Jon Gruden’s return to coaching did not start as he would have hoped, as his Oakland Raiders came up short against the LA Rams. Our resident Raider, Robert O’Reardon, reports on a lacklustre showing from the silver and black…
The Return Of Chucky
Every offseason at the Oakland Raiders seems to be as eventful as the football season. This offseason was no different. Jon Gruden returned from the commentary box to re-join the team he left in 2002. He signed an eyewatering 10-year contract which will see him take the team into their new life as the Las Vegas Raiders.
He has made some questionable decisions since returning. Khalil Mack was traded to the Chicago Bears when he has been the most important player on the Raiders roster in the past two seasons, while Michael Crabtree and Marquette King were cut.
The absence of Mack and Crabtree was really felt on Monday night in their defeat to the Rams. Oakland could not get going on offence and despite leading up until the end of the third quarter, they did not look convincing and they were comfortably beaten.
A struggle for Carr
It was a struggle in the season opener for fulcrum of the Raiders offence, Derek Carr. He did complete 29 passes from 40 attempts for 303 yards (which was more than his opposite number Jared Goff) however this didn’t translate into enough points.
In a sense, it’s easy to feel sorry for Carr. He will surely improve but he didn’t have the depth of receivers around that he once did. Amari Cooper has taken strides backwards, Crabtree has been replaced by a player in the autumn of his career in Jordy Nelson, while Marshawn Lynch struggles to get into Beastmode any longer.
It could be a long season for the silver and black without the ability to put points on the board.
Defense Not on Song
In the final quarter, it was hard to escape the feeling that Oakland were being picked off by the better team who had waited for their chance to finish them off. The Rams rushed the ball particularly well meaning it was hard to sack Goff.
However, not caving into the demands of Mack and allowing him to leave doesn’t help you overcome this. His loss will definitely lead to this happening more between now and January.
It’s hard to escape the feeling after one game that Oakland will not be threatening the better franchises in the NFL post season this time around.