With a 10-year contract, Jon Gruden has a reason for being patient. Raiders fans, however, want results now – and they’re not getting the kind they want.
For the third straight game, the Raiders looked good in the first half, then collapsed in the second half, this time in Sunday’s 28-20 loss to the Dolphins in South Florida. In losing to the Rams, Broncos and Dolphins, Oakland has been outscored 37-3 in the fourth quarter. Plus, the Raiders now have lost seven straight games dating to 2017.
That’s a lot of losing and a lot of frustration to start a season.
Yet Gruden is maintaining his positive persona.
“We have a lot of work to do here,” he told reporters after Sunday’s loss. “We’re going to continue to work. I’m proud of the way we’re competing. We played three teams, I think, that might be undefeated. I don’t know. We’ve played three good football teams. We played them hard. We have a lot of work to do here. We’ll continue to work and we’ll get this show on the road here hopefully soon. All three phases, we’ve got to pick it up and it starts with me.”
Gruden is almost right. The Rams, Broncos and Dolphins have been good, but not undefeated (they’re a combined 8-1).
But one of the things that’s mystifying about the Raiders’ defensive collapse in the second half Sunday was the unit was rested. As Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle noted, the defense was on the field for just 44 snaps against Miami (while the offense had 76), and the Raiders controlled the time of possession (38:31 to 21:29). The Raiders also had more first downs, 25 to 13, yet it was Miami’s offense that was more effective when it counted.
One problem has been the Raiders’ lack of pass rush. Ryan Tannehill had plenty of time to throw Sunday for Miami, taking just one sack and three hits. The Raiders’ Derek Carr was sacked three times and hit eight more times.
So, the Raiders at 0-3 now will host the revitalized Cleveland Browns this Sunday. The Browns are 1-1-1, have a new starting quarterback in Baker Mayfield, who was very good in a win over the Jets last week, and a head coach in Hue Jackson with plenty of motivation to get a win after being fired by the Raiders just a few seasons ago.
Kickoff for Sunday’s game at O.co Coliseum is set for 1:05 p.m.