Perhaps the most surprising cut the Oakland Raiders made at the end of training camp was releasing Martavis Bryant. The Raiders gave up a third round draft pick to acquire Bryant so letting him go was a pretty big shock.
Now after Week 1, the Raiders have decided to bring Bryant back into the fold, giving them one of the NFL’s premier deep threats. While the Raiders amassed 300 passing yards against the Rams, the majority went to the tight ends and running backs.
The Raiders believe Bryant will make a difference and head coach Jon Gruden is chief among them, saying that he believes Bryant is ready to go, according to Matt Schneidman of the Mercury News:
Jon Gruden on Martavis Bryant: "I think he's in a good place right now. I think he's healthy. I think he's ready to go. Sold on that. We've been in contact with him since he's been away. As I said when we made the trade to get him, when he's right he can be a difference-maker."
— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) September 12, 2018
Bryant has always been talented, but multiple violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy has cost him a number of games due to suspension throughout his career, including the entire 2016 NFL season. In fact, there have been rumors that he is facing another yearlong suspension after another failed test this offseason, but nothing official has come down from the league.
Against the Los Angeles Rams’ tough defense, the team’s receivers made a minimal impact. Only nine of the 39 passes were intended for Raiders receivers with starters Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson combining for a mere 32 yards on four catches.
Having a speedster like Bryant who must always be accounted for could potentially help open things up for the entire offense. A matchup against the always tough Denver Broncos defense will not be easy, but Gruden believes in Bryant and he will have a chance to make an impact come Sunday.