It’s easy for people to lose faith in a team after they lose by over 30 points to a team with a losing record. That has been very true with the Oakland Raiders as their brutal loss to the New York Jets has made many question if the team is ready to be serious playoff contenders. It’s just one loss, but it came at a really bad time for the Raiders.
Before the New York game, Jon Gruden was becoming a hot pick for Coach of the Year. He turned a 4-12 team with many young players into a team with a legitimate shot at the AFC West title. Well, thanks to the loss to the Jets, Christian D’Andrea at SB Nation thinks that Gruden is now on the hot seat.
Gruden isn’t getting fired. He’s still got eight years and $80 million (oh my god oh my god oh my god) left on his contract. Just as importantly, he has the Raiders’ pre-Vegas rebuild ahead of schedule thanks to a 6-5 record.
But, holy crap, we need to talk about what happened in north New Jersey Sunday. Oakland scored the first three points of the game, then got trampled by a Jets team that now, somehow, is in the midst of a three-week win streak. Before that, you could break New York’s schedule down into three different three-game stretches when they failed to score more than 33 points total. In Week 12, they ran roughshod over Gruden’s team in a 34-3 rout — the third straight game in which they’ve scored exactly 34 points.
Jon Gruden Should Still Be in Coach of the Year Contention
D’Andrea does make it clear that Gruden isn’t getting fired anytime soon, but to suggest his seat is warming up is insanely premature. He had one of the hardest jobs in all of football this season once Antonio Brown came to town and somehow kept this team together. It’s also a team that is very reliant on rookie talent. Even the biggest Raider fan would’ve had a hard time predicting the team to be 6-5 and a game out of the AFC West lead, but here they are.
Much of the team’s success is thanks to Gruden. Even if Oakland loses the next five games and ends the season at 6-10, Gruden’s seat isn’t going to warm up. The Jets game was inexcusable but one bad game doesn’t mean the Raiders coach is going anywhere.
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Stop Blaming Derek Carr for Sunday’s Game
D’Andrea didn’t only call out Gruden, he also took aim at Derek Carr.
Derek Carr’s quietly great 2019 was derailed on an afternoon where he dropped back to pass 28 times and threw for just 127 yards. Factor in a pick-six, and his net impact for the day was -4 points. Gruden, fully embracing this failure, turned the reins over to backup Mike Glennon toward the end of the third quarter, only to watch him fumble three times in five drives.
What he failed to mention was the poor play from the team’s wide receivers and offensive line. No, Carr wasn’t perfect, but there was only so much he could do. He had a couple of nice passes get dropped and was consistently pressured for a lot of the game. Now, if the Raiders head to Kansas City and get blowout by the Chiefs and Carr looks bad, then it might be time to start panicking. Week 13 will be a pivotal game for Carr and the Raiders.