With the breaking news of Amari Cooper’s trade to the Cowboys in exchange for a first round pick, Tariq, Drue and myself thought it would be appropriate to provide our insight on this Raiders team thus far by asking ourselves five questions that Raiders fans are probably asking themselves right now. Honestly, after Gruden traded away Khalil Mack, does anything really shock Raider fans nowadays?
Drue asks Tariq and I, “Cooper hasn’t looked like the star he was once projected to be, is that all on him or should Derek Carr and Jon Gruden take some blame as well?”
Tariq: Cooper has had his drop problems which are on him. But, he consistently gets open and Carr has flat out been bad this year. Every top coordinator can get their top option open and the Raiders have to do the same. I still believe he has top 10 receiver potential and I’m really sad to see him go. My favorite Raider. 😢
Anthony: I think the blame is shared equally between Carr and Cooper, but mainly Cooper. His inconsistent play and drops can’t be blamed on anything other than himself. If Carr was under-throwing or over-throwing him every other play like Eli manning is doing to Odell Beckham then I could understand blaming Carr but thats not the case. I don’t think any blame should fall on Gruden because Coop has had these issues since his rookie year and there’s no doubt that he was supposed to be Derek Carr’s number one target in Gruden’s offense. The bottom line is the coaches have one job, and that is to put your best playmakers in a position to make plays, you see it all across the league. You think Hopkins, Brown, and Beckham don’t receive the same type of attention as Amari Cooper? Sure they do, but the difference between Cooper and those elite receivers, is that they consistently make plays regardless of who’s across from them. Literally no other team was offering a first round pick for Amari Cooper and for good reason. Jerry Jones thought otherwise in typical Jerry Jones fashion.
Drue then asks myself and Tariq,“Your team has now been completely dismantled by Jon Gruden with the dismissal of two players who were once considered franchise cornerstones in Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper, do you still trust him to fix it?
Tariq: We have to trust him. We don’t have a choice. He is locked in for 9 1/2 more years so we have to believe in him. I liked his first draft so far. Lots of good talent that is just too young at the moment. Hopefully with three first round picks in next year’s draft it will be a quick turnaround.
Anthony: I don’t think destroyed would be the correct term for this debacle. I think the proper term would be methodically dismantled. Gruden is going to be the head coach for the next 9 years and there is nothing we can do as Raider fans to stop that from happening. I refuse to accept every questionable move that the Raiders make as the truth and I will continue to bash this team for making idiotic moves i.e. trading Khalil Mack. With that being said I still think it’s too early to tell whether Gruden can fix this team. As each week passes it gets increasingly more obvious that this is a rebuilding team. Gruden will build this team as he sees fit and Reggie Mckenzie is the perfect push-over general manger for him to do that. This years draft class looks promising with the contributions of P.J. Hall (2nd round), Arden Key (3rd round), and Mo Hurst (5th round) being most notable. So if Gruden can continue to draft the way he did this past year and hit on all three of our first round picks in 2019, then I do believe he can turn this franchise around and having $74 million in cap space doesn’t hurt either.
With every idiotic move the Raiders make, Drue smiles even harder being a Chargers fan. So I’m sure his last question tickled him with joy as he asked Tariq and I,“How are you going to feel when Derek Carr is the Giants Quarterback next year, or this year? (only partially joking).
Tariq: He will be our quarterback. He has been phenomenal before and was an MVP candidate just two years ago before he tore his ACL, however if he keeps up this inconsistency I’m cool trading him for a first too since that’s what we do.
Anthony: The day that Derek Carr is no longer our quarterback is the say that I will turn in my Raiders fandom. I have suffered long enough through the like of Jamarcus Russell, Marques Tuiasosopo, Kerry Collins, Matt Flynn, Aaron Brooks, Josh McCown and countless other atrocious quarterbacks in the past decade and a half to realize that Derek Carr is not the problem of this football team. I think Jon Gruden recognizes this as well but it’s anyones guess nowadays as he said in the past he had no intention of trading Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper but look at where we are now.
With the trade of Amari Cooper and the sudden influx of draft capital in next years draft I asked Tariq if he believes the Raiders could trade for a superstar like Patrick Peterson or Leveon Bell. Drue put in his two cents as well.
Tariq: No because it’s just going in circles, subtracting to add. The draft picks will be cheaper and younger and the oldest team can instantly become one of the youngest with next years draft. Also, all these players will cost a lot and you lose what you built for. No superstars to Oakland.
Drue: No, you wont trade for a superstar. I have a firm belief that Jon Gruden hates good players.
Anthony: You never know with Jon Gruden so I won’t put anything past him. Adding a back of Leveon Bell’s caliber would instantly elevate everyone on offense and we now have more than enough cap space to sign him to a long-term deal. I just don’t see Pittsburgh trading him to a team that they will face in week 14 unless the offer blows them away. McKenzie and Gruden made it perfectly clear in today’s press conference that they are by no means finished in acquiring pieces for the future.
My next and final question was simple, Do you see the Raiders trading away anymore players before the NFL trade deadline next Tuesday at 1 p.m. pacific time?
Tariq: Bruce Irvin if he has any trade value, which he doesn’t. He has played poorly and Gruden has already called him out multiple times in front of the media.
Anthony: I think Karl Joseph is the obvious choice. He has been buried in the depth chart beneath Erik Harris and Reggie Nelson and Gruden has been very public about his complaints with Karl Joseph, saying he doesn’t have ideal height and that his aggressive style of play doesn’t fit well in today’s NFL. In all honesty, I think anyone on this team could be had at the right price with the exception of Derek Carr and that’s how most rebuilding teams operate.