NFL 2024 season – Las Vegas Raiders team preview


Yahoo Sports’ Jason Fitz and Frank Schwab discuss Las Vegas’ strengths and weaknesses and what can carry the Raiders under Antonio Pierce this season. Listen and subscribe to the “Zero Blitz” podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen.

Video Transcript

The Las Vegas Raiders, a new era for them.

What is the one big thing we should be talking about with the Las Vegas Raiders, your Las Vegas Raiders this season.

So for my beloved Raiders, I think it’s easy to say who’s Antonio Pierce, who’s a coach?

I thought about that is the one big question.

How does the quarterback battle shake out?

I thought about that is the one big question, but neither of those were the thing for me because here’s the, the reel of it, the quarterback battle shakes out.

I still don’t think they’ve got their quarterback of the future on the roster right now.

So that’s not gonna, and there’s nothing this year that’s gonna make or break.

Api don’t think so.

To me, when I look at the one thing that will really make or break the Raiders season this year, the question is, can the defense save the team again?

Because last year there wasn’t a lot of street cred for this defense coming in for the defensive coordinator or for the talent other than Max Crosby by the end of the year, there still wasn’t, but there were other guys, Robert Spillane Jack Joe on this defense that played really well.

And by the end of the year, the defense was the way that the Raiders were winning games.

Uh, the, their ability to sort of emulate the charge and fire and passion with which max plays was really incredible.

They go out, they spend $100 million on Christian Wilkins.

They have a lot of questions in that defense, Frank, I’m not gonna lie about that secondary.

I, I don’t know what to expect.

What I do know is that the only path for the Raiders to get to mediocrity this year is if their defense is great.

I think there are some really good options on the offensive side, but I don’t think you got a quarterback that’s going to be able to hang with Mahomes and Herbert over and over and over again.

That’s not real.

So you need that defense to be able to minimize Mahomes and Herbert while your offense gets kicked into gear.

If the Raiders defense takes a step back, then the Raiders win four or five games this year.

If that defense plays throughout the course of the season, the way they did, particularly after A P took over last year, they can win eight games this year.

And I think that’s why they’re the, that’s the biggest question.

Yeah.

And I think, uh, delving further into that, I think our biggest X factor this year is Tyree Wilson, uh, the seventh pick of the 2023 draft was supposed to be this, do everything defensive lineman, you know, he was up and down as a rookie.

I, I don’t think he had a big splash but he’s got the talent, we know he’s a really good player.

Christian Wilkins could take up a lot of attention.

Obviously, Max Crosby could win defensive player of the year.

He’s unbelievable if Tyree Wilson could be kind of that dude, that third star on the defensive line, all of a sudden, they have one of the best defensive lines in football and that’s a good place to start if you’re gonna have just, if you’re a kind of a mediocre roster that has one strength, having a great defensive line is the way to go.

And if Tyree Wilson is that dude, they can have a great defensive line.

Wilkins Crosby Wilson, if he plays up to his draft status, could be very good to keep them in a lot of games and keep them competitive.

And who knows, like Gardner msu, we’ll talk about the Colts in a second.

Gardner Minsch who also had the Colts in the playoffs last year.

I don’t know that the Raiders are set up as well as the Colts were last year, but he could be that guy to kind of be a, as good of a bridge quarterback as he could ever find.

So, iii, I agree with you if the, if the Raiders are going to be in playoff contention.

It’s going to be because of their defense.

And more specifically, I think it’s going to be because their defensive line ended up being one of the best in football.

I’ll give you one other name, Malcolm Kuntz who, uh, got a lot of rotational play instead of Tyree at the end of the last year really blew up.

And here’s the advantage that Kuntz and Tyree are both gonna have.

There is not a single team that’s gonna sit there and say, you know what, we got to take away Tyree Wilson this week.

Nope, all that effort’s going to Max and to Christian Wilkins.

Right.

When you put all that in, all Koontz and Tyree are gonna have to do is win one on one matchups.

Really?

I, I agree with you.

This defensive line could be one of the best in the league.



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