Raiders 2022 Season: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The 2022 season has obviously not gotten off to the start Raiders fans were hoping for, but there are still reasons for optimism. Despite what you might read on Twitter, McDaniels is not getting fired, Devante is not requesting a trade, and Carr is not going anywhere. This team needs to take advantage of a reeling Titans team next weekend as well as a suspect-looking Broncos before traveling to Arrowhead. The schedule after that is not overly difficult. It presents the opportunity to stack wins if this team can clean it up.
In this article, we’ll examine the players who’ve balled out so far, as well as who is to blame for the Raiders’ 0-2 start.
Raiders Top Five
As was expected of Crosby when he signed his extension this past offseason, he’s been playing with his hair on fire through two games – he’s had one sack to his name so far through two games, coupled with another that was wiped away due to penalty against ARI & came close several times against LAC. Crosby has been living in the opponent’s backfield. Though there are plays he comes so close on that you wish he’d finish (see Kyler Murray’s 4Q scramble: would have most likely still been negated by the questionable holding call), Crosby has been a bright spot despite little help from the rest of the pass rush.
Despite a quiet week 2 for the superstar WR, his week 1 performance alone was enough to remind everyone what a monster this guy is. Adams is such a master of his craft, it makes you question as a fan why he wouldn’t be targeted on almost every play. Highlights of the season so far are putting Asante Samuel, Jr. in an absolute spin cycle & making the goal line TD on the opening drive of week 2 look easy.
In my observation, Jacobs has picked up right where he left off on the end of last season. The stats simply do not do justice for the level of play & effort that Josh Jacobs has brought so far. Currently averaging 4.3 ypc, which is much more impressive when you’ve seen some of the potentially negative plays that he’s turned into a positive, I don’t think anyone would argue that heavier JJ usage would have iced the game against the Cardinals. The problem is, he’s not getting those touches – with all the other weapons on this team, I don’t see us giving him volume touches anytime soon.
Hobbs has lived up to the training camp hype so far. Although I feel some of the Charles Woodson comparisons are extremely premature, there’s a lot to get excited about here. He had 15 solo tackles + 5 assisted so far this year, 2 TFLs, and a nice play for an INT that we negated by an arguable penalty. It’s encouraging to see Hobbs building on some of the success he found last year. Hobbs & Moehrig will be staples for this secondary for years to come.
Daniel Carlson/AJ Cole
Treating these two as a package deal, both have performed well enough to warrant individual consideration. This is the second coming of Jano/Lechler folks. Honestly, I think Carlson is well on his way to surpassing Seabass, which is no small feat. Cole is averaging 53.4 yards a punt so far, including a 66 yard bomb last week. Carlson is 5/5FGM including 2 from 50+ & 3/3XP. It’s hard to feel anything but confident with these two on the field.
Honorable Mention: Duron Harmon
Harmon made two huge plays at the end of the game against the Cardinals to keep our hopes alive, both in the run & pass game. Consistent contributions from Harmon could be a game-changer for a secondary which has been banged up early so far this season.
Raiders Bottom Five:
Let’s start with an obvious one. Outside of a couple of nice run stuffs in week 1, CJ has been non-existent so far. This is obviously a letdown for fans who were excited to see him paired with Maxx Crosby after signing a 3yr/$51m deal this offseason. He should ultimately be a success in this system & grow into a similar role that Bruce Irvin served for us. I’m not sure that warrants the large contract and the expectation that he was a clear upgrade from Yannick Ngakoue: time will tell.
There’s a lot of blame to go around for the week 2 debacle. As head coach, most must fall directly on McDaniel’s shoulders. It’s obviously too early to judge and you could argue we were only a matter of plays away from a 2-0 start, but there have been some noticeable deficiencies in the decisions made so far.
First off, the questionable play calling in the second half – Josh Jacobs was running the ball well & Carr was having success in the intermediate passing game. Not only did they dial back the aggressiveness on the pass attempts in the 2nd half, but they also vastly underutilized the run. Josh Jacobs was moving the sticks and could have kept the clock moving & our defense on the sideline for longer.
Secondly, we notice in the game the lack of aggression before the end of the 1st half. I understand that DC was struggling in week 1 and you didn’t want to risk another turnover. The 2-minute drill/quick offense is arguably the strongest part of Carr’s game. In addition to that, you have Devante Adams, Darren Waller, and Hunter Renfrow. We’ve seen Carr make it happen with Bryan Edwards. We need to get more aggressive here and maximize scoring opportunities.
The ultimate lightning rod for Raidernation: Derek Carr. Hate him or love him, everyone’s got their opinion. The plain truth is that although he hasn’t been terrible this year, he has not been up to the level we’d hoped he’d be after a multitude of weapons finally surround him.
Week 1 loss was primarily on Carr. The turnovers & missed TD to Waller ultimately did them in, although he did keep them around and even had a chance to win in the end, a situation he’s historically cashed in on. Week 2 I believe he played a good game. He’s been converting some 3rd & longs, got us a comfortable lead, and had us in a position to win the game in OT. Sunday’s loss to ARI is another I like to chalk up as not being Carr’s fault, but ones that could have been avoided with elite-level QB play. As far as blame for Sunday goes, I, unfortunately, need to place more of it on…
This pains me to write, as Renfrow has been nothing short of dependable and an over-performer throughout the duration of his career, but Renfrow came up short on Sunday. Listen, a lot of plays contributed to the meltdown against the Cardinals. But there comes a point in the game where they raise the stakes and the plays become more important. Renfrow has never been the type to make excuses – I’m sure he would agree that you just can’t fumble twice on a game-winning drive. I understand that he met with injury on the second hit, which likely contributed to the fumble, but in reality, it took a herculean effort from Foster Moreau to even recover the first one. Knowing the kind of player that #13 is, I’m confident he bounces back from this.
The Offensive Line, sans Dylan Parham and Andre James
We knew this group was going to be a question mark heading into this season. The results have been mostly disappointing so far. Kolton Miller got outclassed week 1, albeit against one of the best pass rushers in the league. It’s still discouraging to see out of your best lineman. Munford has struggled with penalties & Eluemunor has been shaky at best. I give Andre James a pass because he played well week 1 before missing last week with an injury. Parham has been the most impressive of all, filling multiple needs for us and performing well in both spots. Carr looks determined to stand in the pocket so far this year. This group’s performance for the Raiders is ultimately going to make or break this offense.