The Las Vegas Raiders had a hard time fulfilling expectations due to different circumstances last year. They are running out of excuses to win in 2020.
The Raiders finished last season with a 7-9 record. There were many reasons why Las Vegas wasn’t able to advance to the playoffs. Some were within their control, such as the talent or lack thereof on the roster. Likewise, injury took its toll on the team. Their main offensive weapons, Josh Jacobs, Hunter Renfrow, and Tyrell Williams were all injured at some point last year. On the other hand, there were other circumstances that may have affected Las Vegas’ performance in 2019. Alas, they should not use that as justification for their inability to win.
Under the HBO Spotlight
The first one was their appearance on HBO’s Hard Knocks. NFL coaches aren’t fond of partaking in reality TV. It was likely more difficult for Raiders staff and players alike when cameras surrounded them, but it’s fair to wonder how much of that really affected them. No team that has been featured on the show has made it to the playoffs the season they’re in. However, there is no real correlation between Hard Knocks and losing. Teams that are part of the series were already bad to begin with the year before. Good teams thrive in the middle of adversity and the Raiders weren’t good enough last year.
The Cost of Bringing In a Time Bomb
The Raiders thought they had gotten an elite wide receiver when they traded for Antonio Brown. At the time, it looked like a lopsided deal for the Steelers, but they came out winners in hindsight. Originally, it looked like Pittsburgh didn’t treat Brown fairly and showed a preference for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Nevertheless, Brown’s allure quickly wore off and the Raiders would release him before the 2019 season started.
According to head coach Jon Gruden, the Raiders couldn’t recover from the receiver’s departure since the offense was created around him. If anything that went to show Gruden can’t adapt and will look for a scapegoat when things go wrong.
Anyone but the Raiders
The Raiders lost against the Jaguars in their last game ever at the Oakland Coliseum. Some plays definitely didn’t go their way but blaming the officials for their failure to execute is less than encouraging. That roughing the passer penalty tasted like dog dirt, but one down didn’t determine the outcome of the game. Their offense went cold in the second half and the defense couldn’t stop then-rookie Gardner Minshew. The coaching staff should’ve taken a hard look and focused on execution. Having 12 men on the field on fourth-and-one is inexcusable. There’s no way to pin that on the field judges.
Last year, the Raiders didn’t have many playmakers on the roster. They took care of that this offseason. Now, they have to stop worrying about things they have no control over. If they do so, we may just see the resurgence of the Silver and Black.
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