Why the Oakland Raiders are doomed

Jean-Paul Harriette Roar Rookie

By Jean-Paul Harriette, Jean-Paul Harriette is a Roar Rookie

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    There seems to be a prevailing feeling approaching this new NFL season, that the Oakland Raiders are a major contender for taking the Super Bowl.

    This is complete lunacy. Their resurgence back to relevance is encouraging and heartwarming and Derek Carr is one of the most likeable figures in the game. But this franchise is doomed.

    AFC West is without a doubt the most difficult division within the game. Kansas City (12-4), Denver Broncos (9-7) and the new Los Angeles Chargers (5-11) are such formidable opponents.

    Denver are now two seasons removed from Super Bowl 50, with a championship defence still perfectly intact. Trevor Siemian has essentially a rookie year now under his belt (is massively underrated too) and John Elway has made an effort to improve a patchwork offensive line.

    Current division champions Kansas City have been largely able to retain a dominant roster, despite cutting Jeremy Maclin for reasons unknown to me. They will not fall below 10-6.

    Also, the Chargers have probably improved the most out of any of these teams. Desperately unlucky to go 5-11 last year they will challenge for the AFC West.

    With Oakland having to play these teams six times, I can’t see them going above 3-3 when taking into account playing away at notoriously rowdy stadiums (Mile High and Arrowhead in particular).

    If winning the division is the easiest way for a team to make the playoffs, then Oakland can make absolutely no mistakes when facing their western rivals.

    "Oakland Coliseum field from Mt. Davis" Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

    Oakland’s other opponents largely come from the AFC East and NFC East. While the former is a walk in the park (aside from the Patriots), one has to remember that all the other AFC West teams will easily destroy the likes of the Jets, Bills and Dolphins. So even if they go 3-4 here, I think so will Denver and Kansas at least too.

    Then the NFC East is also an extremely challenging division, with the revitalised Cowboys, Eagles and Giants featuring as savage opponents and Washington with a killer offence. No better than 2-4 here.

    This makes capturing a Wild Card harder and harder for the Raiders, whereas teams in the AFC South like the Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans get to play the NFC West, absolute trash like the LA Rams and 49ers.

    Maybe even taking 4-4 record or probably 3-4. The Raiders have been handed one of the most difficult schedules the NFL had to offer right when they were ready to make the next step, or start regularly recording winning seasons.

    For Jack Del Rio’s men to qualify for the playoffs they have to almost certainly win their division. All of the AFC West will have ugly records and 9-7 may even clinch it. A record like that is normally a Wild Card ballpark figure.

    This brings me to their roster, which I am not entirely convinced of either.

    Derek Carr is great, but he is coming off a broken leg. He will need time to repair his poise and we don’t know how badly if this is at all going to physically affect him. Put a brand spanking new $125-million contract on the table and the weight of expectation may result in erratic play or even re-injury.

    If he misses a game at all this season, then again the Raiders are doomed. Wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper look great on paper and are so easy for pundits to praise.

    But when you watch the tape, the former consistently drops easy passes and the latter never seems to show up in big games.

    Cooper’s play particularly suffered in the second half of the season. I think I noticed this after they played the Texans in Mexico, a game he dominated and scored two touchdowns in. Yes, after this performance I never saw him really put the team on his back when they needed a big play.

    He was particularly bad in the Playoffs, when the vengeful Texans beat the living hell out of them. Oakland have also lost some pieces in the secondary, like DJ Hayden, who wasn’t all together great but decent and cornerbacks are a position that really needs consistency year to year in order to establish nice dynasties. One snap of blown or miscommunicated coverage between the safeties and corners can completely change a game.

    So who cares if they signed Marshawn Lynch. The Oakland Raiders are a pretty good football team I won’t argue with you there, but this is just not their year.

    A nice comparison would be last year’s Miami Dolphins, a franchise that took home a 10-6 record despite being stinking waste. They had the luxury of playing the NFC West and it lead to a Wild Card. This year it will be the Titans and the Colts. Denver or Kansas will win the AFC West on the backs of their defence.

    Tyvon Branch of the Oakland Raiders

    (Photo: Jeffrey Beall)

    It’s just not Oakland’s year. Try again next time. 7-9 in my opinion.

    And by the way, viva Las Vegas!

    In the next few years Oakland will lost the majority of it’s diehard fan-base, be unable to resign all key starters (Khalil Mack, Derek Carr, Michael Crabtree, Amari Cooper, Jared Cook, Donald Penn, Kelechi Osmele…maybe a few but not all) and still have to deal with the AFC West and New England Patriots.

    I can see this dream fizzling out in dramatic circumstances. Some time in the future we may all ask ourselves just what happened to this team.

    @Titans = LOSS
    Jets = WIN
    @Redskins = LOSS
    @Broncos = LOSS
    Ravens = WIN
    Chargers = WIN
    Chiefs = LOSS
    @Bills = WIN
    @Dolphins = WIN
    Patriots = LOSS
    Broncos = WIN
    Giants = LOSS
    @Chiefs = LOSS
    Cowboys = LOSS
    Eagles = WIN
    @Chargers = LOSS

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    The Crowd Says (8)

    • June 27th 2017 @ 8:02am
      Jeremy said | June 27th 2017 @ 8:02am | ! Report

      I don’t agree with the record. I believe they could be swept by the chiefs, although they could win their home game. I think the Patriots game is the pats to lose. Only team in The NFC East that could win might be the Cowboys, but jury is out of whether Dak is a flash in the pan or whether he will be a legit QB, by the time they play we should have that answer. I think a sleeper loss could be against the Dolphins. They will sweep the Chargers and most likely the Broncos. Everything else will be a win, unless Carr goes down. I believe their slow starts on offense should go away with Musgraves departure which should also help their defense.

    • June 27th 2017 @ 9:37am
      big ROC said | June 27th 2017 @ 9:37am | ! Report

      You talk about losing DJ Hayden like it’s a bad thing. Replacing Hayden with Gareon Conley is a big upgrade. The Raiders will win another 12 games next season at worst.

      • Roar Rookie

        June 27th 2017 @ 5:02pm
        Jean-Paul Harriette said | June 27th 2017 @ 5:02pm | ! Report

        Still a rookie . Raiders need to try win now with veterans.

        • June 27th 2017 @ 10:28pm
          Howedy said | June 27th 2017 @ 10:28pm | ! Report

          This is the NFL. Defensive rookies drafted in the first round are expected to perform year 1, week1. Especially well-rounded ones like Conley.

    • June 27th 2017 @ 9:38am
      big ROC said | June 27th 2017 @ 9:38am | ! Report

      Oh, and the guy in the picture is Tyvonn Branch. He hasn’t been on the Raiders roster for a couple years.

    • June 27th 2017 @ 12:38pm
      Pyrott said | June 27th 2017 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

      12-4 will be the likely be the record at the end of the season. Why? drafting. Reggie has done an outstanding job building this team through the draft. This is noted by the lack of signings in this years off season. The few signing in free agent market were quality players that will only make the offence better. Combine that with the players drafted in this years draft and you have a better Defence as well. Keep in mind that the Defence last year had more holes than the one the Raiders have this year and we went 12-4 last year. So looks like 12-4 or better this year. As for the other three teams in AFC West they did not upgrade as much as the Raiders did this off seaaon. Once again 12-4 or at the worse 10-6 either way the Raiders will be in the playoffs this year.

    • June 29th 2017 @ 10:36am
      joe said | June 29th 2017 @ 10:36am | ! Report

      I don’t disagree too much with your assessment if only for the fact the makeup of NFL playoff teams varies drastically from year to year.Of the 12 that made the playoffs last season,history says around 5 or 6 on average won’t make it back the following year.
      Oakland has talent & are built to win now.There is no building to win in 2019 or whatever in the NFL.Windows shut very quickly in the NFL for a variety of reasons.
      You can have a great team & it just takes 1 key injury to ruin the season.It happened last year.When Carr went down the Raiders season was basically over.
      If Carr & Mack stay upright & the O-line remains relatively injury free the Raiders have a chance to make playoffs again.
      But thats a lot of “ifs” & history is against them.

    • June 30th 2017 @ 1:44am
      Dan said | June 30th 2017 @ 1:44am | ! Report

      I also don’t disagree too much BUT…

      I think you underestimate the impact of their O-line in games, and the job GM Reggie Mac has done in assembling it.
      Centre, Rodney Hudson, is incredibly under appreciated because his impact can’t always be measured by stats.
      To the left and right of him he has Kelechi Osemele and Gabe Jackson (“the best kept secret in the NFL”). Gabe didn’t allow a single sack and the line as a whole allowed the lowest sacks of all teams last season. Period.
      Left tackle is Donald Penn. Incredible.
      Right tackle is…a big weak spot.
      But still, the line helped the Raiders to the sixth best rushing attack last season and that’s without a great running back all season. Enter Marshawn Lynch.
      You’d have to figure he will reap the benefits of this incredible O-line, and the holes they’ll create – especially if someone like Murray could rush well last season. And the other running back Lynch will be sharing snaps with is getting really good wraps in pre-season..so far.
      Add to that, the Raiders signed new toys for Carr to throw to – Cordarelle Patterson and Jared Cook. So I think this will help mix up the offensive schemes and take the weight off Cooper and Crabtree.
      The Raiders SHOULD have a tremendous offense this season. The question is their defense, especially their Linebackers (or lack of), and that’s why I do agree with your assessment and disagree (somewhat) about all the hype being thrown around the Raiders this season.
      Contrary to your opinion, I think the Chiefs and Broncos won’t be that good this season. The Chiefs for a few reasons which I won’t get into, but check out a season preview of them on WalterFootball.com to see what I mean.
      The Broncos, well, they couldn’t do jack shit against the Raiders O-line last season and I don’t see that magically reversing this season.
      Logically, the Raiders should have troubles against teams that can cripple their offense (unlikely given their O-line) AND capitalise on their defense. Judging by their schedule, I don’t see many teams that will be able to do both these things in a game. But some of their opponents will be able to do one of these things extremely well, so it’ll be interesting to see how they handle the pressure in these games. Will the offense prevail in a shootout when their defense is exposed? Or will the defense rise to the occasion when they come up against a “steel curtain”? I think yes to the former but less confident on the latter.
      I wouldn’t say they’re doomed, but they’re also a bit far from perfect – which is what the hype seems to suggest.
      They also don’t have much postseason experience and experience is the best teacher. If anything they should be great to watch and I hope Beast Mode unleashes this season. Hide your Skittles.

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