The Raiders' defense underwent an overhaul this offseason. It was the offense’s turn last year, highlighted by the addition of skill players and offensive linemen alike.
That talent infusion brought excitement to a unit that kept the Raiders in games. It was not perfect.
No team ranked No. 28 in rushing can be considered a finished product. The Raiders left the passing game alone, hoping continuity in scheme and personnel could help quarterback Derek Carr build on last season’s positives.
The ground game needed some help and got it. Guard Kelechi Osemele cost a few pretty pennies in free agency, but brings nastiness and power to the interior run game. Donald Penn was re-signed keeping four consistent spots around their high-priced prize.
Now armed with one of the NFL’s biggest and best offensive lines, the Raiders hope to move mountains on the ground and create space for Latavius Murray and fifth-round pick DeAndre Washington.
The Raiders hope to lay the groundwork for greater balance and steady production with an offense that was dynamic at times, dormant at others.
That effort continues Tuesday with the start of OTAs, a 10-practice series designed to enhance cohesion and scheme knowledge.
Most offensive weapons have a firm grasp of coordinator Bill Musgrave’s playbook, putting more focus on refinement.
“All the work you do on the fundamentals when nobody’s looking,” head coach Jack Del Rio said in an interview with SiriusXM NFL radio, “that’s what makes a real difference.”
There’s little doubt the Raiders can be explosive on offense. Consistent execution with run and pass is the next stage.
"We had so many holes when we got here 16 months ago,” Del Rio said, referring to the entire team. “We’ve worked hard to fill some of those holes and make ourselves more competitive. Now we must continue to grow and develop and work the guys that are here. We’re trying to surround ourselves with talented players and create a competitive environment. That’s how we’re going to attack it.”
The Raiders offense will attack these OTAs with several returning starters and a deeper overall unit. Let’s take a way-too-early look at a two-deep offensive depth chart after the NFL Draft, before OTAs begin in earnest:
WR: Amari Cooper – Andre Holmes
LT: Donald Penn – Matt McCants/Osemele
LG: Kelechi Osemele -- Gabe Jackson/Vadal Alexander
C: Rodney Hudson – Jon Feliciano
RG: Gabe Jackson – Jon Feliciano
RT: Austin Howard* – Menelik Watson
TE: Clive Walford* – Lee Smith/Mychal Rivera
QB: Derek Carr – Matt McGloin/Connor Cook
RB: Latavius Murray – Roy Helu/DeAndre Washington
FB: Jamize Olawale – Marcel Reece
SWR: Seth Roberts – Andre Debose
WR: Michael Crabtree – Andre Holmes