We are through week 5 of the NFL and I am finally to the point where I need to address the state of the Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders are a disaster. This comes as zero surprise to me. The entire off-season, from the moment it started up until Mack received Gruden’s boot days before week 1, it has been a giant flashing sign that spelled this out. I vented a lot of my frustrations via Raider fan pages on Instagram to the point that I was blocked from a few of them just for disagreeing with people who cluelessly bought into any false hype leading to the season.
So what lead us here? Gruden? Salary cap? Mack? Carr? All of the above and more. Let’s recap.
In hindsight, which means dick, the Mack saga hurts more when you roll the clock back to free agency. Maybe the Raiders could have brought in a better player or two knowing they wouldn’t be paying Mack. I’ll admit I was wrong about Jordy Nelson. Seems like he still has something left in the tank. Doug Martin though? If you fooled yourself into thinking he was going to improve our talent just stop reading here. On defense we brought in just another round of one to two year contributors. Mostly guys that are old veterans, way past their prime playing says. They will be gone before you ever learn all their names. Because that is how Mckenzie, and now Gruden, treat defense. They want to just shop for defenders from the bargain bin at the dollar store then be shocked when they can’t stop anyone.
Let’s not forget the players that were resigned. Gabe Jackson and Justin Ellis. Two players that are grossly overrated. But they aren’t the only two. Dereck Carr is way way overpaid. He is an above average QB, who got paid elite money based on one season. And that season was two years ago! Now the Raiders had to sacrifice a potential hall of fame player as a repercussion. Carr has not looked the same since breaking his leg in 2016. His poise in the pocket has vanished. He no longer trusts his blockers and it is also evident in the lack of accuracy. He misses opportunities, because he looks to check down almost immediately after the ball is snapped. Even when there is no pressure he looks under duress. I hate to say it.. but I am not convinced that Carr will be our guy long term.
Moving forward to the draft. Kolton Miller is the biggest embarrassment to wear silver and black since Jamarcus Russell. I wish I could have been in the Raiders evaluation meetings because from the outside it looks like they ranked college players using a dart board. All I see week after week is defensive ends and linebackers make Kolton Miller look like a fucking idiot out there. Meanwhile they passed on Derwin James. Not just with their initial pick, but when he was still available after they traded down they still didn’t draft him. And what a surprise, James looks like a monster on the field while Kolton Miller looks like he’s playing on roller skates... and those roller skates are on the wrong feet. They should have drafted Derwin James in the first round without question. I’m sorry, how was that so obvious to me but professional evaluators and Gruden getting paid $100 million dollars can fuck that up? It absolutely blows my mind. They probably could have gotten Miller in the 2nd round. If not the next best tackle was probably just as good.
So what’s wrong with the Offense? The Offensive line went from strength to weakness quickly. Penn is done. Jackson is overrated. Osemele is not playing to the level that I expected when he was paid. Kolton Miller is a liability on literally every play. If the defender doesn’t turn him around and blow right past him, he is pushing Miller into Carr. There is too much expected of the offense. In general it looks like the intent was to build a team to compete and win high scoring games. Heavily invest on offense while having a dollar store defense. But the maybe the talent is not what was expected. Or the coaching staff is not properly using them. I think it falls on Carr and the line.
So what’s wrong with the Defense? Maybe we should ask this another way… What’s right with the defense? Not much. It is a group of average players. They make a play here and there. No one has the talent to take over a game. When the game is on the line, they will fold. To be fair, that’s what they should be expected to do. That is the group that was acquired. It wouldn’t be fair to ask me to find the cure for cancer. It’s not fair to ask that group of players to win football games. If this group holds teams under 30 points, then they did their job. It’s sad… but it is dictated by talent level and that’s where we are at.
As always, I hope I am wrong about all of this. I genuinely hope Miller pans out, what choice do I have. I want Gruden to be our guy. I hope the Raiders can turn it around. Seems like they always in a state of needing to turn around, never able to just go straight. People need to stop blindly saying “trust the process” NO. The process has lead us to one winning season in 15 years. Time to question what exactly this shitty process is that keeps the Raiders in perpetual mediocrity. I’m a fan that is past waiting, and demanding more.
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