The Las Vegas Raiders have to be feeling good about themselves after collecting their first win of the preseason, a solid 20-7 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
The win was an affirmation of the great vibe and atmosphere surrounding the Raiders these days. Gus Bradley and his defense have been the talk of camp as the unit sounds more confident and cohesive, while the offense is keeping pace as young receivers Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards have reportedly looked much-improved.
However, the biggest news this week was the return of Darren Waller, who has been missing practice due to injury. Waller participated in Tuesday’s practice and looked like his normal self, something that made head coach Jon Gruden happy.
“Now, that will bring a smile to my face,” Gruden said. “He was great today. He makes his presence felt right away after the catch down the field. He’s a phenomenal talent. We got a lot of guys returning. Karl Joseph showed up, Isaiah Johnson showed up. [Divine] Deablo got some reps today. So, we got a lot of guys that are on the fringe of coming back. Marcus Mariota practiced. So, it was very encouraging to have Waller back and he looked just like we expected him to.”
There was some worry about Waller’s health when news first came out that he had been sitting out, but it appears as though the Raiders were just cautious with their star tight end. Since coming to the Silver and Black, Waller has been by far and away the best offensive weapon, and there are no signs of that changing during the 2021 season.
After recording 107 receptions, 1,196 receiving yards, and nine touchdowns in 2020, it is hard to imagine how Waller can top those marks. Regardless, he is poised to reprise his role as the primary receiving option and carry the Raiders offense throughout the year.
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