The Raiders have not performed up to expectations through the first 10 weeks of the season, but all is not lost. The team still has eight games remaining on the schedule and a win could spark a little momentum that propels the team through the rest of the year.
Give some time to review and reflect on the team's recent loss, here are some thoughts and observations from a former NFL scout…
It's all about commitment, accountability and trust
It is hard for everyone associated with the Raiders to deal with a loss, but the losses are especially hard on players. That's why you are hearing the impassioned pleas from veterans Derek Carr and Davante Adams regarding the effort, preparation and commitment needed to win at the highest level.
With Carr and Adams speaking up to encourage their teammates to fully "buy in" to the culture that Josh McDaniels is attempting to build with the team, the Raiders have a chance to bounce back from their recent slump.
That said, the toll of losing six one-score games after going 7-2 in one-score games in 2021 can affect the confidence of any squad.
To prevent all of the negativity from becoming a major issue, the team has to fully commit to the preparation process and hold everyone accountable for doing the work. If players see teammates putting in the effort needed to win, the trust will build and the team will eventually get over the hump.
Despite the season falling short of expectations to this point, the Raiders have enough time to turn things around if they demonstrate adherence to the championship principles that have been established within the locker room.
Next men up
The hype and hoopla surrounding the Raiders for most of the offseason revolved around the explosive potential of the offense. The combination of Davante Adams, Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow on the perimeter with Josh Jacobs in the backfield had observers envisioning a juggernaut in the Silver and Black. The thought of defending a multi-dimensional passing game complemented by a smash-mouth ground attack would seemingly make a defensive coordinator's head explode.
Unfortunately, the Raiders have not been able to fully tap into their offensive potential due to various injuries to the quartet. Adams, Waller, Renfrow and Jacobs have been on the field together for 43 plays. Think about that. That is barely more than one-half of action in an NFL regular season game.
While injuries are a part of the sport and coaches rarely use them as excuses for poor performance, it is a challenge to win with several blue-chip players missing from the lineup. The offense is currently missing a pair of players who combined for 158 catches, 1,703 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns last season. And their absences have enabled opponents to double-team Adams in critical moments while also dropping an extra defender in the box to handle Jacobs as a runner.
To counter these tactics, the Raiders may look to one of their backups to emerge as a key contributor. Mack Hollins (30 catches, 416 yards, and two scores) and Foster Moreau (20 catches, 218 yards, and one score) have admirably stepped up, but the lack of explosives from the unit has made it easier for opponents to cloud the picture for Derek Carr while loading up to defend Jacobs in the backfield.
As a result, the Raiders have not been able to light up scoreboards or control the game behind an offense that looked dynamic on paper. Although Jacobs and Adams have played up to expectations, the duo cannot win games without a few role players pitching in as key contributors. Whether it is Hollins or Moreau making plays as pass catchers or Zamir White and Brandon Bolden emerging as complementary options in the backfield, the Raiders need more production from the role players to get back into the winning column.
Through creative scheming or improved performance, the pressure is mounting on the Raiders' unheralded players to step up.
The regular season is a marathon with a number of twists and turns on a winding road before reaching the postseason destination. Most teams in the league must overcome obstacles and adversity to maximize their potential as a team.
The Raiders are certainly mired in a quagmire with a 2-7 record and a three-game losing streak, but there is still enough games on the schedule to turn things around. It will take some hard work to get the issues fixed, but a collaborative effort between the coaches and players can lead to a reversal of fortunes down the stretch.
The turnaround could start with a simplification of the game plan on each side of the ball to enable the players to play faster. With fewer concepts and tactics to remember, the players should be able to play without hesitation. Although coaches like to carry call sheets that look like menus at fancy restaurants, it is better to do a few things well than to mess up a bunch of concepts on the fly.
From a player standpoint, the emphasis has to be on effort and execution. Veteran coaches will stress to players the importance of knowing the proper alignment, assignment and adjustment on every play. It is on the players to make sure that they understand the details of the instruction and carry out their assignments with maximum effort.
Although these points of emphasis would be conveyed to a youth or high school team, the simplified approach still works in the pros and the Raiders might want to get back to the basics to build some momentum down the stretch.
View team photographer Matt Aguirre's best photos from Allegiant Stadium's catwalk during the Las Vegas Raiders' Week 10 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts.