer acarreo en la liga, consiguió un TD de 75 yds a los Saints.

Puede ser que le limiten aún más el número de jugadas con la incorporación de Drake, pero aún puede contribuir en equipos especiales regresando patadas de kickoff, ya que los regresos de despeje le pertenecen a Hunter Renfrow.

Running back Jalen Richard (30) (Imagen de Matt Aguirre/Las Vegas Raiders)

Trey Ragas

Jersey: 36

Universidad: Louisiana

Temporada de la NFL: 1

Trey Ragas tiene habilidades diferentes a los primeros RBs, a él le gusta más el contacto físico y su estilo para correr el balón también es algo diferente, tendrá que aprender a leer y correr detrás de una línea ofensiva de la NFL antes de mostrar sus habilidades limitadas (por ahora), para recibir el balón.

La fuerza que tiene le ayudó mucho en la universidad para conseguir 3,572 yardas en 596 acarreos (promedio de 6.0 por acarreo), también rompió muchas tacleadas en cualquier zona del campo, y si vemos alguna acción de este otro UDFA, puede ser en equipos especiales.

Con los Ragin ‘ Cajuns una vez tuvo un excelente partido enfrentando a Alabama, les corró para 111 yardas en solo 16 acarreos.

Running back Trey Ragas (36) (Imagen de Michael Clemens/Las Vegas Raiders)

Garret Groshek

Jersey: 46

Universidad: Wisconsin

Temporada de la NFL: 1

Groshek es otro UDFA firmado por los Raiders este año. Jugó 47 partidos en cuatro años durante su estadía en Wisconsin, por el tipo de corredor que es, lo podrían usar como suplente de Ingold.

Running back Garret Groshek (46) (Imagen de Matt Aguirre/Las Vegas Raiders)

Alec Ingold

Jersey: 45

Universidad: Wisconsin

Temporada de la NFL: 3

El único FB en la lista de los Raiders, y no tienen inconveniente. Ingold es ese jugador que aporta jugando a la ofensiva o en equipos especiales.

En el mismo año que llegó al equipo a través siendo UDFA (2019)

Lo que definitivamente le ayudó a Ingold para llegar a los Raiders en el 2019, fue que personal de los Raiders en el equipo Norte del Reese Senior Bowl lo coacheó; en ese mismo año fue nombrado suplente al Pro Bowl. En el 2020, Ingold fue nominado al premio Walter Payton Man of the Year.

Alec Ingold no solo agrega esa ventaja numérica de tener un bloqueador extra, según PFF, está clasificado como el tercer mejor fullback de la liga. Su participación en jugadas de carrera, pases y equipos especiales lo convierte en otro jugador bastante confiable en la ofensiva de Gruden. Además, registró el primer TD de los Raiders en el Allegiant Stadium cuando se enfrentaron a los Saints (MNF-Semana 2 del 2020).

Fullback Alec Ingold (45) (Imagen de Matt Aguirre/Las Vegas Raiders)

Apuntes que de algo pueden servir…

El Coach de RBs de los Raiders no fue el único que se retiró, la lista se extendió al RB Theo Riddick, al LB James Onwualu y al T Sam Young.