Over his first two seasons, Jack Del Rio could do little wrong. The head coach took over a franchise that had gone 3-13 in 2014 – and 11-37 over its three previous seasons – to go 7-9 and then 12-4.
The Raiders were stocked with young talent, had taken on Del Rio’s no-nonsense personality and seemed poised to enter a new era of success.
Now, however, with yet another ugly loss – a 19-10 defeat in Philadelphia Monday night – Del Rio’s seemingly rock-solid status at the helm of this team looks surprisingly shaky.
The Raiders are 6-9 with three straight losses heading into the season finale this Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers, and some believe Del Rio actually could be fired when the season comes to a close. Even before Monday’s loss, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported Del Rio’s ouster is a “50-50 proposition.” Florio wrote that, according to a source, his future with the organization is a “coin flip.”
It seems more likely the Raiders would give Del Rio one more chance to show that this year was an aberration, not a trend, especially with the investment the team made in him in February, when it gave him a four-year contract extension.
Yet in Monday night’s loss to the Eagles – which officially eliminated the Raiders from the playoff race – it was obvious again that this offense, which was so dynamic in 2016 under coordinator Bill Musgrave, is a mess. And, that can be laid at Del Rio’s feet. In the offseason he fired Musgrave yet kept defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., the opposite of what many observers felt should happen. The result has been a huge step back on offense. The defense, meanwhile, has rebounded nicely under John Pagano since Norton was fired a few weeks ago.
If the Raiders decide to keep Del Rio, they’ll need to revitalize the offense and quarterback Derek Carr, who hardly looks like the same player he was in 2016.
After Monday’s loss, however, Del Rio refused to talk about his team’s offensive problems.
“I know that is going to be a continuing conversation for us,” Del Rio told reporters. “I’m just going to talk about tonight. We win and lose as a football team.”
The Raiders-Chargers matchup Sunday in Carson is set to kick off at 1:25 p.m.