Hard out? Gruden’s Raiders are a hard watch

Gruden said three weeks ago his Oakland Raiders would be a hard out.
“We’ve got a lot of resilient guys that are going to keep competing. You may beat us. But we’re going to be a hard out to get. We’re going to battle,” Gruden said after the team’s win over the Los Angeles Chargers.

What a Freezing Cold Take that turned out to be, no?
Sure, Gruden’s Raiders dropped the Bengals (17-10) the following week, but that uninspiring win has been followed up by two absolutely atrocious attempts — a 34-3 dunce-cap effort against the New York Jets (who lost to the previously winless Bengals, by the way) and a 40-9 ass whooping by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Related: The Silver (and Black) Lining: Week 13
Gruden’s squad is being outpaced 74-12 (a garbage time touchdown toss from Derek Carr to Derek Carrier gave the team it’s first touchdown since the Bengals clash) and it’s not a pretty sight. Calling it ugly would be an insult to the word ugly.
Instead of hard out, Oakland’s is hard to watch. It’s been an easy out for rabid Raider Nation, a fan base reveling in a resurgence led by a deadly accurate quarterback and a thoroughbred of a rookie running back.

Kudos must be given for Oakland’s ability to weather not only a bipolar relationship that was Antonio Brown, but a nonsensical stretch of games away from the confines of the coliseum as well. The team was well written off before any meaningful games were played and held relevance deep into November.
But reality has a way of hitting you hardest when you’re dreaming big.
Instead, a loyal (to a fault) fan base is watching the team erode into what pundits have said all along: Overachievers who don’t have any real or significant backbone.
The team and its cult of personality head coach are grasping for answers seemingly unable to to fight the gravity that brought them back plummeting to Earth. It’s a faceplant of epic proportions.
A suddenly predictable offense coupled with a woeful defense is a recipe for a bitter meal Oakland fans are all too well accustomed to eating.
Carr, a quarterback who was lauded for his accuracy and decision making, is feeling the wrath and its dubbed on social media as “Carrmagedon”.
It’s to the point where Chiefs defensive back Tyrann Mathieu admitted it reads the Raiders like an open book complete with notes and answers.“The biggest thing is that we knew that when he did take shots downfield, we were able to understand it pre-snap by the formation, and it would put us in a position to make a play,” Mathieu said after KC’s win Sunday. “Derek is going to try and take care of the football. Tight ends, running backs, checkdowns, that’s kind of his game.
“I was glad that we were able to capitalize on him when he did try to throw the ball down the field.”
Carr’s cold conundrum beats on as he fell to 0-6 in Arrowhead and 1-9 overall when the temps dip to 45 degrees or below. Even when Carr tried to rid himself of the Captain Checkdown moniker and look downfield, he missed the underneath targets he craves and favors so much.
Watching Josh Jacobs — who somberly eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark in the loss — jump and wave his hands (literally jumping jacks) to get Carr to throw him the ball (before the signal-caller was sacked) is a pristine example of the offense’s futility.
Whether it’s the play designer and caller or the quarterback who has to execute, there’s a wealth of blame and debate.
But I’ll say this: Between Gruden and Carr, only one has the supreme security of a 10-year pact, one that owner Mark Davis was so eagerly willing to dole out.
“We just never found our rhythm at all. That’s disappointing. But I know where we are, I know where they are as a football team, Gruden lamented in the postgame presser. “We have work to do. And we’re going to continue to try to catch the Chiefs.”
Can the Gruden really say his Raiders are truly trying to catch the Chiefs with a straight face with a quarterback that can’t win in Arrowhead?
Or will that be another arctic Freezing Cold Take, too?

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Gabe Martin

Well written article, and points well taken, as usual. That said: The hardest overarching consistent habit to observe is lack of discipline. Whether it be penalties, dropped passes, missed interceptions, lack of communication, not taking care of correct responsibility, whether it be gap, containment, or what have you. Yes, we’re missing key personnel at key positions, as per the status quo, but some teams can plug and play at a mediocre talent level. To win, complimentary football has to be played. That is never the case. It is either the O trying to save the D’s ass, or vice versa.… Read more »