The Oakland Raiders were terrible in 2014 finishing with a 3-13 record. They were 3-5 at home and 0-8 on the road. Oakland started 0-10 but finished 3-3 with wins at home against San Francisco, Buffalo and Kansas City. Two of those teams had winning records. The Raiders do have a slight amount of talent despite their terrible offensive and defense 2014 performance.
Stats and Upgrade
The Raiders only scored 15.8 PPG with rookie Derek Carr under center. Carr threw for 58% completion 3,270 yards 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions on 599 attempts. His 5.5 yards per attempt left a lot to be desired but Carr did not have many weapons in 2014 but was able to avoid turnovers too many turnovers.
Carr was pressured 33.7% of his drop backs and the Raiders kept the passes short. The Raiders tried to solve this weapon issue by drafting stud Alabama WR Amari Cooper in Round 1 and TE Clive Walford from the University of Miami in Round 3. The Raiders added Michael Crabtree and get Rod Streater back from injury. A barren weapon cupboard now has some firepower.
The Raiders ran poorly garnering only 3.7 YPC and let Darren McFadden take his speed and injuries to Dallas in free agency. Latavius Murray had a strong finish to the 2014 season and had 5.2 YPC on 82 carries. Murray and bust Trent Richardson will be the running combo in Oakland for 2015. The Raiders line had major run blocking problems but added Rodney Hudson (+13.3) at center from rival Kansas City.
The Raiders defense was awful allowing a league worst 28.3 PPG. There is some talent with Khalil Mack, DJ Hayden, Justin Tuck, Sio Moore and Charles Woodson. The Raiders added more this offseason with Dan Williams and Nate Allen in free agent at nose tackle and strong safety. Right End Mario Edwards was drafted in Round 2 to compliment Tuck. Veteran Curtis Lofton was added at middle linebacker after an awful 2014 season with the Saints. The Raiders only allowed 4 YPC which was 8th best in the league. However they only had 22 sacks and forced a low 14 turnovers on the year. The Raiders coverage is poor but could improve with more pass rush from Williams and Edwards helping Mack and Tuck.
Khalil Mack was worth the early 1st round pick in 2014. Mack had an incredible +46.4 run defense grade and can rush the passer mounting 4 sacks, 10 hits and 40 hurries. He is an absolute stud LB who must be accounted for by opposing offenses. Mack is Von Miller 2.0 but possibly better.
With the addition of nose tackle Dan Williams from Arizona, the Raiders run defense should be tougher even at 8th overall in 2014. The other DT in Oakland, Justin Ellis, had a +4.9 run grade in 2014 but is not a good pass rusher. Tuck can play the run (+4.4 grade) and Mack is a beast. Sio Moore can develop at weak side LB and Curtis Lofton has veteran experience calling the plays.
The weapons are not proven at all for the Raiders. However, the rookie Cooper, Crabtree, Streater (who had a solid 2013 season) and rookie TE Walford all have enough talent. Mycah Rivera had 500 yards and 4 TDs at tight end and is a decent second tight end. The Raiders weapons are better but can Carr deliver the ball properly in his second year?
Cover 0 Defense
The Raiders coverage is just not good. The linebackers struggled and Hayden and TJ Carrie have a lot of growth needed at CB. Chimdi Chekwa returns from injury and Keith McGill is a 6’3 CB with some talent but inexperienced. Charles Woodson is still a solid safety but long in the tooth but led the Raiders with 4 interceptions out of 9 total picks on the season. Strong safety Nate Allen was a good addition from the Eagles with a +1.9 coverage and +2.3 run defense tally for 2014 and should be much better than Brandon Ross (-7.6).
Carr was under duress way too much in 2014. The Raiders are strong at left tackle with Donald Penn who had a great 2014 season (+19.3). Gabe Jackson was strong at left guard with a +3.7 pass blocking grade. Rodney Hudson is a great addition at center (+13.3).
The right side of the line is the problem. Khalif Barnes and free agent right tackle acquisition in 2014 Austin Howard from the Jets were terrible at RG/RT. Young right tackle Menelik Watson had a -17.2 grade in 400 snaps and is a bust 2nd round pick at right tackle. Raiders better hope 4th round pick Jon Feliciano can play right guard quickly and someone steps up at right tackle. Maybe Jamarcus Webb who is on the roster can play right tackle. Just kidding, Bears fans. Carr won’t be able to use his weapons if he is running for his life like his brother did in Houston.
The Raiders are a better team but still pretty awful with no depth. The Raiders travel to Chicago Week 4 and to Detroit for a Week 11 matchup. The Raiders host the Vikings during Week 10 and Green Bay during Week 15 in the Black Hole. This may be the last year the Raiders are in Oakland. We’ll see how this affects home field advantage. All four North teams should beat the Raiders. However, the Raiders beat 3 decent teams last season at home and have more talent this season. Watch out for the Black Hole.