The Oakland Raiders were riding high after a week 1 win versus the Denver Broncos. During the first quarter of the game versus the Kansas City Chiefs, it looked like they had built off that momentum and might shock the world with an upset win. Well, that was until the second quarter came and the Raider defense was absolutely lit up by Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs offense put up 28 points in the second quarter and the Raiders never recovered.
Oakland certainly had many chances to get back into the game, but the mistakes kept piling up and the offense couldn’t muster much of anything. The defense pulled things to together and shut out the Chiefs offense in the second half. If the Raiders made fewer mistakes, there would be a very different conversation going on right now. Though this is a bad loss for Jon Gruden’s squad, they still have promise. There are a few things Oakland should do if they’re going to turn things around this season.
Sign Eric Berry or Trade for Minkah Fitzpatrick
It was clear during that second quarter that the Raiders missed Johnathan Abram. Demarcus Robinson and Travis Kelce feasted on the secondary and they both made some really long plays. The run defense completely shut down LeSean McCoy, but the pass defense allowed 443 passing yards from Mahomes. Now, there probably isn’t a quarterback in the NFL right now who can sling it like Mahomes, but the Raiders need to stop him if they have any hope of winning the division this year or in future years. Abram isn’t coming back this season and Curtis Riley doesn’t seem to be the answer.
There are two players who could really help the Raider pass defense. Eric Berry is an All-Pro level player when he’s healthy and he’s currently a free agent. He has only played 3 games since 2016, so that is concerning. However, if he is healthy after taking an offseason off, he could still have another All-Pro season in him. If he’s willing to come back, he could be a low risk, high reward player for the Raiders.
There’s also Minkah Fitzpatrick sitting out there hoping to get traded. Earlier, we wrote that the Raiders shouldn’t trade for Fitzpatrick, but after Sunday’s showing, it looks like they could use his help. He won’t come cheap as he was an early first-round pick just a year ago, but Oakland has the assets to convince the Miami Dolphins to make the trade. General manager Mike Mayock should seriously consider offering up the Bears’ first-round pick and one of the team’s two third-round picks. Anything more would probably be too steep.
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Add a Wide Receiver Like Dez Bryant
While it looked like the loss of Antonio Brown didn’t affect the offense in week 1, his absence was very noticeable in week 2. It’s clear that there isn’t a very strong number two receiver behind Tyrell Williams. Ryan Grant and Hunter Renfrow just aren’t up to the task of being the team’s number two receiver. The Chiefs don’t have a great pass defense whatsoever, but they somehow kept the team to only 198 passing yards. That’s not a good showing and is indicative of the fact that the Raiders should add a true number two behind Williams.
Dez Bryant is still sitting out there in free agency. He’s battled some injuries but has taken a lot of time off. He could be ready for a really big comeback soon. If he’s ready to return to football, Oakland should give him a call. Another receiver whose been away from football is Rishard Matthews. Though he’s techniaclly retired, he’s only 29-years old and should have plenty left in the tank. He’d be a really solid number two option. The Raiders should consider giving him a call to try and lure him out of retirement.
Trust Derek Carr to Make Big Throws
Derek Carr’s stat line looks a lot worse than it should. He threw two interceptions, but one was due to a miscommunication he had with Tyrell Williams and the other was due to a blatant pass interference call that the refs missed. Carr is one of the best deep-ball throwers in the NFL and Gruden needs to let him show off that fact. Too many times do the Raiders settle for short passes that result in not much yardage. Williams is an excellent deep threat and Carr needs to take some shots at him in games. Enough of the conservative football. Gruden and Carr must be more aggressive or they’ll have more 10 point games against bad defenses.