In Jon Gruden’s first game back at the helm for the Raiders in sixteen seasons, the LA Rams pummeled Oakland 33-13. With the return, Gruden kicked off the next stage with such a painful defeat. Looking at the stats and tape, several points jumped to the forefront.
On the first drive the Raiders mixed run and pass well. After that, the offense looked uninventive and stagnant. Derek Carr did not help matters with his inaccurate and occasionally timid approach. From the outside, Carr appeared to hear ghosts and footsteps. In reality, the Rams only sacked Carr once. Moreover, Carr’s three interceptions sealed Oakland’s fate.
To his credit, Kolton Miller battled. After early trouble, including a holding call, Miller finally settled. On the other side, Donald Penn acquitted himself well at right tackle. Although not always the picture of aesthetics, Penn improved as the game progressed. In contrast, Kelechi Osemele could not handle Aaron Donald. Donald, the dominant Rams lineman, befuddled Osemele all night.
When the league released the schedule, no one had any idea as to what hellacious pass rush the Raiders would see in the first game. With that said, the Raiders failed to get home. After trading Khalil Mack, the talk centered on other players stepping up. In all honesty, no one did. Arden Key uses one basic spin move that routinely failed. Plus, Bruce Irvin looked overwhelmed and lost at end. Granted, he did collect the only sack for the Raiders. However, that lone play was his only contribution the entire evening. Furthermore, the young interior failed to disrupt Jared Goff’s rhythm. Overall, the game showed the lack of quality rush depth for the Raiders.
For the third consecutive year, Brandin Cooks continued to haunt the Raiders. With speed and explosion, Cooks torched the Raiders for five catches and 87 yards. More importantly, he drew penalties for pass interference.
Meanwhile, Reggie Nelson, despite evaporated speed continues to see the field. All evening, Nelson arrived late to the play or not at all. No one is sure why Karl Joseph did not play. In addition, Gareon Conley seemed to shuffle on and off the field. As of now, the Raiders look to have no answer for the vertical passing game.
During his entire tenure with the Raiders, people criticized Jared Cook, However, last night; he showed a glimpse into how he fits into this offense. With nine catches and 180 yards. Cook ran through tackles and fought for every yard. Cook found holes in the defense, making the Rams pay repeatedly.
If someone can find out what became of Derek Carr (29/40. 303 yards), which would be fantastic. Again, Carr looked tentative and hesitant. As a result, the Raiders did not test the Rams downfield and Carr looked too comfortable in checking down.
Additionally, Carr threw three of the most confusing interceptions you will ever see. First, he underthrew Jared Cook in the end zone, when Cook had the size advantage. Next, he threw one down the sideline, right to a Rams’ defender. Lastly, he found a wide-open Marcus Peters for the pick-6. If the Raiders are going anywhere, Derek Carr needs to rediscover what made him successful. The happy feet and inaccuracy will continue to doom this team.
For all the clips and soundbytes, Jon Gruden’s return to Oakland fell flat. With no pass rush and that stagnating offense, the Raiders looked more disjointed than anything else did. While the offense showed sparks, nothing felt consistent. If this game is a harbinger of the season, those first round picks acquired in trade look better. However, in their defense, the Rams are the best team Oakland will see all season. Hopefully, things look up from here.