Welp, that was just awful. The Las Vegas Raiders suffered a devastating loss to the hapless Los Angeles Rams last week on Thursday night. That was a huge blow to their playoff hopes. It’s also forcing people to ask themselves whether the Josh McDaniels experiment has already failed. Either way, it’s time for some quick knee-jerk reactions.
Get rid of Thursday Night Football, please and thank you.
These games are an absolute joke. Nobody is prepared. Teams aren’t healthy and are completely unprepared. Essentially, they are a crapshoot whose winner comes down to whoever’s half-baked game plan winds up working the best. Talent sometimes wins out, but the games are typically much closer than they should be. The Raiders possibly had their season ended by a game that came down to little more than pure luck.
A culture change is desperately needed…
The Raiders were their own worst enemy in this game. Baker Mayfield had no business leading two touchdown drives late in the game. On the first one, the Rams appeared to be stopped and were about to punt. Then, they were miraculously bailed out when Clelin Ferrell jumped offsides. On the final drive, the Raiders appeared to have things sewn up. There was no way Baker was going to lead a 98-yard game-winning drive after just joining the team two days prior, right?
Well, he sure got plenty of help. He threw an interception that got waived off because Amik Robertson got a little too handsy with a wide receiver. Shortly after, a damning sack would have forced a second-and-long with the clock winding down. Then, Jerry Tillery decided to slap the ball out of Baker’s hand, resulting in penalty yards, a first down, and a stoppage of the clock.
These are the things that successful franchises avoid. They don’t beat themselves, especially when playing the teams that they are supposed to beat. The problem is that the Raiders have been pretty bad for the better part of the last 20 years. That has led to a culture of losing. For lack of a better way to put it, the Raiders, as an organization, are full of losers. That type of culture takes a long time to change. They have to put people in charge of the team who are determined to change things and stick with them. Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler may be the guys to do it. They just have to be given a long enough leash to do so.
Is a purge coming for Josh McDaniels and the Las Vegas Raiders?
A lot of the big mistakes made in this game were by guys from the Jon Gruden/Mike Mayock era. Robertson and Ferrell, both picks from that regime, had costly penalties on the two touchdown drives. Also, Trevon Moehrig had a poor game as well, including a bad pass-interference penalty that would have led to points if not for a missed field goal. There is a good chance that several of those guys and others could be gone by next year.
The core of this team should remain the same, but there are some key names to keep an eye on. For example, Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow. The two have barely played this year, and they weren’t very productive when they did. We will see how things go once they return from injured reserve, which should be soon. If they can’t buy into the system by the end of this year, they could see themselves on the trading block.
At the end of the day, the Raiders need to stick to a regime for a while and allow them to build a team that is totally bought in. Even if it turns out that Josh McDaniels can’t get over the hump and lead this team to the promise land, he could be the one to finally give this organization an identity. That is something that the Raiders have sorely missed for quite a while.
*Top Photo: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports