The queues for previews of movies in theaters have become too long. There’s one after the other.
You could arrive at 2 p.m. to see the main attraction. After you have gotten your popcorn and soda, you can get to your seat at 2 :20.
It’s kind of like having four NFL preseason matches.
It’s here. Finally.
The Raiders will open their 2022 season in Los Angeles against the Chargers on Sunday. Most predict a record-setting offense by the visitors.
That’s right. Finally, we get to see the big names. These are the real deal.
They didn’t play a snap over a 4-0 preseason mark. Derek Carr. Davante Adams. Hunter Renfrow. Darren Waller. Heck, even left tackle Kolton Miller.
Carr, the Raiders’ quarterback, and the receivers he targets must live up to their expectations if they are to compete in the AFC West title race and a second consecutive playoff berth.
The grandest of all is the one for this offense, this team.
“I’m excited,”Josh McDaniels, Raiders coach, said. “Our offense has put in a lot of time together. Not necessarily in preseason games. We know we’re not going to be perfect. That’s impossible on opening day. But definitely urgent.”
Carr is in his ninth year and has never had a receiver like Adams. But don’t be surprised if the former Packers star falls a tad under prop numbers (1,200.5 receiving yards, 9.5 touchdown catches) the books have set for his season.
Renfrow at the slot and Waller in tight end could take some of his stats. That’s a good thing. The better the offense can be directed by Carr, the greater the chance of it being stopped by awaiting defenses.
“We just want to win the football game,”Carr said. “If that means people other (than Adams) are going to get the football, other people are going to get the football.”
The beginning of a season also won’t change a central narrative of this group. The Raiders didn’t spend much money to help an already struggling offensive line last season. They either didn’t like what the market offered or truly believe coaching will improve things. It’s a mighty big risk.
You can have some of the best skill-position players in the league — and the Raiders do — and it won’t create much success if things continually break down up front.
Or if the other side of the ball doesn’t hold up its end.
“It doesn’t matter if the offense is good or the defense is good,”Renfrow said. “We both have to be good if we want to get to where we want to get to. Keeping that team-first mentality is huge and something the team has done a good job of — putting things into perspective.”
‘Hair on fire’
Another mystery is how many running backs rooms will be produced in a crowded room.
Josh Jacobs, as a starter, has accumulated at least 1,200 yards from the scrimmage in each his three NFL seasons. This coaching staff is not a team that comes from New England with a back-by committee mantra.
If winning means running the ball at a particular level, then you can expect a few names to do their part.
“The (players) have earned the right to be excited,”McDaniels stated. “They put in the work. But there’s a difference between being excited to play and compete and going overboard and wearing yourself out. There’s no question the energy and excitement you feel can take its toll.
“But once we kick the ball off, our guys are going to play with their hair on fire.”
It beats watching the movie previews.
Ed Graney is a Sigma Delta Chi Award winner for sports column writing and can be reached at [email protected] He can be heard at “The Press Box,”ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1110 AM, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m.-10 a.m. Follow @edgraneyFollow us on Twitter.