A 4-12 season is a huge disappointment for the Raiders in the first year of the second Jon Gruden era. But it’s not all bad. Let’s take a look at what went right, what went wrong and what needs to change in 2019.
What went wrong?
Gruden is unlike any other coach; the Gruden way is a difficult thing to pick up. It will come with time, but what structure will there be to a team when the system sticks remain to be seen.
The trade of Kahlil Mack and Amari Cooper are easily the most perplexing things fans have seen the Raiders do in some time. Sure, they might not have been working for the team at the time, but both have gone on to do good things for their new teams. Fans won’t know how badly these trades affect the Raiders until they use their first-round draft picks in April.
In house fighting, crying, backstabbing, and more in-house fighting will never go down well for any team, let alone a team with their backs to the wall.
When Derek Carr relaxed and played football, they pushed several teams all the way. But those performances were few and far between.
What went right?
The emergence of Richard as a versatile back was a great success for the Silver and Black. He rushed 55 times for 259 yards and had the best average of any player over 10 attempts at 4.71 yards-per-carry. He also caught 68 passes for 607 yards. Despite crossing the paint only once, Richard had a remarkable season.
He is a player to watch in the future.
Tight end Jared Cook, in a contract year, had a career season and will surely be noticed by other NFL teams should he hit free agency. He had 68 receptions for nearly 900 yards at an average of 13.2 with six touchdowns. He was the clear standout for the Raiders this year.
Tahir Whitehead is a tackling machine. He had 126 total tackles placing him in the top 10 of all NFL defenders. A player like this is someone they can build a defense around. Couple him with Marquel Lee who had 68 tackles of his own and you have a good combination going forward.
What needs to change in 2019?
The Raiders have three draft picks in the first round and will need to use those picks wisely to rebuild this team.
They need more receivers. Carr needs playmakers to throw the ball to. It can’t always be about the run game. Most importantly, he needs to be protected. He spends too much time under pressure and can’t get the ball away. Protect the franchise quarterback and let him do what he does best.
It’s not all bad for Raider Nation, but it will take a season or two to get back to being a force in the AFC West again.
They still don’t have a set stadium for 2019. As mentioned, not a lot went right for them in 2018.