Throughout the 2017 season, nothing succeeded continuously for the Oakland Raiders. However, one theme wove its way into the 2017 Raiders. Like the old saying states, “coaches coach and players play”. For the Raiders, disconnection between the coaches and players translated to on-field performance. With all of the struggles of the Raiders roster, look no further than the coaching staff.
Although he missed four games, Olawale remains a weapon for the offense. However, he currently gathers dust on the sidelines. For some unknown reason, he rarely sees the field. To date, Olawale tallied 75 offensive touches in 2017. When he does see game action, there is no fluidity to his running style. How can you expect anyone to produce with 19 snaps in the last month? If you remember 2016, Olawale acted as a weapon in the passing game. One play stands out is the 75-yard touchdown in Mexico. Olawale in space, versus a linebacker, means an instant mismatch. Yet, Todd Downing keeps Olawale on the sideline.
In addition, remember Michael Robinson and Derrick Coleman? They were Marshawn Lynch’s fullbacks. They cleared holes, caught passes, giving defenses another headache. Truthfully, Olawale is better than either one. Yet, he sees the field in limited action.
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After rewatching Sunday night’s game, I stopped to listen to Cris Collinsworth. He mentioned speaking to Jack Del Rio. Del Rio commented that the locker room culture appeared different this year. Granted, no one reading this knows that to be false. Yet, it feels like Del Rio scapegoating players for subpar performances. Good coaches coach. Great coaches lead. That comment alone could sum up 2017 and Jack del Rio in a nutshell.
Del Rio also fails to mention that this team seems more talented than last year. If you look up and down the roster, this year’s version possesses more athletic ability. If the players improved and the coaches fail to scheme to their strengths, who is to blame? The players did not get rid of Bill Musgrave or retain Norton too long.
Equally important, what type of environment does Del Rio wish to foster? Currently, his cornerstone offensive player assumes heat during press conferences. Yet, Del Rio seemingly skates by, Does he want every player to just own up? Granted, the drops, missed tackles, and blown coverages are the exclusive fault of the players. However, when the coach evades hard questions from local media but will open up to a national host, that is a poor look.
Given these points, the 2017 Raiders arrived at their record honestly. Now, the Raiders coaches do the least with most. Whether the current staff as constituted can turn things around, remains to be seen.