Tonight, as millions settle in and watch the Las Vegas Raiders challenge the Los Angeles Chargers, subplots will unfold. In all honesty, many Thursday night NFL games turn into snoozefests, guaranteed to cure insomnia. Yet, this late-season tilt contains more storylines than any old-school soap opera. If you watch closely, the action on the screen will be enhanced by the action behind the scenes.
If you scan both sidelines, you will see coaches that should not be with their current team next year. No, not Jon Gruden. Despite the failures during his second tenure, the Raiders allowed Gruden the ultimate job security. With that 100 million dollar contract, Gruden will roam the sidelines for as long as he chooses. However, with the firing of Paul Guenther, the Raiders currently new a defensive coordinator. Granted, Rod Marinelli assumed the interim role for the duration of the 2020 season. Yet, how much longer do you see Marinelli wanting to coach. Marinelli looks to complete his forty-seventh consecutive year of coaching. Plus, the Raiders need an infusion of new ideas.
The roster remains a schematic nightmare that only Wes Craven could love. Meanwhile, the entire Chargers coaching staff should update their resumes. Although he sits a mere two games under .500, the Chargers need to either fire his entire staff or scrap the plan with him. Justin Herbert presents the team with a bright future. Decision time.
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Now, we all know that fanbases can irritate or inflame a situation with players. Yet, for the past few months, the Raiders players and fans began very peculiar jousting on social media. From blocking fans for all sorts of criticism to challenging them to fight, this team seems to lack focus. Heading into a win-out scenario, the Raiders need to let their Twitter fingers rest and settle into the playoff drive.
With his strong rookie year, Justin Herbert continues to open eyes across the NFL. Herbert, a wild blend of arm strength, accuracy, and agility will be a factor for years in the division. Provided the Chargers give him adequate playcalling and blocking, he looks the part of a building block. Meanwhile, Derek Carr continues to post solid numbers, but few key wins. Each quarterback will attempt to challenge the defense. The Raiders missing four defensive starters will help Herbert. On the other hand, Carr boasts a better offensive line. Expect vertical passes and big plays.
Honestly, the 4-9 Chargers look like the more composed squad. In the NFL, chemistry and cohesion take precedence over undisciplined talent. With so much at stake, can the Las Vegas Raiders rise to the occasion and continue their march to the playoffs? Tonight could be either a big moment or a shift in the division.