Oakland Raiders: Is it time to be concerned about Martavis Bryant?


One of the biggest offseason moves that the Oakland Raiders made this offseason was trading a third-round pick for wide receiver Martavis Bryant.

Early reports after the first week and a half of training camp for the Oakland Raiders are that new head coach, Jon Gruden isn’t pleased with Martavis Bryant‘s performance and that Bryant is struggling to understand Gruden’s offensive scheme.

Gruden was quoted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal earlier this week saying:

"“He’s got to get out here and play better. He’s in a competitive situation. Right now, a lot of the other receivers have had a nice camp. He’s just got to learn the offense. He’s got to stay out here. He’s had some illnesses. He’s got to get on the field. He’s got to master the offense and become more versatile, and that’s the key to making this team better.”"

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Dating back to Gruden’s day in Tampa Bay, Gruden always had a reputation of having a complicated playbook with an intricate and lengthy play-calling verbiage.

So this could be Bryant not thoroughly applying himself to understanding the new scheme, or this could be the complexity of the offense.

Whatever the case is, if the Raiders’ offense is going to take a leap this season, they’re going to need Bryant to figure it out.

Former Raider, James Jones appeared on NFL Network and relayed a conversation that he had with offensive coordinator Greg Olson regarding Bryant’s production during camp.

Jones echoed that Olson has no doubts about Bryant talent-wise, but their offense requires a lot of movement from the wide receivers, and Bryant doesn’t quite yet understand where he needs to line up.

The Raiders are simplifying the playbook for Bryant by keeping him in the same place on every play to get him on the field and slow down the learning curve, but Bryant has had very limited action on 11 on 11 drills.

During yesterday’s joint practice with the Detroit Lions, the Raiders first-team offense consisted of Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson out wide with Ryan Switzer lined up where Bryant was expected to be, in the slot.

It’s certainly sounding like frustration is starting to pile up in Jon Gruden’s first camp back from his ten-year absence.

The front office is already dealing with Khalil Mack‘s contract negotiations and now the team is struggling to find playing time for a receiver they traded a third-round pick for this offseason.

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There are still over four weeks before the Raiders open their season on September 10th on Monday Night Football against the Los Angeles Rams, so there’s no need to overreact.

But being that Martavis Bryant missed all of the 2016 season and his best season was back in 2015, there’s reason to be concerned with Bryant.