Welcome to the Week 13 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.
Week 13 Raider Ramble Roundtable: Raiders Game Day Edition
This week Nick Hjeltness joins Ray Aspuria and Angria Trask for a special game day run of the Roundtable.
What’s the worst loss you have personally witnessed?
The Raiders’ 34-20 loss to the Chiefs at home on Dec. 6, 2015. Oakland held a 20-14 lead after three quarters and it appeared they were 15 minutes from a win. Instead, the Chiefs rattled off 20-unanswered points in the final stanza (including a pick six by former Raider Tyvon Branch). It was the classic case of the team giving Raider Nation hope only to let them down again.
The worst loss I have ever personally witnessed was actually on the road. It was Week 3 of the 2010 season, against the Arizona Cardinals. Down 24-23 with one second left in the game, Seabass missed a simple 32-yarder. The clock struck zero, and his third miss of the game led to what fans were all too familiar with during these rough days – another embarrassing loss.
Hue Jackson’s last game as head coach. The Raiders stood at 8-7 after a 7-4 start with a playoff berth on the line against the then â€œSan Diego” Chargers. The game itself was fairly even on paper, Norv Turner’s unit appeared to outclass Oakland in a game that wasn’t as close as the score. Even the most dedicated fan was worn out and depressed by the end of the game.
The most frustrating loss I’ve ever witnessed was easily the Tuck Rule game. I don’t think an explanation is needed, but the worst game in recent history was 2018 versus the 49ers. The team came out bored, fell flat on their faces and didn’t even try to get up. Overall, it was embarrassing and still gets talked about whenever someone wants to throw a nasty loss in your face.
The unit that needs to play the best today is…
The quarterback room. Now, obviously the passing game isn’t a one-man unit because it takes a village to be successful, but no one is more important to Oakland’s chances of winning at Arrowhead than Derek Carr. Carr’s performance in cold weather is just as well documented as his performance against the Chiefs. Neither are very good, so it’s crucial that changes this time around.
The offensive line. After receiving a ton of praise early on in the season, the line has begun to spring leaks all over. Some of this is due to injuries and the subsequent line shuffling that follows, but it is clear that the entire team responds when its linemen are opening holes for Jacobs and keep Carr clean. It’s worth wondering if this has begun to impact play calling as the offense has recently seemed to be more conservative. Still Carr goes as the line goes and Josh Jacobs only needs one good block to break off a chunk play.
Today’s game needs to have the defensive backs best showing of their lives. If Trayvon Mullen and Daryl Worley show up, and the line can get some pressure on Mahomes and forces mistakes, the Raiders have a chance. The Raiders corners seem to be building a habit of making big plays, which is something this team has sorely missed as Patrick Mahomes already has multiple 4TD 0INT games against them.
The secondary. Oakland can’t ill-afford another 28-point outburst in one quarter like it did in the loss to Kansas at the coliseum earlier this season. Erik Harris cemented himself as a starter since and Curtis Riley has seen less time since then (he was victimized thoroughly in that defeat). When you look at the earlier loss this season to where the Raiders are now, the secondary is nearly completely different. But it’s that group that must stand and answer the challenge that is Andy Reid’s aerial onslaught.
Which unit is the most consistent?
The Backfield. I know technically that includes Carr, who has been fairly consistent, but mostly I mean Josh Jacobs, Alec Ingold, Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington. Each of them have contributed in key moments throughout the season and have become the offensive identity of the team league wide. Their in a minor slump at the moment, but the Raiders are slumping in general is no coincidence.
It’s clear that Derek Carr has been the most polarizing player for Raider Nation but he’s playing like a pro. This is the best overall year of his career and he shows up for almost every game. Play calling and receiver drops have been his Achilles heal this year. Some games are better than others but overall he’s playing full speed and relying on his supporting cast, something he hasn’t been comfortable with since his near-MVP run in 2016.
The tight ends. Led by the must-accounted-for Darren Waller, Foster Moreau and Derek Carrier form quite the formidable trio. While Waller is the leader in terms of receiving, the three have grown as NFL blockers and are excellent compliments in both the run and pass sets. You’d think a group with that kind of speed would be relegated to running routes and not manning up in the trenches but this unit does that as well. Not bad for two converted wide receivers (Waller and Carrier), no?
Not sure there is any one unit that can be called the most consistent because they’ve all had their ups and downs. The run game stands out because Josh Jacobs has been stellar, but game flow dictates how much usage they get. The o-line has been mostly good, as had Waller. Tyrell Williams has consistently dropped passes, does that count as an answer?
How many interceptions can Derek Carr throw and still make the playoffs?
Playoffs this year are truly a wild card but Carr is overall throwing pretty well. If he keeps it around 10 interceptions, this flawed Raiders squad might make a late run.
This is going to sound like a bullshit answer, but as many as he wants as long as the defense stands its ground (which hasn’t been very often). Takeaways are as big to the game as giveaways and Carr has shown an ability to avoid the costly interception for the majority of the season.
I don’t think there is any magic number of interceptions Carr can or can’t throw in order for the Raiders to make the playoffs. Obviously less is better here but what’s more important is when those interceptions happen. For example, the Raiders simply cannot afford picks like the end zone one Carr threw against the Packers a few weeks back.
The magic number for me is 10. Mostly because the way Carr throws picks is either forcing the ball downfield or being completely confused. His high level play is so important for the team that he can’t get clipped on more than a handful of plays the remainder of the season.
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