For the first few weeks of this season, while the rest of us have been running out of ways to describe just how much of a train wreck this Raiders team is, the players seemed to be making efforts to stay positive about the possibilities. Their loss to the Chargers Sunday may have been the breaking point.
That’s not to say this just suddenly happened. There have been signs for the past few weeks that the they were crumbling. Mainly it started with the loss in London to the Seahawks in week six. Since then the pieces have been falling off.
Rashaan Melvin showed his frustration after that loss and was rendered inactive the following week. Derrick Johnson requested his release and it was granted. Bruce Irvin hinted that he was done and was waived. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie up and retired. Amari Cooper was not producing and was said to be asking the team to look for a trade and they found a taker with the Cowboys.
Each week Jon Gruden looks more and more beaten down, and after Sunday’s 26-10 loss to the Chargers, he said as much.
“It is hard to lose,” said Gruden. “It takes a toll on all of us. I apologize to all Raider fans.”
Derek Carr looked like he was about to cry in his postgame press conference. He was clearly distraught about something, though he said it had nothing to do with him and wouldn’t reveal what it was.
“Something happened that just frustrated me,” said Carr when asked about his somber demeanor. “Deep down, I’m good. Something happened that just kind of bugged me. It has nothing to do with me and I’m not going to tell you.”
There was a feeling that another of the Raiders veterans could be on his way out. By what means, it’s hard to say. But with the trade deadline passed, it would either be by waive, injury, or retirement. We’ve seen all of those happen the past few weeks.
Top receiver Jared Cook was scuffling with Chargers players a lot in the game. Desmond King — who Jared Cook planted in the turf on a stiff arm after a catch — said Cook was ill tempered the whole game.
Desmond King on Raiders TE Jared Cook, who scuffled with multiple Chargers throughout the game: "I don't know what his problem was. He was trippin' for real."— Sam Fortier (@Sam4TR) November 12, 2018
This team is in turmoil to say the least. The worst I can ever recall seeing. The cause of it — or perhaps the result — is their historically bad 5-game losing streak. As Josh Dubow of the Associated Press noted, there’s never been a worse five-game stretch in Raiders history.
#Raiders lost five straight by at least 14 points for first time in franchise history. Longest single-season streak in the NFL since merger is six— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) November 11, 2018
This is most lopsided five-game losing streak in #Raiders history. Outscored by 99 points during skid, topping the 90 for a 5-gamer in 2012— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) November 11, 2018
That’s an average of losing by three scores per game. And it means playing a fourth quarter nearly every week knowing you just want the clock to run out so you can get out of here. For some of these Raiders, that is how they feel about this locker room.
At 1-8 on the season, they are officially out of the running for the division. As silly as it seems to even talking about things like Division crowns, winning seasons, and playoffs at this point might be.