HENDERSON, Nev. — Third-and-Renfrow? Third-and-Renfrow.
Certainly, it’s greater than a catchphrase with regards to Las Vegas Raiders second-year receiver Hunter Renfrow and his productiveness for quarterback Derek Carr on that essential down. It has turn into, nicely, a lifestyle.
And it reminds Carr of a dialog with Renfrow’s school coach at Clemson, Dabo Swinney.
“Dabo informed me, ‘There’s one thing about it, when it is third down, the cape comes on and [Renfrow’s] only a totally different individual,'” Carr recalled.
“And it is true. Dabo’s recognized him longer than I’ve recognized him, however Hunter and I are actually shut and I am beginning to see that about him.”
With the Raiders (7-6) clinging to their playoff lives forward of Thursday night time’s sport in opposition to the rival Los Angeles Chargers (4-9) at Allegiant Stadium (8:20 p.m. ET, Fox/NFL Community), they could very nicely want the diminutive Renfrow, who extra resembles a Google intern (yeah, we now have photos of his visit to the tech giant’s HQ as a draftee) than a musclebound superhero, to fly in for the save.
— Paul Gutierrez (@PGutierrezESPN) June 14, 2019
Think about: The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Renfrow’s greatest sport in his nascent profession got here on the Chargers final Dec. 22, when he caught seven passes on 9 targets for 107 yards and a 56-yard catch-and-run landing. It was his first sport again after struggling a damaged rib and punctured lung on the New York Jets in Week 12. In three profession video games in opposition to the Chargers, Renfrow has mixed for 13 catches on 17 targets for 209 yards and a TD.
However because the catchphrase suggests, Renfrow does his greatest work on third down. Whereas 15 of his 47 catches have come on third down this season, 13 of these 15 catches have resulted in a primary down.
“It is positively a credit score to the best way we management the tempo, the best way we management the offense,” Renfrow mentioned lately. “How environment friendly we’re. I believe I get extra credit score than I deserve. As a result of quite a lot of the instances, it is third-and-2, you realize, as a result of our offense does such an excellent job of shifting the ball, being environment friendly, having the ability to run the ball and getting these quick yardages so it is not a third-and-10, third-and-11.”
However per ESPN Stats & Data, the typical distance to go on his third-down catches which have resulted in a primary down this season has been 6.6 yards.
“So, I positively suppose that is a cool, cool kinda little catchphrase, but it surely’s not deserving at instances due to how our offense performs and what an excellent job everyone does,” Renfrow mentioned. “Not simply me.”
Renfrow has been constant.
In 13 video games final season, Renfrow had 49 catches for 605 yards (12.three yards per catch) and 4 TDs with 30 first downs.
In 13 video games to this point this season, he has 47 catches for 594 yards (12.6) and two TDs with 29 first downs.
“He is obtained nice stability, nice understanding, once more, he is obtained an excellent understanding of defensive soccer,” Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson mentioned of Renfrow. “He is a former quarterback, former highschool quarterback and a coach’s son. That helps him in understanding the place the holes are within the zone. But in addition, he is simply obtained nice physique stability and physique place in his route operating, and he works at it. It is a credit score to him for his work ethic and total information of the sport.”
And people fingers.
Renfrow has simply two drops this season, none on third down. He has had solely two fumbles in his profession, once more, none on third down.
Which is why it was so gorgeous to see him go away one on the bottom with greater than 9 minutes to play Sunday in opposition to the Indianapolis Colts. (It was the primary fumble he has misplaced, and it got here on … first down.)
“First, my coronary heart broke for him as a result of … the man tries to do every thing proper,” Carr mentioned. “If we’re in a ball-security drill, he is doing all of it the correct means. When he catches a ball in observe, he is doing all of it the correct means. It is a type of issues, in life and soccer, it occurs.
“So you are feeling for him as a result of he tries to do all of it proper on a regular basis. And it is nonetheless consuming him up. He is nonetheless mad about it. He nonetheless needs to show a degree.”
Because the undersized wideout has been doing his complete profession. Earlier than it, even, as Renfrow arrived at Clemson in 2014 as a walk-on and was the recipient of Deshaun Watson‘s successful landing cross with one second left within the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship to steer Clemson previous Alabama.
It gave Carr one other flashback, this considered one of one other Raiders receiver he appeared for on third down just a few years again — Seth Roberts.
“I used to be chucking it to him down the center,” Carr mentioned. “I take a look at Hunter the identical means — I simply belief the heck out of him.”
The respect, although, doesn’t translate once they’re competing in opposition to one another on the golf course.
“It type of makes me mad as a result of when he must hit the shot, he really makes it, does not shank it,” Carr mentioned. “So hopefully, I can get him to shank a pair.”
Simply not on the soccer discipline. And positively not on third down.