For the first time since 2017, the Las Vegas Raiders have lofty expectations bestowed upon them. As most fans recall, that year, the Silver and Black were expected to make a playoff run coming off an impressive campaign. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. Instead, it’s taken nearly five years to get back to a respectable place within the NFL.
While 2017 and 2022 are two completely different scenarios, they share a few similarities. The most significant difference was that both teams had finished their seasons with an early playoff exit. That success was short-lived in 2017. The concern this season is whether all of the hype will end up biting the Raiders’ rear ends.
Now, it should be noted that much of the collapse from that year has been blamed on Jack Del Rio’s mishandling of team. This current team and organization is being led by a duo that comes from a championship lineage. It’s highly doubtful that a Raiders team led by Dave Ziegler and Josh McDaniels suffers a similar fate.
Raider Nation may refuse to believe it, but who could blame them? Enthusiasm and optimism abound right at this moment. However, there are some real concerns surrounding this team and why they might, in fact, miss out on the playoffs.
Is Las Vegas a lock to make the playoffs?
Las Vegas has become the offseason darling for many media outlets. Unfortunately, historically speaking, when the media likes the Raiders, they struggle. Ask any fan on social media about how they view everyone jumping on the bandwagon and you’ll see what we mean. With that being said, here are some concerns heading into training camp and then the 2022 season.
Offensive Line – Reason No. 1 That Raiders Miss Playoffs
Give credit where it’s due; the team’s brass did an excellent job at this year’s NFL Draft. Dylan Parham will eventually be a starting guard (maybe even the starting center), and he was picked up in the third round. Trading away their first and second round picks for Davante Adams is a move that 99 percent of NFL general managers would’ve made. Be that as it may, that left the team short-handed when it came to the draft.
There were tons of options (literally speaking) when it came to O-linemen this year. Unfortunately, the Raiders had their hands tied with no picks on Day 1 and early on in Day 2. Instead, the team will trot out Alex Leatherwood at right tackle once again. Let’s face it, Leatherwood was painfully overdrafted and, right now, the organization can’t admit he was a bust. Rather, they’ll need to give him another shot despite his obvious struggles in 2021.
Most of the interior line will be made up of makeshift combinations. Andre James is an above-average center at best. Meanwhile, the starting guard slots will be taken up by players that wouldn’t be starting on any NFL team worth their weight. Let’s face it, other than prized left tackle Kolton Miller, this unit is polluted by question marks.
Next: Reason No. 2 That Raiders Miss Playoffs