The team did show drastic improvements over the final quarter of the season picking up two of their four wins during that time. Though in the midst of it, the team fired GM Reggie McKenzie and the City of Oakland filed a lawsuit against the organization leading to uncertainty as to where the team will call home in 2019.
Offensive and defensive ranks
Offensively the Raiders finish the year ranked 23rd in total offense (5379 yards). The passing game averaged 234.4 yards per game which ranked 18th in the league while the ground game ranked 25th, at 101.8 yards per game.
Where the Raiders struggled all season was putting up points. The average of 18.1 points ranked them 28th in the league above the Redskins, Bills, Jaguars, and Cardinals.
Derek Carr surpassed the 4,000 yards passing mark for the first time in his career, finishing with 4,049, 19 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. Carr was sacked 51 times in 2018. Think about this stat for a moment. In 2016 and 2017 combined Carr was sacked only 36 times.
Doug Martin led the team in rushing yards with 723 on 143 carries to go along with four rushing touchdowns.
Jalen Richard and Jared Cook both caught 68 passes which was tied for the team lead. Cook had himself a career year and was easily Derek Carr’s most reliable target gaining 896 yards and six touchdowns.
Defensively, Paul Guenther’s crew did not live up to his high expectations. Finishing 26th in total yards allowed (6102 yards) will not get the job done in this league. When you combine the 18.1 points the team averaged on offense with the defense allowing a league high 29.2 and you have yourself a recipe for a 4-12 season.
The run defense was horrible, allowing 140.6 yards per game. As bad as the run defense was there is no bigger need heading into the offseason than a pass rusher.
The Raiders had 13 sacks on the year, yes you read that right 13. The next lowest in the league was 30. There are 11 players in the league who collected more than 13 by themselves and to add salt to the wound, Khalil Mack had 12.5 alone.
Tahir Whitehead led the defense with 126 tackles, Marquel Lee was a distant second with 68. Promising rookie Maurice Hurst led the Raiders in sacks (4). Marcus Gilchrist and Gareon Conley each had a team high three interceptions.
Highlights of the fourth quarter
Dwayne Harris 99-yard punt return against the Broncos
Turning point play of the game. pic.twitter.com/NJdb8Bu66p— Evan Groat (@Egroat5) December 25, 2018
Derek Carr’s heroic effort leads the Raiders to a week 14 win over the Steelers
WHAT A THROW pic.twitter.com/iSVldKw5aj— Evan Groat (@Egroat5) December 10, 2018
Carr to Carrier for the win
Did the Raiders just cost themselves a chance at the first pick in the draft? WHO CARES about that today! Carr to Carrier for the win. pic.twitter.com/3KzUiLCIPz— Evan Groat (@Egroat5) December 10, 2018
What’s ahead in 2019
Things are already looking up for the Raiders in 2019. Mike Mayock, aka the draft guru, was just hired as the new general manager and Jon Gruden’s right hand man. Mayock is a high-end talent evaluator and his opinion is very well respected in NFL circles.
Mayock and Gruden are full of ammunition with an expected near $80 million of cap space and three first round draft picks in April’s draft, including the fourth overall pick. There are weaknesses all over the depth chart but none more glaring than at edge defender, safety, linebacker, and wide receiver.
Mayock, Gruden and the Raiders coaching staff will be in Mobile Alabama the last week of January to coach the North team at the Senior Bowl.
One very intriguing storyline to follow throughout the offseason is Derek Carr’s future with the Raiders. The 2019 draft class is very weak at quarterback, with several quarterback needy teams out there Carr could bring in a huge haul of picks should Gruden and Mayock go in that direction.