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4 hours ago, ronjon1990 said:

We were 6-4 last year with 2 rookie DE's, bad DT, and bad LB play, Burfict, Abram, and Joseph on IR, and Williams missing 2 games. 

That we're 6-4 with a clearly better offense and a supposedly "upgraded" defense isn't particularly convincing of anything considering the roster moves and investments. 

Of the 14 2019 FA's, only Incognito (out), Brown (barely plays), Joyner (misused), and Tyrell Williams (out), and Nevin Lawson remain. Of the 14, 5 were on D. We then used 5 picks on D in the first 129 picks. Ferrell has been meh, Abram has been up and down with injuries and penalties, Mullen and Crosby have been money, and Johnson has been alright. 

We went 6-4 with that, despite Abram, Burfict, and Joseph not playing. 

Fast forward to 2020, our FA class consisted of 13 players with 8 being on D. Littleton has been hampered by the scheme, Kwit was hurt, Nassib is depth, Heath is finally playing, and Collins is trash. The other 3 didn't make the team. On offense, Mariota has been a waste, Ags has been money, Whitten is motivation and veteran guidance, and neither Kush nor O'Leary are here. 8/13 with only 1 making a truly positive impact for the bulk of the games (Agholor) while Kwit was injured but is a nice piece.

Then in the draft, we essentially got Ruggs and Arnette. The rest are either gone, not playing, or so far down the depth chart that their impact is minimal. 

Then there's the blown picks we traded for guys who aren't playing. 

Yet we're 6-4 again....despite what were supposedly marked improvements from draft picks, rookies, and FA's?

Guys who were supposed to improve haven't really, though that's also on the coaches. But we've made a lot of moves that haven't translated to substantially more success than we had last year for the most part, certainly not in the W/L column, so I wouldn't base my evidence of the team being upgraded on that. If anything, we seem more stuck in neutral. 

despite the same record this team is miles better than last year. Last years 6-4 felt a bit flukey and we were exposed once the injuries mounted. This year, weve played the toughest schedule in the league battled injuries and have played the defending champs as well as anyone has in the league, if not better. Weve also been able to withstand more injuries due to our added depth. Last year we fell apart after 6-4, this year i believe were barely getting our footing. After Sunday Night, i think this team truly believes they can beat anyone in the league and are ready to take off. 

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4 hours ago, ronjon1990 said:

We were 6-4 last year with 2 rookie DE's, bad DT, and bad LB play, Burfict, Abram, and Joseph on IR, and Williams missing 2 games. 

That we're 6-4 with a clearly better offense and a supposedly "upgraded" defense isn't particularly convincing of anything considering the roster moves and investments. 

Of the 14 2019 FA's, only Incognito (out), Brown (barely plays), Joyner (misused), and Tyrell Williams (out), and Nevin Lawson remain. Of the 14, 5 were on D. We then used 5 picks on D in the first 129 picks. Ferrell has been meh, Abram has been up and down with injuries and penalties, Mullen and Crosby have been money, and Johnson has been alright. 

We went 6-4 with that, despite Abram, Burfict, and Joseph not playing. 

Fast forward to 2020, our FA class consisted of 13 players with 8 being on D. Littleton has been hampered by the scheme, Kwit was hurt, Nassib is depth, Heath is finally playing, and Collins is trash. The other 3 didn't make the team. On offense, Mariota has been a waste, Ags has been money, Whitten is motivation and veteran guidance, and neither Kush nor O'Leary are here. 8/13 with only 1 making a truly positive impact for the bulk of the games (Agholor) while Kwit was injured but is a nice piece.

Then in the draft, we essentially got Ruggs and Arnette. The rest are either gone, not playing, or so far down the depth chart that their impact is minimal. 

Then there's the blown picks we traded for guys who aren't playing. 

Yet we're 6-4 again....despite what were supposedly marked improvements from draft picks, rookies, and FA's?

Guys who were supposed to improve haven't really, though that's also on the coaches. But we've made a lot of moves that haven't translated to substantially more success than we had last year for the most part, certainly not in the W/L column, so I wouldn't base my evidence of the team being upgraded on that. If anything, we seem more stuck in neutral. 

6-4 record totally not created equal. 

Last year we went 6-4 winning games against the Broncos (finished 7-9), Colts (finished 7-9), Bears (finished 8-8), Lions (finished 3-12-1), Chargers (finished 5-11), Benglas (finished 2-14). Also got blown out by Vikings, Chiefs, and Packers... With a point differential through 10 games of minus 22. 

Compare that to this season... Beat the Panthers (4-7), Saints (8-2), Chiefs (9-1), Browns (7-3), Broncos (4-6), Chargers (3-7). With one legit blowout loss to the Buccaneers and another semi blowout loss to the Patriots. Call it a total blowout if you want. Point still stands. With a point differential of plus 10. 

Not to mention last season that 6-4 record came with playing only 4 games on the road. Going 1-3 in those games. Really 2-3 through 5 if you count the London win over the Bears. With 5 games on the road through 10 games this season. And a 4-1 record. We had one game last season where we won by more than 7 points through the first 10 games (Colts), we already have 4 such wins this season of 8 or more against 3 teams with a winning record no less, two of which are consistent playoff teams and one being the current defending super bowl champs (4 wins of 8 or more being against the Saints, Chiefs, Browns and Broncos).

This team is clearly much improved over last year. Even if the records are the same. We've played a tougher schedule in terms of opponents, we've also played more road games, been more successful on the road, and been far more competitive on a weekly basis, even against the upper tier teams in the NFL. And some of those wins have been dominant by NFL standards when you consider most games are decided by a TD or less. We're clearly a better team because we play better on the road (something good teams do), we don't have a streak of losses and blowouts, and we have actually put some teams away handily by NFL standars including playoff caliber teams. Any one of the wins against teams with winning records this season would have been our best win all of last season, especially through 10 games. Yet we have multiple this year. 

The records may be the same. The situations the records came from are not. And the teams are not equal. This team is clearly a better team. And if you line up the 2020 Raiders against the 2019 Raiders I think this years version wins quite easily. 

Edited by Mr Raider
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I would argue that while every draft pick and free agent signing hasn't panned out, this team is improved substantially over last year in some crucial elements. QB play is improved from solid/good to downright great through 10 games, the OL has been better, the running game has been about the same but the big key with the running game being improved is we found a more reliable, dependable second back to take some of the burden off Jacobs, WR is improved Nelson has been better than any WR last year IMO, Ruggs has made a big impact in a game or two, Renfrow is a little better especially when talking about rookie Renfrow to start his rookie season, the DL play is about the same as last season, but LB play is improved just off the basis of KWit because we didn't have a single LB that was nearly as effective as him, corner play is improved because of Mullens development largely, but Johnson has also improved, and I believe our safety play is improved overall. Abrams has been up and down, but last years Safety play was just bad overall, and Heath has made a little bit of an impact, really for being an after thought of a pickup he's contributed nicely. And the biggest key outside of QB play IMO is depth. We have yet to have our entire OL playing together for even a stretch of a game or two and regardless of who's went down the OL has continued to do a good job, especially in pass protection. Bringing guys like Good back, drafting Simpson, the development of Parker to serviceable, bringing in Booker, Aghalor, Lawson, Kwit, Witten, Heath, etc don't get a ton of love because they aren't high profile pickups but they should be something Mayock gets credit for because they made our team deeper. So even if the talent level wasn't raised significantly with their signings/re-signings/drafted they still made the team deeper and make us more able to overcome injuries all teams deal with. How many teams could lose their starting LG, RT, LT, both starting WRs, starting CB, starting SS, starting WLB, starting DE, etc for a game or multiple games with a lot of them being at the same time and still stay as competitive as we have?

Free agency is a crap shoot as much as the draft is, and it's even more risky IMO because the money is bigger. Mayock hasn't had a ton of success with the high priced guys like Littleton but I'd still largely chalk that up to our terrible defensive scheme and it's hard for me to knock him a ton for Brown when he's been downright elite when on the field and we can get out of his deal. I'm not even remotely ready to kill him for his draft picks yet because it's been 1 or 2 years for any of those guys and they all have shown flashes. What he should get a lot of credit for though is finding guys like NA, Booker, Heath, Good, etc because they were bottom of the barrel types most people thought were camp fodder that have came in and made an impact for us. And we can all say Ferrell was a reach or worry about Ruggs lack of production, but I have seen flashes from both guys that tell me while they may not be homeruns they can contribute to a playoff caliber team. And finding guys like Crosby, Mullen, Renfrow, Johnson where they were selected tells me he isn't devoid of an eye for NFL talent. We really need to give it another year or two and 1 see how these guys develop and grow as NFL players, 2 see if his approach to drafting changes now that we have a more well rounded, stable roster where he may roll the dice more on some riskier, higher upside guys, and 3 for the guys on the defense see how much a scheme change can help and how much our current scheme is holding them back. 

The front office isn't without flaws, but after watching 20 years of Raider football, I'm more than willing giving Mayock and Gruden another couple of years. I still can clearly see their vision and plan for this team (and IMO that's maybe the most important thing for a front office), and while both are far from perfect and have missed a lot, that's the nature of the business. What they have done is make us a competitive team. A playoff caliber team. And IMO we're either right on schedule or ahead of schedule for what should have been expected when both men came on board. 

And lastly, perhaps the best move both guys have made is a move they didn't make. Do they get credit at all for believing in Carr? For not rushing to move on? For showing some patience and understanding with him? Because a lot of coaches and GMs would have wanted to start fresh. Get "their" guy. But Mayock and Gruden have built around him instead and have given him every opportunity to prove he's the guy. And it's hard for me to believe that anyone we would habe replaced him with would have played as well as he has this season. That's a move that gets overlooked and a move that gets forgotten if Carr keeps playing like he is, but it was far from the certain move everyone would have made. And it's something both Gruden and Mayock should have put in the good decision box..

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To clarify, I only meant that if the only citable evidence was the W/L record, it's a poor one. 

I do believe we've improved. But I also think Mayock has made a lot of bonehead moves and that much of the on-field success has come as a surprise more than a result of him being savvy- speaking more to the overall quality of our coaching staff (except Guenther, screw that guy). 

Mayock deserves some credit, and he also shoulders some blame for us not being further along. If the best one can cite is a W/L record, that isn't good. It's not like all 6 of our wins have been dominant. I've been vocal that we could easily be 8-2 right now. That's great, but works both ways. Our D is still a huge unacceptable mess, and we're only a handful of plays away from being 3-7. So I don't know that I would rely solely on the win column to guage the roster itself being "upgraded". I just find it a lazy answe, if that makes sense. 

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45 minutes ago, ronjon1990 said:

To clarify, I only meant that if the only citable evidence was the W/L record, it's a poor one. 

I do believe we've improved. But I also think Mayock has made a lot of bonehead moves and that much of the on-field success has come as a surprise more than a result of him being savvy- speaking more to the overall quality of our coaching staff (except Guenther, screw that guy). 

Mayock deserves some credit, and he also shoulders some blame for us not being further along. If the best one can cite is a W/L record, that isn't good. It's not like all 6 of our wins have been dominant. I've been vocal that we could easily be 8-2 right now. That's great, but works both ways. Our D is still a huge unacceptable mess, and we're only a handful of plays away from being 3-7. So I don't know that I would rely solely on the win column to guage the roster itself being "upgraded". I just find it a lazy answe, if that makes sense. 

I mean I agree win loss record isn't the end all when it comes to judging individual moves. But Mayock has been here for a year and a half. And when he took over the entire roster was virtually a mess. The offensive line had regressed in a bad way, we had no talent at RB, nothing at WR, Waller was on the roster but was a total unkown so our TE was nothing but potential, Mack had been shipped off so we had nothing on the DL, not a single decent player at LB, no corner worthy of being a starter at CB or at Safety. And since Mayock has came on board we have a pro bowl RB and a solid #2 that is keeping us from having to run Jacobs into the ground, Waller has developed into all pro worthy, our OL even while being ravished by injuries is still one of the best in the league, we are getting a pretty consistent production from our wideouts including a cast off afterthought and a 5th round 2nd year slot guy, while having 2 high upside rookies that aren't being relied on a ton, we found a 4th round DE that through a year and a half has 16 NFL sacks but has his flaws as well, we found a backup Lb from Chicago that has been our best LB in a while, a SS that is playing in his 11th NFL game that has shown a lot of good while also looking like a guy playing in his first full NFL season. 

I'm not sure I agree with the idea that we could or should be further along. I mean yeah, if we got a perfect GM maybe, but that is unrealistic. Every GM makes bad decisions, bad signings, bad draft picks. If you look where we are now, and look where we were at just 2 seasons ago, that's a pretty dang good turnaround in a short amount of time. The defense is still atrocious, but I didn't expect the offense and defense to become great or even both good in 2 short years. Especially on a Gruden team where rebuilding the offense was going to be the primary focus. Rome wasn't built in a day. And when you factor in the basis of this rebuild was around shipping out guys that were here before Gruden and building from the ground up around a ton of draft picks it should have always been expected that the entire team wouldn't be a well rounded juggernaut in a year and a half since Mayock being here. The offense is pretty much a finished unit at this point except for development that needs to happen. The defense will be the primary focus on getting up to par from here on out. And we at least have some established role players for the defense with Crosby, Mullen, Kwit, and some high upside rookie or second year players with room to grow. If the defense isn't better next year, as in at least league average then I think this type of discussion becomes more justified. 

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1 hour ago, Mr Raider said:

I mean I agree win loss record isn't the end all when it comes to judging individual moves. But Mayock has been here for a year and a half. And when he took over the entire roster was virtually a mess. The offensive line had regressed in a bad way, we had no talent at RB, nothing at WR, Waller was on the roster but was a total unkown so our TE was nothing but potential, Mack had been shipped off so we had nothing on the DL, not a single decent player at LB, no corner worthy of being a starter at CB or at Safety. And since Mayock has came on board we have a pro bowl RB and a solid #2 that is keeping us from having to run Jacobs into the ground, Waller has developed into all pro worthy, our OL even while being ravished by injuries is still one of the best in the league, we are getting a pretty consistent production from our wideouts including a cast off afterthought and a 5th round 2nd year slot guy, while having 2 high upside rookies that aren't being relied on a ton, we found a 4th round DE that through a year and a half has 16 NFL sacks but has his flaws as well, we found a backup Lb from Chicago that has been our best LB in a while, a SS that is playing in his 11th NFL game that has shown a lot of good while also looking like a guy playing in his first full NFL season. 

I'm not sure I agree with the idea that we could or should be further along. I mean yeah, if we got a perfect GM maybe, but that is unrealistic. Every GM makes bad decisions, bad signings, bad draft picks. If you look where we are now, and look where we were at just 2 seasons ago, that's a pretty dang good turnaround in a short amount of time. The defense is still atrocious, but I didn't expect the offense and defense to become great or even both good in 2 short years. Especially on a Gruden team where rebuilding the offense was going to be the primary focus. Rome wasn't built in a day. And when you factor in the basis of this rebuild was around shipping out guys that were here before Gruden and building from the ground up around a ton of draft picks it should have always been expected that the entire team wouldn't be a well rounded juggernaut in a year and a half since Mayock being here. The offense is pretty much a finished unit at this point except for development that needs to happen. The defense will be the primary focus on getting up to par from here on out. And we at least have some established role players for the defense with Crosby, Mullen, Kwit, and some high upside rookie or second year players with room to grow. If the defense isn't better next year, as in at least league average then I think this type of discussion becomes more justified. 

Totally fair. 

Like I said, I just don't like the "winning cures all" approach so many take. Would the discussion be around an upgraded roster if we were 3-7? Nobody knows, because we aren't. But following the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Reggie was treated like a God by some because we got hot for a split minute...only to wind up in yet another rebuild a mere couple of seasons later.

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6 hours ago, Geezy said:

i think this team truly believes they can beat anyone in the league and are ready to take off. 

Because we can. 

Last year our run game with Jacobs was an excellent surprise. This year the other teams know it's coming and can't stop it at all. Even with back up OL Carr is trusting so he's sticking it out longer and making plays. This season has been about getting monkey's off our backs. Our weapons have gotten injured and we still produce. This is a TEAM and it has many things to be improved upon, but when firing on all cylinders we can keep pace with anybody. Next season it's going to be interesting to see if we try and add difference makers or more cogs to strengthen overall depth and competition. I'd like difference makers but I expect cogs to keep us rolling. Minimal drop off in play if someone goes down instead of a stud who can be taken out by scheme. Damn, I think I just made an argument to keep PG?!? LOL NNNooooo

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35 minutes ago, ronjon1990 said:

Totally fair. 

Like I said, I just don't like the "winning cures all" approach so many take. Would the discussion be around an upgraded roster if we were 3-7? Nobody knows, because we aren't. But following the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Reggie was treated like a God by some because we got hot for a split minute...only to wind up in yet another rebuild a mere couple of seasons later.

Definitely agree with that. The real judge of how well Mayock and Gruden have done will be if we can be competitive and sustain it through multiple years of being a playoff team and continue to get better. That's what good coaches and front offices do. I am by no means saying they have been mistake free or hit a bunch of homeruns. They have whiffed a decent amount, but what they have done through a year and a half of being together is promising in my eyes. We'll see if they can continue to build on jt. Like the previous post mentioned I do hope we are able to land in the draft, free agency, or through player development some real difference makers. Some star power. But my biggest thing has always been a desire to have a front office and coaching staff that have a vision in mind, a plan for exactly what they want and moves made that are in line with said plan and don't contradict it. I can see that with Gruden and Mayock. A young QB that had shown high level play, a hard worker and young enough to get back there, dominant OL, that leads to a dominant run game, and a well oiled short passing game with enough over the top action to keep that open. They've done a great job in that regard thus far. The defensive plan is much more murky, but in fairness I think so little of PG that I'm not sure we can get a real solid read on the talent we do have. That side from coaching to talent is the next thing that needs sorted out and we need to see a clear plan (thus far I think they've been trying to build a young, fast, potentially dominant secondary) and steps to make that a reality. I just never expected both sides to be totally sorted out in this amount of time. 

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On 11/25/2020 at 2:47 AM, Humble_Beast said:

This baked slow af. People nitpicking the smallest thing. Muse a scrub 

I don't think people are 'nitpicking' if you claim that the Raiders faked an injury and the player in question has a subsequent operation for said injury. You are the one making rather outlandish claims so if you want people to agree with you, you need to back it up with something.

I'm genuinely curious if there's any evidence that we faked the injury to stash him as we've used minor injuries previously to IR guys like Marquette King and Marcel Reece if I remember correctly.

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12 hours ago, Mr Raider said:

The front office isn't without flaws, but after watching 20 years of Raider football, I'm more than willing giving Mayock and Gruden another couple of years. I still can clearly see their vision and plan for this team (and IMO that's maybe the most important thing for a front office), and while both are far from perfect and have missed a lot, that's the nature of the business. What they have done is make us a competitive team. A playoff caliber team. And IMO we're either right on schedule or ahead of schedule for what should have been expected when both men came on board

A couple excellent posts @Mr Raiderand I agree entirely with the above. In the recent past it always felt like we were just signing and drafting guys on a whim and not really being specific as to what the vision is, how they fit the schemes etc. 

Now, we might not all like the schemes and vision but at least we are all in the canoe, rowing the same direction. We have a clear plan of attack and are executing it. I was always of the opinion that year 3 should be a minimum of a wild card year and looks like we are on that schedule. We may not like all the decisions, nor should we, but progress is undeniable.

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On ‎11‎/‎24‎/‎2020 at 3:53 PM, Humble_Beast said:

Keep drinking the Mayock kool aid. Myse sucked so bad they faked an injury to redshirt. He’s a classic athlete from a big school. Parker actually played the position. Mayock is a man , and whiffs on some picks. Ferrell and Muse are two, and Muse already in his mid 20s. 

 

On ‎11‎/‎24‎/‎2020 at 8:47 PM, Humble_Beast said:

This baked slow af. People nitpicking the smallest thing. Muse a scrub 

 

20 hours ago, Humble_Beast said:

No . Muse is a scrub , Mayock isn’t perfect. Ferrell was another miss, Gms aren’t perfect 

 

Idiot GIF

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7 hours ago, Darbsk said:

A couple excellent posts @Mr Raiderand I agree entirely with the above. In the recent past it always felt like we were just signing and drafting guys on a whim and not really being specific as to what the vision is, how they fit the schemes etc. 

Now, we might not all like the schemes and vision but at least we are all in the canoe, rowing the same direction. We have a clear plan of attack and are executing it. I was always of the opinion that year 3 should be a minimum of a wild card year and looks like we are on that schedule. We may not like all the decisions, nor should we, but progress is undeniable.

Absolutely. That's been the biggest thing I've picked up on being a Raider fan since the early 2000's (since I was a kid essentially), and watching this team and all the struggles have shaped my strongest belief in terms of NFL team building, having A cohesive plan, a game plan on how a front office is going to attack building the team is the most important aspect of rebuilding a team. Far more important than what the particular plan consists of. There are a bunch of ways you can build a successful NFL team when you focus on the details. The easiest way to stay in a constant rebuild is to have no plan and no vision and make a bunch of random moves that don't align with eachother. We've watched two decades of rebuilds centered around drafting young players high in the draft that were boom or bust while also signing veterans that if they contribute at all will only be able to do it in the immediate future, but at positions and players where the idea clearly wasn't planning on those vets holding the fort down while players develop. So it just became this Frankenstein of a roster that didn't have enough young talent to give us a bright future because of a lack of scouting, development or whatever and and the veterans we had were overpaid and on their last leg and basically used us as a team to get one last payday or whatever. 

I sometimes disagree with specific moves Gruden and Mayock make, even while feeling like I have a good understanding of their vision, that's bound to happen for all of us, and that's totally fine. But I'll live with that as long as there is still a clear path the front office is heading down, a clear vision they are building towards. Every GM and coach will miss, but even their misses have still seemed in service of that clear vision for the team. And that I can live with, as long as they are also hitting enough for us to get better year to year and see the growth we should. 

I thought last season going in we were a team that should have been anywhere from 7-9 to 9-7 and that is exactly the type of team we played like. Finished 7-9 but a couple games easily could have flipped to get us to our ceiling. I had us as one of the first two teams left out of the playoffs and that's also where we landed. Coming into this season I thought based on talent and the growth we should expect top to bottom on the team that we were a 9-7 to 11-5 team. And that's looks to be exactly what we are. I thought we should be a wild card team, but depending on the strength of the conference I could live with a 10 win season and just missing out. Next season I think we should be a team legitimately competing for the division winning 10-12 games. And I think that's obtainable. 

The offensive vision seems to me like it's almost totally complete, save for some added depth every team can always add. We can obviously use a dominant #1 WR but we're seeing right now Grudens scheme and offense can be among the best in the NFL without that. Basically because we commit to dominating the trenches, going through Jacobs, and Waller is basically our version of our #1 because of the importance of the short passing game. And obviously we have a lot of belief in Ruggs and Edwards potential and maybe Mayock finds a good value in another deep class in the second or third round that becomes that. 

The defense is much more questionable in terms of how close we are. And the vision isn't quite as clear. The question is how much of that is an actual lack of vision and how much of it is a bad scheme and less quality coaches developing the players. Like I said, having a tough, fast, physical secondary does seem to be a primary focus for the front office with high draft picks invested in Mullen, Arnette, Abram, and to a lesser extent Robertson, and Johnson being a high ceiling prospect. Plus signing Joyner and playing him in the slot. So clearly the defensive backfield is a high priority to the front office, but a lack of pass rush and a scheme that seems to not take full advantage to their skill sets as more man cover corners has kept that from showing the same type of progress towards the vision for the defense. Lets hope that we can find a consistent high end pass rusher (or Crosby and or Ferrell take a big developmental step) at DE and/or DT and we start to see that heavy investment in the secondary pay dividends. 

Frankly I really hope Gunther leaves at the end of the year. I worry that the vision on offense has been done to such a high level and as long as Gunther is running the defense we're playing a rigged game of the defense taking those same types of steps because he just isn't putting them in positions to succeed like the offensive staff is doing on the other side. Upgrading the defensive scheme should be the next top priority in my eyes and should be if I am reading the plan from the front office correctly. And hopefully an upgraded scheme can get some more out of the guys already here and thus make it that much easier for some hopeful high draft pick investments this offseason and free agent signings to come in and hit the ground running. Plus I have my fingers crossed replacing Gunther can help Littelton get back to the guy we expected when we signed him, and guys like Arnette and Abram to have a huge breakout.

Sorry, got carried away, don't have a lot of people I can talk Raiders with, and I'm sitting here myself having finished my family Thanksgiving and my kids are with their mother. 

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17 minutes ago, Mr Raider said:

The defense is much more questionable in terms of how close we are. And the vision isn't quite as clear. The question is how much of that is an actual lack of vision and how much of it is a bad scheme and less quality coaches developing the players. Like I said, having a tough, fast, physical secondary does seem to be a primary focus for the front office with high draft picks invested in Mullen, Arnette, Abram, and to a lesser extent Robertson, and Johnson being a high ceiling prospect. Plus signing Joyner and playing him in the slot. So clearly the defensive backfield is a high priority to the front office, but a lack of pass rush and a scheme that seems to not take full advantage to their skill sets as more man cover corners has kept that from showing the same type of progress towards the vision for the defense. Lets hope that we can find a consistent high end pass rusher (or Crosby and or Ferrell take a big developmental step) at DE and/or DT and we start to see that heavy investment in the secondary pay dividends. 

Frankly I really hope Gunther leaves at the end of the year. I worry that the vision on offense has been done to such a high level and as long as Gunther is running the defense we're playing a rigged game of the defense taking those same types of steps because he just isn't putting them in positions to succeed like the offensive staff is doing on the other side. Upgrading the defensive scheme should be the next top priority in my eyes and should be if I am reading the plan from the front office correctly. And hopefully an upgraded scheme can get some more out of the guys already here and thus make it that much easier for some hopeful high draft pick investments this offseason and free agent signings to come in and hit the ground running. Plus I have my fingers crossed replacing Gunther can help Littelton get back to the guy we expected when we signed him, and guys like Arnette and Abram to have a huge breakout.

Sorry, got carried away, don't have a lot of people I can talk Raiders with, and I'm sitting here myself having finished my family Thanksgiving and my kids are with their mother. 

Haha, not a problem....... Like reading well thought out, long posts!!!

The D is the puzzling thing for me too. The vision is clear on offense and as you say, has almost been realised but Guenther was hand picked by Gruden so his scheme is clearly what we want and that seems to be a conservative pass rush, primarily relying on the front 4 to generate pressure and dropping guys in coverage. 

A couple things really frustrate me though, for a base front 4 to be effective without many wrinkles we have to rely on individuals winning matchups, yet we traded away the one elite player we had that could do that and are relying on mid round picks and mid tier FAs such as Key, Crosby, Hurst, Collins, Nassib. If we're not going to be fancy then we need studs and that means cost. Also, we are signing and drafting man to man, bump and run style cover CBs and playing them conservatively off and more than occasionally in soft zones. We don't seem to be playing to guys strengths, thus us compounded by playing Joyner out of position and persevering with Collins when others have shown much, much more. The vision on D is misty to say the least. 

What I really want to see is a D that is innovative, tries to create more turnovers, is aggressive and makes the opposition 'beat us' rather than giving up soft yards. It's a bit late this season now for moves but we must pressure the QB more and to hell with the fear of giving up big plays and playing too far off, we're just getting marched on at the moment and that must be deflating. Pressures, 3rd down stops and turnovers is what I'd like us to have a laser-like focus on.

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