As NFL fans sit amid a global pandemic, wondering how the 2020 season will be played out, teams are preparing themselves for the start of training camp. Players come to training camp looking to get better and prepare for the upcoming season. These players are considered leaders on and off the field. When the team needs a play to be made, these are the players that teammates, coaches, and fans expect to shine big when the lights are shining the brightest. Here we look at the three faces of the 2020 Las Vegas Raiders.
Faces of the 2020 Las Vegas Raiders
Ironically, the first player on this list also happens to be the most polarizing amongst die-hard fans. Half of the fan base thinks he can return to his former MVP candidate form with the right support around him. The other half believes him to be a shot fighter that spooks too easily and is not capable of throwing the ball accurately down the field on a consistent basis. The reality is that he lies somewhere in the middle of those two opposing trains of thought.
In six seasons with the Las Vegas Raiders, Carr has accumulated 143 touchdowns to 62 interceptions, with a completion percentage of 64 percent. Despite all the criticism, Carr finished the 2019 season with career-highs in quarterback rating, completion percentage, and passing yards. With the off-season offensive additions of Henry Ruggs III, Bryan Edwards, and Jason Witten, one can presume that Carr is bound for another career-high setting season.
Bursting onto the scene last year as a first-round rookie, Josh Jacobs took the league by storm in 2019. Currently the best skill-position player on the team, Jacobs is already universally considered a top-10 running back after just one season. He runs with a rare combination of both an elusive and power-based style, can catch out of the backfield and is an above-average blocker for his position.
Despite only playing in 13 games due to injury, Jacobs still managed to rush for over 1,000 yards and led the league in avoided tackles. Even though his receiving numbers leave a little to be desired, one can only assume that he will continue to develop that portion of his game as he matures in this league. Jacobs certainly has the tools and head coach to become universally regarded as the best running back in all of football. The sky is the limit for this young superstar.
While it was tempting to put someone like Rodney Hudson here in the last spot, I wanted to get a player from the defensive side of the ball on here. Insert rookie phenom, Maxx Crosby. An unknown name to most entering the 2019 season, third-round rookie Crosby made a name for himself as one of the premier young pass rushers in the league. While all eyes were on first-round rookie Clelin Ferrell, Crosby was quietly turning heads with his work ethic and relentlessness. He has dubbed the duo of himself and Ferrell as “Salt and Pepper”, stating their desire to bring some much-needed “flavor” to the consistently below-average defense of the Raiders.
In his rookie season, Crosby finished second in sacks, for rookies, with 10. That is a whole sack more than Defensive Player of the Year, Nick Bosa, in four fewer starts. He also finished the season with more pass deflections and forced fumbles than Bosa as well. His breakout game came against the Cincinnati Bengals, in which he recorded four sacks on just 77 percent of defensive snaps played. With another year of development and maturity under his belt and an increase of caliber in regard to the talent surrounding him, one can only imagine the type of season Crosby is primed for.