The Las Vegas Raiders picked up a huge road win to start the season, defeating the Denver Broncos 17-16. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was solid in his debut for the team, showing great chemistry with Jakobi Meyers and Davante Adams, but one person who did not see the ball in this contest was Hunter Renfrow.
After a down season last year, Renfrow was a prime candidate for a bounce-back season and had drawn great reviews throughout training camp, but the talented slot receiver was not even targeted in the Week 1 victory.
But Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels believes that was simply a matter of Garoppolo taking what the defense gave him and isn’t looking too deeply into the performance.
“I think that’s just the way it goes,” McDaniels said. “I mean, there are games where certain things happen and the ball gets targeted to different guys differently. And we’re trying to tell our quarterback to read the defense and then try to go to the best spot with the ball as opposed to read the defense and go to one guy with the ball.
And so, some games that might mean the player in the slot gets 10 or 12 targets and games it might mean two or three, and yesterday was one of those ones where just the game played out a certain way and the coverage dictated that the ball went elsewhere. So, that’s what that is.”
This has always been the case of McDaniels’ offense in that they read the defense and look to find the best opening regardless of who is the recipient of the ball. In this case, it simply wasn’t in the cards for Renfrow to see the ball, but that doesn’t mean he is doing something wrong or isn’t set to be a big part of the Raiders offense in future weeks.
19 of the 26 passes thrown by Garoppolo went towards Adams and Meyers, with another three going to running back Josh Jacobs out of the backfield. This was simply a matter of the Raiders identifying what they felt were the best matchups and pushing the ball there.
As McDaniels noted, there will be other weeks where Renfrow has the favorable matchup and will be targeted plenty, but this week the Broncos defense dictated otherwise. In the end, the most important thing is that the Raiders got the victory and started the season on a high note, and soon enough, Renfrow will have his time to shine.