Earlier in the week, I posted these very words:
Ya know I started out this week feeling a lock on the Raiders winning, but I’ve been losing some faith as it goes by. Foles is actually played pretty friggin’ good … his passer rating is 102, and he’s throw 6TD’s to 0 picks. We’ll be up against him, and both Shady and DeSean … We’ve not won yet this year going up a against a team with weapons like the Eagles have, and I’ve a feeling after their last two dismal outings, they’re gonna be out for blood.
Fact is, I’ve seen WAY too games over the years like this one coming up … JUST when it seems like we may turn a corner, win a 2nd in a row, season basically on the line (I guarantee that NO team that’s 3-5 after Sunday in the AFC will make the playoffs), against an opponent we are capable of beating, the Nation is JUST starting to get some faith back in the team … and then they come out flat and just SHIT THE BED, often in front of of a disgusted home crowd …
To me, this game is going to tell me A LOT about whether or not we have a ‘different’ Raiders team. Cause the Raiders of the past 10 years would absolutely find a way to lose this game.
Granted, my recollection was wrong, in fact, last year we went into the game in week 8 riding a 2 game winning streak. But the general sentiment was ... sadly prescient.
Those of us who've watched the Raiders religiously over the past ... I dunno ... 40 years (but in particular, the past 11 years) know that what we just saw go down at the O.co ... is EXACTLY what everyone should've logically feared would happen today. Cause that's pretty much what always happens ... a Gruden year or two notwithstanding ... going back to like 1990.
Some of you may remember that last year, going into week 8, we were also 3-4 ... and we faced a 3-4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers team, at home ... y'all remember that one? 250+ rushing yards and 4 TD's from the Muscle Hamster, various all-time records being set, utter humiliation in front of the Nation and the World?
Yeah, I figure at least some of you did. That utter disaster started us on a 6 game losing streak, and a 1-7 record to finish the season. At this moment, I see little reason to believe that this team has 'turned a corner' any more than I did last year when we lost in a similar fashion. Watching Andrew Luck work his way back from a huge deficit tonight, and remembering what our OL and QB'ing looked like earlier today ... it just illustrated to me how dramatically behind the curve this team still is.
Today showed us that this team is still painfully lacking in MANY areas ... not only do we have no real offensive line, but we also lack an NFL-level Quarterback, a legit #1 wide receiver, a dangerous running back, a pass-catching tight end, a reliable pass rusher ... and our coaches (esp. Olson and DA) have no real idea how to overcome this lack of talent, and their schemes are easily figured out and overcome by opposing coaches with even a modicum of talent to work with.
Sad as I am to say it, today we really saw, in sharp relief, how far away we are from being a real contender in the NFL. The return of Watson (our 2nd round pick) yielded us absolutely nothing positive, our #1 draft pick showed he still has a LONG way to go to become a player worthy of his draft status, our #3 pick and 'rookie of the week' faded into complete obscurity ... really, all the opposition had to do was block out our guys, i.e. account for and put a hat on each player on our defense, and they were almost always entirely incapable of escaping that block and making a play. The 'scheme' needed to beat our Defense was pretty much laid out there for every other team to see today, and it was REAL simple ... block them, or run past them to catch the ball ... that's pretty much it.
And don't even get me started on our QB ... let's remember that Foles was also starting roughly his 8th NFL game as well ... and today he just tied an all-time record for TD passes, and in ONE GAME threw for more TD's than our QB has thrown ALL SEASON. Yeah, our O-Line was terrible, and Pryor was under pressure a LOT, but he displayed absolutely NO grace under pressure, no pocket presence, no ability to stand in the pocket and deliver the throw ... he just ran away, every time. And hardly anything good came of it.
Don't get me wrong, this loss was mostly on our pathetic defense, but afaic Pryor has just regressed for the 3rd week in a row, and our coaching staff needs to start seriously considering the idea that TP2 was simply not ready to lead this team as starting QB yet this season.
Obviously, they're not going to switch to McGloin for this tough road stretch coming up (NYG, Texans), but I for one won't be the slightest bit surprised if by the time Raiders return to Oakland, we're 3-7, and the coaches end up feeling compelled to make a change just to maybe save their jobs.
And this is EXACTLY what I was afraid of when the decision to start Pryor was made this season. If today didn't show to you that TP2 is not yet starting NFL QB material, well ... I dunno what to say other than ... just watch the next couple of games. Because the writing is on the wall from where I sit. He may be 'back' next year, but ... he simply is not ready yet this year. All we're going to do from here on out is lose with him as our starter. You simply don't learn 'fundamentals' by playing in NFL games ... sorry to those of you who thought TP could.
But anyways ... yeah ... that was one depressing display today at the O.co ... one that us long-time Raider fans have become all to familiar with over the years. I see no solid signs that suggest that this is truly a 'different' Raider team, i.e. one that's substantially different from our 11 years of sub-mediocrity.
Going out and beating the Giants in NY might make me reconsider, but based on what I just watched ... I have roughly zero confidence that this crew is up to that task. I'm pretty sure another NFC East under-achiever is going to experience a Renaissance against this Raiders team next Sunday ... and yet another long-awaited season will be all but officially over ... leaving us diehards to already begin pondering our picks next Spring in earnest, with the current season barely 1/2 over ... AGAIN.