Through the first 10 games, it really did look like the Las Vegas Raiders had turned a corner. They were 6-3 and had marquee wins over good Saints, Browns and Chiefs teams. They had a tough loss to Kansas City to drop them to 6-4 but looked really good in the process.
Well, the wheels have completely fallen off since that loss. On Sunday, the Raiders got blown out by the Indianapolis Colts and their record has dropped to 7-6. Their chances at making the playoffs don’t look great. They’ve lost three of four games and should’ve lost last week, as well. The defense is a disaster and is among the worst the Raiders have ever had. The offense has looked elite at times but they’re just not good enough yet to carry such a bad defense. Quarterback Derek Carr was devastated after the Colts loss.
“It breaks your heart, you lose a game like that, it breaks your heart … it is what it is. You can’t get it back,” Carr said.
Carr played really well all game despite throwing two interceptions. Outside of the loss to the Atlanta Falcons, he’s been really good for the team this year. If the Raiders don’t make the playoffs, it’s pretty safe to say that Carr will still be the quarterback next year.
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Raiders Defense Historically Bad
It’s starting to sound repetitive but the Raiders’ defense is really bad. It’s been that way for years and it’s only getting worse. According to Josh Dubow, the team has given up 40 or more points in a game nine times since Jon Gruden returned in 2018. It took them the nine seasons before Gruden returned to do that.
They’ve also allowed the third-most points through 13 games in franchise history.
The Raiders have thrown money and draft picks at the defense and it’s not working. Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther is clearly in over his head but Gruden doesn’t want to do anything about it. At a certain point, owner Mark Davis or general manager Mike Mayock are going to have to step in and force Gruden to fire his friend.
Gruden Talks Defensive Struggles
Gruden deserves a lot of credit for building a good offense. They move the ball well and Carr is playing the best football of his career. However, the defensive struggles are inexcusable. Everybody knows that Gruden doesn’t focus on the defense but he’s the head coach. He’s responsible for the defense and he’s the one who hired Guenther. He called out the defense after the game.
“It wasn’t good enough today. Defensively, we had no answer,” Gruden said.
This is far from the first time Gruden has put his defense on blast but he doesn’t ever make big changes. What the Raiders are doing isn’t working. This team should be playoff-bound right now. The defense is holding them back from taking the next step. The Raiders tried spending money to fix the group but it clearly hasn’t worked. It’s time to reboot the thing and get a fresh face in at defensive coordinator.