Oakland Raiders Have Reached Critical Point In Season


The Oakland Raiders have reach the critical point of the season, where a season of hope and promise, can turn into disappointment and frustration. After racing out to an impressive start by winning two out of their first three games, the Raiders have lost back to back games, and after five games have a record of 2-3 — and are three games behind Denver in the AFC West.

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Turnovers have plagued the Raiders in their last two defeats, killing promising drives and putting a ton of pressure on an inconsistent defense that has struggled in the secondary and shown a lackluster pass-rush all year.

The Raiders haven’t quite reached the midway point of the season, but it’s essential for them to limit the sloppy play and continue to get the ball into the hands of their playmakers. Raiders’ Head Coach, Jack Del Rio, knows the significance of winning the turnover battle, and at his weekly press-conference he reaffirmed his philosophy on turnovers.

"“My message on turnovers is very consistent. We want to force them and we don’t want to give them away,”"

In order for the Raiders to reestablish the good vibes that were created by their early season victories over the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns, they must get back to their strengths. Big plays were part of the recipe that got the Raiders off to their 2-1 start. Derek Carr looked liked the promising young quarterback that the franchise had envisioned him to be, and he was utilizing his new weapons on the outside.

Amari Cooper was demonstrating the explosive play-making ability, that made him an All-American superstar at the University of Alabama by torturing defenses with his blazing speed and dynamic open-field running.

Michael Crabtree was quieting the skeptics that were saying his best years were behind him, and that he would never regain his quickness and effectiveness, after he had surgery to repair a torn Achilles’ tendon in 2013.

Crabtree was establishing himself as the perfect counterpart to Cooper. His ability to snatch passes out the air like he had Spider-Man gloves on was becoming routine, as Carr frequently looked his way in critical moments.

The Raiders have shown glimpses of being able to run the ball but it as been very inconsistent at best. Latavius Murray has shown little of the flashes Raider fans hoped would carry over to this season, after a strong finish in 2014.

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Bruce Irvin's familiarity with Derek Carr served him well in Lions' debut
Bruce Irvin's familiarity with Derek Carr served him well in Lions' debut /

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  • At times he has shown a lack of concentration resulting in head shaking turnovers. It would had been easy for the Raiders and Del Rio to start losing faith in Murray, but according to Del Rio he hasn’t lost faith in his young running back, as he told profootballtalk.nbcsports.com.

    "“I remain confident,” Del Rio said. We have some good young players. None of us are perfect. We all are capable of making mistakes. I think the sooner you own up to mistakes, the quicker you can put them behind you and move forward.”"

    The Raiders’ season hangs in the balance. It is time for the coaching staff to take the handcuffs off of Carr and the offense. Sure, Carr is young and may make some mistakes, but in order for this offense to flourish, these young play-makers must be allowed to flourish. Cooper and Crabtree must be allowed to open the field up for the running game, which means taking more chances on first downs. Bill Musgrave must become less predictable in his play-calling and allow his weapons to make plays.

    Next: Even in Victory, Broncos Fans Find Reasons To Whine

    This is the point of the season when playoff contenders start making that mid-season push, while the pretenders start fading away. It is up to the Raiders as a team, to insure a promising season stays on the right path.