McKenzie Surprised by Raiders' Struggles

Oakland GM still believes team can perform better offensively and defensively over the final seven games

The Raiders get a chance to rest this weekend. Players and coaches have extra time, with a bye, to get ready for the New England Patriots Nov. 19 in Mexico City.

At 4-5, Oakland certainly isn’t where general manager Reggie McKenzie thought his team would be one game into the second half of its schedule. After a 12-4 playoff season in 2016, McKenzie entered this year believing his team could be an AFC championship contender.

“Obviously, you would like to be more in the win column, for sure, but our record is what it is, and our play is what it is, so we’ll focus on getting better and winning the next game,” he told Bay Area media this week. “That’s where we are.”

Certainly, the Raiders have been disappointing on both offense and defense. They rank just 19th in the NFL in total offense and 26th in total defense. If they’re going to make a run at the 6-3 Chiefs atop the AFC West, they’ll have to play significantly better – and be much more consistent.

And, McKenzie acknowledged that the offense in particular has been disappointing under first-year coordinator Todd Downing. The team added Marshawn Lynch this season, yet the running attack hasn’t been as effective as it was in 2016 under coordinator Bill Musgrave. Derek Carr and the passing game also aren’t as sharp as last season. But, McKenzie is not going to lay the blame solely on Downing for the team’s struggles.

“I’m not going to sit here and evaluate coordinators with you guys,” McKenzie said. “But it’s obvious we need to get better offensively and score some more points and move the football and help the defense out. And vice versa, the defense has to get the ball back for our offense. We have to continue to work together in every facet of our game, starting versus New England.”

While the Raiders get this weekend off, the 6-2 Patriots will be in Denver Sunday night to take on the Broncos.

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