For all intents and purposes, the 2019 season for the Oakland Raiders, as far as the playoffs, appears over. With that said, the Oakland finale loss still stings. In addition, the team must look forward to Las Vegas and the beginning of the newest chapters in team history. To answer these questions, FPC writers Ray Aspuria and Pete Camarillo break down these issues.
As the Raiders transition to Vegas, you see Josh Jacobs becoming more of a leader. What can he teach future draft picks?
Jacobs can teach future neophytes college production and usage doesn’t necessarily dictate NFL future success/failure. Jacobs was an oft-used tailback at Alabama and he’s gone on to become a 1K rusher in his first season in the league. And based off Rich Gannon saying during Sunday’s CBS broadcast Jacobs called out the team after the loss against Jets, he can teach draftees about accountability and speaking up for yourself, even though you’re a newcomer.
Jacobs still needs another year or so before he can really be leaned on as a leader. He still has a whole offseason program he needs to learn and get through. The first lesson he needs to learn himself is preserving his body and shoulder. If the Raiders want to be a playoff team it can’t be a situation where he is day-to-day or gametime decision every week as it has been the past few weeks. Thus, he needs to get that right, 100 percent. Otherwise, he just has to continue being himself and leading by example. He needs to prove he can get that shoulder right and continue growing his game before he worries about leading his teammates.
What three things surprised you about the Jaguars’ loss?
I can’t say anything really surprised me. I was saying all year, even when Jacksonville and Tennessee were struggling, that this could be tough trap games to close out the Coliseum. Moreover, the Raiders had the same tragic flaws they had all season. Their defensive line couldn’t strike fear into an offense lacking their No. 1 receiver with a rookie backup QB. The offensive line played well in spots but also gave up a big plays.
The quarterback looked good in spots but other times his decision making was underwhelming. Receivers outside of Waller were unreliable at best. The lack of big plays in big moments continues to be a problem. Officiating was bad too. Most of all this team continues to not make halftime adjustments. Specifically the offense, we need some scoring out of halftime. The Raiders are who they are at this point, a young team outside the playoffs, and it is not really surprising at all.
Daniel Carlson shanking back-to-back field goals. A running into the kicker penalty put him five yards closer and he still missed. That’s disconcerting.
Nevin Lawson getting as many snaps as he did. Did you see how badly he got turned inside out and toasted all game? It was irresponsible of the Raiders to allow such garbage to stay on the field that long. Turns out, there was garbage on the field during the game and after (fans throwing stuff onto field).
No end arounds or jets sweeps with Rico Gafford. The Raiders need a spark on offense as teams simply focus on Darren Waller in the second half. Why not use Gafford’s 4.22 speed at any point?
The Raiders are all but eliminated. What can they learn over the last two games?
We can continue to get concrete evidence the Raiders defense is a Hoover vacuum — it can suck and blow all at the same time, that’s for sure. Another thing we can continue to learn is how impressive rookie Maxx Crosby has been this season as a pass rusher and run stopper. What I’d like to see happen is Isaiah Johnson getting snaps at corner with Lawson relegated to special teams. If the Raiders defense is going to suck as a whole, why not get another rookie valuable snaps and playing time instead of a veteran corner who won’t make it to Las Vegas anyway?
Even with the Playoffs gone for everyone involved, you can’t afford to lose to division opponents. That’s the first lesson. Period.
Next, the secondary and receivers got a lot to prove. I think the linebackers and running backs not named Jacobs have all proven they probably aren’t worth taking to Vegas. The secondary on the other hand, has been fair in spots. This is a good opportunity for Lamarcus Joyner to prove he can be the Leader and back end player worthy of the free agency hype he brought last season. Other veterans like Nevin Lawson, Curtis Riley, Daryl Worley and Erik Harris are all playing for jobs too. They have all proven they can play in this league but they got two games left to prove that they can start and consistently perform for a decent team in Vegas or elsewhere.
While the offseason awaits, the Oakland Raiders still need to compete in the last two games.