For the first time in five years, the Las Vegas Raiders won double-digit games in a season. Additionally, they made the playoffs as the five-seed. Losing to the Cincinnati Bengals was a wake-up call.
Good but not good enough
The Raiders were good enough to get to the dance, but not good enough to win it. An early exit from Wild Card weekend preempted a massive organizational re-staffing. One which was destined to be necessary since the resignation of Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock being relieved of his duties.
Having watched the entirety of the divisional round of the playoffs, one thing is crystal clear. If being successful in the postseason is what the Raiders desire, they’re going to need to get a lot better.Â The old adage used to be that defense wins championships. Rule changes have made offense king in this league. Since defenses are barely allowed to look at receivers while playing the pass, it’s imperative they find players able to defend it.
Offensively, lulls in scoring in the NFL are recipes for disaster. All too often, penalties and a lack of execution brought a hasty end to promising drives. Moreover, this occurred most on third downs and inside the red zone.
Derek Carr was magnificent in 2016. Pro Football Focus ranked him as the sixth-ranked quarterback. He had two 1,000-plus yard receivers with five and eight touchdowns, respectively. He also had the benefit of having a solid running game. Latavius Murray rushed for 788 yards that season.
Prior to the start of the 2017 season, Carr was awarded a contract extension, making him the highest paid player in league history after having reached the playoffs in his third year and experiencing a steady progression from 2014â€“2016.
In 2017, the Raiders were fresh off a trip to the playoffs and were returning with six Pro Bowl players from the 2016 roster. Brimming with overconfidence and bravado, the Raiders came out strong in the first two weeks of the season. The loss in Week 3 against the then-Washington Redskins effectively ended the season. Jack Del Rio lost the locker room and eventually lost his job.
Heading into the 2022 season, the Raiders stand at a crossroads. An eerie number of similarities to the ending of the 2016 season obscure the view moving forward, like fog and dew on cold mornings.
If you can’t beat ’em! Poach ’em!
Andy Reid has been the head coach of the hated nemesis Kansas City Chiefs for the last nine years. Of those nine seasons, the Chiefs have won the division for the last six consecutive years. Reid has been to the AFC Championship the last four consecutive years and could potentially make it back to the Super Bowl for the third straight year.
There is a direct correlation between success and the Chiefs’ recent resurgence to prominence, which coincides with two main changes. It undoubtedly played a role, with Brett Veach succeeding John Dorsey as general manager and Eric Bieniemy being promoted to offensive coordinator. While Veach is secure in his position and not likely to be leaving anytime soon, Bieniemy is due.
Bieniemy is the most disrespected offensive coordinator I have ever seen in my life. It would be next to impossible to attempt to find a coordinator with that resume who hasn’t been offered a head coaching position. It is even harder to find a coordinator who has done more and been interviewed fewer times.
Bieniemy has been a part of Reid’s staff since coming to Kansas City in 2013. He was working his way up as a running back coach, learning from the likes of Brad Childress, Matt Nagy, Doug Pederson, and Reid. Since his promotion to offensive coordinator, Bieniemy has been to four straight AFC Championship games and back-to-back Super Bowls.
Coaching Mahomes into a perennial MVP and the Chiefs offense into an absolute situational powerhouse has been his mission. Bieniemy’s offense has never finished lower than sixth in the league in points or yards, nor has it won fewer than 12 games in his four years on the job.
Weakening the Chiefs
The NFL is a copycat league and a band of thieves. The Raiders have an obligation to themselves and the rest of the teams in the AFC to bust up the Chiefs. If you can’t beat them or join them, at least steal from them. Stealing their offensive coordinator will significantly impact their flow and provide an opportunity to knock them down a peg.
While the Raiders may have their coaching favorites, it would behoove them to take a look at a divisional rival. One who has soundly defeated every team in the division and the conference on a yearly basis. A younger, trendy coach sounds darling, but the “Commitment to Excellence” will begin and end with Bieniemy.
*Top Photo: Naomi Baker/Getty Images
1 thought on “Raiders Mustn’t Become Prisoners Of The Moment”
I wouldn’t mind Bienemy. But the perception around the league, fair or unfair, is that the Chiefs run Reid’s offense, and Bienemy is the beneficiary of: 1. A quality Reid offense; 2. The best, or one of the best 2 or 3, quarterbacks in the league who is great when things get off script; and 3. Quality talent from a front office that actually knows what they are doing (get a load of the Chief’s draft and free agents from this past offseason). It would be pretty sad to hire Bienemy and realize he brings nothing to the Raiders and is easily replaceable by the Chiefs. For what its worth, the Raiders had a quality offense, poorly called; a good, if not elite QB; and a roster with tons of holes in it compared to the Chiefs.