When you think Oakland Raiders offense the first name that comes to mind is Derek Carr. This season the rest of the NFL should have their eyes glues to Michael Crabtree.
Amari Cooper is the bigger name but Crabtree has been equally productive in his two seasons in Oakland. Think about the success of both Carr and Cooper. Where would they be without the services of Crabtree? Cooper is a deep threat while Crabtree should be on the very short list of best possession receivers in the NFL
Each snap he gives 100 percent, no matter if the play is directed towards him or a rush. Last season, Crabtree caught 89 passes for 1003 yards and eight touchdowns. His chemistry with not only Carr but Cooper as well is phenomenal. Crabtree was highly touted coming out of college and was seen as the weapon the San Fransisco 49ers needed to make their run. But changes to the front office and to the team’s roster forced Crabtree to look elsewhere for work.
While his time in the Bay Area wasn’t all bust it could’ve been better. He produced a few good seasons like in 2012 when he caught 85 passes for 1105 yards and nine touchdowns. That was his breakout year and the NFL was buzzing that Crabtree had finally arrived. However, when he arrived it would not be for the 49ers.
His first year teaming with Carr and Cooper, Crabtree caught 85 passes for 922 yards and nine touchdowns. Compared to guys like Antonio Brown and DeAndre Hopkins that was nothing. But as the Raiders got comfortable with the new offensive weapons in 2016– it clicked. Carr became a better QB and in the process, Crabtree became a more well-rounded receiver. But still, there was that issue of respect. He just didn’t get in from anyone outside of Oakland. How can a player catch 89 passes (6th in AFC) for 1103 yards (12th in AFC) with 8 touchdowns (4th in AFC) and still not make the Pro Bowl?
It’s clear its favoritism in the league but Crabtree has more than paid his dues and earned his spot to be mentioned with the game’s best. What if Brown or Hopkins had someone on the opposite side of them? What if Cooper wasn’t with the Raiders, would Crabtree get his due then? 89 catches, while his partner Cooper caught 83 and still made the Pro Bowl.
This will be the season where the league takes notice of Crabtree.
Cooper is expected red to have a great year and with the way 2016 ended for Carr, you know he’s going to come out slinging the ball up and down the field. Then you add in the addition of Marshawn Lynch, which should open passing lanes up more and Crabtree should be the main benefactor of the aerial attack for the Raiders. Cooper may draw some double teams along the way and that’s when Crabtree will make his stance.
The Raiders know how important he is to their success. Now it’s time the rest of the NFL finds out.