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Darbsk

2018 Raiders - Reasons to be Optimistic

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After the draft was such a roller coaster ride of emotions and the general criticism of our picks and FA moves from the talking heads it got me thinking that in general we have upgraded significantly from last years effort and that we may be much more like the 2016 vintage than the 2017 vintage Raiders. I fully expect us to be in contention for the AFC West this year and to miss the playoffs would be an underachievement I feel: 

Reasons to be Optimistic

1) Better coaching on the defensive side of the ball

It was absolutely clear after our change in DC last year that the D played better and more organised football. Now, it is also true that we played a number of backup QBs and poor offences down the stretch but what is telling is that we did make them look like poor offences which is what decent teams do. We hadn't been doing that previously and backup QBs had been looking like Warren Moon against us. No interceptions until week 11, 12 or whatever it was is criminal. I'm confident we play a scheme and fit that suits our players and we have added guys specifically to suit what we want to do.

2) Pass Rush Improvement

I absolutely love the Hurst pick in the 5th round. We have our premier edge guy in Mack and what looks to be a run defender in Edwards or Carradine on the other side (Carradine I expect to surprise and play a lot as a base end) Ellis in the middle has lost weight and played pretty well last year as the plugger but the big difference I expect is in Guenther's system with Hall and Hurst pegged as 1 gap penetrators and hopefully Vanderdoes improving and coming in healthy after showing flashes last year. The nickel/3rd and long package could also include Arden Key and Irvin plus Joseph (and hopefully Bowman) is an excellent blitzer too.

3) Coverage Scheme

As most of you know, I was higher on Sean Smith around here than most and thought we schemed him into a terrible position last year until we changed DC. Now that he's gone I expect a good, experienced DC to put Conley, Melvin and others in the right spots. Conley I'm really high on after seeing limited but promising action and with an expected increase in pressure I feel we'll see a big difference here. We have options too to cover the TE in Obi and Morrow in particular who played very well down the stretch last year in that role.

4) Offence Scheme/Fit

We simply went backwards last year. Not playing to strengths, wasting talent and making bonehead decisions. Gruden I like as a playcaller and he'll put in the work and scheme effectively and put players in position to use their strengths and hide their weaknesses. We should use Lynch correctly and often and vary our passing game especially with the addition of a deep threat WR in Bryant. I like the variety we've got and Gruden should know how to use them. Carr I feel is a top 10 QB and he will play like it this year, Olsen may be an underrated signing.

Reasons for Concern

1) Offensive Tackle

Penn is still a large question mark and even if he returns he's right on the edge of the cliff of his play falling off. I like Miller as a prospect but don't feel good about him at LT if he's forced into starting there his rookie year. I feel he can be a decent RT this year with a view to moving to LT in the future which I'm sure is the actual plan A. No-one else on the outside fills me with much confidence at all and Carr can get skittish as we have seen which could really impact the whole offensive effort. This could be a real problem and why I've been calling for high OT selections the last couple of drafts before this one.

2) MLB/Captain of the D

At this moment in time we have none that I can see - Bowman is a possibility and I think the best choice so of right now and of course we have Whitehead who can play MLB but has not played well there. If this is again unaddressed prior to kicking off the 1st game we could be liable again to miscommunication, players out of position and everything else that has plagued us over the last few seasons. It seems like a simple fix and one I hope we are just biding time on to drive Bowman's cost down. 

3) Health/Discipline of Draft & FA class

It's great to have all that experience and take risks on players that have fallen but generally they do for a reason.......... it really does us no good if they are all on the physios table or in rehab. A number of guys we've brought in have had injury issues and are getting on in years so this is a legitimate concern. If we stay healthy it could be a great move but just imagine the criticism if a number of these guys end up on IR such as Nelson (either one), Lynch, Cook, Carradine, Melvin. Combine that with a number of guys who have legitimate concerns from the draft such as Key, Hurst, Nelson, Victor, Bryant and a lot can go wrong very quickly................

 

What do you guys feel we can be optimistic about? What should we be concerned about? and are we going to be closer to the 2016 or 2017 Raiders?

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Spot on analysis IMO!

I feel the same way! 

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2 hours ago, SimonGruber said:

http://www.rotoworld.com/headlines/nfl/375868/gruden-has-effectively-replaced-gm-mckenzie?ls=roto:NFL:topheadlines

Dont know where to put this but it’s been clear this where it was heading 

I’m not sold on the Gruden as GM slant, with every year and each different coach Reggie McKenzie has shown flexibility and has catered for their whims. Often drafting and signing players who are at opposite ends of the scheme spectrum (such as Sean Smith and DJ Hayden). With Dennis Allen he drafted ZBS linemen, a zone style CB and added free agents to suit the rebuild. With Del Rio we had a larger pair of DTs in Williams and Ellis which Jack had always had in his teams and in particular for Norton he added Seattle style players in Irvin, Smith, Obi as a Chancellor type player and larger CBs like Smith. I think it shows that Reggie works alongside the Head Coach and Co-ordinations and adjusts his draft board and FA menu to suit what his coaches are asking for.

Gruden obviously has more input and leverage than the other coaches but it looks to me like a meeting of minds.

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12 minutes ago, Darbsk said:

I’m not sold on the Gruden as GM slant, with every year and each different coach Reggie McKenzie has shown flexibility and has catered for their whims. Often drafting and signing players who are at opposite ends of the scheme spectrum (such as Sean Smith and DJ Hayden). With Dennis Allen he drafted ZBS linemen, a zone style CB and added free agents to suit the rebuild. With Del Rio we had a larger pair of DTs in Williams and Ellis which Jack had always had in his teams and in particular for Norton he added Seattle style players in Irvin, Smith, Obi as a Chancellor type player and larger CBs like Smith. I think it shows that Reggie works alongside the Head Coach and Co-ordinations and adjusts his draft board and FA menu to suit what his coaches are asking for.

Gruden obviously has more input and leverage than the other coaches but it looks to me like a meeting of minds.

I agree. I think now its just Gruden who gets final say on some things that were kind of up to Mark Davis before who would mostly just revert to Reggie as he should. It would be wise of Gruden to work well with McKenzie and lean on him. He has delivered on what has been asked of him in the past. Just the wrong things were asked imo. 

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keep it brief

1) Better coaching - I might be in the minority, but I think this team is closer to the 12-4 team and has one of the more talented teams in the NFL

2) Derek Carr healthy- when Carr got hurt, the season was over.. 

3) 2018 draft has the potential to be the best since 2014- POTENTIALLY the p word, we address both TACKLE SPOTS ( Carr injured ruined the last two years), find an edge rusher who could have a been a first rounder, took care of DT spot(weak spot), find a starting corner, 

4) got rid of all the bad characters- Aldon, King, Crabtree ... cleaned out the locker room

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13 hours ago, Darbsk said:

I’m not sold on the Gruden as GM slant, with every year and each different coach Reggie McKenzie has shown flexibility and has catered for their whims. Often drafting and signing players who are at opposite ends of the scheme spectrum (such as Sean Smith and DJ Hayden). With Dennis Allen he drafted ZBS linemen, a zone style CB and added free agents to suit the rebuild. With Del Rio we had a larger pair of DTs in Williams and Ellis which Jack had always had in his teams and in particular for Norton he added Seattle style players in Irvin, Smith, Obi as a Chancellor type player and larger CBs like Smith. I think it shows that Reggie works alongside the Head Coach and Co-ordinations and adjusts his draft board and FA menu to suit what his coaches are asking for.

Gruden obviously has more input and leverage than the other coaches but it looks to me like a meeting of minds.

We will not see the benefit of it before 2020, but 1 reason to be optimistic is that with Grudens 10 year contract we now have stability on the scheme. Which means that there isnt a need for a semi-rebuild the moment we again get a new (head)coach because the zbs lineman or zone style cb's we just added arent a good fit for the new scheme.

As for this season, the main reason for optimism is that our QB isn't injured at the moment, and we have a new DC.

Also, many people seem to forget this because we finished at 6-10, but we were 6-6 at one point during the season. We are not as bad as the stats made it look.

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1 hour ago, Roninho said:

We will not see the benefit of it before 2020, but 1 reason to be optimistic is that with Grudens 10 year contract we now have stability on the scheme. Which means that there isnt a need for a semi-rebuild the moment we again get a new (head)coach because the zbs lineman or zone style cb's we just added arent a good fit for the new scheme.

As for this season, the main reason for optimism is that our QB isn't injured at the moment, and we have a new DC.

Also, many people seem to forget this because we finished at 6-10, but we were 6-6 at one point during the season. We are not as bad as the stats made it look.

This is a very good point, and one I've noted with many franchises when players don't reach expectations. It's amazing how often it happens with the turnover of coaching teams.

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4 hours ago, Humble_Beast said:

keep it brief

1) Better coaching - I might be in the minority, but I think this team is closer to the 12-4 team and has one of the more talented teams in the NFL

2) Derek Carr healthy- when Carr got hurt, the season was over.. 

3) 2018 draft has the potential to be the best since 2014- POTENTIALLY the p word, we address both TACKLE SPOTS ( Carr injured ruined the last two years), find an edge rusher who could have a been a first rounder, took care of DT spot(weak spot), find a starting corner, 

4) got rid of all the bad characters- Aldon, King, Crabtree ... cleaned out the locker room

Agree with the draft.

Even if all of the risker players fail, the Raiders should still have 3 solid above average starters at important positions OT, CB, DT(Nelson, Miller, Hurst)

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I think PJ will end up being the best pick from this draft. Have a feeling about him. I think he will be disruptive in the middle and will be a gym rat. It's a good think that we have 5 young DTs on the team now that all have a new scheme and coaching staff to help them develop. 

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2 hours ago, NightTrainLane said:

I think PJ will end up being the best pick from this draft. Have a feeling about him. I think he will be disruptive in the middle and will be a gym rat. It's a good think that we have 5 young DTs on the team now that all have a new scheme and coaching staff to help them develop. 

I hope you’re right.  I wasn’t very impressed with his North Dakota St tape.  He put up amazing #s at the combine and in his career though so I’m optimistic that some decent coaching will help him figure everything out.

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Posted (edited)

#1 reason to be optimistic:

We aren't the Cleveland Browns.

#2 Reason to be optimistic:

Hue Jackson isn't our coach.

#1 reason to laugh at the notion of needing to be optimistic:

Just Win Baby

Edited by ronjon1990

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6 hours ago, daineraider said:

I hope you’re right.  I wasn’t very impressed with his North Dakota St tape.  He put up amazing #s at the combine and in his career though so I’m optimistic that some decent coaching will help him figure everything out.

I think it's less about "figuring everything out" and more about progressing his game. The traits, desire and attributes are there. Now, like you said, he needs the coaches to help him become a pro.

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