The season is over for the Las Vegas Raiders
After the blowout loss to the New Orleans Saints in Week 8, many were wondering how the Raiders would respond. They seemed to come out playing great as they stormed ahead, 17-0. By the end of the third quarter, the Raiders found themselves up just three points. The next time they saw the ball early in the fourth, Las Vegas was down 24-20. Another lead had been blown. Despite ample opportunities, the offense failed to retake the lead, and the Raiders lost again, 27-20.
There is no going back at this point. After that brutal two-game stretch, it is clear that the Raiders are just a bad team. Thinking about a top-three pick in next year’s draft is now more logical than even considering the team’s playoff chances. Heading into the season, ten wins felt like a reasonable goal. Now, this team looks like it will struggle to get to five.
Josh McDaniels has wrecked the ‘Carr’
While it may be far from the only reason, a big part of the Raiders’ struggles have been the play of quarterback Derek Carr. Regardless of how you feel about Carr, it is undeniable that he has regressed this season. He looks uncomfortable, his timing and mechanics are off, and he just can’t make the same plays that have been routine for him in the past. This seems shocking since Davante Adams’ signing was supposed to give him a boost.
However, another offseason acquisition, head coach Josh McDaniels, is the reason why nobody should be surprised at what we are seeing. Carr has regressed just about every time he has gotten a new offensive coordinator or head coach. We saw this when the Raiders let go of Bill Musgrave after the 2016 season. Carr didn’t begin to start looking like his old self until a few years into Jon Gruden’s tenure.
Then, after the Raiders returned to the playoffs last year for the first time since 2016, the entire coaching staff got the boot, and Carr has been forced to re-acclimate to a new system once again. If it takes until Carr’s third year with McDaniels for him to get his mojo back, the guy will be 33 by then. That is assuming McDaniels lasts that long. Are we approaching the end of an era? Has the Carr been totaled? We will see.
Sell the team…
A lack of direction and rash decision-making were the hallmarks of the final decade of the Al Davis era. We thought his son, Mark, would usher in stability and bring the Raiders into the 21st century. Part of that has been true. The Raiders now operate much more like a traditional franchise, with a general manager overseeing football operations and whatnot. However, what has not changed is that this franchise is still subject to the whims of an owner chasing the next big thing. The main difference is that Mark Davis knows much less about the game of football than his father. Yet he continues to meddle in the team’s day-to-day operations anyway.
Hue Jackson, Jack Del Rio, and Rich Bisaccia were all fired for reasons beyond the product that they put out on the field. The former is due to the desire to clear out any holdovers from the Al Davis regime, and the latter two are due to Marks’s perpetual belief that the grass is always greener on the other side. As long as the Davis family controls this organization, it won’t matter which coaches, players, or executives are brought in, as the Raiders will continue to wallow among the league’s other feckless and directionless franchises, like the Browns and the Lions.
*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images