On Saturday, Las Vegas lost 31-13 to Kansas City, capping a disappointing 6-11 season.
Despite a 2021 playoff appearance and trading for former Green Bay superstar Davante Adams, the Raiders reverted to their losing ways, suffering their fourth losing season in six years.
Here are three takeaways the Raiders can learn from, so they can create a better plan in 2023.
1. Quarterback dysfunction cost the team
After a Week 16 loss to the Steelers, the Raiders benched nine-year starter Derek Carr for the season’s final two games. However, “the decision (to bench Carr) had been brewing for more than a month,” per Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Bonsignore added, “the Raiders concluded Carr was not a long-term fit within weeks of the start of the season.” Perhaps it affected his psyche. Carr tied a career-high in interceptions (14) over 15 starts. The Raiders will likely move on from Carr since he only incurs a $5.6 million cap hit if they release him three days after the Super Bowl. He could also be a centerpiece in a trade.
After Las Vegas moves on, it needs to find a replacement immediately. Carr’s backup, Jarret Stidham, looked too erratic to be a successor, posting a 54.6 QBR in two losses as a starter.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, Jimmy Garoppolo (San Francisco) and Tom Brady (Tampa Bay) are “real possibilities” if they hit free agency. Per Tankathon, Las Vegas has the seventh pick in the 2023 Draft within range to select a new franchise QB such as C.J. Stroud (Ohio State), Will Levis (Kentucky) or Anthony Richardson (Florida).
2. The defense tanked
The Raiders became the first team in league history to blow five double-digit, second-half leads due to their porous defense.
In 17 games, Las Vegas surrendered 418 points, ranking 27th in scoring defense. As a result, the Raiders lost several close games. Nine of their 11 losses came by one possession.
The Raiders passing defense contributed to the woes as well. They allowed 4,129 passing yards and failed to generate a pass-rush and only recorded 27 sacks, 29th in the league. Las Vegas would be last in sacks if it weren’t for defensive end Maxx Crosby, who accounted for nearly half of them (12.5).
Las Vegas needs to invest in its defense in free agency and find a second pass-rusher who can take some of the responsibility off Crosby’s shoulders.
3. Keep Josh Jacobs
Running back Josh Jacobs exceeded expectations in a dissatisfying season. He won the league’s rushing title (1,653 yards), beating out stars such as Derrick Henry (Titans), Nick Chubb (Browns) and Saquon Barkley (Giants).
Jacobs broke Pro Hall of Famer Marcus Allen’s Raiders record for most rushing yards (4,638) through a player’s first four seasons with 4,740 yards.
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