Welcome to the Week 9 edition of the Raider Ramble Roundtable where some of the Ramble’s finest contributors and guests will bring you their thoughts on all the rumblings, rumors, stats, and even fake news.
Without further ado let’s get into it.
Who has been the best and worst player for the Silver and Black?
Darren Waller is the plug and play tight end the Silver and Black needed after the departure of Jared Cook in free agency. Waller has lived up to the hype put upon him by his coaches and teammates in the off-season.
The player who deserves the most criticism here has to be Gareon Conley (now a Texan). In 2017 PFF rated Gareon at a 72.8; a number which has steadily dwindled to 55.6 since.
The rookie tailback has been everything as advertised and more for the Raiders thus far as leads all rooks with 620 yards (5.0 yards per carry) and four touchdowns. He’s got the vision and low center of gravity that tickles Jon Gruden’s fancy and is a headache for opposing defenses.
The big-money signing was supposed to solidify the nickel/slot corner back role and it’s been anything but solid. He’s allowed more than 74 percent of the passes thrown his way go for completions and three of those catches were touchdowns.
For me, the first name that comes to mind is Maxx Crosby. He has already far exceeded expectations for a fourth round pick. Clearly he hasn’t been THE best player. I think that honor goes to Josh Jacobs with Darren Waller in a close second. But for the sake of going away from the obvious, I think Crosby is a guy worth being a part of this conversation.
As for the worst? Sadly I have to eat crow on Clelin Ferrell, who I hyped up after the Raiders picked. The fact of the matter is, he’s been almost non-existent thus far this season.
Josh Jacobs no doubt has been our been our best players. Has shown to be a steal at 24th overall.
Clelin Ferrell as getting picked at No. 4 overall comes with some expectations. With Josh Allen and Brian Burns (Picked after Ferrell) generating Sacks, Ferrell has failed to do the same so far.
Best and Worst Free Agent Addition?
Imbalanced emotionally during the offseason, the mauling guard has been a calm and steady presence on the Raiders big ass offensive line. His attitude is much-needed for a team that plays smashmouth power-run football.
As outlined above in the worst player midway through, Joyner is not justifying his salary. His best year(s) as a Ram came when he was a safety and not a nickel corner. Fortunately for the Raiders, Joyner can be waxed this coming offseason with zero cap ramifications.
The best free agent addition would have to be Trent Brown. He has been a HUGE addition to the offensive line and outside of Rodney Hudson. That being said, Benson Mayowa deserves an honorary mention here.
At this point it’s gotta be Vontaze Burfict. I know he was playing well for the Raiders, but the reality is, he didn’t even play half of a season. He is a free agent signing that the Raiders are going to end up getting very little return on.
Trent Brown addition was highly criticized due to his high salary but he has earned every penny so far.
LaMarucs Joyner He was supposed to come in and help solidify the secondary with his versatility. Very inconsistent, game in and game out.
Possibly due to some crafty editing, Richie Incognito was shown to be a jovial leader when featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks. On the field, Richie has allowed zero sacks and just 4 pressures in 4 games.
Lamarcus Joyner for the reasons above. Honorable mentions of Ryan Grant and JJ Nelson. They were signed, got some free Raiders gear…end of story.
Most important player for the second half of the season?
Derek Carr. With the trade deadline gone, there’s no real hope for an upgrade to the pass rush or pass defense in general. With that in mind, the wins are going to come at the hands of the Raiders offense. And the most important member of the Raiders offense is Derek Carr. While Josh Jacobs is the identity of the offense, the fact of the matter is, the Raiders need Carr to continue to play at a high level so that Jacobs’ efforts don’t go to waste.
Josh Jacobs. Clearly the MVP so far for the Raiders. He opens up the whole offense for Derek Carr and Gruden’s play calling. Without him, the Raider offense is one dimensional.
Split between Derek Carr and Josh Jacobs.
Che says: “Derek Carr is the key figure down the stretch. Can the 6th year gunslinger be the offensive leader the team needs to stay in the playoff picture?”
Kenny feels: “Josh Jacobs is the most important individual for the 9 games that remain on the calendar. Josh is the linchpin for everything this offense does.”
The Raiders ball control offense is predicated on the power run and it’s Josh Jacobs and the offensive line powering that. The OL has been able to shuffle and make up for injuries, we’ve yet to see the Raiders run game without Jacobs taking at least one snap.