Wow...just wow...Two months ago, people would have called anyone crazy who predicted that the Las Vegas Raiders would lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 9. That prediction would have been more believable last week but even then, it still would have seemed like a reach. However, here we are...
The Raiders 2022 season is cooked after yesterday’s 27-20 loss to the Jaguars. Put the abacus down and don’t waste your time running through all the mathematical scenarios to try and figure out how they can make the playoffs. They’re done and it’s time to start thinking about the offseason, which is why today’s winners and losers lists look very similar to last week’s.
WINNER: Draft positioning
For the second week in a row, Las Vegas has managed to improve its standing in the draft as they currently hold the third overall pick, according to Tankathon.com. They sit a half-game behind — or ahead depending on your perspective — the Texans and Panthers for the No. 1 overall pick, and the Raiders would be in a good spot if this order holds.
With the third selection, a plethora of draft capital and the potential for even more after compensatory picks are handed out, the Raiders have the ammunition to move up to the top of the board and be the deciding factor in the Bryce Young/CJ Stroud sweepstakes. Or they can sit where they’re at and hope one of those two falls, or take Will Levis if Young and Stroud go to Houston and Carolina.
Even if Las Vegas doesn’t go with a quarterback, they’ll have a great chance to get a generational talent on the defensive line in either Will Anderson or Jalen Carter with the third overall pick. Now, it’s just a matter of losing enough games to stay in that draft slot, but if the first eight games of the season are any indication, that shouldn’t be too much of a problem...
LOSER: Josh McDaniels
I feel like a broken record at this point but we’re half a season into the McDaniels era in Las Vegas and the only way to describe it is to call it a complete and total failure. This team seems to lack fire and it shows as they can’t finish games, and, in my opinion, that stem’s from the head coach’s mentality.
Every week we hear the same thing from McDaniels during his press conferences where he’s not panicking or worrying about the record and likes the direction the team is headed in. Well, that line of thinking has the team at 2-6 so maybe there should have been a bigger sense of urgency a few weeks ago. To be fair, that’s on the entire coaching staff and the Raiders’ leadership within the locker room too, but it does start at the top.
McDaniels and Zeigler went all in during the offseason but the rest of the league has called their bluff. It might be time to start realizing that McDaniels just doesn’t have the chops to be an NFL head coach as he’s lost 23 of his last 30 games, per Josh Dubow of the Associated Press. It’s a very real possibility that the Raiders could have a one-and-done coach.
LOSER: Tre’von Moehrig
What a difference a year makes. Last season, Moehrig was looking like a future building block for Las Vegas’ defense but this year, he’s looked completely lost and has been a shell of himself.
For comparison’s sake, he posted a PFF coverage grade of 75.5 in 2021 that was tied for 16th among safeties, but that figure has dropped nearly 30 points to 46.7 which is the seventh-worst at the position so far in 2022, and he took another hit this past Sunday.
The second-year pro was targeted three times and allowed three completions for 31 yards, a touchdown and a 149.3 passer rating. That gave him a 52.3 mark in coverage and brings his totals up to 13 catches surrendered on 16 targets for 175 yards, four touchdowns and a 151.8 passer rating in six games played this season. To compound all of that, he also managed to miss three tackles.
Pointing out the obvious, Moehrig is heading in the wrong direction and he needs to get back on track soon if he wants to have a future on the team.
LOSER: Blake Martinez
I feel a little bad about listing Martinez as a loser because heading into the game, he had only played 42 defensive snaps. However, he got a huge opportunity in Jacksonville with 63 reps and fell flat on his face.
The veteran linebacker struggled both in coverage and as a run defender, earning 34.6 and 46.7 grades in those departments, respectively. He was targeted five times and allowed five completions for 64 yards which comes out to 12.8 yards per catch. Against the run, he had four tackles with an average depth of 6.8 yards past the line of scrimmage, so most of the players he made weren’t impactful, and he missed another tackle opportunity.
When the team signed Martinez about a month ago, it made sense because they needed veteran help at the position. But now that the season is lost, it’s time for the coaching staff to make way for younger players like Luke Masterson and Darien Butler to see what they can do.
Going to gently place a silver lining from yesterday on the timeline…small sample size but Neil Farrell Jr (76.9) and Luke Masterson (75.7) were the 2nd & 3rd highest graded defenders from PFF for the #Raiders— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) November 7, 2022
LOSER: Alex Bars
For weeks, you might have heard me talking about how I don’t know what Bars is doing in the starting lineup, and today, I’m feeling a little vindicated.
To his credit, Bars did post a slightly above-average PFF run-blocking grade at 63.1 — the first time all year — but his pass protection was atrocious. He allowed six pressures, four of which were hurries and the other two were a sack and a QB hit, so Derek Carr was running for his life behind the guard. That gave the four-year veteran a 91.0 pass-blocking efficiency rating, the third-worst among guards for the week ahead of Monday Night Football.
The frightening part about that performance is heading into the matchup, he had graded out better as a pass blocker than a run blocker. In other words, Bars struggled in the area of the game he’s been solid at this season and only marginally improved on his weakness. It’s hard to justify keeping someone on the field with that level of play.
LOSER: Dylan Parham
Unlike a lot of other guys on this list, Parham definitively has a future with the organization and has been solid throughout the campaign. However, it would be remiss of me to not mention how much he struggled against the Jags.
Like Bars, the rookie also surrendered six pressures and had one of the worst games of his young career in pass protection. His 16.6 pass-blocking grade is not only a personal worst by over 17 points, but also currently the third-lowest mark at his position for the week. The only saving grace is he only allowed hurries but this is well below the standard he’s set.
Parham graded out better as a run blocker but was still sub-par with a 58.2 grade, which sits just outside of the bottom 20 for guards in Week 9. Again, not terrible but undoubtedly below expectations.
The good news is this looks to be just one bad outing for the Memphis product. But that being said, it’s important that he learns from it and makes sure it stays that way.