Alex Uplinger |
Former Raiders’ head coach Jack Del Rio recently sat down with Fallon Smith on Blue Wire Network’s Keeping It 300 podcast. The two discussed the forthcoming season as a “make or break” year for Derek Carr, if the Raiders can realistically make a push in the AFC West, and how well first year GM Mike Mayock has done thus far.
“I think Mayock has done a great job assembling a talented football team, so it’s now up to Jon to get them together and to get them to gel,” said Del Rio. “I think they have top level talent, so now it’s up to Jon to get them into shape and make them a team”
The optimism in Oakland is palpable. They bolstered the defense through the draft by selecting DE Clelin Ferrell, S Jonathan Abram and CB Trayvon Mullen in the first two rounds. Derek Carr now has a legitimate superstar in Antonio Brown and will be expected to produce in his sixth season in the league.
“I think they know which way they’re leaning but to me, this is the prove it year where he establishes himself as clearly, their quarterback of the future, or not, and they’re moving on,” said Del Rio.
“I call it a make or break year for him for that reason,” said Del Rio. “He’s got a little bit of a bugaboo with little injuries so he’s gotta make sure he stays healthy and they gotta do a good job protecting him and then I think he’ll light ‘em up, I think he’ll light ‘em up this year if they do that for him.”
Del Rio believes in this Raiders team that Mayock has assembled and can see them making a realistic push in the dominant AFC West.
“There’s really no reason why not,” said Del Rio. “As I look at it they need to create belief, they need to get out of the gate, they need to play well especially early. If they keep Derek upright, he’ll light some people up.”
Alex Uplinger |