The Raider receivers struggled last season, catching only 5.5 passes per game. More than a handful of receivers around the NFL accomplished the same statistics on their own.
In fact, most people reading this article could probably catch more fish per day off Fisherman’s Wharf—even if they aren’t experienced fisherman.
And that’s a fair comparison, because the Raiders receivers aren’t experienced ball catchers. So just how much did the Raider receivers struggle last season?
Let’s take a look.
Total yards: 1,196
*excluding tight ends and running backs
Sure, a lot of the Raider receivers started in only several games throughout the season. But as a core, they were not productive.
Larry Fitzgerald alone caught more passes (96), gained more yards (1,431) and scored more touchdowns (12) than the entire Raiders receiving core. Other receivers caught more passes and gained more yards (Andre Johnson, Brandon Marshall) than the Raiders, too. The Raider receivers averaged a mere 18.69 yards per quarter in 2008—Steve Smith averaged 18.2 yards per catch.
Nine different receivers each averaged more yards per game than the Raiders’ wide receivers combined.
The position should have more stability this season with young guns Chaz Schilens, Johnnie Lee Higgins and Darrius Heyward-Bey, though there is no guarantee that they will excel. But they should be—better be—must be—more productive than last year.
Higgins led last year’s group with 22 catches, 366 yards and four touchdowns.
This is the NFL we are talking about. Not high school football nor San Jose State football.
The Raiders receivers must improve.
They are young and inexperienced, but somebody obviously thought they had the talent to get the job done, and now is their chance to prove it.
In fact, the Raiders receivers have no choice but to improve—their statistics can’t get much worse.