It’s been weeks since Henry Ruggs was released by the Las Vegas Raiders due to his involvement in a fatal car crash that killed 23-year-old Tina O. Tintor and her dog. The team was just getting over the fallout of losing head coach Jon Gruden and then were struck with a much more serious blow when the Ruggs news dropped. The team has now lost two straight games since the wide receiver was released and the offense looks like a shell of its former self.
Raiders players like Derek Carr and Darren Waller have dismissed the notion that all the drama and tragedy surrounding the organization has led to poor play. However, it has likely played a big factor as to why the team is struggling. Raiders Hall of Fame wide receiver Tim Brown dealt with the loss of a teammate back in 1989 when defensive back Stacey Toran died in a car accident a month before the season. The circumstances aren’t exactly the same but Brown has experience being on a team struck with tragedy.
He took to Twitter to express that though the Raiders players say “they are OK,” they actually aren’t. He believes it takes time for players to heal from these types of circumstances.
The Raiders started off the 1989 season 1-3 following the death of Toran. They finished the season with an 8-8 record despite the rough start. Things are looking bleak for Las Vegas right now but the season is far from over.
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Can Raiders Get Back on Track?
After Gruden resigned, the Raiders played their best two games of the season with dominant wins over the Denver Broncos and Philadelphia Eagles. While those aren’t elite teams, they are still tough. However, the fallout from losing Ruggs has been much different. The team has lost to a bad New York Giants team and was blown out by a Kansas City Chiefs team that hasn’t been impressive this season.
Considering the Raiders fell apart in the back half of each of the last two seasons, it’s hard to buy into the idea that they can get back on track. Until they prove otherwise, there’s no reason to trust that they can get into the playoffs this season.
Derek Carr Still Believes in Raiders
In many ways, this season will fall on quarterback Derek Carr. He’s going to have to will this team to some wins. He looked like an MVP candidate through seven games but has looked like a bad-to-average quarterback in the last two games. Despite the ugly losses, Carr is still confident in his team.
“I think we’re just a better team, honestly,” Carr said Sunday. “Now, that doesn’t result in wins. I’ve been on teams that are really talented that underperformed. So, I just really believe in our group. It’s a close group. In football, you got to be tight and you got to do it together. The things that we messed up today (are) so correctable. I think that’s what gives me (the feeling), ‘Oh yeah, we can do it.’ It wasn’t like we’re just outmanned. I really believe that this group is just different just being around them. I’m around them every day. This is a different group.”
The Raiders also said last season that they weren’t going to falter down the stretch but they did. The team really needs to show some heart against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday or the season could get out of hand quickly.