We resorted to the Cambridge Dictionary in order to understand the Las Vegas Raiders’ struggles this season. After looking carefully, we think we might’ve found the right word to describe them.
There’s no better description
failing to fulfill someone’s hopes or expectations.
There isn’t a more suitable word to describe this Las Vegas team right now.
After 11 weeks in the 2019 season, the Raiders owned a 6-4 record, good enough for the sixth and final seed in the AFC playoff race. They then went on to lose five of their final six games and missed the playoffs with a 7-9 record. After 10 weeks this year, they looked much more complete. Head coach Gruden and Derek Carr had the franchise at 6-3 with massive wins against the Kansas Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, and the Cleveland Browns. Once again, the finish has been disappointing. The Raiders have now lost four of five and are once again on the outside looking in.
The 2020 Raiders are quite similar to last year’s squad
The Raiders have taken the field in an NFL playoff game one time since 2002. One reason for this has been the fact that their defense has been astonishingly bad year after year. It is honestly impressive how this unit manages to be so bad every year.
Countless head coaches and countless defensive coordinators have come and gone. Countless high draft picks, and countless large free-agent signings, and no sight of improvement.
Lane Kiffin, Tom Cable, Hue Jackson, Dennis Allen, Tony Sparano, Jack Del Rio, and Jon Gruden. A list of head coaches who have failed to field an impressive defense in their tenure.
Rob Ryan, John Marshall, Chuck Bresnahan, Jason Tarver, Ken Norton Jr, and Paul Guenther. A list of defensive coordinators who have failed to field a defense capable of defending a varsity offense.
D.J. Hayden, Mario Edwards, Jihad Ward, Shilique Calhoun, Obi Melifonwu, Eddie Vanderdous, PJ Hall, Arden Key, Clelin Ferrel, Jonathan Abram, Curtis Lofton, Cory Littleton, and Lamarcus Joyner. This list could be much longer than it actually is, but it’s one full of players who have failed to live up to expectations for this Raiders defense.
There isn’t a single fix
The defense is only half the problem. While the offense has been impressive this year, it has its fair share of downfalls. Only the Raiders would have fired Bill Musgrave, who produced a top 10 offense in 2016 and led the team to their first playoff appearance in 14 years, then replace him with an inexperienced quarterback coach.
The team fails to live up to expectations yearly. The fans get upset on social media, and the players call them out on the same outlets. The word toxic would be a generous way to describe the situation. Jon Gruden is 30 percent of the way through his ten-year tenure, and once again the best way to describe his regime is disappointing.
The offense has improved tremendously, but it’s been handicapped by Gruden’s own conservative play-calling, and its inability to adjust or adapt to different defenses. The defense has seen marginal improvement if any at all. Three years into Gruden’s tenure with the team, Raider Nation is more divided than ever, and the team doesn’t seem much closer to contention.
1. The Las Vegas Raiders
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