Despite the addition of Davante Adams, the Raiders want to be a balanced offense. Yes, they have three Pro Bowlers at wide receiver and tight end, but Josh McDaniels has always wanted to keep defenses honest with the run game.
Last year, the Raiders were phenomenal when it was in their best interest to run the ball with light boxes. But when teams knew they were going to pound the rock, they really struggled.
In a recent article by Aaron Schatz of ESPN and Football Outsiders, he wrote about how much the Raiders struggled when teams loaded the box last season. Here is a snippet of what he had to say about the run game last year:
“Most teams are more efficient when running against lighter boxes, but the Raiders were a bit extreme last season. They gained 5.3 yards per carry against light boxes (up to six men) with 7.6% DVOA, compared to 3.3 yards per carry with minus-22.7% DVOA against boxes of seven or more.”
The good news for the Raiders is that they are likely to see a ton of light boxes this year with the addition of Adams and a healthy Darren Waller. And with the Raiders likely using a ton of three receivers sets, it’s going to force defenses into nickel situations. That should allow Josh Jacobs and company a ton of room to run underneath.
However, their run game efficiency could struggle in short-yardage and goalline situations when there isn’t quite as much room to operate. That’s where they need the offensive line to step up and improve during the 2022 season.