LAST YEAR: Promising start to season led to disappointing finish with five losses in final six games to miss playoffs in final season in Oakland. QB Derek Carr looked more comfortable in coach Jon Gruden’s offense but offense lacked playmakers following release of receiver Antonio Brown before start of season. Defense struggled to create turnovers or limit big plays.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: WR Henry Ruggs III, LB Cory Littleton, CB Damon Arnette, LB Nick Kwiatkoski, QB Marcus Mariota, CB Prince Amukamara, S Damarious Randall, TE Jason Witten, DT Maliek Collins, DE Carl Nassib, WR Nelson Agholor, S Jeff Heath.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: LB Tahir Whitehead, CB Daryl Worley, S Karl Joseph, DE Benson Mayowa, RB DeAndre Washington, S Curtis Riley.
PANDEMIC CHALLENGES: Raiders dealing with move to Las Vegas after challenging offseason. Coaches weren’t allowed into new offices until late June and players won’t get into facility until start of camp. Many players also finding new homes after leaving Bay Area.
CAMP NEEDS: Team overhauled defense with at least six new projected starters led by first-round pick Arnette, Littleton and Kwiatkoski at linebacker, Collins in middle of defensive line. Task at camp will be getting unit to gel in time for start of season.
EXPECTATIONS: With speedy Ruggs added to returning offense that showed promise in first half of season, Raiders need to take big step forward in Gruden’s third season back. Former No. 2 overall pick Mariota added in offseason as most accomplished backup to Carr since he arrived in 2014. If Carr struggles, Gruden could look to make change at some point in season. Key to defensive improvement will be another strong season from DE Maxx Crosby after 10-sack season as rookie and big step forward from 2019 No. 4 overall pick Clelin Ferrell.
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