Las Vegas Raiders GM Dave Ziegler

Are The Raiders and Dave Ziegler Having A “Miserable” Offseason?

So far, Las Vegas Raiders fans have experienced all sorts of emotions when it comes to their team. From the Derek Carr debacle to the Darren Waller trade, this offseason has really been something. Essentially, general manager Dave Ziegler and Co. are starting over, literally. There’ll only be a handful of players left from the Jon Gruden/Mike Mayock era by the time the 2023 NFL season kicks off. Reactionary fans aside, either his regime is genius or people have the right to be concerned about this team’s future.

Despite all the hoopla about Aaron Rodgers, it’s quite evident that Jimmy Garoppolo really was “the guy” all along. Which, no surprise, was to the chagrin of Raiders fans. Ziegler’s picking up a batch of former New England Patriots in Jakobi Meyers and Phillip Dorsett also didn’t seem to help matters. Clearly, there’s a theme here of getting players with whom head coach Josh McDaniels has previously coached. Whether it’s because they’ve been successful in McDaniels’ system or because they are “culture fits,” it’s not hard to dissect what’s taking place in the desert.

What about the Raiders’ defense?

As the offseason got underway, fans were likely shocked at the focus on acquiring weapons for the offense. Once Josh Jacobs received the franchise tag, the dominos began to slowly fall. However, as new wide receivers and tight ends were being added, people were left wondering, “Well, what about the defense?” It’s a fair question. Still, the notion that you need a “sexy” name to build a defense is shortsighted. Sure, David Long and Duke Shelley aren’t household names, but that doesn’t mean Ziegler doesn’t know what he’s doing.

The duo might not be Jalen Ramsey, but again, it takes more than just one All-Pro to rebuild one of the worst defenses in the NFL. As our own Alex Monfreda pointed out recently, the numbers suggest that Dave Ziegler and the Raiders just picked up two potential starting corners. All while Raider Nation sulked at the Waller trade. That was a move in which the team moved on from an injury-prone player who’s probably slipping into decline. A harsh reality, but a reality, nonetheless.

Looking at it objectively…

It’s easy to sit there and propose that this team is in worse shape than last year. However, the notion that Ziegler and Co. tore down a “playoff roster” is ludicrous. The Raiders had a stroke of luck and sneaked into the postseason under Rich Bisaccia; other than that, there’s no concrete evidence that the roster would’ve had sustained success. For all intents and purposes, this current regime tried to do it with those players. They even added an All-Pro in Davante Adams. Still, they couldn’t get it done. Whether you want to blame Carr or whomever, a partial reset was needed.

Going the route of “spending big” in free agency hasn’t yielded meaningful results this past generation. All of the Raiders’ regimes at one point or another went that route. We’re talking Reggie McKenzie, Mike Mayock, and even the late Al Davis. Look, Raiders fans hate the “Patriot Way.” We get it. However, rebuilding a roster primarily through the draft is more viable in the long run. Now, there’s a caveat. Going into Year 2, Dave Ziegler and Josh McDaniels are taking a massive risk in taking this approach; however, any team that’s built for long-term success starts out this way. Maybe it isn’t so much that this brain trust is having a “miserable” offseason; rather, it could be that Raiders fans just don’t comprehend how a winner is built. Just a thought.

*Top Photo: Getty Images

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