The display of football the Las Vegas Raiders put on against the Chicago Bears was an embarrassment. Pure and simple, it was a terrible game, and there’s no way to soften that critique. It is what it is, and there’s no use dwelling on it.
Some games you throw away, move on as fast as possible, and don’t even bother looking back on. That is one of those games, and there is no reason to bother going over it. Not with the news of Jon Gruden being out as Raiders head coach anyway. The loss to the Bears is minuscule small now.
The only question I have after all that’s coming out is how the hell was he on the sidelines? Adam Schefter reported that the NFL sent over the abundance of emails to the Raiders on Friday; it is absurd that he was on the sidelines Sunday. He should’ve been suspended pending review anyway, just off the horrible DeMaurice Smith email. But the new emails that have surfaced on top of that? Wow.
None of the players pointed fingers at the elephant in the room, but there is no way it wasn’t responsible for the horrible product on the field. The team straight-up sucked, and who can blame them for this turmoil? Ok, I do blame them too because of just how horrible the offense was, but still. You’d have to be seriously cold-blooded to not grade that effort on some sort of curve.
That was a wasted throw-away game against the Bears led by a coach who shouldn’t have been there. It seems more like something from a movie than real life, so of course, it’s happening to the Raiders. That isn’t just shooting yourself in the leg; this is blowing yourself up while jumping off a building into a pool of sharks. Crazy.
There are some positives here, as unlikely as that is. The biggest is that it’s early enough in the year for an interim coach to still have a chance at success. There is no shortage of suitors for the job on this Raiders staff as well. While Rich Bisaccia has been named the head coach in the interim, there is no shortage of quality coaches on this staff. Tom Cable, Rod Marinelli, and Gus Bradley have all been head coaches at one point. Greg Olson and Edgar Bennett also have tons of coaching experience; the staff should be just fine.
Another positive is that there is no way the Raiders will have to pay the remaining six years of Gruden’s contract. That does not explicitly affect the team as coaches’ pay is not part of the salary cap, but saving $60 million is still positive for the franchise.
Lastly, Gruden was seriously underproducing anyway. The team should have been a playoff team the last two years in a row if not for unbelievable collapses. This year’s 3-0 start feels like a lifetime ago, and maybe Gruden had turned the corner before this nuclear bomb went off, but we will never know. What we do know is that Gruden was 22-31 in the 2.0 era. It might not even be worth crying over his departure.
Now, it is up to this Raiders roster to move on from this and get back to business. It is a crazy thing to have to go through. However, if they can get back to playing winning football, it’ll make this transition a lot easier. They have a talented roster, and the coaching staff has plenty of experience to still put out a polished product.
Worst case scenario is the team never gets their footing, and the new staff next year starts fresh. The best-case scenario is that the Raiders move on from the embarrassment that was Gruden’s second stint, and the team is exponentially stronger mentally because of it.
The only thing we know for sure is that the Raiders have a monstrously important game Sunday against the Denver Broncos. Win it, and they are 4-2 with a great chance to control their path. Now we wait and see if the team has a strong enough backbone to do it.
*Top Photo: L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal