Coming off their Week 7 bye, the Oakland Raiders will look to improve on what was a disappointing, yet somewhat promising start to the season.
Thus far, the offense has shown flashes of explosive playmaking ability but has left many more plays on the field than they would have liked.
A young, but extremely talented and underrated unit, the offense will need to take a big step forward in the remaining 10 games of the Raiders’ season.
First and foremost, all facets of the running game need to come together, and the rest will follow accordingly.
Here are the grades for each position group of the Oakland Raiders’ offense through their first six games.
The state of the quarterback position was a significant concern for the Raiders heading into the 2013 season, but they just may have found the right player in Terrelle Pryor.
Right from his impressive Week 1 performance against what has proven to be a very good Colts team, Pryor has continued to show how much of an impact his athleticism can have on a game.
What’s more, is how much his passing ability has improved not only since last season, but also seemingly on a weekly basis thus far in 2013.
Should Pryor continue on this path of improvement, there is little doubt that the Raiders should opt to build their offense around him heading into the future.
How that works out remains to be seen, but so far this season, he has made the quarterback position the most productive part of this entire offensive unit.
With Darren McFadden and Rashad Jennings at running back, as well as Marcel Reece getting his share of touches from the fullback spot, it was expected that this position group would be one of the Raiders’ strengths throughout the 2013 season.
So far, and unfortunately so for the sake of the Raiders’ offensive balance, that has not been the case.
Of course, the issues the Raiders have had on the offensive line will shoulder most of the blame for the lack of success in the running game, but the team needs more out of its talented backs.
As the line starts to get more healthy coming out of the bye week, McFadden, Jennings and Reece will be counted upon to get some much-needed rushing yardage and take some pressure off both the passing game and the defense as well.
Until that happens, this group will continue to receive rather disappointing grades.
Throughout this past offseason, the wide receiver position was constantly thought of as a position that the Raiders needed to upgrade in a big way.
With a talented, but very young group, it was certainly possible that some more experience would have been beneficial.
However, through six games, led by Denarius Moore and Rod Streater, the Raiders’ receiving corps has been one of the team’s biggest surprises.
Both Moore and Streater have been able to create separation in opposing teams’ secondaries, resulting in a number of big plays downfield to move the chains.
What’s been more important thus far, however, has been their ability and comfort in playing with Terrelle Pryor, constantly working back to the football to make plays when he breaks the pocket.
This impressive chemistry should only get better as the season goes on, and this group’s production could continue to increase as a result.
Another position group with far too many questions heading into the season, the tight end spot has had some troubles so far.
Sixth-round rookie Mychal Rivera has shown flashes of playmaking ability as a receiver, but his snaps have been somewhat limited with Jeron Mastrud holding the starting spot as the superior blocker.
The offensive line’s problems contribute to the Raiders’ need to use the tight end as a sixth blocker as often as they do, but increased production from this group would go a long way in the team’s remaining games.
With some young players, the potential is certainly there, but we haven’t seen that production just yet.
The offensive line’s performance through six games has been the weakest part of the Raiders’ offense altogether, as there have been significant struggles in both run-blocking and pass protection.
Of course, injuries have played a huge part and especially so in recent weeks. Thus far, the Raiders have struggled to maintain a consistent group of five linemen, and the results show.
At the same time, injury problems will never be accepted as an excuse in the NFL, and teams need to adjust accordingly.
As the offensive line gets healthier coming out of the bye, and in the weeks following, they should steadily improve overall.
When healthy, this group has the potential to be a fairly solid unit, but they can only be graded on how they have performed so far this season.