The AFC West year in review continues today with the third place Oakland Raiders. Oakland finished the season with a 4-12 record, and with three of those four wins coming against either the Chiefs or the Jaguars – by far the two worst teams in the NFL. That being said, the Raiders, despite beating both teams, probably deserve to be lumped in with them because of how poorly they played throughout the season.
The Raiders had a rather one-dimensional offense in 2012. The running game struggled for much of the year, in part because of extended injuries in the middle of the season to starting running back Darren McFadden and backup Mike Goodson. The lack of a running game put a lot of pressure on Carson Palmer, who handled the situation as well as can be expected and played like a legitimate NFL starting quarterback. Palmer finished over 4,000 yards passing and 22 touchdowns; of course, he also threw 14 interceptions. The Raiders didn’t get a lot of big plays out of their wide receivers this year, as tight end Brandon Myers was their leading receiver, accumulating 24 more catches than their leading wide receiver.
The Oakland defense didn’t fare much better this year than the offense. They were routinely gashed in the running game and didn’t put up much of a fight in the passing game. The Raiders did show some improvement defensively down the stretch, but their defensive personnel leaves a lot to be desired.
The Raiders haven’t seen the playoffs in a decade, and it doesn’t look they’ll be getting there anytime soon. Oakland’s head coach survived black Monday, but four assistants including offensive coordinator Greg Knapp were fired.
It’s going to take more than a few new assistants to solve their problems.
The Raiders need almost a complete overhaul of their entire roster. They need an improved offensive line, better wide receivers, and they need to determine if Palmer is the solution at quarterback long term. They also have a lot of holes to fill on the defensive side of the ball. Of all the teams in the AFC West, they may be in the worst shape and the furthest from competing for a postseason bid.