With the 2017 NFL season well underway, our mighty Oakland Raiders have hit a few snags thus far. Is it time to panic? Or show some faith and have patience?
Amari Cooper and the Drops
Raise your hand if you thought wide receiver Amari Cooper would have ten receptions with six drops through three games. A beefed up Cooper entered the season with the general consensus being high expectations for him to dominate the NFL and take a giant leap forward. Currently leading the NFL in drops, Cooper does not look like his former self that garnered two Pro Bowl appearances. My concern with the third-year pass catcher is not that he will be a draft bust; instead, I fear he may not reach elite status, which was expected after the Raiders drafted him out of Alabama. Panic.
Panic Level: Light Sweat
Carr’s dreadful game and the “yips”
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr didn’t look like 2016 MVP candidate last Sunday night, and concerns are rising as Oakland takes on the Broncos in Week 4. Personally, I am not 100% sure that was actually Carr on the field. I think it is more likely that was Matt McGloin in disguise. Silly conspiracy theories aside, Carr doesn’t look relaxed in big games, rather he can appear to be jittery. Carr tends to come out a little high-strung and overthrowing wide receivers; some call it the “yips.” Rest assured, is not the time to panic. Carr has made a habit of winning big games and being clutch is in his DNA. Carr’s first career win was on Thursday Night Football and last year he was a prime reason in beating the Broncos and Texans in primetime. This embarrassment against the Redskins/the Indigenous People/the Native Americans is just an outlier. Patience.
Todd Downing over Bill Musgrave
Bill Musgrave is an enigma. I believe he can best be described as a coach who gets the best out of average quarterbacks. Musgrave made former first-round draft pick and current free agent quarterback Christian Ponder tolerable and is currently making Trevor Siemian look respectable as he serves as Denver’s quarterback’s coach. The problem with the Carr/Musgrave marriage? Carr is far from average. Musgrave has a liking to run the ball, take short passes, and allow little audibling at the line of scrimmage. It is a perfect recipe to make an average quarterback look slightly above average, hence Trevor Siemian. Current Raiders offensive coordinator Todd Downing is opening up the offense and allowing Carr more freedom to audible. In Downing’s first national showing, however, the Redskin’s ‘D’ embarrassed the Raiders offensive attack. Carr has spoken fondly of Downing and Downing is a young offensive coordinator, an early season hiccup was to be expected. Patience.
Jihad Ward’s Career
Raiders defensive lineman Jihad Ward was a questionable draft pick, to say the least and has yet to show it was the right selection. Entering his second season there was hope he would rebound and show some promise. Instead, Ward found himself in street clothes during the Redskins’ dismantle of the Raiders. It’s a pretty bad sign when a second-year second-round pick is a healthy scratch. What makes this situation worse is the players the Raiders could selected in place of Ward: RB Derrick Henry, WR Michael Thomas, LB Deion Jones, and S Kevin Byard. Hindsight is 20/20 but everyone thought the Jihad Ward pick was a reach. Panic.
Panic Level: Donald Trump’s PR Guy