Plenty of hope for the Raiders to return to the playoffs next year
The Raiders’ defense isn’t going anywhere…
Another obvious reason that the Raiders will likely return to the playoffs is their defense. For so long, the team was plagued by Paul Guenther’s ineptitude. However, 2021 saw Gus Bradley come in, and suddenly, the Silver and Black had a competent defense. Was it “elite?” No, not really in the grand scheme of things, but the pieces are there.
If Bradley doesn’t return, a new defensive coordinator such as Vic Fangio, for example, could turn this into a much more potent unit. That’s not taking away from their accomplishments this past season; rather, the foundation could be elevated into something truly special in 2022.
The unit features several stars, such as Maxx Crosby, Yannick Ngakoue, and Casey Hayward, and was compounded by the arrival of several future stars, namely Nate Hobbs, Trevon Moehrig, and Divine Deablo, who all shined throughout the year. The grit and toughness this unit displayed, along with a knack for getting key stops, were on full display. Even in Saturday’s loss, the defense made the stops when needed and kept the Bengals’ offense honest for most of the game.
There should be little doubt that this unit will continue growing and will no longer hold this team back as it had in the past.