After a long history in California, one of the most eclectic fanbases is officially in Las Vegas. The Raiders will look to bring glory to their new home and have a lot of excitement surrounding this team that has been years in the making. Jon Gruden is looking to build off of a 2019 campaign that saw the Raiders finish 7-9 while inner-division rivals the Kansas City Chiefs lifted the trophy.
But in a year that was supposed to be filled with celebration, life has had other plans. The entire world is still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic which sidelined a sort of house warming party for the Raiders as their opportunity to host the 2020 NFL Draft was postponed until 2021 due to efforts to stop the spread of the disease. The league will still have to deal with its effects as well as growing tensions across the nation that will be creating ample outside distractions for a league that works hard to eliminate them from the game.
There are obstacles but the Raiders are a team that is built to overcome them and provide an exciting product on the field. Derek Carr will look to build quickly with his new weapons in Super Bowl winner Nelson Agholor and first-round pick Henry Ruggs. Known for their hard-hitting defensive culture, the Raiders will be looking to provide a well-rounded approach to the game with exciting rookies and veterans alike ready to make an impact. DISH Network is the place to watch all of the exciting action this season, including the away opener against the Carolina Panthers on CBS. Take in some last-minute notes and follow along as we look ahead to the most exciting themes to watch for the Raiders’ first season in Las Vegas.
Vegas Excitement and Managing Outside Issues
The distractions of social justice have been around for years at this point but they are continuing to increase across leagues of every sport not only in America but around the world. To add to the noise is the previously mentioned COVID-19 outbreak which could have serious implications for teams:
- Do you bring in fans to your new home or keep them away?
- Players have already opted-out, will more refuse to play if outbreaks occur?
- How will the NFL deal with team outbreaks? Rescheduling conflicts? Television schedules?
There are a lot of factors affecting every team including the Raiders but the cherry on top is the actual move to Vegas itself. The excitement is one thing, but Las Vegas is exactly the kind of place that can spell disaster for an organization if not properly managed. Vegas is a wonderful city but the vices and temptations it can offer are more than enough to derail a season or a career in a single night out. Players and coaches will have to manage a lot of outside variables. Seeing how they can do this will be a storyline all season and beyond.
Does the Offense Move Forward?
We all remember the Antonio Brown failed experiment but now it’s a completely new season with a new focus and new weapons. We’ve mentioned a few of them and while the passing game will look to continue to improve, the Raiders’ running game has made efforts to do the same. Josh Jacobs and Jalen Richard can create an interesting 1-2 punch and with Devontae Booker capable of running and catching, the Raiders are building multiple threats from the backfield. Hunter Renfrow continues to show why the team believes he is the future but will also look to bounce back from a rib injury that kept him out for what would end up being the rest of the season last year. The NFL is an offensive league and the Raiders’ success will live or die with how far they have progressed on this side of the ball.
How Will Veterans and Rookies Alike Step Up?
The “next man up” mentality is drilled into football culture as much as beer commercials and wing specials but for Las Vegas to perform this season, that is exactly what they will need to continue a culture of if they are going to see the Playoffs and maybe make a dark-horse run at the Lombardi Trophy. Many on the team have already been affected by COVID-19 and in 2020, staying healthy has an even more extensive meaning. Teammates in virtually every aspect of the team will look to step up their game as rivals make roster moves around what is a talented core but also unproven. The Raiders have a great mix of talent young and old but the execution on the field is what will take them farther than the others. The cliche is that your best ability is your availability and finding out who is available and ready all season long will be a huge indicator of how far Las Vegas can go. Either way, the team will need a collective effort to improve their game every week.
Where to Watch the Las Vegas Raiders
Attending games in-person may be up in the air for the foreseeable future but you can still catch the Las Vegas Raiders all season with DISH Network. Follow your favorite team as they take on the 2020-21 season and don’t forget to subscribe to DISH for all of the live games, analysis, fantasy advice, and more across a slew of popular networks. You can even bundle DISH with top-rated Internet service providers. Contact us today.