2017 ended on a low note for the Oakland Raiders. They failed to make the playoffs a year after going 12-4, and finished third in the lackluster AFC West. To say that they failed to live up to the off-season hype would be an understatement. The regression of both quarterback Derek Carr and his wide receiver corps deserves much of the blame. The lack of consistency from Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree made moving the ball difficult through the air and on the ground. Dropped balls destroyed both chemistry and confidence in a trio that looked to be unstoppable.
In an effort to rebuild that connection between Carr and his receivers the Raiders need to focus their attention on eliminating drops. What better way to do that than to bring in one of the surest set of hands in the NFL?
Professional Pass Catcher
Since leaving LSU, Jarvis Landry has been one of the most consistent and prolific pass catchers in the league. Over the past four seasons Landry has caught 400 balls for 4,038 yards, parlaying his efforts into 22 touchdowns.
Working in the slot with the ability to line up outside makes Landry a Swiss Army knife of a player. Expanding options in the passing game will make Oakland dangerous and difficult to deal with. Most importantly, his presence on the roster will immediately lower the drop rate of a team that needs to throw the ball.
Oakland’s Cooper, Crabtree and tight end Jared Cook combined for 15 drops in 2017. Wide receiver Seth Roberts and running back Marshawn Lynch had three each, respectively. This is a total of 21 drops from starting players, a number that must be improved on if the Raiders are to be competitive in the pass happy NFL.
Landry’s catch rate will help to rectify this deficiency, and add another weapon to Carr’s arsenal. His ability to produce with average quarterbacks like Ryan Tannehill and an aging Jay Cutler are a testament to his ability as a receiver.
A Renewed Focus on the Quarterback
The hiring of Jon Gruden and the subsequent shakeup of Oakland’s coaching staff is evidence that the franchise understands where its strength lies. The Raiders will only go as far as the arm of Carr will take them.
The team from the East Bay is going to do all they can to protect their $125 million man. This includes getting him players and coaches that will help him succeed. Landry can be as important to this effort as anyone, and the Raiders need to do what they can bring him on-board.
The 2017 season was a wash, and the Raiders are making the necessary moves to avoid another one.
With an outstanding offensive line in place and a head coach that will squeeze every last bit of greatness from his players, the Raiders are set up nicely. Landing a player like Landry could be the catalyst that precipitates a rise to greatness in Oakland. The Raiders look to be one good off-season away from being everything they should have been in 2017.
View the original article on Last Word On Pro Football: Why the Oakland Raiders Need Jarvis Landry