3 Massive Questions Facing Las Vegas Raiders For 2024 NFL Season

Las Vegas Raiders
Robert Scheer/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Las Vegas Raiders are coming off of a topsy-turvy 2023 NFL campaign in which they saw they saw a coaching change and managed to go 8-9 in what could be described as a story of two halves.

The Raiders went 3-5 under Josh McDaniels and seemed miserable following his direction. Then, upon his dismissal, Antonio Pierce stepped in and led Las Vegas to a 5-4 mark, including a Christmas win over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

So, where exactly does Las Vegas stand heading into 2024?

Well, the Raiders don’t exactly resemble contenders. While they have an interesting defense, their offense leaves much to be desired, and they don’t have a whole lot of elite talent outside of edge rusher Maxx Crosby.

Here are the three biggest questions facing Las Vegas as it prepares for the incoming season.

How will the Raiders cope without Josh Jacobs?

The Raiders lost running back Josh Jacobs to the Green Bay Packers in free agency, and it didn’t seem like they had any real intention of re-signing him.

So, what will Las Vegas do now?

Jacobs had been the focal point of the Raiders’ offense since entering the league in 2019, and he is two years removed from leading the NFL in rushing.

It’s looking like Las Vegas will be rolling with Zamir White as its featured back. White rushed for 451 yards while averaging 4.3 yards per carry last season, and while he showed significant promise late in the year, he obviously has a lot to prove.

Given the Raiders’ shaky quarterback situation, White will probably be getting a lot of touches in 2024. Alexander Mattison will likely get a fair amount of playing time, too, and don’t be surprised if rookie sixth-round pick Dylan Laube gets some burn.

It will be interesting to see how Las Vegas plays Pierce’s brand of smashmouth football with such uncertainty in its backfield (unless White becomes a stud, which is possible).

Will Davante Adams make it through the season happy?

Last year, Davante Adams made it very obvious that he was not thrilled with the Raiders’ direction.

Now, to be fair, this was prior to the firing of McDaniels, so it’s entirely possible that Las Vegas’ decision to promote—and retain—Pierce has changed his outlook (and Adams has publicly supported Pierce).

However, there is no question that Adams may be running out of patience in Sin City.

The 31-year-old is entering his third season in Vegas, and he has already made it clear that he is expecting the offense to take a step forward in 2024. And if that doesn’t happen? Perhaps Adams will do what many expected him to do last October: ask for a trade.

Let’s face it: Adams isn’t getting any younger, and he began to show signs of decline in 2023. He doesn’t have a Super Bowl ring yet, and if it becomes increasingly obvious to the star wide receiver that the Raiders are eons away from achieving that goal, he may request to be dealt.

Will Aidan O’Connell start over Gardner Minshew at quarterback?

Aidan O’Connell created a lot of buzz last summer due to his impressive preseason showing, and he ultimately ended up supplanting Jimmy Garoppolo as the Raiders’ starting quarterback.

Unfortunately, O’Connell’s output was relatively underwhelming, as he threw for 2,218 yards, 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 11 appearances and 10 starts.

To be fair, O’Connell did end 2023 on a strong note, as he totaled eight passing touchdowns and no picks over his last five games.

However, he clearly did not do enough to establish himself as Las Vegas’ franchise quarterback, as the club went out and signed Gardner Minshew in free agency. Not only that, but Pierce has not exactly given O’Connell his stamp of approval in interviews (at least as far as O’Connell being the signal-caller of the future is concerned).

O’Connell should be the Week 1 starter for the Raiders. After all, he is just 25 years old and is entering his second season. Meanwhile, Minshew essentially is what he is at this point. He is definitely serviceable, but if beats out O’Connell for the starting job, it doesn’t inspire a whole lot of confidence in O’Connell’s prospects moving forward.

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