How Raiders can get past loss to Jets by learning from Vikings setback

How Raiders can get past loss to Jets by learning from Vikings setback

ALAMEDA – If Sunday’s 34-3 loss to the New York Jets was the Raiders’ worst defeat of the season, what happened in Week 3 comes in a close second. An argument could be made that Minnesota debacle on Sept. 22 belongs on top, considering how dominant the Vikings were more than two months ago.

The rankings don’t matter much now. Every loss counts the same.

What happened after the Minnesota mess should give the Raiders confidence they can rebound well from their latest setback. The Silver and Black won two straight games away from Oakland after getting trounced 34-14 by the Vikings, winning in Indianapolis and then beating Chicago in London.

There’s proof the Raiders can rebound well and avoid letting one bad game impact others on the schedule.

“Hopefully we can take what happened here [against the Jets] and learn from it like we did against the Vikings,” Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said. “We got our face kicked in a little bit. You have to look forward right away, and hopefully this loss wakes everybody up.”

Rebounding well is an important lesson already learned, one that holds great value heading into the season’s most important game. The Raiders play in Kansas City next week, with a win vaulting them into a tie atop the AFC West.

A Jets hangover would virtually eliminate that prospect. It will take the Raiders’ best to beat the Chiefs in Kansas City’s winter chill.

“We had better show up or they’re going to beat us by 50,” Carr said. “They are a really good football team, one of the best in the NFL. Hopefully our guys, myself included, will show up in Arrowhead a week from now ready to go. I believe that we will be.”

These Raiders are in a tougher spot than they were in Week 3, with a defense beset by season-ending injuries and an offense struggling more now that opponents are set on stopping the run. Hunter Renfrow’s now out of the equation, and Carr can’t buy consistent receiver play.

The Chiefs are also a tougher out than the Colts or Bears, but the mindset doesn’t change.

Many Raiders in the locker room after the loss to the Jets spun this as a wake-up call that will make Oakland better down the road. Let’s not forget this is a young, freshly assembled group trying to compete on a consistent basis despite being in the midst of a longer-term roster rebuild.

“We’re not the ’85 Bears. We’re a developing football team,” head coach Jon Gruden said. “We’re developing our roster. Today was a setback. We’re going to give our preparation every ounce of diligence that we can. We know what we’re going up against at Arrowhead.”

The Kansas City matchup starts a five-game run to close the season that includes showdowns against the Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars and the Chargers and Broncos to close out the season.

“We’re going to make a playoff push,” receiver Tyrell Williams said. “This will be a good test for us. We have to look at ourselves and get right back to where we want to be.”

[RELATED: Where Raiders stand in AFC playoff picture]

They might’ve been riding a bit too high after a perfect three-game homestand. Sunday’s game brought the Raiders back down a peg or two.

“This will benefit us more than anything,” rookie running back Josh Jacobs said. “We kind of needed that. We’ll see how we respond and how it plays out from here.”

NFL Draft 2020: Raiders should target these six players on Day 2

NFL Draft 2020: Raiders should target these six players on Day 2

All the talk surrounding the Raiders' 2020 NFL Draft plan revolves around their two first-round picks.

With picks No. 12 and No. 19, how will the Raiders build on the success of last year's draft class? Will they trade up for a quarterback? Take the best receiver available and whatever linebacker is left? Do what is necessary to put Isaiah Simmons in silver and black?

The questions are endless. But the Raiders' draft class truly will come together on Day 2 of the draft, when they have three third-round picks. That's enough ammo to move up into Round 2 or select three players who can contribute immediately to the up-and-coming Raiders. Yes, they could take a flier on Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm or try and develop the enticing talent that is Jalen Hurts, but they have many needs outside of quarterback. 

With the Raiders getting a good look at the best the draft has to offer this week at the NFL Scouting Combine, let's look at six Day 2 prospects for the Raiders to target.

Marlon Davidson, DE, Auburn

Davidson is fast rising so he likely will be gone by the time the Raiders go on the clock in Round 3.

The 6-foot-3, 303-pound defensive end has an impressive array of skills that most NFL teams would love to have on their roster. He has heavy hands and a quick first step. He played outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme on The Plains but might be better suited for an interior role at the next level.

He's a high upside guy who has the ability to help the Raiders in one of their biggest areas of need.

K.J. Hill, WR, Ohio State

The Raiders need more than one wide receiver. While they likely will land one of CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy or Henry Ruggs, the Silver and Black need more weapons for whoever the quarterback is.

This is a deep and talented wide receiver class, so the Raiders could go a number of ways.

I'll highlight Hill because he's a great route-runner with solid hands. He had a down senior season but was an explosive weapon for Dwayne Haskins two years ago.

He'd be a great addition as Gruden looks to build a more dynamic offense.

Troy Dye, LB. Oregon

We all know the Raiders need linebacker help. Whether they trade up to draft Simmons, take Patrick Queen or Kenneth Murray or avoid going linebacker in Round 1, they need to build depth at the position. 

Dye was a four-year starter at Oregon, whose leadership helped keep the program from nosediving. 

He's an athletic, rangy linebacker with the explosiveness to be an impact NFL starter. He needs to work on his play processing and taking better angles in space.

Kenny Willekes, EDGE, Michigan State

The Spartan defensive end has an extremely high floor. He's a very competitive guy with a high motor who would thrive under Gruden.

Willekes has a variety of pass-rush moves and is a stout run defender. 

He racked up 47.5 tackles for loss and 22 sacks during his career at Michigan State and would be a solid addition to the Raiders' defensive end rotation. 

James Proche, WR, SMU

Proche is a name that you don't hear a lot in this loaded class, but he could be the steal of the draft.

At 5-foot-10, the SMU slot receiver has big hands for his size (9 5/8). Those hands were golden during his time at SMU as Proche basically caught anything thrown in his zip code. He has no problem snagging balls at high velocity with one a hand or in the air or off balance.

He's not the fastest or strongest receiver, but he's a guy who could be a valuable weapon in a four-wide set.

[RELATED: Brady-to-Raiders becoming more realistic with latest rumors]

Davon Hamilton, DT, Ohio State

Hamilton is 6-foot-4 and 310 pounds. The Raiders are in need of a big body who can disrupt offenses up the middle.

He's an outstanding run defender and found success against constant double teams while at Ohio State.

His pass-rush skill needs some polishing, but you can't teach size or power. Hamilton has both and the quickness to boot.


NFL Draft 2020: Could Raiders draft, develop Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts?

NFL Draft 2020: Could Raiders draft, develop Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts?

As we wait for the NFL free-agent quarterback dominoes to fall *cough* Tom Brady *cough* -- NFL teams are gathered in Indianapolis to meet with, critique and study the next crop of NFL signal-callers. 

This current group of quarterbacks is top-heavy, with Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow, Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa and Oregon's Justin Herbert all slated to go in the top-10. After that, it's a who's who of hit-and-miss prospects with intriguing skills and huge question marks.

The Raiders aren't viable for the top three. Burrow is bound for the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Raiders shouldn't make the move up for Tagovailoa or Herbert, as talented as they might be. 

That leaves the middle tier of quarterbacks. Polarizing prospects like Utah State's Jordan Love, Georgia's Jake Fromm, Washington's Jacob Eason and Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts.

The Raiders have spoken with Fromm -- who I discussed here -- Love and Hurts.

The Athletic's Vic Tafur reported Wednesday that Hurts had a good meeting with the Raiders and the team is "intrigued by his upside."

Should the Raiders draft Hurts on Day 2 -- when they have three third-round picks -- the selection would be one with an eye on the future, hoping Jon Gruden can develop and mold the Alabama/Oklahoma product into a quarterback who can dominate the new age of the NFL.

During his time in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Norman, Okla., Hurts went 38-4 as a starter. He won the 2016 SEC Offensive Player of the Year award when he led the Crimson Tide to the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Hurts eventually lost his starting job to Tagovailoa at halftime of the 2018 title game.

Overall, he went 38-4 as a starter at both Alabama and Oklahoma. The losses were to Deshaun Watson, Burrow, No. 6 Auburn and an upset loss to Kansas State last season. He has steadily improved as a quarterback during his four seasons.

Hurts is the ideal quarterback for the modern NFL. He has great mobility and will kill teams with his legs if he isn't contained. He's light on his feet, has a strong arm and really improved his deep-ball touch during this last season at Oklahoma under noted quarterback guru Lincoln Riley.

One of Hurts' best traits is his pocket awareness. As if he has eyes in the back of his head, Hurts constantly escapes danger by doing the unthinkable. He's very poised and his ability to extend plays and make something out of nothing is a skill that should be valued. He has all the skills to be a perfect weapon in an RPO-style attack.

He's great on the move as a roll-out passer.

As discussed, the deep-ball was much better at Oklahoma.

The improvisation is a plus.

His legs can be a big weapon.

So, what's not to like?

Hurts still has some growing to do as a passer who can move the ball effectively on NFL defenses. His anticipation at times was lacking and he seemed to have some issues moving off his first read when going through his progressions. While not inaccurate, Hurts sometimes has issues with ball-placement and will need to work on being more precise at the next level.

He also has a tendency to lose his accuracy when facing pressure.

Hurts finished the season throwing for 38 touchdowns, 3,851 yards and eight interceptions.

Some wondered if Hurts would try and switch positions at the next level, but his answer was clear at the combine.

“Yeah you know, I’ve always been a team-first guy,” Hurts said Tuesday. “But I think I’m a quarterback. I think that’s that.”

[RELATED: Raiders should do whatever it takes to draft Isaiah Simmons]

If the Raiders do go into the 2020 season with Derek Carr as their starting quarterback, Hurts could be a nice developmental quarterback to sit for year or two in order to sharpen his skills.

Some polishing is needed, but Hurts has tremendous upside in today's NFL. The Raiders clearly see that, and a third-round pick would be worth the gamble.