Outside of that lull that started in 2002, the Oakland Raiders have been one of the more exciting NFL teams. One of the reasons why is they’ve usually had the ability to strike quickly on offense. Legendary owner Al Davis’ philosophy was to play pressure football instead of percentage football.
That meant the Raiders were looking to come out and throw the deep ball at any time in the game. They didn’t look for the underneath stuff to keep the offense on schedule, they wanted big plays. Since the ’60s, when the NFL was three yards and a cloud of dust, Davis had his the Raiders going deep.
Davis once said on NFL Films, “When we came out of the huddle, we weren’t looking for first downs, we didn’t want to move the chains, we wanted touchdowns. We wanted the big play, the quick strike. It’s No. 1 to say you want to do that, it’s No. 2 to say you have the players to do it but it’s No. 3 to do it!”
“For those CBs that play on the corners to know that the Raiders are coming at you. They’re coming at you on top and they’ve got the speed to do it and they will do it. It’s like having a bomb and being willing to drop it. The adage that goes around in professional football and I hear everyone say it is ‘take what they give you.’
“That all sounds good to everybody but I’ve always went the other way—we’re gonna take what we want.”
That type of offense takes a certain personnel and fast skill position players are a big part of it. And of course, Davis has had some of the fastest players to have every played the game on his teams. Davis’ WR corps over the years have usually had around three or four guys that can absolutely fly.
After Davis passed in 2011, the Raiders seemed to go in another direction under head coach Dennis Allen. But GM Reggie McKenzie has since hired Bay Area native Jack Del Rio started bringing it back. The Raiders now have four WRs that are among the fastest players in the NFL to go deep to.
WR1 Amari Cooper, who has blazing speed and great route-running skills, is the main man in this group. Ran a 4.35 40 at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine and plays very much up to that speed. He’s No. 2 in the NFL on go routes and kills it on double moves according to Pro Football Focus.
The Raiders picked up Cordarrelle Patterson this offseason because of his speed and big-play ability. He ran a 4.42 40 at the combine but regularly comes up in the top-10 in mph according to Next Gen Stats. His five kick returns for TDs in four years tells you everything you need to know about his speed.
It will be interesting to see what 2nd-year speedster Johnny Holton can do for the Raiders this year. He ran in the 4.5s in the 40 when he came up because he pulled his hamstring while doing so. But in limited snaps last year, he finished in the top 10 in mph according to Next Gen Stats.
In my humble opinion, the next undrafted free agent to make the Raiders will be WR Isaac Whitney. The 6’3″, 205-pounder has blazing, 4.3 speed from his football and track background at USC. Even if he doesn’t make it, the Raiders will have at least three blazers at big-armed QB Derek Carr’s disposal.
They even have a TE that runs a 4.5 40!
That’s old-school Raiders football!
Just win, baby!