The Las Vegas Raiders are having a disastrous season, sitting at 2-7 going into their Week 11 meeting with Denver, with no hope of reaching the playoffs and a fan base calling for the head of their coach. It’s a bad place to be, but let’s take a look at each individual position group and see how they have performed to get Las Vegas to where they are now.
Las Vegas Raiders: Offensive Positional Grades
Derek Carr has taken every snap for the Raiders this season. He’s 194 for 311 passing for 2,128 yards with 13 touchdowns and five interceptions. Carr hasn’t been bad, per se; he just hasn’t been very good. He has yet to throw for three touchdowns in a game this season, and the fourth-quarter comebacks Raider fans have grown accustomed to seeing from Carr have not materialized. His 62.4% completion percentage this year is under his career mark of 64.8%. Some of his regression may be attributed to the fact that Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow have missed huge chunks of the season, but Carr has been successful with the likes of Andre Holmes as his top option before, so I’m putting this on the coaching. Carr should be commended for making Mack Hollins, of all people, a viable fantasy option.
When Josh McDaniels brought in a number of running backs prior to training camp, many fans assumed that the Raiders were going with a running back by committee approach. This made sense, as Josh Jacobs has struggled with his durability in the past. However, nothing of the sort has materialized. The Raiders have 198 rushing attempts so far this year, and 159 of them are by Josh Jacobs.
Derek Carr has another 15, with only 16 attempts spread equally between backups Brandon Bolden and Zamir White. Not only has Jacobs held up physically, he’s been one of the best backs in the NFL. He is fourth in rushing yards with 821, behind only Saquon Barkley, Derrick Henry, and Nick Chubb. He is tied for fourth in rushing touchdowns with seven. Jacobs leads the league in rushing first downs with a season total of 50. Jacobs is giving the Raiders everything he has, and he deserves a nice, big contract extension.
One of the most distressing parts of this Raiders season is how excited Raider fans were to watch Davante Adams. While he’s balling out, his frustration seemingly grows as the team continues to falter. Adams is proving to be worth every penny of the exorbitant price Las Vegas paid for him, both in draft compensation to Green Bay and in Adams’ extension with the Raiders. Despite the offense’s struggles, Adams is tied for the NFL lead in receiving touchdowns with eight and is sixth in receiving yards with 784. This is shaping up as one of the better years of Adams’ career, and he is one of the few bright spots on the Raiders’ roster.
Mack Hollins has also done well this season, with 416 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Unfortunately, that’s just about where any discussion of the Raiders’ receiving corps ends, as injuries have taken their toll and removed Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow as legitimate threats this season. Fortunately for the Raiders, Adams is doing his best to make up for their absences.
When the season began, the offensive line was in complete shambles. A disastrous game against the Chargers called for wholesale changes, and to the Raider coaching staff’s credit, they made those changes. Alex Bars was brought in to play right guard, and Dylan Parham was put at left guard, with Jermaine Eluemunor at right tackle. Since then, the line has been much improved, but that doesn’t mean they’ve played well. The Raiders’ offensive line has surrendered 19 sacks on the year. Several of those came at the worst possible time as Derek Carr was attempting to lead a last-minute comeback. To be fair, the line has been good at run blocking. They’ve helped Jacobs rack up all the stats mentioned above. Unfortunately, their inability to keep pressure off Carr or avoid penalties has been a major concern.
Las Vegas Raiders: Defensive Positional Grades
Discussion of the Raiders’ defensive line should begin and end with Maxx Crosby because it seems like he’s often the only member of the line playing. He has seven sacks on the year, along with 57 total tackles, which is by far the most by a defensive end in the NFL. Crosby is having a Defensive Player of the Year-caliber season. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for any other member of the line. Chandler Jones has done basically nothing as a Raider, while the defensive tackle group has failed to generate pressure or reliably stop the run. The lack of pressure is a main reason why the defense can’t seem to get off the field this season. Without Crosby, this might be the worst defensive line in the NFL, and everyone besides him is so bad it might be the worst anyway.
Who’s playing linebacker for the Raiders anymore? It’s hard to say because they all seem to get hurt. Divine Deablo, the Raiders’ leading tackler with 74 on the year, is on IR. Meanwhile, Denzel Perryman and Jayon Brown have spent plenty of time on the sidelines. Then you have Blake Martinez, who retired after one game as a Raider. He did so after showing exactly why it’s a great idea to force him into coverage. The Raiders have very little at LB right now, and the ones they have had haven’t been able to cover anyone or take proper angles to stop the run or keep quarterbacks from scrambling. The Raiders’ defense is awful, and this unit is a big reason why.
Rock Ya-Sin was brought in to be the centerpiece of the Raider secondary this year, and for the most part, he’s played well. However, in the absence of the injured Nate Hobbs, very few Raiders have been able to step up and make plays, with the exception of safety Duron Harmon. Anthony Averett has been either hurt or awful, and Johnathan Abram was such a liability that he was released outright. He’s the Packers’ problem now. This unit has trouble covering, tackling, and causing turnovers in general. As those are the three things that a secondary is supposed to do, it’s bad times for defensive backs in Las Vegas.
*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images