The Oakland Raiders find themselves in last place in the AFC West at 2-4. Here are five takeaways from the Silver and Black’s current four-game slide.
Trying to stay positive with what we’ve seen out of the Oakland Raiders in the last month is incredibly difficult. After a 2-0 start to the 2017 NFL season, the Silver and Black have dropped four straight games and now find themselves in last place in the AFC West.
This was a season of great promise for the Raiders, one where it looked like the team could get make some noise in the AFC playoffs. Now it looks like making them is out of the realm of possibility. With a huge rivalry game on Thursday night versus the Kansas City Chiefs, this team could be staring at 2-5 with a five-game skid.
Clearly, there are a few things off with this team. There’s not one thing to point to as the root of all the problems. They seem to be multi-faceted and ones that build off each other. Every week, it seems that this year’s team is playing in a must-win game and not getting it done.
The losing might continue, or it could come to an end on Thursday night for all we know. Either way, let’s take a look at few things we can extract from the Raiders’ current four-game losing streak. Here are five takeaways.
The offseason moves have been more miss than hit
In recent years, the Raiders have reshaped their organization with outstanding moves by the front office in free agency and in NFL Drafts. The first three picks of the 2014 NFL Draft were about as good as it gets: Khalil Mack, Derek Carr and Gabe Jackson.
Adding Donald Penn, Rodney Hudson and Kelechi Osemele in consecutive years in free agency to rebuild this offensive line cannot be overstated. However, 2017 does not look to be one of the better offseasons in recent Raiders history. That could change in the coming weeks or years, but the new acquisitions have largely underwhelmed.
Marshawn Lynch isn’t what he used to be with the Seattle Seahawks. Jared Cook is what he is and nothing more, a good, but not great tight end. Cordarrelle Patterson has been tremendous in the running game, but he’s a wide receiver by trade. EJ Manuel hasn’t been the upgrade at backup quarterback the Raiders had hoped for. Marshall Newhouse has been solid at right tackle though.
Then there’s the draft picks. Gareon Conley has rarely played due to ongoing issues with shins splints. Obi Melifonwu is on injured reserve after undergoing knee surgery. Eddie Vanderdoes has shown promise at defensive tackle, but it’s tough to see Marquel Lee succumb to injury at a position of need at inside linebacker.
Overall, the new players on the 2017 Raiders haven’t been able to help take last year’s corps to the next level. Every year is different, but clearly new isn’t always better. We’ve still got a lot of football left to be played, but Oakland needs some of its newer players to step up to get out of this funk.