As the Oakland Raiders’ 2019 season comes to a crushing end, we can now officially begin to look towards the draft. But, before we do that, we must dive into the season finale against the Denver Broncos. The Raiders started the season with the same opponent they ended with, the Broncos. To start the season, the Raiders came into the game angry. Yet, to end the season, the Raiders showed up incredibly flat.
This isn’t it.
I have been a primary advocate to keeping Derek Carr around for at least one more season, but today that all changed. Carr has not once appeared to show a must-win mentality in the second half of the season. None of my complaints against Carr are about his skill, he is an incredibly talented quarterback. My complaints are about his mind. Carr used to fight for every possible second to get a throw downfield, but now it almost appears as if the throwaway is Carr’s number two option, even on third and fourth down.
This isn’t it (part two).
Imagine Carr in a Kansas City Chiefs uniform. I know it sounds weird but trust me. Watch him play without the connection of him being a Raider. How confident would you feel about playing against him? I will admit that there is a significant sentimental attachment to Carr. He led us to our best, and only winning season of the decade. It is easy to look at Carr’s stats (391 yards, 1 TD) and witness countless drops and debate that he was not the problem. But multiple drives ended in Carr throwing the ball away on third down. Carr does an impeccable job of faking heart on the field, but when it comes down to it, the desire just is not there.
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Darren Waller, Hunter Renfrow, DeAndre Washington, and Maxx Crosby all showed up today. The silver lining on the season is that the Raiders have incredible building blocks scattered around them that can lead the Las Vegas Raiders to the playoffs at the least. Not only that, but the Raiders can now start building their mock drafts, knowing they will be picking 12 th and 19 th in the first round. Obviously, there is a lot more to be done in the future, but if our 2020 draft is anything like 2019’s, fans are in for a real treat.
It was a fun ride.
This was a wild rollercoaster of a season, but like most rollercoasters, I cannot wait to do it again. Sure, the Raiders have now lost eight straight games in Week 17 and they did miss the playoffs. But, the outlook for the team has to be positive. The Raiders are moving to a new city where they can rebuild their identity. The team is on the verge of something great, and it would be incredible to leave this woeful baggage behind. This game should have been won. All in all, the Broncos did very little to win this game.
Scoring 16 points and allowing almost 400 passing yards has resulted in nothing but losses for the Raiders, but the Broncos seemed to make it work. Even with the terrible Bronco effort, the Raiders came out worse. Blame the refs, blame the weather, blame whatever makes it easier to sleep at night. But in the end, this is a team effort and the losing team did not bring it.