The 2021 season is nearly here, and the Las Vegas Raiders took a big step toward their goal of making the postseason as they looked good in their 20-7 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in their first taste of preseason action.
As per custom, the Raiders held out nearly all their starters to preserve them, but they were still some standouts worth mentioning. One of those was wide receiver Zay Jones who led Las Vegas in receiving with 57 yards on three receptions.
The Raiders have a crowded receiver room with Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards leading the way, not to mention the team’s primary target in Darren Waller. However, head coach Jon Gruden heaped plenty of praise unto Jones for his performance and seemed excited about his future with the team.
“I would say his ceiling is untapped,” Gruden said. “He’s taking advantage of these opportunities. We obviously sat down [Bryan] Edwards who’s been on top of his game in training camp, [Henry] Ruggs [III] has been really good, we thought we’ve seen enough of [Hunter] Renfrow for the last few days, but I wanted to see Zay in 15-20 snaps. He made a couple great catches, a couple really good blocks. He’s got great energy, there is something about being around him when you just feel younger, I feel healthier, I feel better about myself. This guy is a hell of a kid, and I’m rooting for him, I’m really happy for him because nobody has work harder than him.”
Jones has been one of Gruden’s favorites throughout the offseason, and the receiver showed why as he flashed some of that big-play ability and physicality that made him a worthy second-round pick back in 2017. While he has not lived up to that billing, he still has some utility in the offense and could very well earn some snaps if he continues to show out in preseason.
The Silver and Black had one of the more exciting offenses last season, and that should not change heading into the new year. It remains to be seen how much Jones is involved, but he has made a good impression so far.