After an anomalous 2016 season where the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders didn't bottom out at or below .500 for the first time in 14-years, it seems we can't get away from coverage of our arch rivals. The news of their pending move to Marshawn Lynch, it's a bit much for a team that crashed and burned their fairytale season last year.
Yes, I'll admit it. They're better than they were in the past. The salary cap issues, lack of draft picks, and revolving door in the head coach's office left them out in the cold for a long time. Jack Del Rio has done a decent job of turning things around, they no longer are making stupid trades that hamstring them, and they've hit on recent draft picks. All that aside, let's not forget...
These are the Raiders.
While I will be the first to say that we have to respect each and every team we face on any given Sunday, I can tell you that the Raiders will fall to earth in 2017.
1. They're moving. Oakland already couldn't sell out their stadium on a regular basis and now that the team has insulted their local fanbase, fewer fans will be inclined to go. In addition to the diminished home field advantage, the players know that they're leaving and, even though it's years away, the move will be a distraction. Especially if they don't win early in the season.
2. David Carr. I know his name is Derek, but Raiders fans get delightfully annoyed when you call him by his oft-sacked brother's name. David will be returning after breaking his fibula. All reports are that he's doing fantastic in his recovery, but there will be a period of adjustment when he returns. Who knows if he doesn't 'see ghosts' out there when he's scrambling about?
3. Jack Del Rio. In his 11-year coaching history, Jack Del Rio has only had a winning record in back-to-back seasons once. In 2016, the Raiders went 12-4 and matched Del Rio's highest win total since 2005 with the Jaguars. How did the 2006 Jags do after posting such a dominant record the previous year? 8-8.What could be more Raider than that?
4. The 'offensive juggernaut' of 2016 lost their offensive coordinator... to the Denver Broncos. What does it mean when a team has their best year offensively in damn near a generation and the man who orchestrated it gladly takes a demotion to join a rival to get the heck away from it? Who's to say that without Bill Musgrave, Derek Carr won't regress into the Byron Leftwich we all know Jack Del Rio wants him to be?
5. It's the Raiders. I can list plenty of reasons why the Raiders are going to regress, but we all know that they will find a way. I have no reason to list here and simply want to reserve this space as a wild card, a 'free space' on the bingo card that is Raiders football.
When your team is in a position to think that a retired-Marshawn Lynch can help your team, you got bigger problems than needing Marshawn Lynch. Denver Broncos: 5 Reasons Why Marshawn Lynch Won't Be A Threat | FOX Sports
...or they could go another direction.
Of course, that wouldn't be the move that most fans want the Broncos to make. Here's an update on Christian McCaffrey. Christian McCaffrey declined all private workout requests | ProFootballTalk
I'm all for eliminating the useless celebration penalties. Let's hope the refs get their way. Referees want NFL to eliminate celebration penalties | ProFootballTalk
The 2017 NFL schedule is likely coming out Thursday. Expect more nuggets of scheduling information to leak in the coming days. Patriots-Chiefs expected to open season, Falcons at home on SNF | ProFootballTalk