If you could associate a 40 time with how quickly the Raiders folded on Thursday night, it would make John Ross blush. It did not take long for San Francisco to assert its dominance against a truly hapless crew from Oakland. In a 34-3 thrashing on Thursday night, the Raiders could not fight back.
It was a Battle of the Bay, one that NFL schedule makers appeared like a solid head-to-head matchup. One that left many 49ers fans feeling pity for a downtrodden Raider Nation.
Jon Gruden, the much-heralded head coach, threw in the towel on the 2018 Raiders long ago and, in turn, his players have thrown up the white flag on game days — despite denials from player and coach.
Leave it to a veteran to be somewhat real on the record.
“It feels like as a team, we just let things roll and we don’t stand up for anything,” Frostee Rucker said. “If someone makes a play, we don’t really respond well … For whatever reason that is … It’s disheartening.”
“I’m not going to say anything about the effort,” Gruden said. “I know there were some big plays and I thought the guys fought until the end. … But I’ll take a look at the tape.”
It is time for Gruden to provide RaiderNation some form of relief: The Truth. Say on record what the rest of the NFL viewing world is seeing: The Raiders are tanking, there is no hope — only survival — in 2018.
I buy Gruden believing the team would be able to make noise this season. However, as training camp wore on reality set in for the head coach. He did not like what he was seeing. Also, backed by a bulletproof 10-year pact, Gruden initiated the demolition of the Raiders.
What I am not buying is the rhetoric the team has not mailed it in and tries to win.
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“I’ve heard a lot of negativity over the last six or seven months and rightfully so. But we’re going to build a championship football team here and I know a lot of people, as players, as fans, and just in general want to be a part of this,” Gruden said after the loss.
While many bought the notion of a winner in Oakland, it’s crystal clear that plan got delayed. As a result, look for contention in Las Vegas.
Just Sin, Baby.
With eight games left on a lost season, it is about keeping quarterback Derek Carr healthy enough for the move to the desert. Hence telling DC to take a seat and have backup AJ McCarron handoff the ball in the waning moments of Thursday’s embarrassing effort.
Troy Aikman openly called out the Raiders’ will to win. When Oakland simply ran the ball and nonchalantly walked up to the line of scrimmage. Aikman bristled. He, along with broadcast partner Joe Buck, even questioned if Carr remains the QB of the future and not someone like Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert. Quite the valid inquiry considering what Gruden has done with the roster, no?
If the Raiders can’t win a game many see as winnable, what hope is there after all?
The trio of first round picks, you say?
Based on Gruden’s ability to talk say one thing out of the side of his mouth and something completely opposite out the other, can you believe Jon Gruden?
Perhaps, when things shake out, it will be Gruden laughing. As Aikman alluded to during the broadcast, maybe the Khalil Mack and other slew of trades is the beginning of a Raiders renaissance.
Nevertheless, this is not some kind of fairy tale daydream. It is cold and brutal reality.
Moreover, it would be nice if Gruden were real — for a change.