OPEN CAMP: July 29, Napa Valley Marriott, Napa, California
LAST YEAR: Ended 13-year playoff drought by winning 12 regular-season games and making postseason as wild-card team. Season got derailed late when QB Derek Carr broke leg in the second-to-last game of regular season. Oakland lost season finale to miss out on division title and lost playoff opener at Houston when offense struggled without Carr. Khalil Mack won Defensive Player of Year award in third season for biggest highlight on suspect unit. Following season, team announced planned move to Las Vegas for 2020, but will remain in Oakland for at least next two seasons.
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IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: RB Marshawn Lynch, TE Jared Cook, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, OL Marshall Newhouse, LB Jelani Jenkins, defensive assistant John Pagano, rookies CB Gareon Conley, S Obi Melifonwu, LB Marquel Lee.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: RB Latavius Murray, LB Malcolm Smith, LB Perry Riley, DT Dan Williams, OL Menelik Watson, OC Bill Musgrave.
CAMP NEEDS: Filling holes at inside linebacker top task this summer after departures of Smith, Riley. Position has been weakness in recent years, but GM Reggie McKenzie did little this offseason to address it besides signing Jenkins and using fifth-round pick on Lee. Pagano was hired as defensive assistant to help coordinator Ken Norton Jr. improve communication on back end of defense. Other main position battle will be at right tackle, where Newhouse has inside track over Austin Howard and Vadal Alexander.
EXPECTATIONS: Sky high after more than decade of struggles finally turned into winning football. With healthy Carr, Mack and WR Amari Cooper leading way, Raiders expected to be among top AFC contenders as team hopes to deliver title to Oakland before move to Las Vegas. Lynch was lured out of retirement for chance to play in hometown and could provide power running game behind powerful offensive line to take pressure off Carr. Biggest questions are on defensive side. Team spent top two draft picks on Conley and Melifonwu in hopes of bolstering secondary that allowed NFL- worst 61 completions of at least 20 yards last season. Getting inside pass rush to take pressure off Mack and Bruce Irvin on outside would also be big help.
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