3 Takeaways: Week 2 vs. NYJ

Week 1 thoughts can be found here.

2017’s record prediction and analysis can still be found here, only because I love the abuse.

As I discussed last week (and I’m sure the comments will keep flooding in), that 7-9 record continues to look worse and worse as these early wins stack up.

While I obviously didn’t have the Raiders dropping to the Jets, and the real tests are still ahead, the “floor” for this team is completely different. As long as Oakland continues down this road on defense – and they’ll need consistent play out of key names like Mario Edwards Jr, Bruce Irvin, and Karl Joseph, along with contributions from rookie’s Eddie Vanderdoes and Gareon Conley, to name a couple – this certainly looks and feels more like a 9 or 10 win team, rather than 7 or 8.

With that said, the ceiling will be as high as the defense allows it to be.

Karl’s continued ascent.

The kid was everywhere on Sunday, and his impact was felt through all four quarters.

With the knee injury behind him and a full offseason under his belt, the second year safety is ready to take over. If I wasn’t talking-up Amari Cooper this offseason, or complaining about the defense in it’s entirety, I was singing Karl Joseph’s praises. Sunday versus the Jets, per PFF, the sophomore blitzed six times, had three hurries, and even notched a sack. He ended up forcing and recovering a fumble on his way to filling up the box score.

On a defense currently lacking playmakers, Joseph’s presence cannot be overstated. His potential is as high as anyone’s on this roster, on either side of the ball.

2017 is where the story officially begins. Make no mistake, if this team is looking at a deep post-season run, it’ll be in part due to the game-changing ability we know Karl Joseph can bring to the table.


Sunday was obviously Michael Crabtree’s day. The hat-trick hero was unstoppable against a pedestrian Jets’ secondary. The bigger headline, regardless of opponent or season it seems, is that 15 – not 89 – remains 4’s go-to.

We talked about Amari’s “big plans” for 2017 (or my big hopes, anyway) last week. The red zone looks got me excited. We were well on our way, you guys.

The game plan looked a little different this past weekend at home though.

Cooper’s ever-frustrating up-and-down usage will be a talking point until it’s not. Through two games, the drops appear to be a talking point once more, as well. While none of this necessarily worries me, Amari Cooper’s play is underneath a microscope more so in year three than ever before.

At the end of the day, it’s one of those good problems to have. I obviously can’t help but think what kind of highlights Cooper would produce if he was force-fed the ball ala Julio Jones. However, the way things are built in Oakland, there are just too many weapons and too many ways for this team to hurt you. With the addition of a certain running back, “offensive weapon” Cordarrelle Patterson, and everyone’s favorite “this could really be the year” tight end, Cooper’s campaign to cement himself in the top five may be a little bumpier than originally anticipated.

Step on their throats.

We’ve seemingly watched this Raiders’ team “learn how to win” under head coach Jack Del Rio. That’s a credit to this staff and the front office (with the help of some key faces of the franchise, of course), as the culture shift is there.

The next step for this team, I think, is winning the games you’re supposed to win – and winning them convincingly. It sounds obvious, and it even sounds easy, but that’s where we’re at.

There was a stretch of play at home vs. the Jets where McCown was making things look way too easy. I believe New York marched to 10 unanswered at one point, as the defense failed to get much moving up front. Questionable calls (yes, multiple) aside, there should be no excuse for a team as inept as the Jets to efficiently move the ball. The sacks eventually came, and we saw the players who needed to get involved finally get involved.

Despite the lull for a quarter or so, against arguably the worst team in the league, Oakland skated away rather effortlessly when the final whistle blew. Can this defense keep the high-end play reserved for the top-tier opponents? I hope so. Then again, if players like Gareon Conley and Eddie Vanderdoes keep flashing and come along sooner rather than later, some of the stress inherently disappears.

Last words…

The bad? Yesterday’s officiating. Multiple inexplicably terrible calls completely flipped momentum for what felt like an entire half of play.

The good? Marshawn Lynch danced. It was everything you thought it would be, and more.

The Raiders’ backfield rotation should continue to give opposing defenses fits gong forward. We saw Jalen Richard‘s home run ability once more, while DeAndre Washington flexed working out of the backfield and running for some tough yards himself.

Gareon Conley had a solid debut, especially for a rookie that missed all of Training Camp with a mysterious “shin” alignment. This pass breakup was gorgeous. A cornerback that actually turns his head? Who knew they even existed?

He might really be the best corner on the team already.

Another rookie, linebacker Nicholas Morrow, by way of Division III Greenville College, continues to impress as the snaps grow; at a position of need, nonetheless.

Has McKenzie done it again?

Catch me on Twitter: @StillRyanFive


7 thoughts on “3 Takeaways: Week 2 vs. NYJ

  1. Derek Carr and the O line is too good to win less than 10 games. I say 10 is the baseline, 12 is the top of the mark. This team has the makings of championship caliber club. Of course injuries to any major components could always derail aspirations.

  2. I always thought 8-9 wins was a joke! They have a harder schedule blah blah! Ever year someone gains ground and others fall. The Giants look like crap, the Broncos are overrated even after Dallas soiled the field and the Holy Patriots lost the first game and beat up the weak Saints… let’s all calm down a bit and wait until week 5 or 6 to truely see who the pretenders and contenders are!

    Oakland will finish 10+ wins regardless of commentators saying they barely won close games in 2016… A win is a win. It doesn’t always need to be pretty or a blowout. #Raidernation Just Win Baby!

  3. Haters will be haters. And true RAIDERS will always be Raiders. 2-0 is still 2-0 just enjoy watching them and shut the fu@& up with all the negatives

  4. If you predicted 7-9, you have either:
    A) Zero Football IQ
    B) Not actually researched or cared to pay attention to what the Raiders organization has done and built.
    C) Have an animosity toward the Raiders
    D) Are simply a troglodyte

    And really have no business commenting about sports in general, as an idiot could see – if bothering to actually WATCH the film on any or all OF the Raiders 3 units – the Raiders were clearly a very talented team with legitimate SB aspirations. Really dude! #StickToLawnBowling

  5. I had the Raiders at 11-5 and am sticking with that. 9-7 won’t make the playoffs in the AFC and 10-6 might not there because of how many bad teams there are (Jets, Colts, Browns etc)

    Big game in Washington on SNF – these are the “swing” games we need to win.

  6. Ryan, thanks for your thoughts. I’ve been enjoying the reality you bring to the discussion. For the record I’ve been a Raiders fan since I was 10 when they lost to the Pack in Super Bowl II. Yeah, I’m 39, again, and see things from a bit more experianced eyes than maybe some of your other readers. Our love for our team at times clouds our view and we start to envision that Lumbardi Trophy being handed over to Super Bowl MVP Derck Carr before training camp even begins. With this years schedule and strength of division foes I have our beloved team winning 10+ floor. After walking on air the past two Sundays with those AWESOME WINS, I stick with my perdiction. REALITY CHECK: We still have issues on D and expect our rooks to have their fair share of “teachable” moments as well as a few teams we face that could take advantage of our weak spots. Do I want to see my Raiders go 19-0 this and ever year? Of course, never stop dreaming, even when you reach the ripe old age of 39. GO RAIDERS!

  7. 7-9 was a dumb call. The offense alone is good for 7-8 wins alone. Special teams are good for 2-3 wins. If the defense gets 2 wins this team wins 11 minimum. Ive always completely disregarded strength of schedule. Teams rise and fall every year. Raiders Offense and special teams are top 5, if the defense is merely average its an improvement. Defense also has to be on the field. Raiders Offense is going to chew that clock AND score a crapton of points. That will help a D more than anything.

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