The 2017 season can be best classified as disappointing, this Raiders team is far too talented to be 6-8
Barring a miracle, the Oakland Raiders will miss the playoffs this season, something no one expected. For this to have happened, some players must have fallen short of expectations. This list will focus players, so no coaches (offensive coordinator Todd Downing shall be spared).
5. Gareon Conley
Lofty expectations come with being a team’s first-round draft choice. Conley’s rookie year didn’t live up to the hype. However, it isn’t really his fault. Conley simply wasn’t healthy in 2017. He missed nearly all of OTA’s, training camps, and practices before the season started. Then, when the season rolled around he only participated in two games; versus the Jets and Redskins. He has since been placed on season-ending IR with shin surgery. Conley did leave us with this glimmer of hope, though. Hopefully, he comes back healthy and ready to lock receivers down in 2018.
4. David Amerson
Another injured cornerback. Amerson has only played in six games so far this year, none since October 19th. When he did play, he simply wasn’t very good. According to PFF, Amerson’s graded at 39.7 and has given up an astronomical passer rating of 156.3 when targeted.
This is unacceptable for someone who has a cap hit of 8.5 million, according to Spotrac. Amerson’s injury may have spared him from having an even more disappointing season. Since his injury, it is very clear he is better than his replacement, Dexter McDonald. Hopefully, Amerson bounces back in 2018 and returns to his 2015 form, his first year as a Raider.
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3. Derek Carr
Derek Carr hasn’t been terrible and he has played better than his numbers. However, ’17 Carr is a hollow shell of ’16 Carr. Last year he was certainly a Top 5 quarterback. This year he has been average. And his numbers are sure brutal. According to ESPN, Carr has tossed 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. In 2016, he threw 28 touchdowns and only six interceptions. Unless Carr erupts for eight touchdowns in two games, he will have thrown fewer touchdowns and more interceptions this year.
According to PFF, Carr is currently rated as the 16th best signal caller in football. That’s the definition of average. A great deal of blame for his pitiful season can be placed on Downing. However, Raider Nation learned something terrible about Carr this year, he isn’t system proof. Maybe a better system next year can restore his elite form.
2. Eddie Vanderdoes
Vanderdoes has been an absolute non-factor. He has 15 tackles in 14 games, according to ESPN. He has also been outperformed by fellow rookie Treyvon Hester. PFF-wise he has graded poorly, 49.1. The third round pick’s hype train gained steam before the season but has since been derailed. Vanderdoes himself has made some lofty claims. The interior pass rush has been lacking in 2017, similarly to the previous year. Vanderdoes didn’t add hardly anything to help the cause. He is, however, only a rookie so maybe he’ll come back with a vengeance in year two.
1. Amari Cooper
No one has failed to live up to expectations more in 2017 than Amari Cooper. Cooper eclipsed 1,000 yards in his rookie and sophomore seasons. This year, year three, Cooper is yet to hit 500 yards, per ESPN. The drops have returned. He has struggled to stay on the field with concussion and ankle problems. The injuries are random and unfortunate occurrences. His play, however, has been terrible. PFF ranks him as the 91st best receiver in the NFL with a 49.0 grade. He was a Pro Bowler the previous two years. Cooper struggling has had a negative effect on the rest of the offense and really hurt the Raiders this year. Cooper can still be an elite wideout and hopefully, Raider Nation can look back on this year as a fluke.