Raiders Blog

Raiders Must Become 60-Minute Iron Men Immediately

Now here’s something I didn’t expect. Well, two things, actually: one, the Las Vegas Raiders starting their season at 0-3 and two, pulling the “No sh*t, Sherlock” line this quickly. But here we are. So, indulge me for a second.

“We’ve been in three close games. It’s not like we’re not competitive or have an opportunity to do it at the end,” Raiders head honcho Josh McDaniels said in the post-game presser after his team lost 24-22 to the Tennessee Titans this past Sunday. “We’re going to have to make a few more plays as we go through the game. I’m looking for us to try to improve and play a full 60-minute game where we actually start well, play well in all three phases, and see what that looks like. I’m not sure that we’ve done that yet.”

Not sure? Good lord, coach. No sh*t, Sherlock. You clearly haven’t done that yet. Hence the reported meeting McDaniels had with Raiders owner Mark Davis behind closed doors before the coach went up to the podium to deliver his patented coach-speak.

This no-excuse, all-in season for the Raiders has become an “excuse me while I rationalize why my team is in such dire straits” just three games into the 2022 season by Raider Nation. Perhaps McDaniels knew what he was doing by not divulging what his expectations were for his squad or quibbling into the high expectations many had for the Raiders — a team that overcame adversity to win four straight and make the playoffs last season.

Raiders Blog: Playing A Full 60 Minutes Remains The Key For This Team

Las Vegas needs to become 60-minute iron men like in the glory days of the WWF (see Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XII), where complementary football is exhibited from start to finish. Not in spurts, one quarter or one half.

The wild part in all this? The Raiders have looked like the textbook definition of ineptitude at times, but they’ve had their chances to win the games they’ve lost. Against the Tennessee Titans, the Raiders were objectively bad in all three phases of the game: offense, defense, and special teams, but they were in it until the sad bitter end. It would be one thing if it was an unmitigated disaster and Vegas was getting blown out. But that’s not the case. The haphazard Raiders have had their chances—which is pretty outlandish considering how impotent they look at times. While McDaniels finds moral victories for losers, his team is currently the worst loser in the league. Thus, a slim silver lining.

Despite having his defense go from bend but not break to bend over and take it in the first half by allowing 24 points, Patrick Graham’s crew pitched a second-half shutout. Whether that’s more indicative of Tennessee taking its foot off the gas pedal, zero points allowed is zero points allowed. Even when things looked thwarted for a Raiders offense snake bitten by untimely drops, McDaniels’ side of the ball rose to the occasion in the form of special team’s ace-turned-legit offensive weapon Mack Hollins (team-leading eight catches for 158 yards with a touchdown catch).

All you need is one win…

Again, the lack of complete-team football is ever-present. Against the Arizona Cardinals, Las Vegas disappeared in the second half of that overtime loss. Then, against Tennessee, the Raiders were devoid of first-half urgency.

“I am frustrated and angry,” Vegas wide receiver Davante Adams told the media in the Raiders locker room. “I expect more. It’s not easy to win in this league, we know that… But we expect more, and we’ll do it better as we move forward… We can’t be flat early.”

Thus far, the team is more adept at playing complementary losing football.

“We all feel sh*tty,” McDaniels said. “There’s a long season to play, a lot of football left, and a lot of improvements to be made and a lot of growth, hopefully, so that’s what we’re going to focus on.”

A long season, indeed. The Raiders haven’t won in three separate outings and said season could get longer and more arduous if the Silver and Black can’t get into the win column before the bye week. Las Vegas’ next two tilts are against AFC West competition in the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs. One win, and there’s hope. Lose both and it may be sacrificial lamb time for Las Vegas during the bye week.

The Raiders are maintaining their sense of optimism

Unsurprisingly, Las Vegas maintains hope and optimism — like they have any other choice. And OG Jerry Mac summed it up best with this:

“It takes everybody,” Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said. “I can be optimistic, Maxx (Crosby) can be optimistic, (Davante Adams), Darren, and everyone can be optimistic, but if nobody’s doing the work or doing the right things at practice, it doesn’t matter how much we hope for. You’ve got to earn it. But we will. We’re going to stay positive already because that’s the kind of people that we have in the room. We’ve been through our fair share of tough things, especially with the players that were here and the coaches that were here last year and the years before. But there’s no doubt in my mind that if we keep doing the right things, we can figure it out.”

Considering Las Vegas has done the wrong things, perhaps doing it right is what’s truly next for McDaniels and Co. It’s conceivable the Raiders string together some wins to turn the season around. But it’s also conceivable that Silver and Black’s landslide of losses continues.

But perhaps the most perplexed by this 0-3 start is the one who matters the most: Davis. His winless Raiders leave an unpleasant aftertaste after watching his WNBA Las Vegas Aces win the championship. Close isn’t good enough for Davis. Downplay a WNBA title all you want, but that’s a championship, nonetheless. And now that Davis has tasted that, anything short of that is pathetic.

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*Top Photo: Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal

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