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Charles Robinson & Dan Wetzel take a look at the 2022 Las Vegas Raiders. The team added new head coach Josh McDaniels and star wideout Davante Adams, yet many are predicting this team to finish last in an absolutely loaded AFC West. Charles & Dan explain why this Raiders team should be taken seriously.
CHARLES ROBINSON: When people talk about the AFC West, it's always I think you focus it so much through Denver and Russell Wilson. You focus a lot of it through just the overall talent of the Chargers, which they have so much more sex appeal kind of in the off-season than what actually materializes during the regular season. And it feels like the Raiders have kind of been left back a little bit. But the thing about the Raiders that's really interesting is something McDaniels did that I think might actually be really underrated heading into this Raiders experience-- everybody looks at, well, here's what he did in New England, duh, duh, duh.
When McDaniels went into Indianapolis, he hired a couple of really good coaches there and showed he knew what the hell he was doing. Matt Eberflus. Hey, wow, look at Matt Eberflus now a head coach. He brought him in to be DC. Was a great hire. He kind of set up Indianapolis a little bit before he bailed on that job. And to me, I was like, hey, he did something right there that to me translates just as much as anything he's done in New England in the last couple of years because it showed he could go in and hire the right pieces of staff to help him win games.
Now he goes in with the Raiders. He brings all that experience now to the table. But they add Davante Adams, which kind of gives them their, quote, unquote, "big three." Some people are going to say Hunter Renfrow shouldn't be part of this. I think he's better than people realize. But you have Davante Adams, obviously, Darren Waller, and then I think Hunter Renfrow is a pretty darn good big three, especially if they can get anything out of the backfield with Josh Jacobs, Kenyon Drake, whatever.
But I think then when you flip it, and you look at, defensively, adding Chandler Jones, huge addition. I'm curious to see what Rock Ya-Sin does with the additional kind of second chance. Maxx Crosby's obviously become one of the best ends in football. I think defensively they've gotten a little bit better. I think offensively they've gotten better. And coaching staff they've gotten a little bit better. And they played teams tough last year. The whole Gruden stuff went down, I was like, oh, this is over. They're just going to tank the rest of season. And then they didn't at all.
DAN WETZEL: Absolutely.
CHARLES ROBINSON: So, I mean, I don't know, this team might be better than people think.
DAN WETZEL: The Raiders last year, between Gruden and the Henry Ruggs situation, a season where it absolutely could have fallen apart. And they held it together, got to the wild card game, and made the playoffs, right. And this was a one score game against the Bengals. Derek Carr did a great job. And they're better offensively, the whole thing. I agree. This is going to be a fascinating team. The entire conference is so interesting. And this division is the best one. But where do they fit into this mix? And where can they win games in that division where you're going to have to play six times?