As we all know, the Oakland Raiders have not met expectations. After Week 3, the Raiders stand in last place in the AFC West. With a 0-3 standing record, things look bleak.
As Sunday’s home game against the Cleveland Browns approaches, many cannot help but remain skeptical. With the weeks, flying by, time grows short. The last time the Raiders began a season 0-3 was 2014. As a result, the Raiders finished that season 3-13.
Although the Mack trade dominated conversation, Coach Gruden did make some notable upgrades. First, the cornerbacks remain a source of hope. In previous seasons, our cornerbacks appeared somewhat mediocre. What the Raiders searched for is explosive, elusive, agile, speed, and awareness. If you watch the game closely, you would know how vital corners are.
With Gareon Conley back in action, fans begin to see why the team drafted him in last year’s first round. In three games, Conley tallied eight combined tackles, six total tackles, two assists, and two passes defended. Moreover, Conley looks eager for game action and shows it on the field. In the video, you can see how he started to improve. The Raiders should not expect anything less than a strong season.
In the mix with youngsters, veterans Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Leon Hall, entering their 11th and 12th season. Initial reactions to picking up veteran CBs felt disappointing. However but seeing them on the field they have been proving their game. Hall and Rodgers-Cromartie have been making plays and carrying their weight.
Whom I am most impressed with thus far is Rashaan Melvin. Entering his 6th season, Melvin brings sticky coverage and a fearless approach. To see his first interception against the Denver Broncos was breathtaking. If Melvin continues to play with that quick athleticism, aggressive, and talent he will continue to improve and the team will greatly benefit.
The cornerbacks for the 2018 season show grit and seem very promising this year. The Raiders struggled with Sean Smith and David Amerson, always a step late and in awful position to break on the ball. It just was not fun to watch. Jon Gruden really honed in on improving the cornerback squad, I am even impressed with those we have on the practice squad. From preseason footage, even the backups showed they had something to offer. If the Raiders can ever generate a meaningful pass rush, the corners will turn those tackles into deflections and picks.