With their sights set on a long playoff run, the Las Vegas Raiders have a mammoth problem. Now, thirty other teams that share the same issue. Yet, for the Silver and Black, this feels different. The Raiders’ problem, as it continues to be: The Kansas City Chiefs. For seemingly forever, the team seemingly fails to stand toe-to-toe with their hated rival. Before the Raiders can dream of loftier goals, the roadblock needs demolishing.
For one time, the fanbase, RaiderNation, everyone, please be honest. Derek Carr, although he’s talented, is nowhere near Patrick Mahomes. Can the Raiders win with Carr? Yes, under the right circumstances. If you are a Carr defender and can’t grasp the context, stop reading. If you are rational, take a listen. Derek Carr’s main issue, above all else, resides between his ears. The pressure gets to him, and he completely changes. The fanbase, especially the defenders lost their everloving minds. Now, nothing Kennedy said felt out of line. No one can knock Carr’s physical ability, at all. Gruden and Mayock took away the roster excuses. Between the ears now. In fact, former Raiders; linemen Lincoln Kennedy chimed in.
“Now it’s either put up or shut up. He’s got all the weapons in front of him. He’s got an offensive line, he’s got a run game, he’s got a receiving corps.
Andy Reid built this team with trial-and-error and took a chance on a younger quarterback. Jon Gruden loves his veterans. This approach helps Reid and hurts Gruden. Andy Reid drafted Mahomes in the first. He let Alex Smith play one more year, allowing Mahomes to get ready. Gruden walked in the door, praising Carr, while the simplifying his approach. If Gruden trusts Carr enough, he needs to force the issue of throwing the ball with more confidence.
For all of the potency of the Chiefs’ offense, elements of their defense play directly into the Raiders’ hands. Granted, Chris Jones and Frank Clark present a clear and serious threat, the other aspects upfront do not frighten anyone. Alex Okafor is a solid end, but how will he fare after a steady diet of Josh Jacobs? Meanwhile, the Chiefs do sport an elite safety in Tyrann Mathieu. If Mathieu focuses on Darren Waller, who covers Ruggs, Renfrow, and Williams? The Raiders employ more weapons than the Chiefs counter with corners.
When these teams play, the Raiders defense will not be expected to shut Kansas City down. It’s simply not possible or feasible. With that, the offense needs to stand in there and fight to stay close. Basically, trade punches and hope that the defense can make a few stops. In your mind, picture the greatest round in boxing history as an example of the Raiders mindset.
The Raiders need to christen Las Vegas with an exorcism of previous failures. New city, new stadium, a new era. The Chiefs, via Mahomes’ contract, will hover over the AFC West for a decade. That shouldn’t matter. The Raiders need to attack the Chiefs’ weakness with that need to fight and never bend the knee. The Las Vegas Raiders have no choice but to stay close to the Chiefs, or at least attempt to.