Oakland Raiders: Seth Roberts played through double hernia in 2016

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Seth Roberts suffered a double hernia in the previous season but played through it. He should improve for the 2017 campaign.

On game day, spectators can only judge production. Though, the intricate details unknown to the general public can affect performances. On Tuesday, Oakland Raiders wide receivers coach Rob Moore revealed wideout Seth Roberts played through a double hernia in the previous season, per the Bay Area News Group.

Many Raiders fans have been critical of Roberts’ inconsistent play as a pass-catcher. Rightfully so, he logged a 49.4 percent catch rate in 2016. However, some of the same critics who want the fourth-year wideout benched also gave a pass to Michael Crabtree for his drops due to a dislocated finger.

Moore gave an explanation and an updated outlook on Roberts’ trajectory going forward via San Jose Mercury News reporter Jimmy Durkin:

He’s still developing and I think for him, people don’t understand that he had to play with a double hernia. The problem he had last year, he got that fixed this off-season. I think he’ll have a lot more core strength and the balls won’t get ripped away from him as much as they did in the past. He’s just going to continue to grow because he’s a kid that works extremely hard as well.

There are two ways to look at injuries. You can go the hard-nosed route and dismiss them as part of the game or you can factor the ailment into production drop offs. However, it’s unfair to disregard Roberts’ double hernia as a reason for his nine drops and 19.75 percent drop rate, per Pro Football Focus Elite, but excuse Crabtree for his league-leading 13 drops and 12.75 percent drop rate due to a finger injury.

Both players bring great value when it comes to reaching the end zone. Over the past two seasons, Roberts, a former undrafted free agent, has one fewer touchdown (10) than the 2015 No. 4 overall pick Amari Cooper (11).

Deep-rooted fans also know the team has won every game in which Seth Roberts scores a touchdown. Sure, it sounds like a weird coincidence, but something must be said for an undrafted rookie out of West Alabama, who worked his way into the starting slot position. He developed into a threat to score and one of the best blocking wideouts in the game, per Pro Football Focus.

Once the Raiders signed wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, a former first-round pick, many thought he’d take over the slot position, but it seems unlikely. The kick-return specialist has practiced with the second team on the outside and has spent very little time in the slot.

“Patterson is primarily getting reps as an outside receiver with the second team,” Durkin said. “He’s spent a little time in the slot, especially on Tuesday. But it seems like Roberts has a grip on that role for now.”

After Week 8 in the previous season, Roberts only caught one touchdown pass and failed to eclipse 32 receiving yards in the final eight games.

Injuries shouldn’t excuse anyone once they’re healthy enough to take the field. However, if a double hernia hurt his play in the second half of the previous year, we should see more from Roberts in 2017.