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2015 Season Preview

Raiders At A Glance

Owner: Mark Davis.

General Manager: Reggie McKenzie

Head Coach: Jack Del Rio, 1st season.

2014 Record: 3-13, fourth AFC West

Key Additions: Coach Jack Del Rio; WRs Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree; C Rodney Hudson; S Nate Allen; LBs Curtis Lofton and Malcolm Smith; DT Dan Williams; RB Roy Helu Jr.; TE Lee Smith.

Key draft picks: WR Amari Cooper, DE Mario Edwards Jr., TE Clive Walford, OL Jon Feliciano

Key Losses: WR James Jones; RBs Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew (retired); C Stefen Wisniewski; CBs Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers; DTs Antonio Smith and Pat Sims; LB Miles Burris; S Tyvon Branch.

2015 Season Opener: Cincinnati Bengals, Sept. 13, 1:25 p.m. (Pacific), CBS

Players To Watch

QB Derek Carr — Passed for 3,720 yards and 21 TDs in his rookie season but was winless in eight road starts and averaged a league-low 5.5 yards per attempt. The rookie from Fresno State led Oakland to stirring home victories over Kansas City, the 49ers and Buffalo late last season.

LB Khalil Mack — Expected to emerge as a defensive force after being among the NFL’s top rookies (4 sacks, 75 total tackles) in the 2014 season. Mack reportedly will play more at defensive end than linebacker and rush the quarterback on every opportunity.

WR Amari Cooper — The former Alabama star and 2015 fourth overall pick has the skill to develop into Oakland's first big-play receiver since Randy Moss in 2005. In three college seasons, the dynamic Cooper had 31 TD catches and 3,463 receiving yards.

C Rodney Hudson — The ex-Chief is regarded among the NFL’s top centers and an upgrade over the departed Stefen Wisniewski.

RB Latavius Murray — Averaged 5.2 yards per rush after getting a chance to play late last season for the NFL's worst rushing team (77.5 yards per game). He rushed for 370 yards and two TDs in his final five games last season.

WR Rod Streater — Missed the final 13 games last season because of a broken foot after contributing team highs of 60 catches and 888 receiving yards in 2013.

Feeling The Heat

Head Coach Jack Del Rio — The former Denver Broncos defensive coordinator tries to end Oakland’s dubious streak of 12 consecutive non-winning seasons. Del Rio, right, has assembled a proven staff led by defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave. Del Rio, 51, had a 68-71 regular-season record in nine seasons (2003-2011) as the Jacksonville Jaguars head coach and earned two playoff berths in 2005 and 2007.

Raiders O-line — The Raiders will have a revamped offensive line led by former Chiefs center Rodeny Hudson. The left side is solid with tackle Donald Penn and guard Gabe Jackson but the right side is unproven. J'Marcus Webb and Menelik Watson began training camp as starters on the right side at guard and tackle, but Watson suffered a season-ending ruptured Achilles tendon in a Week 3 preseason game. Austin Howard, a free-agent bust in 2014, is the projected starter at right tackle as Watson's replacement.

CB DJ Hayden — The 2013 first-round draft choice needs to show he belongs as a starter after two up-and-down seasons. Hayden is expected to open the regular season along with TJ Carrie as Oakland's starting cornerbacks but second-year player Keith McGill could challenge for increased playing time

WR Michael Crabtree — The former 49er seeks a bounce-back season after averaging 10.3 yards per catch (sixth lowest in the league among wideouts) in 2014 on 68 receptions.

The Schedule

The Raiders open their 2015 regular season with consecutive home games against the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens. They have only one prime-time game — Christmas Eve against the visiting San Diego Chargers.

The Raiders tie for seventh with Kansas City in 2015 NFL Strength of Schedule. Oakland's opponents had a .545 winning percentage and 139-116-1 record in the 2014 season. The Raiders ranked first in 2014 Strength of Schedule with Oakland opponents having a .548 winning percentage and a 148-108 record for the 2013 season.

Oakland plays seven games (counting the Broncos and Chiefs twice) against 2014 playoff teams. In the final five weeks of the season, the Raiders play the Chiefs (twice), Broncos, Packers and Chargers

Fast Facts

Derek Carr finished his rookie season in 2014 with 3,270 passing yards, 21 touchdowns 12 interceptions and an 86.6 rating. He became the first Raiders quarterback to start all 16 games since Rich Gannon in 2002. Carr is the seventh rookie to throw for at least 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns in a season.

The Raiders are 1-11 their past 12 season openers. Their only win during this dismal stretch was a 23-20 victory over host Denver on Sept. 12, 2011. Oakland has not opened a season with a home victory since a 31-17 triumph over Seattle in 2002. Since then, the Raiders have lost five straight season openers at Coliseum `
Oakland has dropped 10 straight away games and is 2-22 in its past 24 road games.
In the 2014 season, the Raiders ranked 31st in points scored, 32nd in points allowed and 32nd in rush offense.

By The Numbers

11-37: The Raiders’ win-loss record in three seasons under GM Reggie McKenzie.

12: Raiders' consecutive non-winning seasons.

140.2: Derek Carr's passer rating against the 49ers on Dec. 7, 2014 — the highest rating for a Raiders quarterback since 2001 when Rich Gannon posted a 141.9 against the New York Giants.

199: Opponents points differential against Oakland during the 2014 season. The Raiders were outscored a whopping 452-253 en route to a 3-13 record last season.

Did You Know?

Jack Del Rio is the Raiders' ninth head coach since 2003. He follows Bill Callahan (2002-03), Norv Turner (2004-05), Art Shell (2006), Lane Kiffin (2007-08), Tom Cable (2008-2010), Hue Jackson (2011), Dennis Allen (2012-14), Tony Sparano (2014). Only Cable and Allen lasted more than two seasons as Raiders' head coach. Del Rio reportedly has a four-year contract.

The Raiders have lost an NFL-worst 136 games since the start of the 2003 season
With a 24-13 victory over the 49ers in Week 14, the 2014 Raiders joined the 2012 Arizona Cardinals and the 2009 Tennessee Titans as the last three teams to win the following week after getting shut out by at least 50 points. Oakland lost 52-0 to the St. Louis Rams on Nov. 30, 2014.

They Said It

"I know these guys really want to win. They’re willing to work and we need to paint a picture and show them how to get there.”

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio

Photo caption/credit:
Derek Carr (4), Jack Del Rio


Updated: 9-9-2015


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