#5 Not getting rid of Jon Gruden
Let’s be honest here. Jon Gruden is not working out as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, and everyone knows it. In fact, besides Derek Carr versus Marcus Mariota, whether or not to fire Gruden was the talk of the town. Now, many defended Gruden due to how new the defense he had put together was, but others saw his offseason acquisitions as dead weight on their best day. In all honesty, the defense was one of the worst parts of the team, and Gruden is a big part of that.
He has already proven on multiple occasions that he can’t call a winning play to save his life and ends up getting snuffed out in close games. Furthermore, he gets completely blown out by what should be inferior teams. Think about it! His record speaks for itself over the past three years, and it isn’t something to be proud of.
#4 The defense not making many changes
Can we all take a minute to admit that the Las Vegas Raiders’ defense never seemed to show up when it counted throughout the 2020 season? Sure, they beat the Chiefs by one touchdown and had an impressive victory over the Saints, but those were exceptions to the rule. For those looking for the hard numbers, the Raiders gave up a total of 476 points over the course of the 2020’s season, one of the worst totals in the league. It also shows that the defensive vision of this team is not coming to fruition.
If nothing else, the Raiders don’t seem to be doing too much to change up their current defense, which could leave them with the same problems in 2021. Now, there is a case to be made that the Raiders could end up gelling on defense and overcome their previous season, but what is the impetus of that happening? Seriously though, the Raiders have not made one move so far this offseason that would show any sign of growth on defense.
#3 Lack of offensive weapons
Another big problem with the 2021 Raiders is that they lack offensive weapons to help Derek Carr get his team down the field. The Raiders have Darren Wallner, Joshua Jacobs, and maybe even Nelson Agholor if everything goes well, but they don’t seem to have enough depth at the wide receiver position. Furthermore, they also seem to lack needed depth in the running game, which was also pretty much showcased whenever they had the ball.
Now, Jacobs served as a decent weapon throughout the season and was even one of the best running backs in the league, but he didn’t have anyone to back him up. Agholor was great too, but couldn’t come up clutch on a consistent basis. Then again, Derek Carr wasn’t the most effective passer last season, which only added to the problems. Maybe things will change in 2021, but only if the Raiders make sizable changes to the offense over the offseason.
#2 Joshua Jacobs not having much backup
It’s no secret that Joshua Jacobs is the kind of guy that you can build a team around, but the team just doesn’t seem interested in making the needed changes for success. Of course, a lot of that might have to do with the cap room taken up the Derek Carr, Marcus Mariota, and several defensive weapons that didn’t end up working out.
With that being said, Jacobs can’t run the offense on his own and needs someone backing him up in the run game. Last year that role was filled by Devontae Booker, who scored three touchdowns throughout the season and averaged 4.5 yards per attempt. While those are decent numbers and definitely helped move the chains on more than one occasion, it just wasn’t enough for Jacobs to rely on. Some games they were hot, some games they were just cold, and the Raiders can’t afford to have too many more of those games.
In the end, Jacob’s future with the Raiders will depend on a prosperous run game. Again, this doesn’t mean he isn’t an elite talent that could be the hall of fame worthy one day, but he doesn’t have anyone backing him up.
#1 The Raiders choosing Derek Carr
Believe it or not, The Las Vegas Raiders may have made a big mistake by choosing Derek Carr over Marcus Mariota. While only time will tell if this is true or not, a case could be made for Mariota being the superior Quarterback. Furthermore, the former Heisman winner’s ability to find key receivers, and run the ball as a last resort made him pretty effective. Of course, the Raiders would end up losing that game to the Chargers, and Carr would be announced as the starter for the next week’s matchup, but an argument could be made that Mariota performed better.
An argument could also be made that Mariota should have been started in Derek Carr’s place throughout multiple points in the season. Think back to the Raider’s 43-6 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, or their 36-12 loss to the Patriots. Although the whole team played a role in these blowouts, Derek Carr didn’t make things better with his lack of offense. It almost seems like Carr is a consistent Quarterback, but can’t manage to win the games that ultimately matter. Mariota at least looked like he was trying in his game against the Chargers, which is a huge contrast to how Carr conducts himself.
In the end, the biggest question heading into the 2021 season will be whether the Raiders made the right choice at the Quarterback position and it’s pretty hard to tell at this point. Not only is that evident by how lackluster of a performance that Carr gave at times, but also due to how Mariota dazzled in his lone start of the season. Unfortunately for Mariota, everyone seems to just want to remember his interception in that game and not the fact that he had a stellar game. He even notched on two touchdowns for good measure. Really makes you wonder if the Raiders made the right choice or not.