Raiders Are Establishing A New Level Of Dysfunction

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Jon Gruden

The Cleveland Browns used to be the NFL standard for dysfunction. Now under former Green Bay Packers personnel exec and Kansas City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey (and half the Packers front office), the Browns seemingly have righted that ship. The Oakland Raiders now appear to be assuming the mantle.

And boy are they doing one hell of a job.

The Raiders gave the Chicago Bears Khalil Mack, arguably the best defensive player in the game, after refusing to give him a contract extension. There were rumors that the Raiders wouldn’t even discuss a new deal with Mack, who held out until the trade. The Bears then made Mack the highest-played defensive player in the game.

Next came news that both receiver Amari Cooper and safety Karl Joseph were available via trade. Both are former first-round picks. They’re first-round picks made by another former Packers personnel exec, Reggie McKenzie.

McKenzie, at least in title, remains the general manager of the Raiders.

Cooper has had his moments, going for more than 1,000 yards in his first two seasons. Then he only had 680 yards last season. Cooper has 280 yards through six games in 2018 with a single touchdown. He is being outperformed by “old man” Jordy Nelson, who has 323 yards and three touchdowns through six games.

Joseph never really worked out as planned. He had 79 tackles and one interception last year. Joseph hasn’t made a start and doesn’t have any tackles in three games played this year.

If you’re thinking the Packers should trade for either of these guys, no they shouldn’t. They already have plenty of receivers. They can potentially get even more by returning either Jake Kumerow or Trevor Davis from injured reserve. And neither of those potential moves even seems probable.

Even though the Packers have issues at safety with Kentrell Brice, they don’t need to take on someone else’s bust right now. Besides, Joseph is a strong safety. The Packers seemingly only employ strong safeties right now. They need a damn free safety.

Next comes word that the Raiders are shopping cornerback Gareon Conley. This guy was the Raiders first-round pick LAST YEAR. Conley has started all season for the Raiders. Most of the other starts have gone to Rashaan Melvin. However, if you believe PFF, they are both being outperformed by a couple of old men. Grades for the Raiders regular corners through six weeks.

  1. Leon Hall (12th season in the league): 67.4
  2. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (11th): 67.0
  3. Conley (2nd): 58.9
  4. Melvin: (8th): 56.3

Only in the past two weeks did the Raiders start giving third-year cornerback Daryl Worley heavy snaps. He has a 62.0 grade.

Conley deserves more of a chance, whether in Oakland or elsewhere, but the Packers are stacked at corner. Like Cooper, they don’t need the guy. It’s also extremely stupid to trade a first-round pick not even two seasons into his career. Your compensation isn’t going to be anywhere near that first-round level. So why not try to coach him up?

Apparently, that isn’t what Jon Gruden is interested in doing.

No one around the league seems to know who is running the Raiders at the moment. Is it McKenzie or is it Gruden?

Gruden was handed a 10-year, $100 million deal prior to the season. You would assume he’s the guy. But there appears to be no clear power structure.

What’s underneath that stupid-ass bowl cut of yours Mark Davis? A matryoshka doll? Perhaps we’ll get to the smallest one and figure out, hell, there’s nothing in here.

Ian Rapoport has now suggested that other executives are making calls to both McKenzie and Gruden about potential trades. That they hope to get a better deal from one after talking to the other.

Also, it is now believed that every player on the Raiders roster is available. How about that?

It seems like this thing could be picked clean.

Where do the Packers need help? Edge rusher, free safety and defensive line depth.

Who is there to like on the Raiders?

Unfortunately, the Raiders play a 4-3 and the Packers play a 3-4, so there’s not really a true outside linebacker type there for the plucking. There is defensive end Bruce Irvin, however.

Irvin has three sacks this season. He had a career-high eight last year. Surely, Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine could find a role for Irvin.

At free safety, you’re looking at Reggie Nelson. He’s a little long in the tooth at age 35, but made the Pro Bowl in both 2015 and 2016. Hard to say if someone like Nelson would be the answer, but the Packers could use another veteran leader in the secondary. They could also use someone who is assignment sure, unlike Kentrell Brice.

We’ll see what happens here. Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst has shown he’s not afraid to make or try to make trades. The Packers were in on Mack, something that never would have been a consideration under Ted Thompson.

As for the Raiders, Chucky is tearing this thing down. The fact that he or the team is suddenly ready to give up on McKenzie’s high draft picks seems to signal an end to McKenzie as the Raiders general manager. It will be no surprise if that happens immediately after the season and Gruden is given full control.

Gruden has publicly denied questions of tanking the season. The NFL beat guys in the know are suggesting he is looking at a two-year rebuild, though.

We know this. The Raiders aren’t winning now. They’re looking at being competitive when they move to Las Vegas, which is still likely two years out. That sucks for guys like Derek Carr, Marshawn Lynch and Jordy Nelson.

It also makes you wonder if Gruden still knows anything about coaching or running a football team.


About The Author

Joseph is a fiction writer when he isn't doing this. In his spare time he likes to do manly things like drink beer and procreate.

14 Comments on "Raiders Are Establishing A New Level Of Dysfunction"

  1. PF4L

    I believe the Raiders are trying to stockpile draft picks and get “Gruden Guys” in there. As far as who is in charge, you answered your own question, the 100 million dollar man. Gruden has 10 years, he didn’t (doesn’t) have to turn the team around in a matter of 6 months. I’m guessing, but it seems to me this season is to figure out who Gruden want’s and doesn’t want. One thing is for damn sure, they best get a better O-line.

    • MJ

      Beat me to the point. Gruden seems to want to play under his own rules, with his own team, gambling on his own success one or two years from now, sacrificing at the very least this season in the process. Carr is a QB, he’ll be around for longer, he “can” wait Nelson and Lynch, not so much, as they are up there in age for their respective positions. If they expected to seriously contend this year, they are screwed. They will have to be content with making some millions and play to the best of their abilities until their contracts are up, forgetting about a second ring.

    • Cheese

      While I at least understand the point of getting “Gruden guys,” just because you draft someone doesn’t mean they’re going to blindly co-operate with you. There’s a thing called having communication skills that go a long way, Johnny.

  2. TyKo Steamboat

    Funny how some of the Jerry’s Kids that call for Mike McCarthy to be fired stutter & stammer when you ask them “replace him with who”? … then they’re all like, “Derp … Well I’d like to see Jon Gruden…Derp”

    Really, Jerry? Because I am not high on Fat Mike like I used to be. I feel like this is his last season. But he is still a more desirable option than about half of the NFL’s current head coaches.

    If you want Fat Mike fired, fine with me. But you had better be ready to find the next great offensive mind that is not a jackass & manages the clock well from the sidelines. Matt Nagy is the next big thing. Mike Shanahan is the next big thing. Sean McVey is the next big thing. Andy Reid & Bill Belichick are all-time stalwarts of course too

    • Larry

      I disagree with your premise that if I want McCarthy gone the onus is on me to name a replacement. I or any other fan do not get paid millions of dollars to make that decision. There are quite a few offensive scheme guys in college with proven success.

  3. PF4L

    Larry is absolutely correct. I shouldn’t even have to explain why (again) so i won’t.

    There are numerous valid reasons why fans would want a new head coach in place of McCarthy. McCarthy supporters that bellow “well, who you would you get to replace him?” is weak and pathetic. I understand there are still some fans that will stand up for McCarthy, But that doesn’t make them right. Kato being another one, but i think he’s seen the light now.

    I have a damn good memory and i recall very staunch supporters of Ted when people begin calling for his head. People like E. Wolf, radio show host Bill Michael’s, both would go off on tyrants belittling anyone who wanted Ted gone. Then a funny thing happened, Ted was removed and all the Ted supporters didn’t say shit, they weren’t talking so loud anymore, except to now acquiescence that they thought it was a good move.

    So at the end of the day, if you have an opinion, if you do your own thinking….bring it on.

    • Ferris

      McCarthy replacements….
      1. John Defilippo…used to work with Pettine. Philly won with Nick Foles he leaves and Eagles can’t win or score
      2. .Jim Harbaugh…won with very little in SF, that team was junk before him and a dumpster fire after him
      3. John Harbaugh…just hope Baltimore fires him and he can change hats

      • MJ

        Jim Harbaugh could be an interesting candidate if you want the team to succeed in the short term. However, keep him a bit too long, and he will exhaust the players. He seemed to me, from an interview with a former player, that he is the type of guy that is always pushing for the next thing to improve and is never satisfied. That drive is OK, but eventually the guys will notice that whatever effort they bring, is never enough to satisfy the coach, which will gradually bring the morale down. Then, you have to bring in someone else to coach and hope for a rebuild. Given that Rodgers does not have too many years, the Jim Harbaugh approach may be be appropriate to have three or four strong shots at a SB, and then straight down to being a mess. There may be less extreme options, but as crazy as it sounds, the above could lead to something soon.

        • PF4L

          The guy who wouldn’t speak to his brother for 6 months after losing the Super Bowl…..no thanks, we have enough crybabies.

  4. Cheese

    I don’t watch NFL games other than the Packers very often, but I caught some of the Chiefs game last night and holy crap was it refreshing to see an offense that can actually move the ball and get into the endzone. The play calling was exciting and guess what? It worked! KC was steam rolling the Bengals. Once upon a time, long long ago, the Packers were able to do the same thing.

  5. Big B

    MM has exceeded his good til date…
    Hue Jackson is abysmal and will be unemployed at year end…
    Cleveland hierarchy is Packercentric so MM may appeal to them based on past success….
    Browns trade for MM, who has a year left on his contract, and can reinvent himself and become Andy Reid 2.0- at least in girth…
    Packers begin a new era with a fresh outlook and coaching staff.
    Fingers crossed.

  6. Kato

    I don’t think McCarthy is an idiot and can succeed in this league. But his offense in Green Bay is dead. It has no life.

    As far as Jon Gruden, always thought he was overrated. That team is so fucked. McKenzie made them a playoff team and Gruden blew it up

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