What a tumultuous pre-season for Raiders fans. The second coming of Jon Gruden is coupled with the late departure of Kahlil Mack and the threat of being sued by Oakland council and no confirmed home in 2019. Back to 2018, what does this season hold?
Reasons to be cheerful?
Errmmmmm – Derek Carr is fit…..
Ok so if Jon Gruden is the coach that he bills himself to be we should see an improved performance on the offensive side of the ball. Carr is a good quarterback but we need to see a resurgence of Amari Cooper if we are to see genuine success. Jordy Nelson comes in to play opposite him and fill the hole left by the departure of Michael Crabtree
One area of strength for the Raiders is the O-Line which ProFootball Focus rank as 7th in the NFL so at least Carr will likely be protected! There’s also some depth at running back with veteran Marshawn Lynch joined by Doug Martin who will be looking to revitalise his career following his stint in Tampa Bay.
Struggling to think of much else though.
Reasons to be fearful?
They got rid of their best player and the excuse of which was odd. Mack wanted a deserved big pay day but Gruden claimed that they couldn’t afford him when Carr was also on a big deal. Quite frankly I smell bullshit on that. The salary cap keeps getting bigger and this season the Raiders have $15m spare after bringing in several costly veterans.
Speaking of which, the Raiders have the oldest squad in the whole the NFL with an average age of 27.4 years. In fact, Jimmy Kempski of PhillyVoice.com has worked out that the Raiders current squad is the oldest one assembled since at least 2012. Old players are vulnerable to performance decline and injury (unless they’re called ‘Tom Brady’).
The Raiders had to wait until the end of November last year before they recorded their first interception and in total they recorded a measly five INTs. Worry not Raider fans though because you’ve invested in bringing in cornerback Reggie Nelson from free agency. At a mere 34 years old he does at least bring experience but I wouldn’t want to see him match up against Brandin Cooks in week one.
How does the season shape up?
I feel like the Raiders this year are in a similar boat as the Jets at the start of 2017 where everyone thought they were tanking for the draft spot to get a good QB in the draft. The depth of QBs coming in to the draft in 2019 is no where near that of this year. What they could look forward to is a high pick for a defensive lineman – Ed Oliver and Nick Bosa looking to go high next year.
The fact that I’m writing about that doesn’t bode well. I can’t see it being a good year for Raiders fans at all. It could all be very miserable.
Playoffs? Not a chance