Game Balls: Raiders vs Vikings

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The Oakland Raiders’ Week 3 match-up against the Minnesota Vikings didn’t start off or finish well for the Silver and Black, as they fell behind 21-7 going into halftime before the Vikings pulled away with a 34-14 victory. The Vikings did a really good job of making the Raiders one dimensional and taking rookie running back Josh Jacobs out of the game. Add the fact that the Raiders couldn’t stop the run, and that’s a bad recipe for any football team. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is taking a lot of heat from Raiders’ fans for the team’s poor offensive performance, but the reality is he didn’t play a bad game. The margin for error is a lot less in year two for him and Jon Gruden. Carr finished the game 27/34 (79.5%) for 242 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Carr wasn’t “off” all game. In fact, out of his 7 incompletions, 2 were intentionally thrown away and 1 was a drop.

Do you want my honest take on the Raiders game yesterday? Well, you’re going to get it right now.

The Raiders need Tyrell Williams to not have only 3 catches for 29 yards (albeit he did have another touch down). He is the Raiders #1 receiver and a match-up problem. He needs to be more of a factor in the game. The season-ending injury to Jonathan Abram is really hurting the Raiders’ pass defense. The play of Curtis Riley has been really bad, like Reggie Nelson bad. The Raiders need to find a replacement for Riley as soon as possible because he has not been good in coverage and has cost the team by getting torched for either being out of position or missing tackles.

I would like to see Gruden get the ball in Josh Jacobs’ hands more, either via the pass or run. He is the Raiders’ best offensive player and they need to feed him the same way the Dallas Cowboys feed Ezekiel Elliot and the New York Giants feed Saquon Barkley. I’m also tired of the Carr slander coming from fans. Derek Carr is not the issue, and just because he isn’t the same type of player as Patrick Mahomes or even Kyler Murray that doesn’t make him a bad QB. They all play in different offenses and are asked to do different things in those offenses. You always want what other people have so keep this in mind: you could have Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston or Joe Flacco, so be careful what you wish for.

This is the first and last time I am going to address or say this during the season: Jon Gruden is not going to get fired so stop asking or thinking it’s even a possibility. Gruden is going to be the Raiders’ head coach for the foreseeable future and has no intention to quit, nor does Mark Davis have any intention of firing him. The Raiders are in a unique position that not too many other teams have been in or will ever be in. They won’t be home until November 3rd. This is a tough stretch for them but there aren’t too many other people that I would want leading them through these tough times. I know it’s not easy and you don’t want to hear it but be patient. Good times are on the horizon.

The Raiders did some good things and there are things the Raiders could build off of and look to in a positive way. The emergence of tight end Darren Waller is a sign that Gruden has a future star and a player who could eventually become one of the NFL’s best at his position. Kolton Miller played well for the third straight week at left tackle and may be proving a lot of people wrong–myself included–about whether or not he was the right player drafted to be the team’s starting left tackle. Karl Joseph also played well in the Vikings loss. He had a bad pass interference call (which I disagreed with), but he also had 7 tackles as well.

 

The Raiders had some players who did some good things on Sunday, so it’s time to give out my Week 3 Raiders vs Vikings “Game Balls.”

 

Darren Waller:

Game Balls - Week 3 - Raiders vs Vikings
Photo courtesy of Raiders.com

Once again, Darren Waller gets a game ball from me, his second in as many weeks. The young tight end is really starting to blossom into a star and the type of player Gruden had hoped he would become when he plucked him off of the Baltimore Ravens practice squad. Waller had a career-high 13 receptions for 134 yards and created a match-up problem all day for the Vikings. He was the lone player making impactful plays consistently for the Raiders on Sunday.

 

 

 

AJ Cole:

Game Balls - Week 3 - Raiders vs Vikings
Photo courtesy of SilverandBlackPride.com

Rookie punter AJ Cole had a really nice game for the Silver and Black. Cole was used a lot more than the Raiders would like, but he finished the day averaging an impressive 54.3-yard average on 4 punts, including a 60-yarder. He also did a fantastic job showing touch on his punts putting two of them inside the Vikings 20-yard line.

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Arrigo

 

Joe is the President of Franchise Sports Media and co-host of The Q&A Raiders Podcast. Here is where you can follow Joe on social media:

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