Raiders

Raiders takeaways: What we learned in 34-3 blowout loss to lowly Jets

Raiders takeaways: What we learned in 34-3 blowout loss to lowly Jets

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Raiders hopped on a plane bound for the Big Apple this weekend.

They never showed up.

The Silver and Black were there in body but not much else in a 34-3 loss to the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. They got worked in every phase of a game that was never, ever close.

The Jets (4-7) jumped to an early lead and steadily expanded it with a second-half barrage that sealed the Raiders' worst loss of the season by far. Yes, even worse than the Week 3 disaster in Minnesota.

The Raiders were rare road favorites heading into this game, riding high on a three-game winning streak, and they came crashing down in disastrous performance in which they were outplayed and outcoached.

Here are three takeaways from Sunday’s embarrassing loss:

Playoff hopes take a hit

The Silver and Black cruised through a perfect three-game homestand, and looked to enter next week’s game in Kansas City tied with the Chiefs atop the AFC West. That won’t happen after this mess, which pushed the Raiders to 6-5 and one game back in the division.

The loss also hurts the Raiders' AFC wild-card standing. A win would’ve solidified their place in both races, with a real chance to surge ahead with a win in KC. Now if the season ended at this moment, the Steelers, not the Raiders, would own the final wild-card spot.

Next week’s game still has massive import, but there’s a real onus to beat the Chiefs on the road and in the cold, with Kansas City fresh off a bye.

No trap, just bad football

It’s easy to call this a trap game. The Raiders were road favorites against a team that hadn’t won much. They had to fly across the country to play a 10 a.m. PT kickoff, with a massive game on the immediate horizon.

That creates an impression the Raiders could overlook this game and this Jets team. That wasn’t why the Raiders lost. They vowed to stay focused all week, honestly believing they didn’t have the cache to overlook anyone. That was rooted in their preparation. Even if that wasn’t true, some early Jets scores would’ve provided a wake-up call. They slept through the whole game.

This was a beat-down, plain and simple. Don’t call it anything else. Nobody in silver and black played well. No coach wearing the Raiders shield had a great day. The Raiders got thumped. They were the inferior team on this day.

This outcome has happened once before, during that 34-14 thrashing in Minnesota. The Raiders rebounded well from that loss, with back-to-back wins over the Colts and the Bears.

The Silver and Black must bounce back fast and avoid one bad game turning the season on its ear.

Pass defense picked apart

The Jets have offensive talent, especially at the skill positions, but they had struggled to move the ball this season. They entered Sunday ranked dead last in total offense and 29th in scoring, but they looked like a juggernaut while picking apart the Raiders' defense.

Jets QB Sam Darnold couldn’t miss, routinely finding receivers open laterally or on slants and crosses over the middle. Veteran running back Le’Veon Bell was efficient with a heavy workload, a rarity during his first season in New York.

The Jets threw for 315 yards and averaged 10.4 per attempt. That’s, you know, not a great showing for a Raiders defense that had been better in recent weeks. They were torched in the passing game, with the Jets punting for the first time late in the third quarter.

This outcome could be a gut check, or a blueprint for how to exploit the Raiders' defense in its current state. Time will tell, especially against teams with speed. The Chiefs, next week’s opponent, can win some track meets.

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.