TJ Porecca" />

The Pioneer

Oakland Raiders reeling after bye week

Khalil+Mack+sacks+Kirk+Cousins+in+a+prime+time+game+against+the+Washington+Redskins+on+Sept.+24%2C+2017
Khalil Mack sacks Kirk Cousins in a prime time game against the Washington Redskins on Sept. 24, 2017

Khalil Mack sacks Kirk Cousins in a prime time game against the Washington Redskins on Sept. 24, 2017

PHOTO COURTESY OF KEITH ALLISON/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

PHOTO COURTESY OF KEITH ALLISON/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Khalil Mack sacks Kirk Cousins in a prime time game against the Washington Redskins on Sept. 24, 2017

By TJ Porecca, ASSOCIATE EDITOR

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The Oakland Raiders’ 2018 season is in a downward spiral. Much of the excitement and promise that was abundant in January, when head coach Jon Gruden was hired, has since worn off.
Since Gruden traded Oakland’s best defensive player, Khalil Mack, a week prior to the season, Oakland has a record of 1-5.
On Oct. 22, the Raiders traded receiver Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a 2019 first-round pick. The loss of Cooper means Oakland has one less weapon on an already-struggling offense.
Cooper, 24, surpassed 1,000 yards receiving in two of his four NFL seasons thus far, once in 2015 and again in 2016. In both seasons, Cooper made the NFL pro bowl. In doing so, he became the first Raiders receiver to make the pro bowl since Jerry Rice in 2002. Cooper also was just the fifth receiver in team history to make the pro bowl.
The Raiders’ record indicates that the team is in a rebuilding phase, even if that was not the plan when Gruden signed on prior to this season. Clearly, Gruden felt the need to shake things up after a disappointing start to the season.
Through six weeks, Oakland was outscored by their opponents by 66 points, according to the Associated Press. That is the widest margin in the NFL. Additionally, through six weeks, quarterback Derek Carr led the NFL with 10 turnovers.
These are problems that might appear fixable after a few games, but Oakland is now six games into its season, with only 10 remaining. The poor play is no longer an anomaly — it is a trend.

“Clearly, Gruden felt the need to shake things up after a disappointing start to the season”

To make matters worse, Oakland’s poor play on the field runs parallel to its uncertainty off the field.
Last week, the city of Oakland was preparing a lawsuit against the Raiders, according to NBC Bay Area. The lawsuit could reportedly prompt the Raiders to leave Oakland after this season. It could also seek to keep the “Raiders” team name in Oakland, once the team departs for Las Vegas, according to the report.
Regardless, 2018 was set to be one of the Raiders’ last seasons in Oakland, if not the last. Ownership plans to move to Las Vegas by 2020 and hiring Gruden was partly a way to appease Oakland fans during the final few seasons in the Bay Area.
The reality though is that the Raiders have fallen flat. Oakland is one of three NFL teams with only one win; the San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants are the others. Barring a dramatic turnaround in the final two months of the season, the Raiders will miss the playoffs by a wide margin.
Gruden’s return to Oakland was supposed to be a pivotal moment in the franchise’s history. It was Gruden, fans were told, that would lead the team back to greatness. But so far, the season has consisted of underwhelming performances and uncompetitive losses.
Technically, there is still time for the Raiders to turn their season around. However, the Raiders are in a division with two significantly better teams, the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers, who are 6-1 and 5-2 respectively.
To say Gruden’s return has not gone as planned would be an understatement. But for the 10 games that remain this season, the Raiders will try to save face in what could be their last season in Oakland.

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Oakland Raiders reeling after bye week