To start the 2017 season, the Oakland Raiders won a convincing game on the road in Tennessee and thoroughly trounced a questionable Jets team at home. Since then? The Raiders were humiliated on the national stage by the Washington Redskins on Sunday Night Football and this last Sunday, and we got pounded by the Denver Broncos in Mile High.
The Raiders offense has been abysmal. In Washington, Derek Carr and his “high-powered” offense only managed to make one, yes one, first down. Also, in Denver, the squad did not do much better. Raider Nation is rightfully upset. Fingers are being pointed: the offensive line, receivers who drop the ball, bad decisions by Carr, the accusations go on and on.
It is hard to argue with any of these criticisms after the last two weeks, but let’s get real. The responsibility for how a team plays in the NFL falls squarely on the shoulders of the head coach. Period. So when one peels back the onion of head coach Jack Del Rio’s record, it is relatively easy to make the case that any anger at the play of this team should be directed at Coach Del Rio.
Del Rio had an impressive career as a player and held several assistant coaching positions before being named the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2003. As the Jags’ skipper, Del Rio had three winning seasons out of nine. Three. Let that sink in for a moment.
In nine years at the helm of the Jaguars, Del Rio’s winning percentage was barely under .500 at .489. So his best years in Jacksonville were his first three seasons; 5-11, 9-7, 12-4. That third, 12-4 season in 2005 was the best record he has ever had as a head coach, tied with last year’s Raider’s record. His career in Jacksonville went pretty much downhill from there; only posting one more winning season (11-5 in 2007) before eventually being fired in 2013.
So why, considering Del Rio’s past record, do many in Raider Nation feel like “Black Jack” Del Rio is the answer to the longtime, Raiders Super Bowl drought? That, my friends, is the question. Indeed.