any chance we move Carr? i'm tired of watching him cement himself in the pocket. he doesn't extend the play or even move up in the pocket when the pressure. that fumble was avoidable if he moved up even just a little. hell, when was the last time he tucked the ball and ran? damn near every QB except Brady uses their legs. Carr should know that his OL is weak and MOVE. instead, he just sits there every damn time. he's above average at best. definitely not worth the money he's making.
Mike Mayock knows the NFL Draft. He doesn’t do contracts — in fact he has no NFL front office experience — but he was a general manager choice that both Raiders owner Mark Davis and coach Jon Gruden could agree on.
And so, the Raiders have wasted no time putting the 2018 season — the 4-12 body is less than 24 hours cold — behind them, as they have hired the NFL Network broadcaster as their new GM. ESPN was the first to report the news on Monday morning, and we expect the Raiders to make it official some time before Gruden talks to reporters at a previously scheduled 1 p.m. news conference.
Mayock, 60, replaces former general manager Reggie McKenzie, who was fired on Dec. 10 after seven years on the job. McKenzie was the NFL Executive of the Year in 2016, when the Raiders were 12-4. But Gruden was heavily critical of McKenzie’s last three draft classes and, after 10 months of trying to make their partnership work, he decided they were not compatible.
Gruden took over control of all personnel decisions when he was hired in January, and will continue to hold that role. Mayock, who was the lead draft analyst for the league’s network, will handle the draft preparation, and we expect the Raiders to put someone else in charge of negotiating contracts.
Mayock has long wanted a chance to get on this side of the business, and he interviewed with late Raiders owner Al Davis for a personnel job way back in 2007. He also interviewed with Washington last year.
Mayock was in Kansas City on Sunday to watch the Raiders lose to the Chiefs, 35-3, and confirmed to reporters that he had interviewed for the Raiders job.
“He loves it. He’s a passionate, passionate personnel man. He’s done it for a long time,” Gruden said of Mayock after the game Sunday. “I know he’s had opportunities to get back into the NFL as a general manager and we’ll see what happens.”
Last year, both Gruden and Mayock were very high on Notre Dame left tackle Mike McGlinchey, and the Raiders would have drafted him with the 10th overall pick, but the 49ers took him ninth. So the Raiders traded down and drafted UCLA left tackle Kolton Miller instead.
In 2014, Mayock was on record as saying Khalil Mack was the best player in that year’s NFL Draft, and the Raiders took the pass rusher with the fifth pick.
As everyone knows, the Raiders traded Mack a week before this season, and now own three first-round picks in the 2019 draft. The Raiders will pick fourth and then have the Bears’ pick for Mack, and the Cowboys’ pick for Amari Cooper. Both teams are in the playoffs, so the exact pick spots for those two selections are not known yet.
Gruden and Mayock will make their debut as a dynamic duo at the Senior Bowl next month, as the Raiders and 49ers will be handling the coaching duties for the annual college all-star game.
Next season’s schedule locations have also been determined — well, besides where the Raiders will be playing their home games.
The Raiders will host the three AFC West teams, the Titans, Jaguars, Bengals, Bears and Lions. And they will travel to play the three AFC West teams, the Texans, Colts, Jets, Vikings and Packers.
And at least one of the home games will be in London or Mexico.
It was a very weird season. I think that is the nicest word to use to describe the 4-12 Raiders campaign just completed. It allows for some flexibility going forward, as well as acknowledging that some really bad decisions were made and that fans were just forced to pay top dollar to watch an owner and high-priced coach take a mulligan season.
And it wasn’t fun for the players, either. Running back Jalen Richard pulled aside coach Jon Gruden after the Raiders lost to the Chiefs, 35-3, in the season finale Sunday in Kansas City.
“I was telling Coach, I was sick to finish the season they way we did,” Richard said. “Really, just getting our butts whipped, it’s kind of sickening. We are in a weird place. … You see the effort plays … we just didn’t make plays when we needed to, really, this whole season.
“You see little glimmers, those little spots of light in different games, we just have to figure out how to multiply that and keep that spark lit instead of it getting lit and then blown out.”
Gruden bristled at the word “tanking” when it was thrown out there early in the season, after the Raiders traded 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack on Sept. 1 for no players or draft picks that they could use in 2018. The Raiders were 1-5 by the time they traded receiver Amari Cooper for future assets, so fans collectively shrugged at that point, many blaming his inconsistency on him and not his usage. (Which might even be fair.)
Some of the remaining Raiders players, though, questioned Gruden’s accountability at that point, after he had signed so many veterans in the offseason and never mentioned rebuilding to them. The Raiders hit rock bottom, then cracked through the rock and went lower, in Week 9, when they were embarrassed by the local rival and the second-worst team in the league, the 49ers, 34-3, on national television.
Gruden, known for being critical of players in his first coaching stints here and in Tampa Bay, rarely did that this season. He definitely didn’t do it after that 49ers loss, when several players started jogging during the second half of that beating. Gruden praised the players’ efforts to the end, even after the drubbing at the hands of the Chiefs.
“Chucky” not only put down the kitchen knife in 2018, but he became a hugger. Because he knew the torn-down roster wasn’t good enough to win more than three or four games.
Gruden, 55, even admitted last week that he has changed.
“I try to have a little bit more poise than I used to have,” he said. “Maybe I’m a little more seasoned, maybe more mature. I don’t know. I know what we’re doing here. I’m really proud of our players. They’re giving us everything they have. That’s all you can really ask for as a coach.”
It’s not asking a lot, really. NFL players get paid a lot of money. And while Gruden talked about “building a foundation,” most of the players who packed their lockers up Monday morning were kind of in a daze and have no idea if they will be back next season. Of the 53 players who dressed for Sunday’s game, only 16 were with the Raiders last season.
The Raiders, remember, were in the playoffs in 2016 before they crashed in 2017, finishing 6-10 and costing coach Jack Del Rio his job. Gruden came on and ultimately he and owner Mark Davis decided to total the vehicle, using a gold-rimmed tow truck to do it.
And they dropped off fired general manager Reggie McKenzie along the way.
Davis and Gruden just-hired former NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock on Monday to take McKenzie’s place. He will defer to Gruden, obviously, but there is some hope that based on their 20-year friendship, Gruden will listen and may even accept Mayock’s opinions.
At one point after his news conference, Mayock told his old colleagues on air that it was an ideal job, since not only does he love the head coach but he has five first-round picks in the next two years and over $70 million to spend in free agency.
Mayock will spend the rest of this week watching all of the Raiders games from last season and meeting with the coaches to get their opinions, as he evaluates the current roster.
He will see an offense that lost a lot of blood, sweat and tears but survived, with quarterback Derek Carr able to walk off the field after the finale Sunday — when many times this season that seemed doubtful. Rookie tackles Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker were spotty, as were big-money guards Gabe Jackson and Kelechi Osemele as they battled through injuries.
Carr was sacked a career-high 51 times, and another part of the problem was that he didn’t have receivers breaking free downfield. Cooper was traded, Jordy Nelson had a very slow start before getting injured and bouncing back late, and Martavis Bryant was a spectacular waste of a third-round pick. Gruden traded one for him in April despite Bryant’s history of suspensions and being in the last year of his contract. Seth Roberts is solid at best, and rookie Marcel Ateman has a long way to go.
(Tight end Jared Cook had a sad ending to his stellar 896-yard season, walking through a route Sunday that led to an interception. And then the free-agent-to-be didn’t talk to reporters Sunday or Monday.)
Carr tried to stand in the pocket when he could, and bounced back from some nasty hits. Add that with the 12 losses, and Carr said it was the toughest season of his five-year career.
“Absolutely. 100 percent,” Carr said after the game Sunday. “From a standpoint of just the things that we had to deal with. You know, losing some friends, people getting hurt, playing with some new guys off the street. It was tough.
“But to still be able to do some of the things that we were able to accomplish, with the circumstances — people should look at our coaching staff and be like, OK wow, they can put together a plan, they can do certain things, even though A, B and C isn’t there. … But to make it out healthy, I thank God for that. Because we’ve all been at a place where I snapped my ankle in Week 16, and that’s not fun. So to be able to walk off the field and be able to go hold my babies, that’s always goal No. 1.”
Is Carr definitely back next season? That’s a story for another day. (Maybe next week, when we look at the upcoming offseason.)
With their three first-round picks in April, the Raiders should probably pick a receiver and two defensive players. Definitely a pass rusher, because they are hard to find. The Raiders were last in the NFL with 13 sacks.
But, despite setting a franchise record for most points allowed (467), Gruden praised defensive coordinator Paul Guenther on Monday, saying, “he did a great job.”
And maybe the cupboard was too bare to put up a better fight, after the Raiders traded Mack and then paid linebacker Bruce Irvin to go away. Guenther was well thought of around the league before Gruden hired him, and he still is.
“That’s a great defensive coordinator,” Chiefs tackle Mitchell Schwartz said after the game on Sunday. “That defense has pretty much everything that they can throw at you. You just don’t know what to expect so you’ve got to be mentally prepared. … They disguised some things really well in the first half.”
We should add that Chiefs receivers Demarcus Robinson and Tyreek Hill — after running free on deep passes — were wondering why the safeties were playing so low, so let’s not crown Guenther, either.
Guenther does have some building blocks on the defensive side, as safety Karl Joseph and cornerback Gareon Conley — McKenzie’s top picks in 2016 and ’17 — finally started making plays and earned the new staff’s trust. Fifth-round pick Mo Hurst looks like he will be a very good defensive tackle, where the Raiders also have Justin Ellis, second-round pick P.J. Hall and 2017 third-rounder Eddie Vanderdoes.
Rookie pass rusher Arden Key only had one sack in 16 games but was very close a handful of times and will be locked in the weight room this offseason. The linebackers were a mess, but veteran Tahir Whitehead is a high-effort guy who is apparently being given the same do-over that the defensive coaches are.
Now, did you see enough from any of those guys on offense or defense to really have any sense of optimism for next year?
We defer to Jordy Nelson, the 11th-year veteran who handles questions just like he does 8-yard passes. No nonsense and no fluff.
How close are the Raiders to taking the next step?
“You have no idea,” Nelson said Sunday afternoon. “Every year is different. Every team is different. It could be one year. It could be a few years, you never know. You can’t predict because things change. You just have to work and that’s it.”
Gruden will definitely have more to work with next season, as the Raiders take another step toward their grand entrance into Las Vegas in 2020. We will be better able to describe the dizzying 2018 season then, as well.
We’re doing an offseason outlook story on Monday, but I don’t want to cut you guys off cold turkey until then. So, send in some questions and we will open the mailbag Friday and toast (roast) the 2018 season.
So what’s the deal with the lease at the coliseum? Heard Davis was supposed to meet with them a few weeks ago then heard nothing since? He’s gotta sign that for one more year. Do the right thing and give the fans one last season