Buckle up because the Oakland Raiders‘ end of season and offseason are about to be chock-full of Derek Carr-Jon Gruden rumors. After a fourth straight lackluster performance by the team and quarterback, it seems more likely big changes are possible. The Achilles heel of this Raiders offense is their tendency to get ultra-conservative once they get a lead. Many would likely blame this fact on Carr, but the team’s head coach made some interesting comments.
On Sunday, the team made a few trips to the red zone and settled for field goals every time. Gruden seemingly blamed Carr.
“Derek got aggressive a couple of times,” he said on Monday. “Got to check the ball down underneath, I think (that) would have helped us on one of the drives, and then we had some negative yardage running plays on first down that hurt us.”
Many chide Carr for not being aggressive enough, so it’s interesting that Gruden is accusing the quarterback of being too aggressive.
Gruden Isn’t Without Blame
Jon Gruden can keep himself accountable at times, but he’s also quick to blame others for his team’s failures, whether it’s the referees, Derek Carr or NFL. However, he is very deserving of criticism for the Raiders’ recent losing streak. The most glaring inadequacy Gruden has shown this year is his complete inability to make adjustments at halftime. Maurice Moton at Silver & Black Today highlighted this issue:
Typically, when teams go into the locker room for halftime, the coaches make adjustments to counter the opponent’s first-half execution. If an offense doesn’t make a few changes to keep a reeling defense on its heels, the scheme becomes stale. You can compare a game plan to an organic fruit. When left out too long, it starts to deteriorate.
Of course, players have to do their jobs, but it’s on the play-caller to put his group in position to take advantage of mismatches and create new pathways to the end zone.
As Josh Dubow at the Associated Press points out, the Raiders’ second-half offense is the worst it’s been since 2009.
Yes, the Raiders lack wide receiver talent, but they have one of the best young running backs in the NFL, a solid offensive line and a game-breaking tight end. There’s no reason the team shouldn’t be putting up more points on offense in the second halves of games and that’s on Gruden as much as it on Carr.
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Don’t Expect DeShone Kizer Anytime Soon
There seems to be a groundswell of support for DeShone Kizer to take over for Derek Carr before the season ends. That’s not going to happen and Gruden made that very clear on Monday. When he was asked if he’ll play Kizer, the coach said he wants to put players on the field that give the team the best chance to win. For people with short memories, Kizer has never won an NFL game as a starter in 15 starts.
He authored one of the best quarterbacking seasons in NFL history during his rookie campaign with the Cleveland Browns. He threw 11 touchdowns to 22 interceptions during the 0-16 season. Carr may not be the best option for the Raiders going into 2020, but Kizer is definitely not the answer.