So much has changed for the Las Vegas Raiders in a week.
They have dropped two straight games, the offense suddenly looks lost and coach Jon Gruden is dealing with a controversy.
Let’s look at five keys that stand out following an ugly 20-9 home loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
Gruden controversy not going away:
It can be argued that the Raiders’ flat performance Sunday was a direct offshoot of the Jon Gruden racist email controversy that surfaced Friday afternoon. Few may admit the issue had an impact on the loss, but it’s not difficult to fathom that it did.
Now, the question is, will it linger?
In his first press conference comments since the story broke, Gruden said after the game that he hasn’t talked to the NFL and may hear something in the coming days. It’s been speculated that he may face a fine from the league and may have to undergo some related classes.
The bigger picture is if his team will stand behind him. Gruden said Sunday he is “not a racist” and he is “sick” over the situation.
Meanwhile, quarterback Derek Carr stood behind his coach.
"Coach was very honest and forthright with us before the article came out. He was upfront with it and we as a team said, 'it was 10 years ago, we love you and we have your back,'"-Derek Carr— Adam Hill (@AdamHillLVRJ) October 10, 2021
However, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue didn’t want to address it.
We will just have to see how the aftermath of this story falls out and affects the team.
Offense is stagnant:
We can’t completely blame the poor offensive performance against Chicago on Gruden’s issue. The Raiders were not good on offense last week in a 28-14 loss at the Los Angeles Chargers. The Raiders have scored 23 points in the past two games after scoring 90 in the first three games. The Raiders again couldn’t run Sunday (71 yards on 22 carries), their receivers dropped a ton of passes, and Carr was never comfortable. The Raiders have started slow in the first quarter all season. On Sunday, that slow start extended for four quarters. They have to get out of their funk and soon.
#Raiders gained 259 yards today and 213 last week. Last time they were held under 260 in back-to-back games:— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) October 10, 2021
2017: 245 vs Bal in Week 5; 254 vs Den in Week 4; 128 vs Wash in Week 3
Offensive line is still a problem:
In a desperate move to get the offensive line on track, the Raiders moved first-round pick Alex Leatherwood from right tackle to right guard and inserted veteran backup Brandon Parker at right tackle for Sunday’s game. It didn’t change much. The offensive line had yet another rough game. Carr has been sacked 15 times this season, the most in his eight-season career through five games. This is really starting to look poorly on Gruden, general manager Mike Mayock and offensive line coach Tom Cable. They all boasted during the offseason that the wholesale changes on the unit was necessary and it would work. It is not working thus far.
Khalil Mack ruined this game:
Former Raider pass-rusher Khalil Mack was all over the field on Sunday. He had one sack, but he was all over Carr all game. He dropped him on a two-point conversion try and made a huge stop on a fourth-down running play. Mack made his former team pay Sunday.
Penalties a problem:
Las Vegas was penalized 10 times for 82 yards. The Raiders have been penalized 40 times this season, which is tied for the second most in the NFL. Gruden bemoaned the timing of several of the penalties Sunday. Add avoiding the yellow flag to a growing list of things the Raiders must fix.