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Raiders Sit At 2-7: What Is Going So Horribly Wrong?

The Las Vegas Raiders fell to 2-7 after an absolutely embarrassing showing in a 25-20 loss against first-time head coach Jeff Saturday and the Indianapolis Colts. The Raiders came into this season with high hopes coming off of a year where they went 10-7 and made the playoffs despite a myriad of in-season troubles and turmoil. They went out and traded for one of the best wide receivers in the NFL in Davante Adams, signed defensive end Chandler Jones to a three-year, $51 million deal, and brought in a new head Josh McDaniels from New England. After being poised to challenge for the AFC West crown, the Raiders now have the second-worst record in the NFL. How did we get here?

Raiders Locker Room Seems To Be Fractured

Judging by the emotional post-game press conference by Derek Carr, there appear to be several players that are not getting with the program in Las Vegas. Vinny Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote in a great article that one of those players might be stud tight end, Darren Waller. Waller had been dealing with a hamstring injury since Week Two and has not been on the field since. According to Bonsignore, “The sense is Waller is not demonstrating the necessary fight to get back on the field.” Waller was counted on to be part of a three-headed monster with Adams and resurgent running back Josh Jacobs, but his absence has hurt the Raider attack in a big way. Throw in that Waller signed a fat extension in September, and you have a recipe for resentment.

Another player that might not be holding up his end of the bargain is the aforementioned Chandler Jones. Jones was supposed to be wreaking havoc on opposing offensive lines opposite standout defensive end Maxx Crosby, but that production has yet to materialize. Jones only has 19 total tackles on the year and has only accounted for one-half of a sack. This lack of production after getting the bag from the Raiders most likely has not gone unnoticed by members of that locker room. The fact that Jones does not stick around for interviews is not a good look either.

Raiders Coaching Staff Not Getting It Done

New head coach Josh McDaniels was brought in from New England in the hope that he can improve on a playoff appearance in 2021 with his talent for offensive playcalling. The thought was that McDaniels had learned from his mistakes during his tumultuous tenure with the Denver Broncos and could channel those lessons into what appeared to be a team on the rise. Nine games into his first year in Vegas and some of those same issues are starting to pop up again.

One of the biggest problems McDaniels had in Denver was a fractured locker room, and that issue seems to be rearing its ugly head in Vegas. Regardless of the playcalling, which has led to the 19th-ranked offense in the NFL by total yards, the biggest issue is that there is a disconnect between what McDaniels and his staff are preaching to what the players are doing. The players are the ones that are on the field, so the lack of production falls at their feet to some degree, but the lack of adjustments being made and overall gameplan is in the coaching staff, and they have simply not been good enough.

Raiders Ownership Not Making The Right Decisions

Taking into account the fractured locker room, the inability of the coaching staff to get the most out of their players, and the overall malaise that has fallen over the franchise, the fault ultimately lies with owner Mark Davis. Since 2011 when he took over after the passing of his legendary father, Al Davis, the Raiders franchise has not won a single playoff game, has not won the AFC West, and has finished with a winning record only twice. The Raiders are on their fourth general manager and seventh head coach in that time frame. Owner Mark Davis has been the only thing that has been consistent during his reign as commander-in-chief of the Silver And Black.

At some point, the fault eventually has to lie with the man who is ultimately the final say when it comes to the success of this proud and storied franchise. Nearly everything Davis has tried has failed. Hand-picking Mike Mayock from NFL Network to be his general manager has been decried as a hilariously bad move. All of Mayock’s first-round draft picks are either no longer with the team or had their contracts declined for extensions. The hiring and subsequent ten-year contract for another former talking head Jon Gruden also flamed out spectacularly. Now, he has brought in another controversial head coach, Josh McDaniels, in an experiment that has not gone at all according to plan.

Raiders Need To Take A Long Look In The Mirror

Sitting at 2-7 after having as hyped of an off-season as any team in recent memory is a pain point of significant embarrassment for Raider Nation. This team was supposed to improve on a surprising playoff appearance in 2021 with their big-time additions of Davante Adams, Chandler Jones, and Josh McDaniels. Instead, we are already looking ahead to next year after a catastrophic loss to a Colts team led by a head coach with precisely zero experience coaching in the NFL. There is plenty of blame to go around from the players to the coaches and the owner. Something will have to change because Raider Nation does not deserve what they have been getting.