Odds on What Raider Nation Will Complain About in 2018
The Oakland Raiders have a following and a lore unlike any other team in the history of the NFL. Once considered the NFL’s outlaws, the Silver and Black are back on track to reclaim that title with “Chucky” returning to lead the team into a glorious future. With that said, there are numerous decisions that have been made by Gruden and the front office which have left fans questioning and complaining. From questionable roster moves to scrutinized draft picks, even some of the diehard members of the Black Hole have been grumbling.
The following is a list of the top things that I believe the Raider Nation will complain about during the 2018-19 season and my made-up betting odds that I have associated with each complaint.
Shouldn’t Move the Team to Las Vegas (-1000)
As a former Raiders fan, it still irks me every time I think about the team moving to Las Vegas. Couldn’t they have moved someone else like the Jaguars or the Chargers? I would rather see the Chargers go to Las Vegas than stuff another team in Los Angeles. Anyhow, this will easily be the top complaint for Raiders fans all year long. And rightfully so.
The Raiders are set to move to Las Vegas sometime in 2020. A few weeks ago, NFL owners approved a $1.8 billion stadium deal to be ready for the 2020 season. Right now, the Raiders are operating on a lease in Oakland for this year and hope to do it for next season as well.
The Raiders have been in the Bay Area for over 45 years. They’re a source of pride and a way of life to the city of Oakland. Unfortunately, the team owners and local/state politicians couldn’t figure out a mutually beneficial deal to get the team a new stadium and keep them there for the foreseeable future. So, once again, the Raiders are moving just like they did in 1982 when they left for Los Angeles. Unfortunately, unlike the return to Oakland in 1995, the Raiders won’t return from the city of Las Vegas.
Expect the Raider Nation to make their voices heard each and every week on this topic.
Reggie McKenzie Should Disown His Son (-500)
The Kansas City Chiefs are Oakland’s biggest rival. And the Chiefs went and did something that has riled up the Raiders Nation in a hilarious way. In the 2018 NFL Draft, Kansas City selected Kahlil McKenzie in the 6th round with the 198th overall pick. McKenzie is a defensive lineman out of Tennessee who failed to live up to his high school hype. However, the Chiefs traded up with the Patriots to draft this 6’3”, 314-pound athlete because they believed in his potential. Okay, that’s not the only reason. I’m going to say the biggest reason they drafted Kahlil is because he’s the son of Oakland’s GM Reggie McKenzie.
I absolutely love that the Chiefs did this, and I find it hilarious. Since the draft, there have been some Raiders fans calling for Reggie McKenzie to disown his son. Yes, you read that correctly. If Kahlil makes the Chiefs roster, you can expect the fans to continue their complaints over this family situation each time these two teams play.
Is Gareon Conley Really a #1, Shutdown Corner? (-200)
If you ask Coach Gruden, Conley is one of the best corners in the NFL. If you ask fans, they’re less confident right now. And this is due to Conley missing 14 games last year due to a shin injury. Gareon was one of the most talented corners to come out in the 2017 NFL draft. Conley was a solid corner at “the Ohio State” and was drafted 24th overall by Oakland. In his limited regular-season action, Conley did show flashes of his potential.
Now, I’m not denying that this kid has skills. He was solid in college and could become a good corner in the NFL. However, I have to side with some of the Raiders fans here who are questioning Gruden’s love for Gareon after just a few OTA sessions.
Not only do the Raiders believe in his talent, but they are actually building their entire secondary around a player who saw action in 2 games during his rookie year. He’s going to start opposite of Rashaan Melvin, who was plucked away from the Colts in free agency.
I say give the kid some time to get acclimated to the elite level of talent he will face not only in his division but the entire NFL. With each slip-up, misstep, or burnt coverage, expect the Raiders faithful to express their complaints over Conley being tabbed as a shutdown #1 corner.
We Wasted Our 1st Round Pick in the Draft (Even)
Ever since the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft ended, Raiders fans have been questioning and complaining about their first-round selection – offensive tackle Kolton Miller. Even so-called NFL Draft gurus questioned Oakland’s selections and gave the team the lowest grade in the NFL Draft.
Miller is a big 6’8”, 309-pound OT from UCLA. However, the knock on him is that he’s raw. Despite being ranked as the #2 OT in the Draft, Kolton has serious durability concerns and didn’t display great strength at the NFL Combine. Not to mention that Oakland already has a starting left tackle in Donald Penn. So, Kolton will either sit behind Penn, or the Raiders will try to move him to RT.
As of this writing, Miller isn’t being rushed during OTAs, and the Raiders plan on bringing him along slowly. The Raiders can also plan on hearing their fans complain about not drafting a player in the first round who can contribute right away.
The Christian Hackenberg Trade (+100)
This trade was a real head-scratcher. Although the Raiders only gave up a 7th-round pick in 2019, the team didn’t need another quarterback. They already have 3 solid players, including a franchise quarterback in Derek Carr, with EJ Manuel and Connor Cook as backups. However, Gruden’s love for Hackenberg won out, as he convinced the team to give up a draft pick to the Jets.
Gruden has gushed over Christian ever since the kid came out of Penn State a few years ago. In 2 seasons with the Jets, Hackenberg never even threw a regular-season pass. So, a conditional 7th-round pick seems high in my opinion, especially since the Jets would’ve most likely cut Christian just like they did Bryce Petty.
But Gruden loved the 2016 second-round draft pick and believes that the 51st overall selection still has potential and he’s just the coach that can get it out of the young QB. I think this was a silly transaction, and Raiders fans will complain about this all year long and into next year’s draft unless Hackenburg can somehow beat out Cook or Manuel.
Do We Really Need Both Lynch and Martin in the Backfield? (+250)
Marshawn Lynch came out of retirement in 2017 to sign with the Oakland Raiders. He eventually worked his way up to the lead back position and finished with a respectable 4.3 yards per carry. For the season, Lynch tallied 891 rushing yards and 7 rushing TDs on 207 carries. This year, Lynch is expected to remain the feature back in the offense. However, he might have some competition in free agent Doug Martin.
The 7th-year running back has his new teammates and head coach gushing over him. According to SilverandBlackPride.com, Gruden made the following comments about Martin:
“A lot of people may have fallen asleep on Doug Martin. He’s a two-time All Pro back, he had almost 1500 yards in two different seasons. He has not looked good here, he has looked great.”
Gruden believes that in order for his offense to be great, it will need 3 or 4 running backs. Well, if you listen to some Raiders fans, the team already had this, and they should’ve spent the money on other free agent needs. I say, settle down with this nonsense.
Yes, the Raiders do have Lynch, Richard, and Washington, but the latter two are interchangeable. They’re also more effective in the passing game than the running game, which is what Gruden has stated he will use them at. However, you have to realize that Martin is a different type of back than the three incumbents. And his past success gives him experience and poise to help this team out, especially if the big workhorse Lynch needs a breather or gets banged up.
In reality, Martin will make this team, and Gruden will cut either Richard or Washington. He has no ties to them, but he has already expressed his affinity for Martin.
Bring Back Sebastian Janikowski (+750)
After the 2017 season, the Raiders decided to part ways with longtime kicker Sebastian Janikowski. The former first-round draft pick in 2000, albeit at the hands of Al Davis, Janikowski is turning 40 years old and just wrapped up a 4-year, $16 million contract. Unfortunately, Janikowski spent most of last year on injured reserve due to a back injury and took a pay cut because of his lingering back issues.
With Sebastian unable to play, the Raiders turned to Giorgio Tavecchio last year. He had an up-and-down year, finishing 16-for-21 on field goals and 33-of-34 on extra point attempts. Despite Janikowski’s booming leg, he started to fade on kickoffs, and his last full season in 2016 wasn’t much better statistically than Tavecchio’s 2017 campaign. Plus, Janikowski’s salary would’ve been a lot more than Giorgio’s, which was probably the biggest factor in saying goodbye to the team’s all-time greatest kicker.
With every missed field goal, hooked extra point, and kickoff that doesn’t make it to the end zone, you can expect the Raiders fans to complain and shout for the return of Janikowski despite the fact that he signed with the Seattle Seahawks.
Should Not Have Hired Jon Gruden Again (+1500)
This one really cracks me up. When the Raiders brought back Jon Gruden earlier this year, there were numerous Raiders fans complaining about the hiring. Then, when the contract details came out, these detractors threw a fit over Gruden’s 10-year, $100 million deal.
The complaints against Gruden are not that he isn’t a good coach, but the fact that he hasn’t coached in a decade. They believe that the game has passed him by. However, I disagree.
Gruden showed off his high football IQ each and every week as an analyst for Monday Night Football. I believe he still has a lot left in the tank. I don’t believe this game has passed him by, and I see Gruden bringing back some concepts that he used to have success with when he last coached in the league.
Complaining about Gruden is like complaining that the Raiders need to move the eye patch on their logo to the other eye. Gruden embodied the Raiders mantra and culture when he was wrongly jettisoned nearly 15 years ago. And guess what? He still does. Coach Chucky will get the team heading in the right direction, and he will bring back the Silver and Black pride, culture, and on-field success.
Should Have Kept Michael Crabtree (+2500)
Surprisingly, Michael Crabtree had a very successful three years with the Raiders. During that span, he averaged 847 receiving yards, 77.3 receptions, and 8.3 touchdowns per season. Despite those solid numbers as the #2 receiver, sometimes #1B receiver, the Raiders felt it was time to move on from Crabtree and the 4-year, $35 million extension that he signed at the end of the 2015 season.
Upon his release and subsequent signing with the Baltimore Ravens, there were plenty of Raiders fans taking to social media complaining that the team should’ve kept Crabtree. But they’re wrong.
With the departure of Crabtree, the Raiders went out and signed Jordy Nelson as a free agent and traded with the Steelers for Martavis Bryant. The addition of these two receivers with the incumbent #1 receiver Amari Cooper creates one of the best trios of receivers on paper. If they live up to their potential, this Oakland passing game could be one of the best in the league. But with that said, you can still expect some knucklehead Oakland fans to complain over Crabtree being gone.