It’s a new year, and everyone is full of hope. 2017 is dead and gone, and it’s time to look towards the future. The 2017 Oakland Raiders might have disappointed, but the 2018 version of the team will not. Here are just a few reasons to look forward to next year’s team.
Derek Carr Will Be Better
There are many, many reasons why Derek Carr struggled in 2017. Maybe he was recovering from last year’s broken fibula, maybe he was suffering from the injuries he sustained this year, or maybe his offensive coordinator was in way over his head. Some people blame the anthem situation, and others think he mentally couldn’t handle the weight placed on him by the massive contract extension. As accurate or ridiculous as some of these theories may be, there’s one thing we can be fairly certain about. He will be better next season.
A full off-season will be good for Carr, especially if he has an offensive coordinator better than Todd Downing. Greg Olson looks to be coming with Jon Gruden, and while he’s technically new, he does know Carr from his previous stint with the team. This just means the transition will be easier for the quarterback, and help him return to form.
A better Carr means a better Raiders offense. And that’s obvious. Speaking of a new coaching staff…
A New Coaching Staff
It’s easy to blame Downing for most of Oakland’s offensive issues last year. Week to week, he didn’t seem to have a game plan or any idea of how to coach situational football. He was the biggest difference between an offense that ripped the NFL apart last year and the impotent nonsense we endured in 2017. The new staff brings new life to the Raiders, including a no-nonsense head coach with a penchant for getting the best of his players. Chucky’s return to Raider Nation has players, fans, and alums really excited, and it’s easy to see why.
While the Raiders do have to play against the AFC North and the NFC West next year, they’ll be the third seed in the AFC West, meaning they’ll play the third seed team in the AFC South and East. That means that Oakland plays the other three AFC West teams twice, the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams, Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans, and Indianapolis Colts.
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Their opponents have a combined record of 97-111, which is significantly better than the 118-89-1 they faced in 2017. Now it’s true that anything could happen this off-season, and the winless Cleveland Browns could become contenders overnight, but it’s unlikely that all of the bad teams would become good teams at once.
The Raiders will be a better, healthier, wiser team in 2018, and against more manageable talent, they should find more success. “Chucky” is back, and with him comes waves of confidence and excitement. With Gruden calling plays to a healthier, wiser Carr, who knows? Maybe next year is the year after all.