The Oakland Raiders are stuck in a funk. There’s no denying it.
At 2-3 and third place in the AFC West, the Silver & Black have 11 more games to turn things around. And in order to do so, they’ll need the Funky Five to do an about-face in regards to their play.
“The bottom line is, football games in the NFL typically come down to who makes plays and you’re at those key moments, and teams that make those plays win,” Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rio said.
These five have been the most disappointing Raiders up to this point:
5. David Amerson: Swag Amerson has seemingly lost the swagger. Once a mighty headache for opposing quarterbacks, the 25-year-old outside corner has remained sticky in coverage, but hasn’t made the same plays on the ball Oakland grew accustomed to since his arrival. Getting posterized by oft-used Josh Doctson for a 52-yard touchdown in the prime time loss to Washington was a severe low light. Add into the fact he’s missed time with a pair of concussion-like symptoms, Amerson has been a letdown.
4. Jihad Ward: Unlike fellow sophomores Karl Joseph and Cory James, who have claimed starting spots and are mainstays on defense, Ward has claimed very little. The former second-round pick was inactive this past Sunday and has a big fat donut on the stat sheet in the two games he’s played in. Zeroes across the board is not where a higher draft selection should be in year two. If only he showcased the same tenacity he has on social media (Twitter blocks with the quickness) on the field, his story may be drastically different.
3. Amari Cooper: The 23-year-old can’t throw himself the ball, but he still needs to prove he can consistently catch the rock. Cooper has hauled in 13 passes for a minuscule 118 yard and a score in five games, a far cry from what you’d expect from a starting wideout.
In comparison, seldom-used slot man Seth Roberts has an 11-catch, 122-yard, one touchdown stat line. “Coop” is blessed with precise route-running, the “shake and bake” and breakaway speed to be a difference maker. Too bad he and the team treat the disheartening situation with indifference.
2. Bruce Irvin: The Spruce Bruce arrived and immediately imposed his Alpha Male personality on the team. He was the Bad Cop to Khalil Mack’s Good Cop. Five games in, however, it’s been bad for Irvin. He’s accounted for 13 total tackles and 1 sack in his many attempts to pressure the quarterback. Perspective? Joseph, a safety, has hit home as many times in his limited blitzes (one sack) as the edge rusher. Irvin terrorized Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers last season. And guess who the Raiders play this Sunday?
1. Sean Smith: Is Smith really a disappointment considering the evidence provided last season? That’s a valid argument. Whether by scheme or the player himself, Smith has been a supreme free-agent bust. Matched up against speedy receivers with late safety help (Reggie Nelson could have easily been on this list), Smith got predictably torched. It doesn’t help he can’t jam said receivers at the line of scrimmage. Not only that, but Smith got roasted on the field and off by Del Rio and defensive backs coach Rod Woodson.