Over the last two seasons and change, the then-Oakland, now-Las Vegas Raiders have produced consistent mediocrity at best. In the 2018-19 offseason, the organization hired Mike Mayock as general manager and Paul Guenther as defensive coordinator. The Raiders shipped Khalil Mack for impressive draft pick returns.
The move divided RaiderNation as many, like me, never foresaw the Raiders moving on from Mack. Meanwhile, others let their jaws drop at the return the Raiders received for the defensive end. From a front-office standpoint, little broke according to plan since these moves were made. Their highly-touted draft picks became fizzled. Their defense could not trend in any direction but downward.
In 2018, the franchise made moves on players and coaches alike, Derek Carr appeared primed to bounce back from an incredibly disheartening year. Plus, they orchestrated a trade for one of the most electric wide receivers in the NFL. The excitement surrounding the Raiders camp captivated the fanbase. Yet, the Raiders limped into the offseason at 7-9.
Obviously, the wide receiver experiment did not work out, but this predicament may overshadow the real issue of the Raiders’ front office’s questionable moves. Many Raiders fans refer to the 2019 season as the “Antonio Brown” year. In return, they blame the team’s shortcomings on the distractions brought by his antics. However, nothing really went well in 2019. The narrative holds that the Raiders entered the second half of the 2019 season at an impressive 6-4 only to blow it. The team finished the season 7-9. Hard Knocks displayed the dysfunction for the world to see.
Now, with the team missing two of their biggest 2018 storylines (Mack, Guenther), it becomes judgment day for a majority of the Raiders’ defense. The recently drafted players the Raiders have held on to (sorry Gareon Conley) have a chance to prove themselves with a new defensive coordinator and a chance to blame their shortcomings on the last regime, which really is not that bad of an excuse.
All on Management
The front office has traded away stars and drafted disappointing rookies while avoiding a vast majority of the blame. Not saying that Gruden, his coaching staff, and his players do not deserve some flak, but to act as the front office has yet to commit wrongdoing is head-in-the-sand behavior.