The Oakland Raiders suffered an embarrassing loss to the Kansas City Chiefs last week. A seemingly defeated head coach Jack Del Rio didn’t seem like he knew the answers. He insisted that the offense needed to play “Bold.”
Silver and Black QB Derek Carr later said he was going to let it rip because that is what the coaches want. However, I’d push back on Jack Del Rio. How has he or this organization been bold? What example is the team following?
Outside of a few 4th and 1 gambles, when has the coaching staff been bold? Was it bold to fire Ken Norton Jr. after 11 games? He was the sacrificial lamb but he had already had his power compromised by Del Rio and John Pagano. Before Pagano took over, the defense played anything but bold. They were one of the least blitzing teams in the league.
It might have been bold for the Raiders to replace OC Bill Musgrave after he his contract expired. They promoted Todd Downing who never held the title. Downing changed the scheme with more zone blocking and pocket concepts. Is that a bold move or a dumb move?
Was it bold to bring in Marshawn Lynch? Lynch was the hometown heroes of fans. He filled a need at running back.
How about holding onto underperforming players like Reggie Nelson and Sean Smith on defense? Both were supposed to help change the culture of the defense. It is amazing they both find themselves as significant contributors. However, it is an indicator of the talent level on defense. There are hardly any bold playmakers outside of Khalil Mack.
Speaking of the draft, the Raiders have taken some bold gambles. They drafted a corner with off-field incidents and he played well in only two games. Now he is on IR along with our second round pick who needs massive development.
Factor that in with our third round pick in this year’s draft as well as our second and third picks from 2016 and we have a bunch of developmental defensive linemen who might not last in the league. They’ve gotten some flashes from Mario Edwards Jr., Justin Ellis and Denico Autry but they haven’t been dominating enough collectively. Or maybe their coaching hasn’t been bold enough to put them into positions to succeed?
Otherwise, signing Navarro Bowman was a bold move. Except the Raiders were depleted at linebacker which was already the worst position group on the team. Bowman was another no-brainer since he came from a Bay Area native anyways.
The Raiders boldest moves were giving extensions to Gabe Jackson, Jack Del Rio, Derek Carr and Donald Penn. Penn is aging and appears to be on the decline but he is still a solid player. Carr and Jackson have both proven to be franchise building blocks but both have struggled this year. Del Rio had a great year last year but so did this entire team. It actually appears like the team hasn’t rallied around JDR like they have in the previous years.
Ultimately, the amount of money the Raiders dished out to the aforementioned stakeholders was bold. It was bold because it was largely based off one year of elite play and good play the year before. It’s hard to say it was a worthy gamble considering those stakeholders’ performance this year. Oakland will stick with their investments and that’s pretty bold too.
Thus, the Raiders coaching staff wants the Raiders to play bolder this week but have they been bold? Have they taken risks and let it ripped? It’s arguable that they played it safe by keeping the core of the team together.
Nonetheless, when Oakland did make bold investments and decisions it has rarely paid off. Therefore, don’t blame the players if they play it safe too. Don’t blame them for reinforcing the safe culture established by the coaches.
Don’t get mad at the players for not being bold when you’ve rarely been bold. The coaches need to look themselves in the mirror and ask themselves if they’ve been bold? Because maybe the players are being safe to negative the reckless personnel decisions and safe play calling that has infected the Raiders.