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Know Your Enemy: Catching up with the Las Vegas Raiders

What the Raiders have been up to, and what it might mean when the Bucs travel to Las Vegas in 2020

Oakland Raiders v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

With the schedule released we now know the Las Vegas Raiders will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a Sunday Night Football match-up on October 25, 2020. While the primetime slot is not a surprise, the timing of the game could have a big impact towards who comes out victorious.

While the Bucs have spent this off-season welcoming new quarterback Tom Brady and strengthening the offensive line by drafting Tristan Wirfs, the Raiders have been making moves as well. On a recent episode of the Locked On Bucs Podcast, ‘Your Boy Q’ the host of the Locked On Raiders Podcast, jumped on to help get us caught up on everything that’s been going on since that team moved from Oakland, to Vegas.

“The Raiders have been doing a lot of moving and shaking man,” Q said. “Ever since the season ended, a lot of work done in free-agency, a lot of work done obviously through the NFL Draft but all-in-all I think the roster is a lot better...”

The Raiders host mentioned the rumors surrounding Brady potentially heading to Las Vegas early on in the episode, which sparked the question about head coach Jon Gruden and his valuation of quarterback Derek Carr.

“It’s funny because Derek Carr’s name is one of the most heavily debated among Raider fans in general, some hate him some love him, there’s nobody that’s really in-between...I really think that Jon Gruden does like Derek Carr. I think that he wants him to give a little bit more and open himself up a little bit more, and what I mean by that is maybe use his legs to keep plays open a little bit more...”

During free-agency the Raiders signed Marcus Mariota from the Tennessee Titans roster. Mariota is expected to come in as the back-up to Carr but considering the salary being paid to the younger quarterback, and thoughts Gruden wants more dyanmic play out of the position, it’s hard not to wonder if there could be a quarterback switch on the horizon.

“I think he’s (Mariota) there to provide that push, be that Ryan Tannehill that was sitting behind him when he was in Tennessee last year. If things get off to a slow start, I think this Raider team has a lot of high expectations for 2020. It’s the third year under Jon Gruden, I know that they play in the AFC West and play against the Super Bowl winning Kansas City Chiefs and it’s the Chiefs’ division until it’s not, but the playoffs should be an expectation for the Raiders in 2020. So to be able to do that you gotta win a lot of games.”

One of those games the Raiders will be looking to win of course, will be against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At the time of the conversation the schedule was not yet released, but it didn’t stop the two coverage teams from discussing potential circumstances which could lead to a win or loss by either side.

“It really depends on what Tom Brady you’re getting,” Q said. “If you’re getting Tom Brady who is locked in and really figures out Bruce Arians’ offense, what Bruce wants to do, and they come to a good agreement then I would say that maybe Tampa Bay has the edge because Tom Brady is just Tom Brady and Bruce Arians is a hell of a head coach.”

Quarterback struggles in the beginning of a relationship with Arians wouldn’t be the biggest surprise, but with Brady at the helm there’s hope he’ll be able to overcome the usual growing pains because of his cataloged work ethic and perceived mental understanding of the game. However, the opponents who get to face Brady and Arians in the early stages of their time together logically seem to fare a better chance of defeating them, than those who face them later.

Something Q agreed with, saying, “I feel like if it’s early in the season the Raiders have the advantage. If it’s later in the season I think Tampa Bay has the advantage.”

Week 7 isn’t exactly late in the season, but it’s also not early, so it stands to reason Brady and Arians are going to have plenty of time to get in sync before facing the only head coach to win a Super Bowl with the Bucs.

Check out the entire off-season update on the Las Vegas Raiders, on the Locked On Bucs Podcast!