Las Vegas Raiders Execution: Where Are You?

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“It’s a marathon. If it was a sprint, we lost the sprint. Lucky for us, it’s a marathon,” Raiders chief Josh McDaniels said in his post-game press conference. “We understand what these games mean. They each matter. They each matter at the end of your season, we know that. They add up. But I think the thing we need to focus on is taking the positive aspects and also trying to learn things that we are not doing well enough.

“It’s our job [and] this is what we will continue to do. This is what we did after winning, this is what we did after losing, and we will continue to do so.

The Raiders reached their own 46-yard line and things fell apart. Las Vegas’ last gasp culminated when wide receivers Hunter Renfrow and Davante Adams comically collided and wiped each other on a 4th-and-1 play with 47 seconds left as they saw off the lob of the quarterback Derek Carr only hit the grass at Arrowhead. Adams could offer no explanation for the terrible play right after the game.

“I didn’t see anything after I released and came back upright,” Adams told reporters after the game. “We ended up bumping into each other. I don’t even know where the ball went or anything. I was just on the ground.

Before that play, Adams couldn’t maintain possession and kick inbounds on a 15-yard pass from Carr that would have given the Raiders another round of downs at the Chiefs’ 39-yard line. The game was automatically reviewed (because it was under two minutes), setting up the fateful 4th and 1 faceplant.

The Las Vegas Raiders QB talks about the many regime changes…

“I’ve been around a lot of new diets, and I think the frustrating part is it takes time to get everyone on the same page,” Carr said after the game. “We’re right there, but proximity doesn’t matter in this game. It’s frustrating. I’m human, but I believe in it.

McDaniels stressed the need for his team to learn how to win, and based on his team’s 1-4 overall record, the Raiders still appear to be in the catch-up class when it comes to winning. Desert marauders are likely to find ways to lose rather than win. Still, in the same breath, it’s not as if the Raiders were blown in their four losses. The biggest scoring gap this year was six — 29-23 against the Arizona Cardinals — with Vegas losing by five, two and a run to the rest of the Ls.

“We’re right there,” Adams said. “It’s not like we’re blowing ourselves up and not having answers. We play good football. We just don’t play 60 minutes of it. You have games like this where you have your head – and we don’t feel comfortable – but having that 10 point lead or whatever at halftime is not a bad place to be. You just have to find a way to finish them off.

And therein lies the most glaring thing about the Raiders: five games into the 2022 campaign and the team still can’t run and finish. Instead of pointing the finger at one particular aspect of the team, let’s put the responsibility where it really belongs: everyone.

We can question McDaniels’ calling game until we’re blue in the face. We can ramble on about players needing to execute play calls until we get cotton-mouthed.

“I was totally into it,” says Las Vegas Raiders WR Davante Adams

“I was all in on it,” Adams said of McDaniels’ decision to go for two instead of taking the extra point to tie at 30 apiece on Monday night. “We have to buy; it’s the only way to make a room work if you have to be for it. It’s their job to make that call. I was okay with that because I felt like we had a chance to put it together.

In the end, the result speaks for itself. One win and four losses in the first five games heading into the bye week.

Two long weeks for the Raiders to think about their closeness, but also their distance. A silver and black paradox, if you will.

What was a playoff team in 2021 is in relative shambles with the worst record in the league. The bright side ? The Raiders own the first overall pick. Not a flattering accolade for a team that went all-in for 2022 – trading for Adams, moving up Carr, Renfrow, tight end Darren Waller and moving rusher Maxx Crosby to big-money trades.

All is not lost, of course. The Raiders may have stumbled in the first five games, but the remaining schedule is favorable on paper. The bye week is followed by matchups against the Houston Texans (1-3-1), New Orleans Saints (2-3), Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3), Indianapolis Colts (2-2-1), Denver Broncos (2-3) and Seattle Seahawks (2-3). It’s a combined 11-17-2 since last Monday. But as conceivable as it is for the Raiders to make a spectacular run and turnaround, the same can be said for any of those aforementioned teams.

Did a dodgy referee ruin Monday Night Football for the Raiders?

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