So long as the Oakland Raiders keep pace in the AFC by winning games and watching rivals fall, the last seven games have meaning. With that said, the Raiders offense needs to maintain some consistency and executive with the killer instinct of 2016. When the Raiders have an opponent on the ropes, they need the knockout to erase all doubt. Here are a few brutal truths.
Honestly, when Derek Carr holds the ball for too long, panic should immediately settle in. Nothing great usually occurs the longer he possesses the ball. If it’s not the broken leg last year, it’s the broken back this year. Cris Collinsworth compliments Carr for getting rid of the ball just about faster than any other quarterback. If you can count to five and Carr maintains possession: pray and hopes he throws the ball away. Unless it’s fourth down, chances are a receiver in Downing’s offense will not suddenly break free. Get rid of the ball.
Granted, the Raiders offense predicated itself on throwing the ball to various targets. Yet, how many of them own the diverse skillset that Jamize Olawale? Not too long ago, people lauded Marcel Reece for being a valuable weapon. During his Oakland tenure, offenses never used Reece to his full potential. Olawale falls into the same category. Imagine a wheel route with Olawale streaking down the sidelines, creating a mismatch on the perimeter. Olawale sits, while the offense occasionally sputters. The last time Olawale played in Mexico, this happened.
For all of his athleticism, Clive Walford never grabbed hold of the starting tight end job. Looking back at the 2015 Draft, Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie dropped the ball, selecting Walford 68th overall. Names like RB David Johnson (Cardinals), DE Danielle Hunter (Vikings) and WR Jamison Crowder (Washington) magnify this mistake. Now, with Jared Cook settling in, Walford looks to play out the string and move on after next year. However, football being fickle, an injury thrust him back into the spotlight. At this point, will he be ready? To his credit, the Raiders keep Walford active each week. Yet, his three targets and six yards signify the potential end for him in 2018.
Generally speaking, these points may not seem vastly important. However, successful football hinges on the finer points. For the Oakland Raiders, Walford and Olawale’s contribution could only strengthen their offense. Be that as it may, the team seems god with letting them do as little as possible.