The Raiders Won on Sunday, But There Are Two Major Issues With the Raiders as we Know Them

The Raiders squeaked out a win on Sunday afternoon and with a 5-3 record they are in good position to make a run at the playoffs.

With a much softer schedule in the second half of the year, there is understandably a lot of optimism around the Raiders chances of making the playoffs. Nevertheless, there are have been two serious caution signs in recent weeks that Jon Gruden would be foolish to ignore moving forward.

Let’s talk about them.

Gruden still doesn’t seem to understand the identity of his team.

For whatever reason, Gruden still seems to think he has a defense that can be counted on to win games. That’s fine and well, but why choose to decide games with your defense when you have one of the most efficient offenses in the league?

Does Gruden want Derek Carr deciding games or Cory Littleton deciding games?

This week, he chose the latter.

On Sunday, Gruden punted the ball on 4th and 2 from the Chargers 42 yard-line. The punt netted only 22 yards. That’s not a knock on punter A.J. Cole, but it is a knock on Gruden. The Chargers marched down the field from their own 18 yard-line and faced only one third down before capping off the drive with an easy 4-yard touchdown throw from Justin Herbert.

This is who the Raiders are.

They have a bad defense that shouldn’t be counted on to win games.

If it wasn’t for second-year cornerback Isaiah Johnson making an incredible play in the endzone on the game’s final play, the Raiders would have gone home losers on Sunday… and they would have deserved it.

If Gruden doesn’t start coaching to the strength of his team, he’s almost certainly going to get burned – and probably when it matters most.

Paul Guenther still hasn’t fixed the defense.

Yes, the Raiders got two sacks on Sunday and that was better than most days, but considering the fact that Herbert dropped back 44 times behind a depleted offensive line, two sacks wasn’t very impressive.

Guenther’s secondary is still missing assignments and Nick Kwiatkoski is the only defensive free agent the Raiders added in the offseason that is playing to expectations.

That has to be a reflection of the defensive coordinator.

Third-and-long situations this year have been a disaster for the defense and Guenther’s play-calling has been as objectionable as ever (to be kind). Too many players don’t seem to understand their responsibilities and somehow it took until week nine for Guenther to realize Isaiah Johnson was a better option at cornerback than the offseason status quo.

Johnson probably saved Guenther’s job on Sunday and while the win was good, it feels like the Raiders are going to have to pay the Pied Piper sooner or later… especially if Gruden’s coaching philosophy doesn’t change overnight.

twitter: @raidersbeat


33 thoughts on “The Raiders Won on Sunday, But There Are Two Major Issues With the Raiders as we Know Them

  1. Too many big plays allowed by the defense we need to rush the quarterback on every signal play if we want to make the playoffs let’s get it together we got lucky sunday it could of went either way

  2. 3rd and 2 bomb averaging 6 ypc knowing you were going to punt if you didn’t make it didn’t help either.

  3. EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE that has read this article, and even those that haven’t, know that what was said here is spot on. SO, what is REALLY going on with the Raiders??? As the saying goes, ” Even Steve Wonder and Ray Charles can see that.” This guy, Jon Gruden, the former tv football analyst with ALL of the answers, surely knows that HIS team can’t go on like this AND that, just as this article says, sooner or later he is going to “…have to pay the Pied Piper.” EVEN Mark Davis has to see what is going on here. What is causing Jon Gruden to be so reluctant to address these concerns properly? Obviously, based on the writer of this article, there are glaring problems with the defense, the defensive coordinator and apparently with the head coach, as well, with fixing the weaknesses of this team. To quote the late, great Richard Pryor, “…How long? How long will this bullshit go on, how long.”

  4. Agree 100% on your assessment of Grudens lack of playing to his teams strength and his blind belief in Guenthers defense. If it weren’t for Mike Mayock being our GM bringing in all these talented players through the draft and free agency, Guenther and Gruden would be in deep doo doo.
    On the last Raiders drive, it was 3rd & 6 but instead of taking a shot to the end zone, Gruden, as usual, called a very conservative 3 yard out which came up short thus settling for a short FG to go up by five. The Chargers sliced through Guenthers defense like Moses parting the Red Sea and the only reason we ended up with the win is because of a flawed catch rule… (Ball caught with control & two feet touching the ground in bounds IS a catch, PERIOD!!! The ground CANNOT cause a fumble so equally the ground CANNOT cause an incomplete!!!)… The NFL will never change the rule back because doing so will admit that they are wrong…which they are countless times, just see TUCK RULE or more recently ask Sean Payton.

    The Raiders players (who will always back their coaches) on talent alone earned five wins this season so far IN SPITE of Guenthers vanilla defense & Grudens skim milk conservative offense not utilizing his offensive players talents to their full potential, e.g. Henry Ruggs, Foster Moreau.

    Grudens blind faith in Guenthers defensive system is mind blowing and very frustrating for Raider Nation and will make Mayocks players watered down for years if nothing changes… and yet, Wade Phillip, a Super Bowl caliber defensive coordinator was available all this time.

    Congratulations to all the players, it’s you guys who deserves all the credit while dealing with questionable coaching.

  5. I agree with your analysis 110 percent. I yelled out this same argument as I watched the game. We see throughout the NFL when some teams have good to really good defenses they take more chances on fourth down, depending on field position. The way the Raiders were running the ball, you would think the Gruden could come up with a good running play and/or play to gain the necessary yardage. This would continue the drive and increase our chances of putting seven on the board which would gives us the needed cushion and put the Chargers in a predictable passing offense to try and get back into the game. Too many times I see our defense make good to great plays on first and second down only to give up a third and long. Inconsistency, lack of communication and not playing team defense is what I see. This puts far too much pressure on our offense to play perfect football. I can keep going, but I won’t.
    Thanks for your article…

  6. I agree, the D isn’t good, the off-season FA’s GM have been a Disappointment to say the least! Gunether still having a job is a shock! His side of the team is lost

  7. I agree, Guenther has similarities to Kenny Norton Jr and should already be done here. But, given Gruden has a chronic malignant case of hardening of the head, it made no difference whether they won or lost to the Chargers. Guenther is here to stay.

  8. Omg get a pass rusher I love mad max but get him some help Please Gruden I’m begging you GO RAIDERS

  9. Gruden will not 🔥 Gunther and it could come back on him And bite him in the *** marinelli should be the DC

  10. Lol Gruden doesn’t know the identity of this team???
    That’s a dumb statement. It’s call diversity. You know who doesn’t know the identity of this team? Opposing defenses. That’s how Gruden wants it.
    They can line up in any formation and beat you in any way.

  11. we cant be the only ones to see this… have to play to your strengths to be a consistent winner. LA is going to go down and score if you don’t make it and their likely to score if you punt it……I think the season will have to collapse before Gruden fires his buddy!

  12. Well the writer of this timely article hit the proverbial nail right on the head. But the Raiders defense is terrible and the defensive coordinator is the reason why. It’s probably too late in the season to change coordinators but if he’s still there next year it will be criminal.

  13. Too be extremely candid
    Paul Guenther should never have been hired in the first place. He was a step and fetch boy for Mike Zimmer. Which makes me question Gruden’s decision making and overall IQ. When you combine the Guenther hiring, The firing of their DL coach in favor of a man in his 70’s who hasn’t really been successful the past few years.
    , the mask/covid debacle/punishment , the AB trade, the very expensive marcus marriota signing, the Lynn Bowden Jr joker that never was mickey mouse bullshit,… Gruden is batting about 200. Gruden might be luckily winning games for now but his BFF Paul Guenther is gonna ruin him.

    Fire Guenther after the season… He is not ready to run a defense on an NFL team. It’s that cut and dry

  14. What about the whole debacle of 24 sec. left before half. If you’re going to throw, and chance an interception or fumble, at least go far down field. Gambling with a measly 7 years pass was stupid on Gruden’s part. Then of course Carr fumbled giving the Chargers an easy 3 pts. at the half. Then yes, what a dumb move punting near the forty when it’s 4th and 2 with the best running back, Jacobs, back there or even Booker whose also running well. Just dumb play calling. I’m a huge Raiders fan, my blk truck is all Raiders and my entire family are die hard fans but they should’ve lost this one for Gruden’s dumb mistakes. He has to be better and so does the non-existent secondary, they’ve always been horrible. 3rd and long for any opposing team is an automatic first down.

  15. Gruden is a 50% win coach.All he does is quick plays.Its all to make Derek Carr look good.Reality is Carr is a sub par qb.Carr should’nt a starting qb in the nfl.If you want to go far RAIDERS get rid of Carr

  16. I think a stronger point needs to be made about the play call that leading to that 4th and 2.

    With the defense unable to stop LA, the Chargers scored on a field goal to make the score 28-20, Raiders. After the ensuing kickoff, the Raiders took over four minutes off the clock and drove 33 yards by running the ball. Then, on 3rd and 2, they attempt a low percentage, 40-yard pass to Ruggs. WHY?!

    The Raiders have the Chargers’ defense on their heels. Run or pass, choose a play that has a better chance of getting a first down. Choose a play that will allow the offense to hold the ball, chew the clock, and possibly score. Choose a play that will keep that poorly ranked defense OFF THE FIELD!

    Nope. No, let’s throw a low percentage deep pass. We’re going to score right here and now.

    If the Raiders lost that game, I would point to that one STUPID play call.

  17. The whole secondary seemed lost on Sunday. A couple times on the last two scores from LA, I watched 3 DB’s drop back and converge on one player total lack of communication. Which turned into big plays for LA. When they stack 3 WR’s left or right, the underneath WR came across and was wide open. Again no communication, just like LV running that sweep with 2 pulling lineman. LV kept getting great yardage from it. At some point you have to communicate with each other. Either they don’t understand there responsibilities or maybe there just not smart football players. Something will have to change because anyone watching film of this game will just to to that all day. I know I would. Regardless of the “softer” schedule remaining you have to play defense to win. I guess I’ll keep running in to see if these guys can get it together.
    P.S. Abram is the only one “I” feel giving 100% out there, pkaying with a lot of heart.

  18. You’re absolutely right I think those two might be in bed with each other I don’t understand it one bit they’ve been horrible for 2 years now and it’s the defensive line no pressure you got to take pressure off the DB it drives me crazy to see his overweight *** standing on the sideline as the defense is getting chewed up because we can’t get pressure on the quarterback if we could just get pressure we’d be unstoppable but it’s score for score and we haven’t held a team besides Cleveland to under 28 points

  19. Totally agree . I thought the same thing. . You put the game away . Also the week before 4 and inches at goal line he kick fg . Didn’t like that c all either .

  20. Hey Mr. Doom and Gloom, get your head out of your *** and quite acting like you know anything about the game of football you Idiot. Number 1, dummy, of you constantly think you can only deppend on you offense to win a game then you a playing scared. Number 2, Idiot, the defense is getting better, it took 3 years and alot of great drafts and free agency squasitions to get where the offense is today. The defense, is flawed but on the end Dummy, it’s only about the W’s, so you pathetic arm chair panzy, go back to basket weaving and quiet writing about a game you know nothing about, Dummy .

    1. What in his article isn’t true? I think everyone who commented on this is a Raider fan. Then there’s you, you bash the guy because you don’t agree with him. I don’t think he misspelled any words or used such poor grammar. Like some people.
      The team as a whole needs to play much better if things are going to happen this year.

  21. The defense has been awful for years. The only difference is that the offense has not turned the ball over like in past years. That would make us a horrible team again. Hopefully with better coaching we can get that defensive talent on the right page and make them a consistent threat, like glory days past.I think its coaching and attitude. Hopefully get it done this year.

  22. Wow. The raiders defense saves alot of their games. And offence does have to do better but Gruden is the man for the job!

  23. Hire jack del rio as defense coach sign earl thomas and look for someone to replace little ton off practice squad

  24. Where is Zay Jones? Where is Derrick Carrier? Where is Rico Gafford? Where is Foster Moreau? Why doesn’t any of these guys participate in Raiders games? Wouldn’t it be good to get these guys some playing time in the event that they are called upon to help the Raiders make a playoff run? Why doesn’t ANY of these guys average at least one target per game? I’ll tell you why, it’s a product of Greg Olsen’s and Jon Gruden’s play calling. NONE of these guys is injured. Now SHOULD be the time when these guys are getting their number’s called on to contribute to Raiders games. EVERYONE know that it’s the Raiders’ offense that is carrying this team so why not get these “offensive weapons” in the flow. Surely other team’s defenses ARE NOT prepared for these guys and DID NOT game plan for them. Certainly, these guys were not signed to be high paid bench warmers. The Raiders SHOULD be finding out what these guys can and do bring to the table NOW, not AFTER one of the starters goes down to an injury.

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