The Las Vegas Raiders (0-1) open their home slate in 2022, hosting an Arizona Cardinals (0-1) team fresh off a 44-21 shellacking by the silver and black’s own division rival Kansas City Chiefs. Still smarting from their own loss to another division foe – the Chargers – the Raiders look to right the ship against a Cardinals defense with plenty of holes and an offense behind Kyler Murray yet to put it together early this season.
Key takeaways from the Raiders’ loss in LA were focused on first-year coach Josh McDaniels’ use of a rotation of four players at right guard and tackle. This musical chair’s approach to protecting Derek Carr isn’t only not ideal, it’s downright dangerous. McDaniels said this week he continues to roll with the rotation for now. Expect that to change as rookies Dylan Parham and Thayer Munfrod Jr. continue to develop.
Based on Week 1’s performances, let’s look at who’s stock is up in Las Vegas this week and who might be on notice if their performance doesn’t improve.
Las Vegas Raiders players with stocks that are up
Amik Robertson, cornerback
The third-year cornerback didn’t show up on the stat sheet but performed admirable when he was on the field against Los Angeles. According to Pro Football Focus, Robertson graded out at a solid 63.2 in coverage which ranks second on the Raiders in 2022. Full disclosure: Robertson has played just nine coverage snaps which is about half of starters Rock Ya-Sin, Anthony Averett and Nate Hobbs.
Still, after struggling in the preseason, Robertson has looked better. With the Averett being placed on injured reserve this week, Robertson might get his last big chance to become a permanent go-to rotational cornerback in Las Vegas.
Nate Hobbs, cornerback
Hobbs not only continues to stay on the list, but he’s shooting to the top of the league with a bullet. Hobbs ranks fifth in the PFF rankings after Week 1 with a 83.8 overall score. His coverage score is even better at 86.
His game against the Chargers again exhibited his skillset in man coverage and proving he is the Raiders strongest defensive back and a Pro Bowl-caliber player.
Darren Waller, tight end
We told you last week Waller wouldn’t see his stock falling for long and it just took one game to reverse the trend. Fresh off receiving a new contract a few days prior to the season opener, Waller nabbed four grabs for 79 yards in his first action since Week 11 in 2021 due to an injury.
Waller broke free on a big 31-yard pass from Carr but was largely quiet considering his ability to get open. Look for Carr to target him more in Week 2 and for Waller to bounce back from a poor pass-blocking performance against LA.
Raiders players with stocks that are down
Derek Carr, quarterback
No one expected Carr to look as rusty and “off” as he did against the Chargers. The three interceptions and two fumbles all but doomed the Raiders’ offense and the quarterback blamed his over-aggressive approach for the miscues. He’s right but Carr’s ball also seemed light and he just seemed unbalanced.
- Derek Carr stats (Week 1): 22-of-37 passing, 295 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT, 69.1 QB rating
Every player has a bad game now and then. But in the NFL, premier quarterbacks can’t string performances like that together in consecutive weeks. Look for Carr’s stock to trend up after he faces a brutally bad Cardinals defense on Sunday. We talked a lot about Carr’s first-game struggles and why you shouldn’ t be overly concerned — yet.
Kolton Miller, offensive tackle
Another player I expect to trend in the opposite direction next week is the Las Vegas Raiders’ best offensive lineman. Miller recorded the worst PFF score last week for Las Vegas which is saying something. Miller notched a 59.0 PFF score overall based on 58 snaps.
He allowed two pressures including one sack and one QB hit. It was an uncharacteristically tough day for the veteran who has historically struggled against the Chargers’ Joey Bosa. He is the anchor of the Raiders’ line and should recover nicely against Kliff Kingsbury’s light-touch defense.