The ill-advised decision to dance on the Chiefs home field logo only to end in a 48 - 9 thrashing last Sunday symbolizes the Raiders 2021 season. Fans are being punished seven fold for the team's many karmic offenses. It wasn't enough to have a trifecta of off-field disasters, they had to add to it with the pre-game stupidity at Arrowhead.
Observers couldn't be blamed for thinking the Las Vegas era is off to a rocky start. Jon Gruden's decade long, 100 million dollar head coaching contract was meant to be a stabilizing influence. The deal effectively anointed Gruden as a guru of play calling and personnel, in the latter of which he had done little to prove himself.
Gruden had never successfully developed a young passer despite being touted as a quarterback whisperer. His prior offenses were led by seasoned vets like Rich Gannon, Brad Johnson and Jeff Garcia. Derek Carr was a well established veteran prior to Gruden's reprise with the Raiders.
With Gruden's downfall, will owner Mark Davis entrust GM Mike Mayock with the decision to hire a new head coach? Mayock is a Gruden guy and a first time GM.
While every GM has hits and misses, Mayock's inattention to player character stands out with signings like Richie Incognito and Antonio Brown. Some of the team's other moves defy belief, like the reported exploration for the reacquisition of pass rusher Khalil Mack. If ownership wants a fresh start, change is in order.
Business succession in families is never without painful transitions. The last years of the Al Davis era were filled with blunders like drafting QB Jamarcus Russell and hiring Head Coach Lane Kiffin. Mark Davis could not have helped but do better just by showing up.
The pre-season noise around financial irregularities has gone silent for now. Fans hope that the next chapter of the Las Vegas era brings organizational renewal after the disasters of 2021.