Six ways the Raiders’ season could go off the rails in 2017

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Six ways the Raiders’ season could go off the rails in 2017

Postby blazin1 » Sun Aug 27, 2017 5:25 pm

ALAMEDA — Although the training camp portion of the Raiders season was far from smooth, it appears they’ll come out of the exhibition season pretty much intact as the team given at least a puncher’s chance of ending the AFC reign of the New England Patriots.

Late July and August hiccups have turned out to be merely that, from the holdout of left tackle Donald Penn through Gareon Conley’s legal problems and Marshawn Lynch’s decision to sit for the national anthem.

Penn is back in good stead and will be all the fresher for missing those 26 days. Conley is free and clear. As for Lynch, who really expected that signing one of the last true iconoclasts wasn’t going to include a sideshow or two?

As for the “distraction” about the scheduled move to Las Vegas, that is so far in the future it hasn’t been a topic of discussion since July turned to August.

With key players likely getting Thursday off, the focus is on the Tennessee Titans in Nashville on Sept. 10 and the great beyond.

It’s a fact that nothing recedes like success in the NFL.

Six teams that made the playoffs in 2015 didn’t make it back last season, and that includes Super Bowl 50 participants Carolina and Denver. It was four of 12 from 2014 to 2015, five from 2013 to 2014 and five from 2012 to 2013.

If you’re onboard the Raider express and have zero interest in looking at potential pitfalls and trap doors, this isn’t a story for you.

But if you’re the kind of person who sees disaster at every turn, here are six things that could derail their seemingly inevitable ascension in the AFC West:

— A natural correction.

Norv Turner used to say you are what your record says you are — his Raiders teams certainly were — but the Raiders overachieved in a big way to get to 12-4.

The Raiders outscored opponents by 34 points last season, and analytics would suggest they should have been a lot closer to .500 than .750.

— Derek Carr could get hurt again.

Everyone saw what happened when Carr was lost a year ago. The dropoff from Carr to Connor Cook or E.J. Manuel is so precipitous fans will wonder why the Raiders never considered signing Colin Kaepernick.

— Lynch may have passed his expiration date.

Carr is convinced the year off will have Lynch refreshed, rejuvenated and in all his “Beast Mode” glory. And in an extremely small sample size, Lynch has indeed looked like the Marshawn of old rather than an old Marshawn.

The truth is, no one will know until Lynch carries the ball in a regular-season game, and then he has to hold up physically after breaking down in 2015.

It could go either way.

— The schedule is brutal.

The truth is, the Raiders could be a better team than they were in 2016 and still finish out of the playoffs by virtue of better opposition. The Raiders open with three of their first four on the road and close with three of their last four on the road.

Add to that the fact that owner Mark Davis, looking to keep the NFL happy while he pursued Las Vegas, sacrificed a home date against the Patriots, meaning their biggest game of the season is on a neutral site in Mexico City.

— The Kansas City Chiefs have their number.

The Chiefs swept the Raiders last season and through three seasons have rendered Carr ordinary or worse. He got his first win against after an 0-10 start, but is 1-5, completing just 54.4 percent of his passes for 1,215 yards, six touchdowns, five interceptions and an NFL passer rating of 67.3.

Alex Smith over the same span has completed 65 percent of his passes against the Raiders for 1,337 yards, nine touchdowns, three interceptions and a 102.0 rating.

The reason Carr earned a $25 million per year contract has been his steady progress and ability to conquer any challenge. Right now, the Chiefs are his Everest.

— Overall defensive inadequacy.

Hard to see the Raiders holding up against the likes of Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger or even Smith (see above).

Early indications are it’s still Khalil Mack, Bruce Irvin and not much else, with the Raiders giving up yardage and first downs without impunity and no guarantee they can duplicate their plus-16 tunover margin of a year ago.

More concerning than their 0-3 exhibition record is that opposing quarterbacks have compiled a 113.8 passer rating. Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, Jared Goff and Dak Prescott have all looked like Pro Bowlers in the first halves of those games.

Communication and “eye violations” can’t explain away a 76.2 (42 of 55) completion percentage, which is what those quarterbacks racked up against the Raiders.

Conley and Obi Melifonwu may help, but not right away it appears. By the time they’re ready to contribute, the Raiders may be at the quarter pole of the season.

Whether Mario Edwards Jr., Eddie Vanderdoes, Treyvon Hester and Jihad Ward can provide an interior push to complement Mack remains an open question.

Carr brought the Raiders from behind to win in the fourth quarter or overtime seven times. As good as Carr is, he may not do that again in his career.

Trying to duplicate last year’s breakthrough season isn’t nearly enough. It will take a better, more well-rounded team to challenge for a title.

Whether that is in the Raiders’ DNA will begin to play itself out soon enough.

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/08/27/s ... s-in-2017/
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Re: Six ways the Raiders’ season could go off the rails in 2

Postby DeadRinger » Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:25 am

Not a horrible article. Certainly I've made that first point again and again. I have some problems with some of the others though.

"Derek Carr could get hurt again." NO SHIT SHERLOCK! Now go copy and paste that sentence into your analysis of every other fucking football team in the US, and just change the name. I understand wanting to be thorough, but talking about injuries is useless in the extreme - It takes zero thought, no analysis and it's something everyone on the planet knows. He might as well have spent a paragraph telling us how wet the water was that he showered in last night. Douchebag.

I'm not concerned in the slightest about Lynch. He'll do just fine. And backed by Washington and Richard, this is not a problem area. NEXT!

I haven't spent a lot of time perusing the schedule, so I'll take the douchebag's word for it.

I don't believe KC has Carr's number. I think they had Musgrave's number. I think all Carr needs is a little better playbook and a lot better play calling. That said, don't ask me how the fuck we're ever going to stop Kelce. From what I see, it can't be done w our personnel. So, while I do believe Carr can put up points against KC's defense even though they have a monster d-backfield, I still see them sweeping us again this season. But that's no guarantee at all that we'll miss the playoffs. I'll say this: When you go 12-4 and you DON'T win your division, that should tell everyone that you fought your way through a shitstorm. And yes, in this particular case, got lucky time and again along the way.

Defensive inadequacy - YAHTZEE!!! I think there are just a couple pieces that will either make our D shit if they suck or get us at least close to mediocre if they do well and stay on the field. Mario Edwards. Yeah, Mack can beat double-teams. One of the best at it in the league actually. He's a fuckin ferocious beast. But last season I think teams learned how to wear him down early, so he didn't have a ton of gas in the 4th. And that's because there was really nobody else who could get to the QB. Irvin was disruptive but not consistently.

It always makes me kind of sick to my stomach when I see Mack with his hand on the ground. This fucking kid has the best sideline-to-sideline speed of anyone in our front 7. I have NEVER seen a guy so fucking good at wading through trash like a fucking heat-seeker to make plays against the run. THIS is why he's a better football player than Von Miller. Mack's game is as complete as can be, and Miller's is damn near one-dimensional. I wish to GOD we could get Mack back up at OLB. That's where he would have the greatest possible impact for our D. The ONLY guy I can think of to compare Mack to is Derrick Thomas. Except that Mack has about 20 lbs on Derrick and is still just as fast. So, Mack is unique at OLB.

Well, he's a DE for 2017 at least. So we NEED Mario playing like he did late in 2015. AND we NEED Irvin to step up his fucking game. AND we need someone who can call defensive plays worth a shit. We're not going to have a ball hawking backfield, period. So we need to get consistent pressure.

We get those things, we'll do ok. And ok is all we need from our D, as long as they can be ok for all 60 minutes of the game.
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Our draft SUCKED ASS!!! But FA was good to us. Playoff-bound.

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