NFC Exec: Raiders, Gruden, Carr will Surprise People this Year

Not everyone is buying the popular notion that the Raiders will be a circus in Jon Gruden’s second year.

Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman asked league executives about every team in the NFL and the NFC executive who was asked about the Raiders had very high expectations for Gruden and the gang:

“[The Raiders] will win 10 or 11 games and [head coach] Jon Gruden will be seen as a Coach of the Year candidate. He’ll have [quarterback Derek] Carr playing at a really high level. That running game [with Josh Jacobs] will shock people. He could get 1,000 yards easy this year.”

Interestingly, the same exec had concerns about the Chiefs, and specifically quarterback Patrick Mahomes:

My concern for the Chiefs is the health of [quarterback Patrick] Mahomes. It’s hard to overstate how he threw for 50 touchdowns, was exposed so many times to hits and pressures and didn’t get seriously hurt once. Some of it is scheme and how [head coach] Andy Reid protects him, but I still worry about him getting hit. If he again stays healthy, this is easily an 11-win team.”

As for the Raiders, protecting Carr will be a huge key to their success, as well. Only two starters from last year’s offensive line (Rodney Hudson, Kolton Miller) will be in the starting lineup on Monday night. Carr will also have a rookie running back in pass protection for much of the season – an observation that wasn’t lost on our own Chris Reed earlier today.

By all accounts, Carr is much farther along in Gruden’s offense this year and there’s no question that the level of talent on the offensive side of the ball has been elevated. If all goes as planned, that’ll translate to a lot more activity in the win column for the Raiders this year.

twitter: @raiderbeat