While watching the Super Bowl on Sunday and looking at the Chiefs and the 49ers, it was very obvious what their course of action for the future will be.
The Chiefs (unfortunately) have the best quarterback in the NFL in Patrick Mahomes, and it makes sense to build the team around him. That’s not rocket science by any means. The 49ers, meanwhile, have a bunch of young monsters up front on defense, and a great coach that is one of the game’s best offensive minds. The path moving forward for both those teams is clear.
But looking at the success of these teams made me ask myself, what is the Raiders plan? Who are they building around?
Raiders are poised to pursue quarterback Tom Brady if he doesn't re-sign with the Patriots before free agency begins, league sources told ESPN.https://t.co/rAloZCF2W1— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 2, 2020
My understanding is that Adam Schefter doesn’t report on something unless he has real sources. I can’t remember the last time he was wrong about something either, and please feel free to point it out to me in the comments (I’d like to be wrong here). I just honestly don’t understand what the point is for leaking this story about the Raiders pursuit of the oldest quarterback in the NFL.
I’m not trying to watch Tom Brady’s slow ass not be able to avoid the pass rushes of Von Miller, Bradley Chubb, Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, and Frank Clark eight times a year. When I saw Schefter’s initial tweet, I let out a very loud sigh. This team is paying Derek Carr too much money to be halfway in or halfway out. They need to figure it out fast.
The Raiders won’t be bad enough next year to be in the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes, and quarterbacks don’t just fall from the sky, so they must figure out what they want to do with Carr.
Outside of the tight end position and the offensive line, there’s not one positional group that stands out to me. Josh Jacobs is amazing, but I’m worried Jon Gruden is going to run him into the ground like he did Cadillac Williams in Tampa Bay. That might hinder the team building around him like the Titans have done with Derrick Henry (who apparently wants more money than Zeke). Even the teams that are successful run first teams have multiple backs they use such as the Ravens, 49ers and Vikings.
Defensively, Maxx Crosby needs help. I don’t care who it is or where it comes from, he just needs his supporting cast to step up. It’s easy to compare him to Nick Bosa, but Bosa has tremendous support at all three levels of the defense. If this is going to be Crosby’s defense, then the Raiders need to go all in and invest in someone to command double teams up front so that he develops into the All-Pro he can be.
Building around Crosby hopefully includes not signing old linebackers, and maybe evern drafting one that finally gives the fanbase some hope at the position for the first time since what feels like 1945. I swear to all that is holy, if Sean Lee is a starting linebacker for this team next season I’m 50/50 on watching the inaugural Las Vegas season.
That leads me to my original question, who or what is this team is going to build around. Of course, these things don’t happen overnight, but I honestly don’t see a clear direction right now, and that’s what’s bothering me. In a division with the reigning Super Bowl champion, the Raiders need to figure out the team’s identity.