It has been mentioned that the Las Vegas Raiders have 27 players aged 25 or younger. The quick discovery of this instills hope that this team could see a playoff spot.
Perhaps former defensive coordinator Paul Guenther could not operate in a teaching role with the team. Many described Guenther’s defense as complex at times. While this may benefit a veteran team, the Raiders’ young players need a defensive scheme to accentuate their strengths. Most non-linemen enter their prime around the ages of 24-26.
Las Vegas’ new defensive coordinator, Gus Bradley, appears primed to get this team playing at their full potential. He should have a major say in the team’s draft strategy. The Raiders’ recent defensive draft picks, as a whole, have not lived up to their expectations. As a result, this hurts them.
On the offensive side of the ball, electric rookie wide receiver Henry Ruggs recently graded his inaugural season a less than a favorable mark, while Raiders GM Mike Mayock backed up Ruggs’ grades, announcing his “disappointment with this year’s rookies,” a statement that deserves less attention than it had received. While the Raiders rookies (especially Ruggs) did not match some of their draft class counterparts, it cannot exactly be blamed on Ruggs, as he appeared to do everything he could to get increased targets.
The Raiders are in a frustrating situation as a whole, considering that their record has yet to match their talent level and, at some point, the players cannot be the only ones receiving blame. When everything (on defense) goes as poorly as it did, the blame should be shared equally by players, coaches, and front office members.
A New Day?
It is impressive how Las Vegas can equally instill hope and despair when diving into the team. There are both major positives and negatives with the Raiders, and the outlook of the team is in the eye of the beholder.
Land of Confusion
Coming into the offseason with this much confusion is not a great place to be in, and telling oneself “next year is our year” (and being wrong) this many times is absolutely crushing. The Nelson Agholor locker room reports also do not help, as so much frustration is bound to lead to something explosive, regardless of the amount of truth behind the reports. While other teams keep playing, the Raiders end, typically around the start of the new year. Hopefully, youth can lead them into a deeper run.