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Kenyan Drake signed a two-year contract with the Raiders in March, even with former first-round pick Josh Jacobs entrenched as Las Vegas’ starting running back. It turns out the former Cardinals starter took the job for two reasons. One, as he told NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” on Friday, because he believes he can do a little bit of everything as Jacobs’ sidekick. And two, more notably, because he believes the Raiders are set to “take off” in 2021.
Joking about his off-field interest in space exploration, Drake heaped high praise on Las Vegas ahead of the new season: “I know who for sure who is going to space,” he said, “and that’s this offense this year, this team. I feel like we’re definitely taking off to another trajectory, you know what I mean?”
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It’s unsurprising, considering most every team convinces itself in the summer that good things await in the fall. But it’s still noteworthy, considering the Raiders have been widely panned for their offseason performance and, on a bigger scale, have yet to post a winning record since Jon Gruden returned as head coach in 2018. Vegas, in fact, has been one of the NFL’s most consistent losers of the past few decades, making the playoffs — and finishing above .500 — just once in the last 18 years.
Most of Drake’s praise centered on the Raiders offense, which also added veteran wide receiver John Brown and first-round tackle Alex Leatherwood this offseason. But questions remain about the team’s depth at other spots on offense, like up front, where Gruden and Co. parted ways with three previous starters in Trent Brown, Gabe Jackson and Rodney Hudson.
Oddsmakers currently have the Raiders’ projected 2021 win total at O/U 7 entering the new season.