Unavailability of Hunter Renfrow, Darren Walder led to demise of Raiders – Las Vegas Raiders Blog

Unavailability of Hunter Renfrow, Darren Walder led to demise of Raiders – Las Vegas Raiders Blog

“The best ability is availability.” — Anonymous

HENDERSON, Nev. — Go ahead, then, add another maxim, albeit a warning, to the already crowded wall of Las Vegas Raiders slogans and affirmations. Slide it somewhere between Commitment to excellence, pride and poise Y Just win, honey!

Because when it came to the head-scratching season that was the Raiders’ 2022 campaign: three first-team All-Pro selections on a team that was only 6-11? — One big story was the inability of a couple of Pro Bowl pass catchers to stay, well, available.

Consider: One year after catching 103 passes for 1,038 yards and nine touchdowns in 17 games, wide receiver Hunter Renfrow played in 10 games, finishing with 36 receptions for 330 yards, two TDs and a costly fumble in Week 2.

Tight end Darren Waller? He played in just nine games last season and had 28 receptions for 388 yards and three TDs, two years after setting a franchise record with 107 receptions for 1,196 yards and nine touchdowns.

Sure, they missed a combined 15 games due to a series of injuries, ranging from concussions to hamstring strains, but that’s a precipitous drop in production from a pair of rarely seen Pro Bowlers. A decline not even wide receiver Davante Adams (one of the Raiders’ first-team All-Pros thanks to his NFL-leading 14 touchdown receptions), running back Josh Jacobs (another All-Pro who was the leading rusher with 1,653 yards) or even kicker Daniel Carlson (Las Vegas’ third All-Pro, who kicked an NFL-record 11 field goals from 50 yards or more) could help the Raiders get past.

It is reminiscent of the 2016 New York Jets and 2013 Atlanta Falcons when it comes to such drops.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Brandon Marshall went from 1,502 receiving yards, a Pro Bowl nomination, and a second-team All-Pro selection for the Jets in 2015 to 788 receiving yards the following year, while Eric Decker went from 1,027 receiving yards in 2015 to 194 yards (in just three games) for the 2016 Jets.

And Roddy White went from 1,351 receiving yards for Atlanta in 2012 to 711 in 2013, with Julio Jones going from 1,198 yards in 2012 to 580 in 2013.

Perhaps the hardest thing for the Raiders duo to swallow was the fact that they each signed contract extensions in the offseason: Renfrow signed a two-year, $32 million contract and Waller got a three-year, $51 contract. million to team up with Adams, Jacobs and quarterback Derek Carr to create a near-unstoppable offense under first-year coach Josh McDaniels.

“When the offense as a whole executes the finer details, it’s a really, really, really impressive group,” Waller said with four games to go in the season. “Football is different, you know, because you have 10 guys doing the right thing and if one person misses a minor detail, it might be a 2-yard play instead of a 20-yard play.”

Meanwhile, Renfrow said it was “fun” to watch the Raiders go on a three-game winning streak when he and Waller were on injured reserve together (Waller from Weeks 6-14 and Renfrow from Weeks 10-14). , and hoped to contribute to further success upon his return.

Unfortunately…it didn’t matter. Not with the Raiders losing four of their last five and Carr being benched the last two games, leaving the team and setting himself up on the trade market if he doesn’t get his outright release by Feb. 15.

Still, Waller and Renfrow provided insight into what the offense would look like if they were available and therefore contributing.

Fifteen of Renfrow’s 36 receptions have come in the last four weeks (he set season-highs with seven receptions for 63 yards and his only TD in the season finale, with Jarrett Stidham at quarterback).

And Waller had 12 of his 28 receptions and two touchdowns, including a mocking wave to the “haters”who questioned why the former rapper would “drop a record” during the season, after his scoring, in the last four games.

By comparison, Adams had a combined 18 receptions and two touchdowns in the last two games.

Who will be the Raiders quarterback next season? should have a wide set of objectives at your disposal.

“I think we still believe in each other and we still believe, obviously, in the coaches and everyone,” Renfrow said with two games to go. “It’s all about going out there and getting better and getting better every day.”

And be available.

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