Raiders News: Players To Monitor On Defense vs. the Los Angeles Rams, Raider Dad, Aidan O'Connell

Royal Ramble: Throwing Some Las Vegas Raiders Topics Over The Top Rope

Jekyll and Hyde. That sums up Raider Nation excellently. With a passionate fan base that’s as eclectic as it is strong, Raiders fans are loyal (almost to a fault) to the Silver and Black.

The spectrum ranges from the ultra-die-hard fans to the casuals who merely like the legendary colors. You’ve got the sunshine and rainbows club, where everything is hunky dory and the team can do no wrong. There’s the supremely skeptical side, where the team can’t do anything right. And then there are folks in the middle who are weary of both the “Kool-Aid Kliq” and the “Pessimism Posse.”

Don’t forget the true OGs who witnessed the last time the Raiders won the Super Bowl. And there are the neophytes who only know of the Raiders because of their existence in Las Vegas.

Oakland, Los Angeles, Oakland again, and Las Vegas—no matter where the Raiders reside, Raider Nation is there. Salute to all of you.

But with that passion can often come conflicting feelings. There are two different sides to the same coin, let me tell you.

There’s a good portion of the fanbase that decries the instability and the changes at head coach and general manager throughout the years. There’s also a sect of Raider Nation that wants a clean sweep of the current Raiders power structure, featuring head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler.

Both sides of the aisle have good intentions of winning. But it exemplifies the opposing opinions.

Yet the conflict shouldn’t be remotely surprising. The root word of fan is all you need to know. “Person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal” is the definition of fanatic. Enough said.

So, which is it, Raider Nation? Stability to another regime?

Look, I get it. You’re tired. That one fleeting moment in 2016 and the most recent playoff appearance in 2021 were such a tease—edging even. Prominence and success aren’t synonymous with the Raiders. A disheartening 2022 season that saw some fans’ beloved quarterback disposed of was a tipping point.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the DC4 Delegation are now New Orleans Saints fans. Then again…

For those undying devotees in Raider Nation who will bleed Silver and Black no matter what and put the shield above any player, the future is very clouded. But kudos to you for sticking around.

As I’ve said before and I’ll say again, Raider Nation, which survived the 2006 season that saw the team not only go 2-14 but score only 168 points while allowing 332, has Vibranium resolve. Impenetrable by anything that arrives after.

The curious case of JJ8 and the Raiders’ front office will come to a head on Monday

July 17 at 4 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time). If the Raiders and bell cow running back Josh Jacobs don’t come to a long-term agreement by that point, then no pact can be signed, sealed, and delivered to the league office. That’s the deadline for franchise-tagged players and teams to ink a new deal. Jacobs hasn’t signed the franchise tag and reportedly will not report to training camp if a new contract isn’t agreed to.

As our Alex Monfreda eloquently put it, the Raiders are mishandling their prized tailback.

The power duo of general manager Dave Ziegler and head coach Josh McDaniels have quite the conundrum on their hands. Jacobs definitely proved his worth after a stupendous 2022 campaign after the Raiders regime didn’t exercise the fifth-year option in what was basically a “prove-it campaign.”

Josh Jacobs proved it. Will the Raiders pony up?

The running back is going to be a hefty cap hit, but the tag number is north of $10 million. I fully expect Jacobs to slot in behind the San Francisco 49ers’ Christian McCaffrey and the Saints’ Alvin Kamara on the average per-year scale. CMC is tops at $16.015 million plus per year, with Kamara second at an even $15 million per year. Perhaps a $15.5 million number for Jacobs is the magic number?

But is that too much money for a running back?

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Will two particular Raiders finally step foot on the field at training camp?

If the Raiders are to chart a proper course through the dense fog of uncertainty in 2023, Jimmy Garoppolo and Tyree Wilson must play. The quarterback and defensive end, respectively, are recovering from foot ailments they suffered last season (Jimmy G with the 49ers and Wilson at Texas Tech), but their presence is vital to Las Vegas’ aspirations this coming season.

Garoppolo replaced No. 4 at the all-important signal-caller position, while Wilson was picked with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to add more teeth to a Raiders pass rush that features the sharp Maxx Crosby and little else.

For the Raiders defense to rise off the mat and sit up like The Undertaker, the Silver and Black need Wilson to play and show the investment of the seventh pick was righteous and not a fool’s errand. There’s been a lot of foolish draft picks by the Raiders in recent history, and if Wilson is another one on that list, then Ziegler and his personnel crew are no better than the bird-box-style evaluation the TV Twins — Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock — exhibited.

And that, my friends, is an extremely low bar that only snakes and earthworms can slide under.

*Top Photo: Scott Winters/Icon Sports Wire via Getty Images

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