The Oakland Raiders’ 2019 season was no doubt plagued by injuries, with multiple key players missing games down the stretch, which contributed to the team finishing at 7-9 and missing the postseason.
Although he still played in the Raiders’ final game of the season, wide receiver Tyrell Williams was clearly slowed by an injury in Week 17. Williams, who has been dealing with a foot injury all year, was only on the field for 21 snaps and did not have a catch or target.
According to Matthew Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle, Jon Gruden believes that foot injury were still bugging Williams at the end of the season and put the onus on him to get healthy so he can get back to performing at a high level in 2020:
Gruden on Tyrell Williams, who did not have a target yesterday:
“We need to get him healthy. We gotta get his situation resolved. That was a lengthy discussion we had today. But we think he’s an excellent football player. He’s just gotta get right.” #Raiders
— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) December 30, 2019
Williams missed two games this season due to injury but was still able to finish as the Raiders’ top wide receiver with 651 yards on 42 catches. Although Darren Waller led all players with his 1,145 receiving yards, Williams still had the most receiving touchdowns with six.
Williams was originally brought in to provide a long-distance threat that the Raiders had not had in years past. He did help with that, but not as much as the team had hoped. Williams averaged 15.5 yards per reception, the most of any Raiders receiver with 20 or more catches.
Towards the end of the season, Derek Carr looked much more to Hunter Renfrow than nearly any other wide receiver. Of course, Renfrow was injured for three games, making an even bigger challenge Oakland. Williams recorded just nine catches over that three-game span but did manage to convert those catches into 162 yards.
It is clear that the Raiders need to continue to expand upon their vertical depth next season. Although the Raiders finished with the ninth-most passing yards, they had the 12th-fewest passing touchdowns.
While this certainly denotes an upward trend, the Raiders first need to figure out a solid receiving group. It seemed there was a constantly rotating cast of characters coming in and out of the Raiders’ receivers room.
With Renfrow in the slot and Williams as a premier deep threat, the Raiders could be just one more receiver away from having on of the best offenses in the league.
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