Raiders

A Silver and Black “Crossroads”

Yesterday’s trip to the Meadowlands was, well, one to forget for the Oakland Raiders and Raider Nation.

It seemed as if the N.Y. Jets were the ones in a playoff race with their intensity of play. The Raiders were handily dominated in all phases of the game.

On offense, the Jets contained Josh Jacobs to 3.4 yards per carry on ten attempts. The amount of dropped passes by the offense became abominable before the second quarter even started. The defense, well, acted as if they never made the trip. Jets quarterback Sam Darnold put together his best game of the season against the struggling unit. Simply put, it was a miserable day for Raider Nation who was in attendance in New York and those watching on television.

Some Perspective…

Yesterday’s performance was reminiscent of when the Raiders were simply a bad football team. The game was eerily similar to the 34-3 loss to the San Francisco 49ers last year.

A year ago, this team was lacking youth, devoid of talent and missing leadership. The roster was full of veterans on ‘prove it’ deals like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie who decided to ‘retire’ midseason.

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Losing to the Jets by all standards is unacceptable. But let’s keep it in perspective, this doesn’t make the Raiders a bad team per se. It’s simply indicative of them needing improvement. The present team has a winning record with one week remaining in November. That is something not many envisioned to start the season.

A Closer Look…

The team arguably has the offensive and defensive rookies of the year spearheading the most complete rookie class in the league. Derek Carr has shown in year two of Jon Gruden’s offense that he is more than capable and delivers when the game is on the line. A 70% completion rate is a sign of efficiently navigating an offense with no true #1 WR.

Speaking of, tight end Darren Waller; who is having a magnificent year, is averaging 11.9 yards per reception. Waller is, without a doubt, in the conversation for making the All-Pro team with the caliber of season he is having.

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The offensive line is a “Top Five” unit in the NFL only allowing a 4th best 17 sacks. In addition, they are paving the way for the offensive rookie of the year, Josh Jacobs. Richie Incognito is playing some of the best football in the NFL at the guard position and Trent Brown is showing that he is the immovable force at right tackle. So to say that this team is bad because of a loss to the Jets is a long stretch considering many great efforts on the offensive side of the ball. The reality is, this is a team that is capable of making the playoffs but not truly a Super Bowl contender just yet.

A Look Ahead…

Next week, the Raiders play the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead. Regardless of what happens, it is important to remember that this team has cemented the foundation for the future. As it stands now, the Raiders have five picks in the top 100 at the upcoming NFL draft in Las Vegas.

A move into a state of the art facility also looms on the horizon for a team with draft picks, cap space, talent and youth. Yes, this team has holes, but they are young and on the rise no matter who they play.

Gruden has the Raiders competing and most importantly, winning again, while rebuilding to a brighter future. The past, present and future are often given separate rooms; but it is key to bring them into the same room for times like these. Ramble On, Raider Nation.

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Gabe Martin

That big of an across the board breakdown in all three phases, is inexplicable. Yet sadly still a very real and obviously lingering reality. Two things: Dropped passes and dropped intensity. A consistent frustration. Especially dropped passes within the Receiveing corps, year by year. It doesn’t (for whatever reason) change. No true #1? Fine. Catch catchable balls. Catch catchable balls! Raiders are very inconsistent vis a vis intensity and fundamentals. Need more moxie.

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