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Hello, Raider Nation!

The Raiders are on their bye week which means it’s time for my Bye Week Report Card! A loss against the Miami Dolphins wouldn’t have mathematically ended the Raiders’ season, but realistically, Oakland would’ve been done. Instead, Derek Carr, Marshawn Lynch and Co. escaped with a 27-24 win against the Dolphins (4-4) to jump five spots in the AFC and improve to 4-5.

With that said, here are their grades:

Receivers: C+

Oakland’s dynamic duo of Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree have been somewhat less dynamic in 2017. Though both are still a threat to erupt at any time, both have been putting up rather subpar numbers this season. The duo certainly doesn’t look to be on track to reach 1,000 yards each, like they did in 2016. One big part of that is dropped passes. Through eight games, the Raiders are second in the league in dropped passes with 15, of which Cooper has nine. Only San Francisco has more at 19.  For the season, Crabtree leads the team with 411 yards on 33 receptions on 51 targets. As is the case with most of Oakland’s offensive woes, much of it comes down to how personnel is being used, but the receivers aren’t doing anybody any favors with the drops and fumbles.

Running: C

After letting Latavius Murray walk during the offseason, the Raiders lured Marshawn Lynch out of retirement and got him into a Silver and Black jersey. Unfortunately, Lynch has provided more buzz and excitement than actual substance on the field. After eight games this season, the Raiders are sporting the league’s 26th ranked rushing attack, averaging 4.2 yards per carry – down slightly from last season’s average of 4.4 yards per carry. The lack of a legitimate running game is hampering the passing game, as the defense doesn’t have to commit more men to the box to stop it. Defenses can simply sit back and wait for the pass. For this offense to thrive, the running game is going to have to take it up a few levels.

Quarterback: C-

With big expectations come big responsibility, and Derek Carr hasn’t performed anywhere near the level he did a year ago. There are some extenuating factors, but Carr often says to go ahead and place the blame on him. And given his $125 million contract extension, that’s the fair thing to do. Carr – though he’s flashed at times – hasn’t looked like anything closely resembling an elite quarterback. For the season, Carr has completed 64 percent of his passes for 1,654 yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions – his interception total through eight games equaling his total all of last season. He’s averaging a pedestrian 6.9 yards per attempt, and has a QB rating of 90.9. While not a horrible stat line, it’s also not that of an elite quarterback.

Defense: D

The Raider defense has shown signs of promise, but it’s mostly just pure chaos when the Raiders aren’t in possession of the football. Defensive end Khalil Mack is still playing at an elite level, though most of his production has been as an elite run defender. Navorro Bowman has helped but it’s not enough. The Raiders will get after the quarterback every so often. Oakland’s run defense is hit or miss. Oakland does not have the playmakers on that side of the ball to carry them to victory. It’s hasn’t been all bad, as cornerbacks T.J. Carrie and Karl Joseph have played well, but otherwise, the Raiders secondary has been atrocious. The problem is that this D cannot force turnovers. Oakland went through the entire first half of the season without forcing an interception. Eight games without a pick! The blatant lack of being able to force turnovers is a major reason this team is not close to getting back into the playoffs.

Overall Team Grade: C

Coming off the bye week will be a true test as they face Tom Brady and the Patriots at home as well as a crucial Week 13 matchup in Kansas City. Hopefully in the second half of the season, the road bumps are a thing of the past and they will pull it together on the ground and on the defensive side of the ball. As their play has been average, the best I can give them is a C.


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