The Raiders Dismal Performance Against The Patriots In Mexico Forces CBS To Change The Channel.
Terrell White – Nov 21, 2017
Holla At Me Raider Nation!
If you were watching CBS then you know that late in the fourth quarter they switched to the Denver vs. Cincinnati game. Not seeing the end of the Raider game on Sunday brought back some memories. If you know your Raider history then you've heard of the "Heidi game". You know that back in the day CBS had the movie Heidi scheduled to run at a specific time, and when that time came, they changed the channel from the Raiders vs. Jets game, and started the movie Heidi. As we know, the Raiders would come from behind, and end up winning that game, while everyone on the East Coast was stuck watching Heidi. Well, on Sunday CBS once again changed the channel from the Raider game; Only this time they couldn't change the channel soon enough.
I said to you in my last article that this game against the Patriots provided the Raiders with a golden opportunity; An I didn't mean just an opportunity to make a move up within the AFC West. This game provided the Raiders with an opportunity to put the Patriots, and the rest of the NFL for that matter on notice. This was Oakland's opportunity, to scowl like true Raiders, as they snarl "We're coming for you!!"
Maybe I had been watching too much Animal Planet; They have after all been running a special on big cats. Close your eyes, and envision in your mind for a moment if you will an older black manned lion valiantly, although in vain fighting to defend his territory; Cornered, he flashes tooth & claw as he growls at the young lions (yeah, there's more than one) who have come to conquer his kingdom. However, their onslaught is too much for the now aging king, and he succumbs to violence and ferocity of his attackers. One kingdom falls, as a dynasty rises.
In my dream, that older black manned lion was Tom Brady; Which means that the young lions coming to conquer his kingdom, would have been Derek Carr, and our beloved Raiders. I used to think it was interesting to watch the predator become the prey; Now, I'm not so sure. You see, when the schedule was first released, I was really looking forward to this game. Fool / fanatic that I am, I was actually under the impression that the Raiders were finally ready to usurp the Patriots as the dominate force within the AFC. Fool / fanatic that I am.
Raiders On O.
The first thing we've got to do is acknowledge how good the Patriots looked on Sunday; They looked like the team that had a week off to prepare for us, instead of the other way around. How they started the game off in that "hurry up" offense, and continuously managed to keep the Raider defense baffled. It was clear from the opening moments of the contest that the Patriots were not there to play games; They were there to handle business. I was watching that game, shaking my head at how professional the Patriots play was in contrast to that of the Raiders. It was almost like watching a NFL team go up against a bad college squad.
Man, I wish I could say that I have confidence our offense could (and would) perform as efficiently as theirs did; Minus two key linemen, working with a couple of no name wide receivers, and no dominate running back to speak of. We've got one of the highest paid offensive lines in the game, yet quarterback Derek Carr seems to always find himself under pressure; Speaking of, I've said it before, and I will say it again, I don't know what has happened to Raider signal caller Derek Carr. I thought I would get to watch him out duel Tom Brady; Instead I watched as he ended up being schooled by him. Yet another game in which Carr had too many off target throws, and an interception.
Carr wasn't the only offensive player who struggled on Sunday. Wide receiver Amari Cooper has dropped off the face of the planet!! He's gone from being our big play receiver, to our no play receiver!! He's literally dropped as many passes as he's caught this season!! This dropping passes virus that Cooper has been battling must be contagious, because it has spread to the rest of the Raider receiving corp. Michael Crabtree, who has been stellar since signing with the Silver & Black has been a victim of ill timed dropped passes. Wide receiver Seth Roberts not only had a couple of drops on Sunday, he had the inexplicable, momentum crushing, red zone fumble right before the end of the first half.
The Raider running game hasn't really been any better. Taking nothing away from the contributions of both Jalen Richard, and DeAndre Washington, but we needed MarShawn Lynch to come in here and be the beast mode he was before he stepped away from the game. Real Talk: We've had a moment or two here, and there in which we've been able to see the MarShawn of old, but for the most part he hasn't given this running game any more production then Latavius Murray, or Darren McFadden did during their time in the Raider backfield.
Raiders On D.
I'm starting to feel bad for defensive end Khalil Mack. Last seasons defensive player of the year has to be frustrated; He's seeing double, and sometimes even triple teams week in, and week out. Why? There is no one else on this defensive line that the opposing offense needs to fear, or respect. It all falls on Mack's shoulders. The Raiders don't get any quarterback pressures from the interior of the defensive line, and they don't have a complementary defensive end that they can use to take pressure off of Mack. Furthermore, the unit can't really blitz, because we don't have players in the secondary that can cover receivers for any extended period of time.
Speaking of the secondary, I'm convinced now that both general manager Reggie McKenzie, and defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. have no clue what they're doing when it comes to the defensive secondary; I should have known something was up, when McKenzie blew his first major pick on defensive back D.J. Hayden. Seriously, have you not been waiting for Reggie to draft, or pick up some free agents that can actually cover a wide receiver (or a tight end) since he got this job? The man has failed miserably at rebuilding the Raiders secondary. Just as Norton Jr. has failed at putting the players we do have in the best possible position to be productive on defense.
However, we can't put all the blame on the coaching staff; Players after all need to go out and make plays. The fact of the matter is that too many times this season Raider defenders have been caught out of position, and have ended up giving up big plays. Sunday was no different. I was looking forward to seeing Raider safety Obi Melifonwu get some playing time, and I'm hopeful that he going to be good player; However, I doubt that his giving up that 64 yard touchdown is going to make his personal highlight reel. Melifonwu wasn't the only Raider safety to struggle, and give up big plays; I also highly doubt that this game is going to make the Reggie Nelson highlight reel. Overall, it was yet another bad outing for the Raider defense.
At the end of the day, there is no silver lining to this loss; There is only black. The Raiders had a week off to prepare for this contest; One full week. All the time in the world, and this offense come up with 8 points; While the defense surrenders 33!?!?! I don't like the Kansas City Chiefs anymore then the next Raider fan does; However, look at head coach Andy Reid, and his record after a bye week. Nuff said, isn't it. Real Talk: You can't explain this loss, you can't sugar coat this loss, all you can do is own it. The Raiders are not as good as we, or maybe even they thought they were. I've heard it said sometimes, it's better to be lucky then good; That appears to be the case with the Raiders 12-4 record of a season ago. We were good enough to be in the contests, and lucky enough to win most of them.
The problem that I have (right now), is that I've got a question, I can't answer. Who is going to fix this mess that is the Oakland Raiders? I like the idea of having Jack Del-Rio as head coach; However, I can't picture him being the one who gets the Raiders out of this black hole (no pun intended) that their in. The lost looks he was flashing from the sidelines during Sunday's debacle reminded me of another Raider head coach; One I would like to forget. His name? Former Raider head coach Lane Kiffin. Jack is great, when it comes to being a motivating force. However, clearly he can't be depended on to rebuild this defense; Neither does current (and needs to soon be former) defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. I've been calling for the Raiders to fire Norton Jr. for a while now, and I can't for the life of me see a reason why they would have him return next season.
I don't see new offensive coordinator Todd Downing being the solution; Hell, if anything Carr and the offense have looked worse since his promotion. Were you watching the body language between these two dudes on Sunday? They looked like a married couple, in desperate need of some marriage counseling. Clearly if Jack Del-Rio were to stay as head coach he would have to be flanked by a top flight, creative offensive mind, as well as a defensive specialist. There is no way that these three men should all be on staff next season.
Is it going to be general manager Reggie McKenzie? Some feel that he's the ultimate culprit behind this situation that the Raiders find themselves in. In Reggie We Trust - how's that been working out for us? After all, he's the one who has yet to draft, or find any RAIDERS for this squads secondary; The one who hasn't paid some people that he needed to, and paid other he didn't. I've never been on the McKenzie band wagon, and I see no reason for me to jump about now. Last, but most certainly not least there is owner Mark Davis; Who on Sunday was looking more like one of the Mexican fans then the actual owner of a franchise that is the process of relocating, and needs to play well to help establish their fan base. So, how does this franchise turn things around? Maybe we can get our god-father Al Davis to call in a favor.
Raider From Birth.