The Las Vegas Raiders enter Year 2 with head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler and will look to contend for a postseason spot with a familiar face now under center for the Silver and Black.
Despite going all-in by acquiring wide receiver Davante Adams and pass-rusher Chandler Jones in the offseason, the Raiders finished the 2022 campaign with an underwhelming 6-11 record and a third-place finish in the AFC West. In spite of having a potent offense (23.2 ppg), Las Vegas left much to be desired on defense (24.6 ppg allowed), setting up the organization to re-tool their roster for 2023.
Raiders best-case scenario for 2023
Keeping Garoppolo healthy will be priority number one if the Raiders hope to see success in 2023, coupled with the belief that all of the offseason additions will mesh together. Players such as Jakobi Meyers and Phillip Dorsett are familiar with the system in place by McDaniels but of course, executing their gameplan as envisioned would represent the best-case scenario for Las Vegas.
Additionally, the biggest factor at play is the status of running back Josh Jacobs and his contract holdout situation. After one preseason game, it was clear that Las Vegas’ running game looks completely different without the reigning NFL rushing leader in tow, so having Jacobs back in the fold would be a home-run scenario as well.
If all goes according to plan, a record above .500 and a playoff berth as a Wild Card would equate to success for this franchise in 2023.
Raiders worst-case scenario for 2023
Should the injury bug rear its ugly head and force the likes of Garoppolo, Adams, or Maxx Crosby to miss extended time, it’s safe to say that this roster isn’t built to withstand such heavy blows to their depth. Coupled with the reality that Jacobs could hold out for the entirety of the season, or possibly request and be granted a trade, there are paths toward an unwelcome nightmare scenario.
An injury to Garoppolo could force the veteran Brian Hoyer into the starting role, or even rookie fourth-round quarterback Aidan O’Connell, who was solid in his preseason debut. Nonetheless, regular season action is an entirely different animal compared to the preseason, so it’s not far-fetched to believe that O’Connell would face a significant learning curve.
A record under .500, coupled with a last-place finish in the AFC West would present a worst-case scenario for the Raiders and if it coincided with Year two of the McDaniels era, a case could be made for him to be on the hot seat heading into the offseason.