During the midst of a season falling shy of expectations, there are some positive signs to acknowledge regardless of the Raiders losing record, lack of key contributors and a pipe dream for the playoffs.
It was just over two weeks ago when Las Vegas fell short in Jacksonville, blowing a 17-plus-point lead for the third time this season. A loss to Indianapolis a week later delivered the Raiders an unforeseen 2-7 record. Heads hanging to the ground in a locker room quiet enough to hear a pin drop.
Advance just two weeks later and coach McDaniels offense seems to have finally begun to click. An explosive rushing attack from Josh Jacobs was put on display against Seattle. Jacobs monster record breaking performance rewarded him first in NFL rushing yards through week 12.
Despite the continued absence from two of Carr's top targets in Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow, the Raiders offense was able to drop 40 points against the Seahawks up in Lumen Field — a stadium where the 12th man is known to have a vigorous home field advantage over their opponent.
Back to back wins seem to have given the team some much needed confidence moving forward to generate a winning streak for the final stretch of the schedule. Don’t forget last season the Raiders rallied off four straight to clinch a playoff berth when most had already counted them out.
Now to be realistic, it’s not likely Las Vegas can win out considering there are still six games left and a few tough opponents remaining. Though it shouldn’t be ignored that six of their seven losses have been one score games. These missed opportunities were capitalized into wins a season ago.
According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, the Raiders have only a 5.5% chance to advance to the postseason. Despite the high probability of failing to reach the postseason, there should be optimism for growth and efficiency within this new coaching staff to close out the season.
To this point, there are a number of players that fell far below the level of production expected from them. This could have been a result from not fitting the scheme, injuries or just poor performances on the field. The new regime has not been afraid to cut ties with players who don’t measure up to their standards, even former first round picks from recent years.
Owner Mark Davis has reiterated the word patience when discussing the early season struggles. A scenario in which he would cut ties with his head coach or quarterback this offseason seems unlikely.
While Raider Nation continues their justified impatience expecting immediate success with a run in the playoffs, the ownership and staff are not panicking and thinking long-term.