The Las Vegas Raiders have jumped out to a 4-2 record behind one of the more efficient offenses in the NFL, led by Derek Carr at the quarterback position and several young wide receivers who continue showing a lot of growth.
After somewhat disappointing rookie seasons, Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards appear to have taken the next step in their respective careers. Both players have already set new career-highs in multiple categories and are becoming more trustworthy options for Carr.
“One, time on task. There is a certain level of trust you can build in practice, that’s one thing, but playing football games is a completely other thing, and these guys have proven over and over and over again that they’ll compete for the football when I throw it up to them,” Carr said of Ruggs and Edwards.
“Just like I said in training camp, ‘I’m going to give these guys chances.’ And I think we’ve proven that I’m going to give them chances and the thing that they get the most credit for is either they come down with it or nobody does, and that’s the thing for me.
“If you want to play football that way, if Henry wants me to keep throwing it up to him, he knows it’s either him or nobody, and he continues to do that. Bryan continues to do that. [Darren] Waller obviously continues to do that.
“But for those two young receivers, like I said, I’m going to give them a chance to make SportsCenter. It’s just on them if they want to or not. And obviously there is a lot and I have to put it in the right place and all that kind of stuff, meaning I trust them, and they’ve proven it in the games.
“Practice is one thing. I’ve had a lot of guys that can do it practice and you get to the game and it’s harder to cut that ball loose after the third time of it not working because I have decisions to make for everybody and the whole organization. Every decision I make matters and so they’ve proven over and over again that they’ll make those plays.”
Through six games, Ruggs has caught 20 of his 32 targets for 445 yards, an NFL-best 22.3 yards per reception and two touchdowns.
As for Edwards, he has hauled in 15 of his 27 targets for 303 yards — good for an impressive 20.2 yards per catch — but is still looking for his first touchdown of the season.