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Are the Raiders the Worst in the NFL? Battle of the Bay, no trades before Halloween and more

I can’t believe I’m happy to say that we competed versus the Indianapolis Colts last week. It’s truth though. Last Sunday was the first week I enjoyed watching the 2018 Raiders.

Their adjustments and talent weren’t great, sure, but I finally saw young players like Gareon Conley and Karl Joseph playing. Were they great? No, but you want to see young talent playing from a rebuilding team.

More importantly, Derek Carr played hard. He didn’t let all the distractions effect him. He looked like he was finally having fun again. That’s a long way from the dude who was ‘crying’ only a few weeks ago.

It was honestly the first time I felt like Gruden’s plan was in the process. I felt the buy-in from the squad even if it didn’t result in a win.

Are the Raiders the worst team in the NFL?

Only two seasons ago we were talking about them being the best and now we’re talking about them being the worst. SMFH.

Either way, the Raiders are among the worst teams in the standings. They look like by-far the worst team in the AFC West. Moreover, they aren’t really set at any position. They’re filled with wholes at the key positions including RB, QB, OL, DL, CB, LB and damn near every position. QB is the only position you could say the Raiders have set but even that depends on how he plays and meshes with his coach moving forward this season. Oh yeah, there is LT too with Kolton Miller and some of the OL depending what happens after this year.

Outside of that, they barely beat the Browns who fired the coach this week. Cleveland has 1.5 wins more than Oakland. They also have already found key players on the d-line, in the backfield, at receiver and in the secondary.

Further, comparisons to sorry teams don’t fall in the Raiders favor either. Buffalo has one more win for Pete’s sake. The Colts also beat us even if they looked like trash in the process.

In the NFC, there’s the Cardinals. Sure, they only have one more win but they have a QB, RB and possibly a WR to build around. There defense was also great not too long ago and still has a lot of players with name recognition.

Even the Giants, who have the same record as the Raiders, appear better. New York at least has a franchise savior at RB and WR. Their defense is grossly overpaid and overhyped but still has more talent than Oakland.

Then you have the 49ers…. Even they have a QB sort of. Jimmy G has a limited sample size of success but don’t tell that to 9ers Stans. They also have key young players throughout the defense that give them a nice nucleus for the future. They’ve also been in the lottery a lot more than some of the other sorry teams this season mentioned earlier.

Battle of the Bay

Well, we will certainly find out this week, tonight, versus the 49ers. Oakland has another toilet bowl on their schedule as both teams enter the game with only one win.

Sure, it’s the battle of the bay and supposed to be a rivalry game but does anyone actually care outside of the bay? Again, who knows.

I’d expect a physical game even if it isn’t a good game. The Raiders should win consider the 49ers are depleted by injury and starting a third string QB whose name I can’t even recall.

On the other hand, a loss here would be horrible for the Raiders. If you win one game this season it better be versus the 49ers. Moreover, we all know who wins the fight after and the drinking battle before, #RaiderNation.

No trades at the deadline

Apparently, the Raiders biggest trades already happened. We all know the squad already moved franchise cornerstones Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack but they were expected to keep making trades anyways. Derek Carr, Karl Joseph, Gareon Conley and others were rumored to get moved. It made sense if the Raiders were going all-in for tanking. Besides, one team’s trash is another persons treasure.

However, nothing happened and it is okay. I don’t know if I could have stomached another trade. It is a little disappointing that guys like Rodney Hudson, Bruce Irvin and Kelechi Osemele are stuck playing for a sorry team this late into their career. However, they’re all compensated well and professionals. It will be interesting to see how they and other veterans factor into the Raiders plans after this season.

Nonetheless, I’m sure Oakland tried to move those players. They just couldn’t find good value and figured they’d be better off saving those chips and letting them play out. Who knows, maybe young guys Karl Joseph and Gareon Conley can turn their careers around and get Gruden to believe in them.

Ultimately, a team can only take so much change. The Raiders couldn’t afford to make another deal just for the sake of it. Their team is another roster move away from being the laughing stock of the league so keeping their talent should’ve always been a priority.

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If you want to win bring Harbaugh in

Bringing Jim Harbaugh in as coach for the Raiders is one of those things that just makes almost too much sense for it to actually happen.

Many of us fans have heard the anecdote about Al Davis telling Harbaugh he would one day be a Raider despite the owner not signing him as a player. Harbaugh was a Raider as an assistant in the early 2000s and he should come back.

Not only would he not have to leave the Bay Area, where his family loves living, but he embodies a mentality. He got to NFC title games running the ball and having a great defense. Guess what, the Raiders have the pieces in tack to make it happen.

Further, Mark Davis can bring him in as a token to his late great father. Plus the Raiders can throw some money at him, as he is sure to have many suitors in the college and NFL ranks.

Plus, those 49ers were a joke until Harbaugh took the reigns. In Oakland he’ll have one of this decades defensive players Khalil Mack combined with an infusion of youth and veterans in the secondary. The defense is already scheme versatile and could get better with Harbaugh’s recruiting abilities and draft knowledge.

On offense we have a young core centered around Derek Carr. Again, draft picks and a slew of cap space can surround him with better talent.

Hence, the former Stanford coach won’t back down from the challenge just like he didn’t in Stanford or San Fran.

He already wears black every Sunday. He has tremendous respect for Al Davis and the greatness of the Raiders, so make Harbaugh a Raider already.

Either way, it doesn’t take a genius to see Harbaugh to the Raiders makes sense for both side. However egos amongst millionaires has a way of making the common sense seem outlandish so don’t be surprised if it doesn’t happen.

Don’t Sleep on Antonio Smith or Tarrell Brown

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Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie capped off the First week of Free Agency by signing two under the radar Free Agents Tarrell Brown and Antonio Smith. Although neither have the name recognition of Justin Tuck or LaMarr Woodley both could have just a big of an impact on the Raiders Defense.

Brown Comes from just across the Bay as a former 49er. Last season he did not have his best effort as he did not record an interception in 10 starts. However the two seasons before he started every game and recorded a combined 6 interceptions. Playing with the 49ers, Brown has the playoff experience which Raiders young secondary members such as DJ Hayden can learn from. 

Brown may not be a pro-bowler but he has a lot of value as a starter or coveraging the slot. He is an above average tackler and his one of Pro Football Focus’ highly graded corner. He should be able to play the man or zone coverages required of Tarver’s scheme. Best part about this deal is the deal is only one year and worth $3.5 million, meaning their is no long term commitment for either side. 

As for Smith, the former Texan and self-proclaimed ninja brings the defensive line some more versatility. With the Texans he was primarily used as a defensive end lined up in the 5 technique. With the Raiders he will probably be utilized in those sets on some of the versatile schemes utilized by the Raiders. The Pass Rusher will also line-up as a pass rusher in the 3-technique.

Sure Smith is approaching 33 years of age, but he played well for the Texans recording 5 of his 41 career sacks. He is also stout against the run and could be critical in helping Stacey McGee develop along the Raiders Defensive Line rotation. Smith will be a critical element of keeping the defensive line fresh and also being able to mix up fronts and stunts for oppossing offensive lines.

Overall, neither of these guys have much household recognition. Fortunately they continue McKenzie’s trend of adding high leadership and work-ethic players to aid the development of our struggling organization. It is not going to happen overnight so having veterans capable of playing well young players develop is critical. Brown and Smith can both play at a high level and will be critical elements of the defensive rotation regardless of who else is brought in via free agency or draft. The best part about both of these signings is they are relatively cheap and offer low risk to the franchise.

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