The Oakland Raiders are in the middle of the slump of all slumps and there are plenty of fingers to be pointed. The offense certainly hasn’t done its part over the last three games, but the team’s defense hasn’t been good all season. The unit is currently allowing the fourth-most points per game this season and seems to be getting worse. The Tennessee Titans and Ryan Tannehill ate them alive on Sunday at home and Jon Gruden is fed up.
“I don’t know, it’s sickening,” said Gruden on Monday when asked about potential changes. “It’s tough, but it’s a necessary evil. Right now, we’ve got to play better, and we’re going to play better, and there will be changes. There will be changes. What happened yesterday will not happen again. I can’t allow it to happen.”
Those comments don’t bode well for the stability of those involved with the Raiders’ defense. The team invested heavily in the defense this offseason, but the unit doesn’t seem to have improved since last year.
Are Paul Guenther’s Days Numbered?
It’s starting to seem like Paul Guenther’s success with the Cincinnati Bengals was more due to Marvin Lewis and Mike Zimmer. Guenther can make excuses about all the key injuries the defense has suffered and how Vontaze Burfict was suspended early in the season. However, there’s no excuse for playing as poorly as they have. Quarterbacks frequently have their best games against the Raiders and wide receivers tear the secondary apart.
Yes, Oakland is missing its two starting safeties, but the cornerback position has remained pretty stagnant throughout the season. Gareon Conley was traded halfway through the season and has improved while playing in Houston. The biggest thing working against Guenther is how poorly the linebackers have been playing. He was a linebackers coach much of his career before becoming a defensive coordinator.
Despite all of the excuses, Guenther seems like he’s a dead man walking at this point. The Raiders invested too much into the defense to play this poorly. Guenther may have some ability as a defensive coach, but it’s clear that he’s not the right fit for this current team. If Gardner Minshew and the Jacksonville Jaguars light up the defense, Guenther could be on his way out next week.
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Gruden Defends Derek Carr, Holds Himself Accountable
The defense is the source of many of the team’s problems, but the offense isn’t blameless in all this. Jon Gruden and Derek Carr can’t seem to figure out how to sustain success for four quarters. The Raiders offense played very well in the first half of the Titans game. The second half was the complete opposite. Carr couldn’t get anything going and Gruden’s playcalling was lackluster at best. The head coach acknowledged as much on Monday.
“I’m not saying [Carr] played a perfect game, but he’s playing good football,” he said. “He played one of the best first halves he’s played yesterday since I’ve been here. Unfortunately, we didn’t sustain it. . . I call the plays so I made some mistakes myself. But we have had more moving parts on the offensive line, the backfield and skill positions than any team that I know of.”
The fact of the matter is: Both Carr and Gruden need to do better. Gruden fancies himself an offensive guru and he’s shown that he is at times. That said, the offense has looked completely lifeless over the last several games. Carr and Gruden deserve blame for that. These last three games are pivotal for confidence in the team going forward. While it may seem like the sky is falling, it’s still very possible for this team to finish over .500.