In football, chemistry remains the most important aspect of any football team. Granted, talent does play. Yet, how things fit together. For the Raiders, the volatile balance of locker room personalities co-existing remains a crucial point of emphasis for anything. Just when we thought the nightmare of 2017 would rest, Mark Davis revisited that season and one point that he feels was the turning point for his franchise. Look, folks, if you don’t like honest assessment, scroll away.
September 24, 2017, Washington DC
Now, we remember this day because of what occurred during the National Anthem. If you do not, here is a refresher. 16-year-old Samantha Rios stepped to the microphone and delivered her rendition of the anthem. The camera pans to both sidelines. Many of the Raiders players are sitting. The visual fills the screen. Now, Lee Smith, and more importantly Derek Carr stood with hands over hearts. Again, other players stood, like Nicholas Morrow. Yet, the image of the entire offensive line sat while the quarterback stood sits on your mind.
From the first moment, Washington jumped all over the Raiders. After starting 2-0 the season began to spiral After Washington pummeled the Raiders, 27-10, the team did not win for another month. Now, the thought that the sitting played a role in the downfall raises concern. More on that later.
After the game and over the ensuing weeks, the notion of the offensive line allowing defenders free shots at Derek Carr sprouted. At first, and for the longest time, I refused to entertain that. These highly-paid linemen would not allow the quarterback to endure too many hits. Reality TV star Miko Grimes blatantly asserted this as fact. I could not see it. That seems so out of hand.
During his tenure in Oakland, former coach Jack Del Rio somewhat kept his political beliefs to himself. Yet, you could see his true thoughts via Twitter. Before we continue, why didn’t the media ask him to ” shut up and coach?” In the ensuing years, after Del Rio’s firing, he used his social media platform to vent these views. Now, that remains his choice. The issue to me? How did he navigate this situation and how did that night cast a cloud over the franchise. The Raiders finished 6-10. Mark Davis fired Del Rio after the season finale.
For the better part of his career, Derek Carr earned his share of critics. From his checkdown tendencies to bland press conferences, people took issue. Now, if you read his social media platform, where his world view resides. Again, that is his choice. Where this becomes Carr’s problem is the optics of him standing, while his lineman sat. You could sense to tension.
In a podcast with The Athletic’s Vic Tafur, Raiders owner Mark Davis opened up:
Yes, the owner of the Raiders confirmed that a Week 3 pregame gesture tanked his teams’ season. This offseason, Mark Davis began finding his voice on social issues. From the outside, it appears as though Davis understands. If you look back, the team never recovered from that night, during that year. While Derek Carr outlasted many of his former teammates, questions about his leadership remain.
The Raiders haven’t finished a winning season since 2016. That game broke the team spirit. With that said, who deserves the blame? Honestly may do, For some fans, they’ll never forgive Derek Carr. Winning may cure that, but right now, that open sore remains unhealed.