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Raiders enter offseason knowing the task ahead

‘Chasing’ the Chiefs is the big picture focus

Kansas City Chiefs v Las Vegas Raiders
Jarrett Stidham, Andy Reid
Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images

Back in the offseason, when the Las Vegas Raiders acquired Davante Adams in a blockbuster trade and the Kansas City Chiefs sent out star wide out Tyreek Hill in a massive trade, there was speculation whether the Raiders were ready to leapfrog their rival in the AFC West.

Well, today, the Raiders are diving into the offseason after a bitterly disappointing 6-11 season. Meanwhile, the Chiefs are starting their bye week as they secured the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs after going 14-3. Both team’s season regular season ended in a fitting fashion, a dominant 31-13 Kansas City victory in Las Vegas on Saturday.

The Chiefs, who have won seven straight AFC West division titles, swept the Raiders and have won five straight games against the Raiders and 10 out of the past 11 meetings between the two teams. The Chiefs have outscored the Raiders 107-58 in three games at Allegiant Stadium.

Former Raiders coach Jon Gruden always pointed to catching the Chiefs as the goal of the offseason and current Las Vegas coach Josh McDaniels did the same thing Saturday offering this after the lopsided loss:

“Well, congratulations to coach [Andy] Reid and the Chiefs. That’s a really good football team. They’re well-coached and do a lot of things the right way. Obviously, they earned it today, for sure. They got off to a good start and we never really could get much rhythm or momentum going in the game. So, again, congratulations to them. We’ll learn a lot from this, obviously. We know who we’re chasing, that’s for sure.”

So, as the Raiders try to get better this offseason, trying to catch the Chiefs in the AFC West is the focus and there is plenty of work to do as Las Vegas looks to improve at quarterback, the offensive line and at every layer of the defense. Kansas City, meanwhile, will continue to build around superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who is just entering his prime at the age of 27.

McDaniels said catching Kansas City is a process.

“There is no timeline on that. I think the thing you do is you take the best day you can have, and you continue to do that and produce those through the offseason and improve the football team in any way that you can,” McDaniels said. “Whether that’s our process, what we choose to do, how we play, how we coach, the players that are on the team. We have a lot of things to evaluate obviously, and we know a lot more now than we did last January. And we’ve got a year full of evidence of what we need to make better, whether it’s our process or on our team. There’s a lot of things that we can look at and we’re going to address them. Like I said, we’ll see. Look, every year you’re trying to win, every game you’re trying to win. There’s no seasons where you’re going out there and saying, ‘This one doesn’t really matter.’ They all matter. I think everybody in this organization wants to do that and that’s what we’re going to be hard at work to do.”