The Raiders are bad, obviously. Record notwithstanding, Pro Football Reference ranks the Raiders as THE worst team in the NFL. After all, they lose by an average of 11.8 points per game. This is a tough pill to swallow given that the Raiders are exceptionally worse than they were a year ago. What was a top-ten offense now wallows in the bottom half of most offensive standings. A bad defense in 2011 has been made worse, which runs contrary to the expectations brought by a defensive minded coach. In all, it’s a forgettable season for all but a few.
In total, six Raiders have risen from the ashes, if you will, and proven their long-term worth. Below, you’ll find three players from the offensive side of the ball that have bucked recent trends among Raiders’ players. In a later post, I’ll discuss the defensive players that have (somewhat) redeemed this lost season.
1. Marcell Reece, RB/FB
When given the opportunity to display his versatile skill set, Marcell Reece has not disappointed. With Darren McFadden in the backfield, the Raiders averaged only 3.2 yards per carry. With Reece, they’re averaging nearly a yard more. In 84 fewer carries, Reece (12) has broken three more tackles than McFadden (9). Reece averages 3.55 yards per carry after contact (YPCC), which would place in the top-four among running backs (if he had enough carries to qualify). McFadden averages just 1.96 YPCC. In the pass game, Reece is equally as impressive. Of 48 catchable passes, Reece has dropped the football only twice, which places him in the top-three among running backs with 45+ targets. He’s also broken seven tackles after the catch.
2. Brandon Myers, TE
Brandon Myers is fourth among tight ends in targets and third in receptions. He has six drops on 75 catchable passes, which ranks him in the top-ten among qualified tight ends. To top it off, Myers is versatile. Yes, Brandon Myers is versatile. So versatile, in fact, that Myers is the best slot-tight end in the league. He averages a league leading 2.75 yards per pass route (YPPR) when lined up in the slot–Owen Daniels is second with 2.09 YPPR. He is also one of the better blocking tight ends in the league. In 99 attempts, Myers has given up only six pressures. This is bested by only Joel Dreessen and Kellen Davis, who have combined for nine drops on only 48 total passes. In short, Myers might not offer a lot of potential after the catch, but he’s sure handed and can block, a combination possessed by few.
3. Stefen Wisniewski, C
Stefen Wisniewski plays next to two of the worst guards in the NFL. Mike Brisiel and Cooper Carlisle have combined to allow 52 total quarterback pressures, more than any other duo in the league. Wisniewski, on the other hand, has given up only six pressures. His 99.1 pass blocking efficiency [((Sacks + (0.75 x Hits) + (0.75 x Hurries)) / Pass Pro Snaps) x 100] is the best among ALL offensive linemen, guards and tackles included. That makes Wisniewski the BEST offensive lineman in the NFL. For comparison, Nick Mangold, the AFC’s starting center in the 2011 Pro Bowl, has allowed 10 pressures in 420 snaps. Wisniewski has four fewer pressures in two fewer snaps.