The first season for Josh McDaniels in Las Vegas was not an easy one, as the Raiders went 6-11 last year and made some drastic changes in the offseason. The main difference is that the QB is Jimmy Garappolo instead of Derek Carr and Josh Jacobs is on a franchise tag and is NOT happy about it, but I believe there is more trouble on the horizon for this team and it is coming soon.
Head Coach: Josh McDaniels is entering his second season as the Raiders head coach and he does not have an impressive track record either. McDaniels sports a 17-28 record as a head coach. When he was in Denver, he had a mediocre first season before being fired in week 13 of the next year after a 3-9 start, I'm not saying we're going to see the same thing here but I am not very high on his ability to adapt to situations as they happen.
Offensive Coordinator: Mick Lombardi is in his second year of being an offensive coordinator and is on his second QB who throws and plays much differently than his QB last year, there will have to be a lot of adjustments to the system to accommodate Jimmy Garappolo's shortcomings, and Lombardi came from the Patriots as a WR coach in 2020, the Patriots WR core has not been noticeable for quite a few years now, and while personnel has something to do with it, coaches also must be responsible in some way, shape or form. I am ambivalent about his adjustment to the new roster as well as Josh Jacobs not being with the team all pre-season.
Defensive Coordinator: Patrick Graham has the most experience at his position in this group, as he is going on his 5th year of being a DC. Graham has a track record of improving defenses, there is no doubt about it, BUT he has his work cut out for him with a defense that was 26th in scoring defense, 27th in yards/play allowed, 23rd in opponent yards/rush, and 27th in opponent yards/pass attempt. They made some good acquisitions that should help the defense but it is still a worrisome note in the back of my mind that it is hard to turn that kind of defense around this quickly.
Key Additions Key Losses
WR Jakobi Myers QB Derek Carr
CB Brandon Facyson CB Rock Ya-Sin
S Marcus Epps S Duron Harmon
LB Robert Spillane DT Andrew Billings
QB Jimmy Garappolo TE Darren Waller
CB David Long Jr.
EDGE Tyree Wilson (R)
TE Michael Mayer (R)
CB Marcus Peters
Depth Chart Strengths
WR: Davante Adams, Jakobi Myers, Hunter Renfrow, Deandre Carter, Phillip Dorsett, and Tre Tucker (R) is a very strong and deep group of receivers with a clear #1 at the helm with Davante.
DE/EDGE: Maxx Crosby, Chandler Jones, Tyree Wilson (R), and Jordan Willis are capable pass-rushers with a good mix of speed, power and veteran leadership. Wilson is the key here but I believe he will do well being coached by Graham and taught by Crosby and Jones.
CB: Marcus Peters, Duke Shelley, Nate Hobbs, Brandon Facyson, David Long Jr, and Amik Robertson is a deep group that may not have the biggest stars, but some of these guys can really cover.
TE: Austin Hooper and Michael Mayer should be big factors, Jimmy loves throwing to TE's and safety options and both of these guys are great pass-catchers, I think they will do well this year, particularly Mayer.
Depth Chart Weaknesses
OL: Kind of an important part of the game and crazily, even after having a bad OL last year they returned with another bad OL. Parham and Miller are okay at best, the same can be said for Andre James, Alex Bars came from Chicago, the worst line in the league last year, and Jermaine Eluemunor is just not enough at RT. They have a QB that is prone to injuries and they are not going to be able to protect him.
QB: Speaking of Jimmy G, it is a well-known fact that he has injury problems that nag at him every season, so you would think they'd get a decent backup in case he went down right? Wrong. Brian Hoyer is the backup QB and he is just bad, Aiden O'Connell has been good in. the preseason but that's not enough, they didn't prepare themselves for a situation that is likely to become a problem during the season again (although I hope it does not get to that).
MLB: For another year, it seems the Raiders are content with their linebacking core and it doesn't make sense to me. Divine Deablo has some experience but he is not the defensive leader that an MLB needs to be. Behind him are 2 rookies who are very raw and Luke Masterson, who I don't trust there either. A LOT has to go right for this defense to turn into a decent one and I just don't believe Graham can change these guys overnight.
DT: Here is what I will say, Bilal Nichols is very good, but the rest of the DT depth chart is BAD. They will not be able to stop the run with just him holding down the middle and Jerry Tillery is clearly a failed experiment, there are holes on multiple levels of this defense.
Week 1: @ Broncos: LOSS Week 10: vs Jets: LOSS
Week 2: @ Bills: LOSS Week 11: @ Dolphins: LOSS
Week 3: vs. Steelers: WIN Week 12: vs Chiefs: LOSS
Week 4 @ Chargers: LOSS Week 14: vs Vikings: WIN
Week 5 vs. Packers: WIN Week 15: vs Chargers: LOSS
Week 6: vs. Patriots: LOSS Week 16: @ Chiefs: LOSS
Week 7: @ Bears: LOSS Week 17: @ Colts: WIN
Week 8: vs. Lions: LOSS Week 18: vs Broncos: WIN
Week 9: vs Giants: LOSS
FINAL RECORD PREDICTION: 5-12
I do not see a lot of upside for this team and I think this is the year the boat sinks. I think Davante Adams requests a trade mid-season and Josh McDaniels gets fired. it doesn't make sense to me to bring in a QB that can't throw outside the margins to a team that has one of the best outside receivers in the game if not the best. Davante's talent is going to be wasted and he will likely get upset. I also don't expect too much patience to be given to McDaniel, there is too much at stake, the division is too good and his time is ticking, the Davis family is not known for their patience. The good news is that the Raiders may end up in the Caleb Williams sweepstakes, but they won't end up anywhere near the playoffs. The betting market also agrees with me. Originally I was going to place a wager on the UNDER 6.5 wins for LV, but the price is close to -140 and I don't want to pay that juice, clearly the oddsmakers do not believe in the Raiders, I now see why and I agree with them, this is not a good football team and their ceiling is low.