Stop me if you have heard this before under the Jon Gruden regime. Another week, another heartbreaking loss for the Las Vegas Raiders. Las Vegas has now dropped two consecutive games after starting the season 3-0. From the distractions outside of the organization to the poor play on the field, this has been a rough two-week stretch for the Raiders. Despite what you may believe, a lot of the struggles start with Derek Carr.
Derek Carr Struggles as Raiders Drop Second Consecutive Game
It is now safe to say that Carr’s stint as the MVP frontrunner is officially over. He has regressed as a deep-ball passer over the last two weeks. In both games against the Los Angeles Chargers and the Chicago Bears, Carr has overthrown his receivers down the field. In the Raiders’ two losses thus far, Carr has been held under 250 yards passing. Even with the other pieces on offense not always clicking, there is no excuse for Carr’s recent poor play. Yes, the offensive line’s performance has been subpar, but Derek Carr has done more with less in the past. For whatever reason, it just feels like nothing comes easy on the offensive side of the ball.
Not all of the offensive struggles against the Bears should be placed on Carr alone. Both Bryan Edwards and Darren Waller had some uncharacteristic drops against Chicago. Dropped passes are drive-killers and this was especially the case in the loss to the Bears. In particular, Edwards dropped a pass that would have been a gain of almost 60 yards. It is possible that the lack of focus can be attributed to the current drama surrounding Jon Gruden. The drops are a huge issue, but not something expected to persist throughout the season.
Run Defense Non-Existent
It has come to the point where the opposing team’s running back is a must-start in fantasy football. Whether it be scheme or lack of talent in the middle, the Raiders run defense has been atrocious. The defensive tackles constantly get bullied on rushing downs. Because of this, the linebackers are not getting clear lanes to the running back. A lot of cap space is being spent on players like Nick Kwiatkoski and Cory Littleton. Las Vegas needs so much more out of these players especially. This ties back to a much deeper issue in the organization, but that is a topic for another day.
Need a Quick Turn Around
What a change two weeks can make. The Raiders were flying high after starting the season 3-0. They have come crashing back to reality since and are now playing closer to how people initially expected them to. The offensive line struggles, coupled with the ineffectiveness on short-yardage downs, is glaring. Jon Gruden needs to be much more creative in his offensive play-calling. Gus Bradley needs to solve the issues with the run defense. The Raiders have to travel for a game against the Denver Broncos next weekend. It feels premature to declare this as a must-win game, but that may be the case. The Raiders can absolutely not lose this upcoming game to their division rival. If they do, then it will officially be time to put a fork in Jon Gruden’s regime.
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