The Las Vegas Raiders have done a lot this offseason in order to build on their promising 2021 season. After making the playoffs, the franchise locked down quarterback Derek Carr and pass rusher Maxx Crosby and receiver Hunter Renfrow on contract extensions.
Additionally, the team brought in arguably the best wide receiver in football and Carr’s close friend Davante Adams in a trade with the Green Bay Packers and signed Chandler Jones to rush the passer opposite Crosby. Add in new coach Josh McDaniels and the pieces are there for an exciting season, but Carr believes his team is still being overlooked.
Speaking to Vic Tafur of The Athletic, Carr said that he believes no one thinks anything of the Raiders:
“It’s going to be fun,” Carr said. “No one thinks anything of us and I think that’s what makes it fun is you always have to put the ball down and play the football games.”
While the Raiders have made some big moves, the rest of the AFC West has done the same. The Denver Broncos made a huge upgrade at quarterback with Russell Wilson, while the Chargers added former Raider Khalil Mack and corner JC Jackson.
As long as the Kansas City Chiefs still have Patrick Mahomes at quarterback and Andy Reid on the sidelines, they will remain a threat as well, and Carr feels like the Raiders aren’t being mentioned in the same light as the rest of the division:
“You get frustrated when you see other people’s names on things and this and that,” Carr said. “And you’re like, ‘We’re here, too. We feel like we got better, too.’ I thought we made the playoffs. … It doesn’t guarantee anything this year, but it does guarantee that we have some good guys.”
But the Raiders quarterback isn’t backing down and is looking forward to the challenge that comes with competing in what looks to be, on paper at least, the best division in football:
“And so we’ve got a chip on our shoulder like always. And as Raiders, I think that’s how we should have it. And we’re excited to compete against the best. My buddy Khalil joined the Chargers. And the Broncos got better. The Chiefs got better. … It’s going to be fun playing against these teams, against some of the best quarterbacks in the game. And that’s what you look forward to. That’s what you want to sign up for.”
To say the Raiders are being overlooked might be a bit of a stretch, but there is no doubt that the AFC West will be one of the most fascinating divisions in the NFL. If this puts a chip on the Raiders’ shoulder and gets them to rise to another level, then that is the mindset they will embrace.