After seven games, the Oakland Raiders stand 3-4. With that, you can begin to draw conclusions regarding this team. Now they may not all serve as shocking or earth-shattering, but brutal truths exist regarding this team. If you are objective, you can see some of these.
Give Jon Gruden Playcalling Credit
From the moment of his re-hire, the Raiders, Gruden served as a lightning rod. We will not re-litigate the Cooper/Mack deals and any of that. For this mention, focus strictly on the aggressiveness in the playcalling. While Carr will display timidity at times, you will see more and more plays downfield. If you look at the Colts’ game, look at the end around to Davis, or the flea-flicker to JJ Nelson against the Vikings. Yesterday, Gruden called another excellent game. The Raiders executed on offense. The did enough to win the game.
No room for excuses, I am worried about Clelin Ferrell. From the first snap of the season until now, little improvement exists. He faces single blocking and fails to win. After seven games, the light need to flicker on. However, Ferrell looks like the same player in the preseason. Every AFC West team and most conference powers employ a rabid pass rush. Whether through trades, free agency or the draft, Ferrell does not look like the cornerstone end. Benson Mayowa and Maxx Crosby continue to outplay Ferrell. I don’t want to hear about taking time. The fourth overall pick in the draft should play at a much higher level than a mid round pick and a veteran journeyman, ostensibly signed for depth.
Despite ample reasoning to never hire him, the Raiders struck gold with Tom Cable. With his projected starting lineup playing less than a quarter, Cable managed to keep Derek Carr upright. When Rodney Hudson suffered an injury, Andre James slid into his spot. No one is expecting that level. Yet, he performed well under game condition. Additionally, Kolton Miller, a player that few honestly wanted, continues to make grand strides during his second year. For all of his flaws, Tom Cable molded a successful offensive line, out of young players, vets and role players.
Since the days of Reggie McKenzie, the Raiders failed to address quality linebackers. No one can cover or rush the passer. How many times can you count the number of blown coverages? Either trade for a quality starter or draft one within the first sixty-four picks. The lower-round, UDFA types do not work, Quality and youth are traits the Raiders appear allergic to in linebackers. Vontaze Burfict did what many expected. Tahir Whitehead stops the run, suffers in coverage. Nicholas Morrow possesses the speed, in a short area.