Hello RaiderNation! Hope you are having a good week!! I dont’t know how many of you have been a Raider fan as long as I have (60 years), and I don’t know how many of you have been through as many good years and bad years as I have, but one thing is for certain, we have all been through the ringer so to speak over the years. Despite all of the years of bad QB’s, or bad defense, or bad coaches or other management that we have had up to now, I have never been as dissatisfied with the direction our team is going as I am right now.
There was nothing we could do about Gruden getting fired, Goodell made sure of that. I am not saying what Gruden said wasn’t wrong, what I am saying is that if you read every email sent by every coach and manager, including Goodell and Smith, that most of them were guilty of the same thing. Let’s face it, these are jocks and this is not abnormal from jocks. But despite all of this, we still made it to the playoffs and we might have won that game if it were not for a series of horrible calls including an “inadvertent whistle”. So then Mark Davis chooses Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler to take over in 2022. Why do you think he did that? (Can you say Tom Brady?) Well, we all know how that turned out. So, They started with a bang by signing Davante Adams and Chandler Jones (who hasn’t lived up to expectation). What they have done since has been a mixed bag, most of which is bad in my view.
Granted, they were limited on draft picks, but their first draft left much to be desired. Their first pick which was Dylan Parham in the 3rd round was a good pick, but the rest leave much to be desired. It is true that they have only had one year, but the others did not show much in the first year. Zamir White could yet stand out, we will know more after this year. Thayer Munford got a lot of play at right tackle and guard, but did not do well enough to win a job in either spot. Neil Farrell and Matthew Butler got almost no play at all, and Brittain Brown played on special teams in 6 games. Not the greatest of drafts, but when have we had a great draft right?
So what else happened beside the draft? How about them cutting Jalen Richard, one of the best 3rd down backs we have had in a long time and pick up Brandon Bolden and Ameer Abdullah. That’s a great move, right? They signed Waller, Renfrow and Carr to contracts they would end up regretting while not picking up Josh Jacobs 5th year extension something they are soon to be regretting, and extended Maxx Crosby, the one good move they made as far as extensions go.
Preseason we win all 4 games! Wow!! Then it all starts going downhill. The Raiders start the season by losing 3 straight, and finish the season 6-11 yielding the #7 overall draft pick in the 2023 draft. Some blame this on Derek Carr, some blame this on the defense, and some on McDaniels’ game management. The truth is, it was all 3, but it is the head coach’s responsibility to overcome problems, instead of creating them and his authoritarian style of coaching did not mesh well with the team. Not allowing Carr to change calls at the line was a slap in the face to Carr, and the other players had issues with that as well. But when Carr overstepped that boundary was when things really started to fall apart. Should he have changed a call at the line, something he had always been able to do under past regimes? Not if your coach forbids it as McDaniels does. Not that he doesn’t give them a call or two that they can audible to, but to completely change the play was not allowed, and by doing so Carr was breaking the coach’s rules. Personally, I think this is ludicrous. If the call on a 3rd and 3 is a hand-off up the middle and the audibles are off-tackle or jet sweep, and defense put 8 in the box, all 3 of those options are gonna get blown up most likely where a quick toss to a TE is liable to be wide open, but with McDaniels’s rules you cannot call that play because it is not one of the ones he gave you to choose from. This ended up causing more and more friction between him and Carr and was partially responsible for Carr’s benching. McDaniels got pissed at Carr even when his calls were right on the money and got first downs or even touchdowns. The last one I know about was the 84 yard touchdown run by Jacobs to beat Seattle in overtime. I am not sure what the call was, but Carr handed off to Jacobs who took it to the house. After the game in a locker room interview Jacobs was laughing because even though they won the game, McDaniels was pissed at Carr and was chewing him out for changing his call. It wasn’t much longer before Carr was benched and effectively on his way out the door.
This made many in RaiderNation happy, and upset many as well. Where do I sit on this? It was time to move on from Carr, but by that I mean draft someone to take his place and let him play for a year under him. I wasn’t happy with the way it was handled but it is what it is and we must move on. I wish him good luck and certainly will be pulling for him anytime he plays against one of our AFC opponents, but we must move on now.
So what next? We trade Waller for the last pick in the 3rd round. We sign JimmyG (G for made of glass) to be our new QB, who incidentally has a foot injury and needs surgery. We sign a plethora of wide receivers, most of which were with the Patriots at one time. We cut Foster Moreau, a promising young TE. Then we cut team captain and top of the line long snapper Trent Sieg and hire Jacob Bobenmoyer, who incidentally was familiar with our current special teams coach. Now we have a long snapper who snaps with his left hand, Something Cole will have to get used to. Next we let Denver steal Stiddham from us for a 1 year $3 million contract. There goes our back up QB. What did we offer him to keep him? A 1 year $1 million contract. Now Denver has our playbook. But no worries, Raiders signed Brian Hoyer. Where do we know that name from? Oh yeah, he was back up QB in New England. (seeing a pattern here?) Then there is something I alluded to earlier, Not extending Jacobs contract, and since they did not, they put the franchise tag on him. This did not sit well with Jacobs, but he told them if they used the offseason to bring in some star players to help the Raiders win a Superbowl, he would be willing to play on the tag. The moves the Raiders made in free agency and the draft did little to satisfy Jacobs desire to put a team together who had a shot at the Superbowl, more about that later.
So draft time rolls around and the Raiders have the #7 over all pick as alluded to previously in this article. A chance to pick up a game changer and who was there when we were on the clock was the best DT to come out of college in years (DT is the position our defense needed improvement in than any other spot on the team), a player who will be a generational talent. But do we take him? No, we take a DE/Edge, the position of greatest strength in our defense, and we take one with a Lisfranc injury, one of the most unpredictable injuries. They can last several months, but they can also last over a year. Some never completely recover. No worries though, they say he will be ready to go by training camp. Fast forward to training camp, guess who is on the Non Football Injury list, You guessed it, our 1st pick in the draft, Tyree Wilson. Although TE was not a position of need, that is what we spend our next pick on, although it was for arguably the best TE in the draft that many had going in the 1st round, but by taking him, they missed out on some top of the line DB’s and LB’s, are other 2 positions of greatest need. With our 3rd pick, we finally took a DT, but we needed a DT that could push the pocket and rush the passer. Instead we drafted one that is a run stopper. But we had another 3rd round pick from trading Waller to the Giants, and with that pick we took . . . a wide receiver. Brilliant move!! (NOT!!!). But what about QB? Most of RaiderNation wanted us to take a QB with our first pick, but we finally got around to taking one in the 4th round. After taking a CB with our 4th round pick, the Raiders traded back into the 4th round and took Aidan O’Connell out of Purdue. The jury is still out on this pick.
So fast forward to July, and Jacobs has until the afternoon of the 17th to sign a new contract with the Raiders. You know, Jacobs, the all pro guy who set all of the records last year, the guy that was the majority of our offense last year, the super star running back, voted team leader by the players, yeah that guy. You would think they would offer him a nice little contract. Nothing outrageous. I know the RB position has been devalued by the league, but at the very least, they could have offered him a 3 or 4 year contract with $23 million guaranteed, but no. Instead they insulted him with a deal that would have paid less than if he played 2 years on the franchise tag. I know, I know. Football is a business, but this is not the Raider way. Al Davis would have made Jacobs happy to be a Raider for life. But instead Jacobs removed everything Raiders from his social media profiles and left town stating he would not be here for training camp or preseason. In fact he has left reason to believe he may hold out.
One glimmer of hope before training camp is that JimmyG passed his physical although they are going to be cautious with him. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Tyree Wilson or Byron Young both of whom they have no time frame for when they will be able to practice or play. Then there was the news that the Raiders signed Marcus Peters, a big shot in the arm of our defensive backfield. Maybe our defense will take a step forward this year.
So what is the point here? Am I against change if it means progress? No. I am a Raider fan, I bleed silver and black. I want to see the glory years I saw many years before happen again. If this change in the management is what it takes, then I will be on board. But it doesn’t look like the rest of the league thinks we are going to be better. ESPN has us at 2 wins or less. That might give us a chance to draft a franchise quarterback, but I don’t want to see us lose 15 games this year in order to do so. The highest over/under I think I have seen is 7.5, not much better than last year. If we end up with one of the top picks in the draft next year, I am not going to be happy with Josh McDaniels keeping his job. He already destroyed Denver which he claims to have learned from, but I see him making many of the same mistakes. The main one being his arrogance.
So as I mentioned in the beginning of this article, I was not happy with Mark Davis’ choice in the new head coach and general manager, and little has happened to change my mind so far. But if they can turn this franchise around and take us back to the glory days, I will readily admit I was wrong. Right now it isn’t really looking like it too much. So what are your thoughts my Raider brethren? Are you happy with the management change? Leave me a comment to let me know. Until next time, this is Old Timer wishing you all the best, Peace Out!