Antonio Brown has been the center of a lot of drama this offseason. Whether it was his public falling out with Ben Roethlisberger, his bizarre legal situations, or his social media-fueled war of words with former teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster, Brown has dominated the headlines for months.
There have been so many distractions and so much outside noise, that it's been easy to forget just how good of a player Brown is. It feels like forever since we've seen him on the field, but Brown was still one of the most dominant players in the game last season. He's still extremely explosive, and routinely made plays down the field for the Steelers in 2018.
AB joined the Raiders after finishing with 29 explosive plays a season ago with Pittsburgh pic.twitter.com/a86d8qz4Kk
— PFF (@PFF) May 23, 2019
The folks over at Pro Football Focus shared this stat, revealing Brown had 29 explosive plays, defined as receptions for more than 15 yards. The new Oakland Raiders receiver will be looking to replicate that with his new team, as he catches passes from a quarterback other than Roethlisberger for the first time in his career.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has been criticized for his alleged reluctance to throw the ball down the field, so it'll be interesting to see if he gets a bit more loose with Brown in tow. He now has a legit vertical threat, and no reason not to be more aggressive.
Jon Gruden is surely licking his chops at all the ways he can use Brown to open up his offense. Tight end Jared Cook had a big year last season, but the Raiders didn't get too much from their receivers. With Brown and Tyrell Williams now in the fold, that should change in a big way in 2019.