“Mired in mediocrity” is a far cry from the phrase “Commitment to Excellence.” But, that’s exactly what this season has become for the Raiders as they are sitting at a paltry 4-6. Not only do the Raiders not have the “mojo” that they had last year, but it seems as though outside of the leaders on the team, the coaching staff isn’t providing the tools necessary for the team to succeed. There are multiple missteps that have happened recently on a team management level that have led to subpar performances on the field.
The head coach continually deflects blame of the team’s performances, even though the Raiders boast an almost historically bad defense this year. In a recent interview with 95.7 The Game, Del Rio was standoffish saying “it gets better by actually putting in the work” when asked how things are going to get better the rest of this year. The Raiders are the only team in the league without a takeaway as of yet this year as well.
Del Rio isn’t the only one with his fair share of the blame, recently fired defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. said in a recent press conference that he had “some success against Tom Brady” when asked what they were going to do to try to stop the Patriots this last week. For anyone who didn’t watch the game, Brady had an almost perfect passer rating and did whatever he wanted to the defense.
Not only is it that the team is losing, it is in which the way they are losing that makes Raiders fans so frustrated. The offense can’t sustain drives, the receivers can’t hold onto the ball. Jared Cook is the team’s leading receiver as of right now, and Derek Carr is blaming himself for other players’ subpar play. This team needs accountability, starting with the coaches. Phrases like “we lost our mojo” or “we need more intensity in practice” aren’t the answer. The coaching staff can’t or won’t admit that Ken Norton Jr. is not cut out to be an NFL defensive coordinator. The coaching staff gave the offense over to a man in Todd Downing that had never been an offensive coordinator on any level.
Again, accountability starts with management. The Raiders were short on cornerback help going into the game on Sunday against the Patriots. Naturally, they called up one of their practice squad corners that have played the position throughout their college career, right? Wrong. The coaches decided it would be a better idea to start a rookie safety, at a position he hasn’t played, starting in his first game, playing at altitude, against one of the best quarterbacks EVER. Now, Breon Borders might not have fared any better, but at least you can explain yourself if it doesn’t work out more than we decided to throw a safety into a corner slot and guard their best receiver. It’s moves like this that leave you scratching your head wondering, “What are they thinking”?
Until the team has a come to Jesus moment, and stops pretending everything is alright, nothing is going to get better. It makes you wonder what the explanations are to the GM and to Mark Davis. Del Rio can’t be sitting in a meeting saying “we just need to find our mojo and then everything will be ok”. Tony Romo, Rich Gannon, Amy Trask, Bill Romanowski, and many other objective observers can see what the coaches can’t, that this team isn’t the same as last year’s, and it’s everyone’s fault, not just the players.