Brown: Gruden, Raiders Closer Than We Think

Tim Brown doesn't expect the Raiders to win the Super Bowl next season, but he does think they'll contend for an AFC West title

Zach Gelb
March 18, 2019 - 11:48 am

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The Raiders went 4-12 last year. It was an ugly, clean-house season in which Oakland struggled on both sides of the ball. In fact, the Raiders ranked 23rd in total offense and 28th in scoring offense (18.1 points per game).

Hall of Famer Tim Brown expects better in 2019.

“I think if you had a go-to guy like AB, I think that would have made a big difference,” Brown said on The Zach Gelb Show. “I don’t think they’re as far away as we may think. Yeah, I don’t think they’re going to win the Super Bowl, but I think this team is going to have a chance to compete for the AFC West title. I think the Raiders have made all positive moves this offseason, and I think they’re going to be right there.”

Indeed, the Raiders have upgraded their offense this offseason, trading for Antonio Brown and signing Tyrell Williams. That duo combined for 145 catches, 1,950 yards and 20 touchdowns for the Steelers and Chargers, respectively, last season.

Now it’s up to Derek Carr to utilize them.

“I believe that if you have weapons, it makes everybody around you better,” Brown said. “If they can talk (Jared Cook) into coming back or get another receiving tight end, it really puts a lot of pressure on defenses. You got to double-team AB because if you don’t double-team him, he’s going to kill you. Now you’re going to leave other guys one-on-one.

“That being said, Derek definitely has to step up his game,” Brown continued. “No doubt about it. He had a good year a couple years ago (and) was up for the MVP, (but he) really hasn’t returned to that form since. But now I think he has weapons around him that will put him in a more favorable position to go out and play the kind of football we all think he can play.”

Still, some wonder if Jon Gruden will make a play for Kyler Murray in the NFL Draft. While anything is possible, Brown thinks Gruden will stick with Carr.

“I think he likes Carr,” Brown said. “I think he believes Carr can certainly elevate his game with the talent he’s putting around him. So from that standpoint, I can’t see anything like that happening. But look, this is the NFL. Nobody ever thought that Khalil Mack would be gone or Amari Cooper. But I just don’t see something like that happening at this particular point.”

Click below to listen to Brown's interview in its entirety.