Oakland Raiders: Who Should Be Blamed For the Team’s Struggles?


Nov 25, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen talks to free safety Matt Giordano (27) and defensive end Andre Carter (97) during the first half against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals defeated the Raiders 34-10. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

It’s been a very rough season for the Oakland Raiders. They currently stand at 3-8 and are on a four game losing streak.

Fans were ready to embrace a “new era” with a new owner, general manager, and head coach. But it’s been anything but that.

The Raiders are playing embarassing football and although you don’t want to point the finger at anyone, you kind of have to at this point.

But who do you blame for the Raiders’ struggles? The coaching staff? The offensive line? Carson Palmer? The defense? Well, let’s take a look at each of the four victims:

The Coaching Staff:

It’s Dennis Allen’s first year as the Raiders’ head coach, and it is not going well for him. But would you put all of the blame on him? Well certainly not all of the blame, but he should be talked about in this discussion.

Allen brings a much more defensive strategy to the table than most of the Raiders’ old coaches. He was the defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos just a season ago, and that Broncos defense was something to be afraid of. Why can’t he bring that to the Raiders?

Well for one, the talent just isn’t there. He isn’t dealing with Brian Dawkins, Von Miller, or Champ Bailey anymore. He’s dealing with guys like Ron Bartell, Rolando McClain, and Matt Giordano. But beyond that, the Raiders just seem to have no synergy on defense. They rarely can stop their opponent on a big drive or big down, and it just gets frustrating.

Also, the offense looks much more dry this year. Allen and his staff don’t really resort to the deep pass anymore, a play that was so effective last year, especially with Oakland’s speedy receivers. The Raiders are too conservative now and need to spark up their offense.

The Offensive Line:

The Raiders’ offensive line has got to be one of the worst in the NFL. They have given up 24 sacks and 57 hits on their veteran quarterback Carson Palmer this year. Those numbers will make any fan cringe.

Palmer is often pressured or hurried during plays, and with his limited healthy receivers, he doesn’t really have a go-to guy. Thus, Palmer usually has to take the sack or throw the ball away. Or even worse, he fumbles the ball or throws a dumb interception.

In terms of protecting the run, they have not been as bad as protecting the pass. McFadden and Goodson were both doing above average until their injuries, but their bad games weren’t really  linked to the offensive line.

I think the offensive line should definitely be blamed but not nearly as much as some of these other victims.

Carson Palmer:

To be honest, I really don’t think that much of the blame should be put on Palmer. He hasn’t had Jacoby Ford all season, and Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey have been battling with injuries throughout the year. How can you expect a quarterback to run an offense when he’s out on the field with third-string receivers who aren’t used to in-game situations?

Sure, he does make mistakes a lot. He throws costly interceptions and isn’t as mobile as everyone wants, on top of forcing passes into tight coverage. But when your defense is letting in all these points per game, and your top receivers are injured, who else has to make the big play?

I think that is what gets Palmer into trouble. He so often tries to make the big play when it isn’t really needed and the Raiders end up paying the price. I believe that if Darren McFadden was healthy and running like he was last year, then a lot of weight would be lifted off of Palmer’s shoulders and he would be able to calmly run his offense the way he wants.


Out of these four victims, I have to say that the biggest problem for the Oakland Raiders this season is… (drum roll please) the defense!

They are awful. Embarassing. Injured. And it becomes more clearer as the season rolls forward.

I will say that obviously it was a big blow to lose their top two cornerbacks, Shawntae Spencer and Ron Bartell, to injury really early in the season. They both missed significant time, and Spencer hasn’t even returned yet.

Richard Seymour has missed games because of a hamstring injury, yeah yeah. But when it comes down to it, the Raiders’ defense is not getting anything done. They are allowing 379 yards of offense every game, which is ranked 25th in the league. Also, the 32.4 points that they allow per game is the most in the NFL.

If those stats don’t say it all for you, please, just watch a game. I know it’ll be hard, but only then will you truly understand how bad they are playing. Whenever it’s a big third down or a key drive they need to stop, it just doesn’t seem like they have a plan. Matt Giordano has been struggling all season long, and so has linebacker Rolando McClain. And ever since Michael Huff had to move from safety to corner, their defense just hasn’t been the same. Sure, he has done a great job with the conversion, but they need him at safety, his true position.

Offense wins games, and defense wins championships, but the way the Raiders’ defense is playing, it seems like they are very far away from a Superbowl win.