Well, that was ugly. Despite the optimism coming off a near victory against the San Francisco 49ers, the Las Vegas Raiders were reminded of who they are. Essentially, they’re a team in need of a serious talent injection. That was painfully obvious on defense. Simply put, the Kansas City Chiefs made a mockery of Patrick Graham’s unit on Saturday.
All season long, Raiders fans have quickly grown weary of the coaching situation. Many simply don’t trust Graham nor his boss, Josh McDaniels. The blown leads and the highly questionable play-callingâ€”essentially, they’ve all sucked. Respectfully speaking, of course. Sometimes you just have to call a spade a spade. With the season now (thankfully) over, there’s much work to be done. This offseason, more so than last year, is going to show what Dave Ziegler is capable of. There’s a litany of questions that need to be answered. Who’s going to be brought in on defense via free agency? Who’s getting drafted in the early rounds, and do you prioritize the defense? To say this is going to be interesting is putting it lightly.
Putting this on tape is going to be a nightmare for defensive prep haha pic.twitter.com/PzxobwuOyG
— Daniel HarmsðŸˆ (@InHarmsWay19) January 7, 2023
The Raiders’ Atrocious Defense Defined 2022
The Chiefs, with relative ease, scored on four of their five first-half possessions. That included three touchdowns as they bullied Graham’s boys. Looking back, this one was over before it began. Patrick Graham threw a 67-yard pass to a wide-open Justin Watson; it was a beauty. More importantly, it was a microcosm of the Raiders’ lackluster unit. They lack talent at all positions, including in their defensive backfield. You’d have to imagine Ziegler will reload the cornerback group. There’s no reason Amik Robertson should be starting next year.
Even more tragic is that most Raiders fans can’t recall when the defense was any good. As Josh Dubow of the Associated Press mentioned, the Raiders have had the second-worst defense in the league over the last 20 seasons. They’ve allowed almost 26 points on average (25.6) during that span.
Coming into this past season, there were some bright spots, such as Maxx Crosby and Nate Hobbs, but overall, the roster wasn’t remotely close to average. The terrible drafting and roster building under the previous regime truly reared its ugly head. To be fair, that group wasn’t responsible for the albatross of a contract that was given to Chandler Jones. So some blame does lie with Ziegler. If you recall, he didn’t pick up Jerry Tillery well into the season, even though everyone was screaming that the interior needed help.
All in all, the defense will need a complete overhaul. This new group will indeed be led by Graham again, so deal with it. In all honesty, you can expect anywhere from six to eight new starters. For starters, you’ll need two interior defensive linemen that can rush the passer and a starting cornerback. one step at a time.
Buckle up, Raider Nation; here goes another offseason.
*Top Photo: Las Vegas Review-Journal