Updated November 21, 2021 - 11:30 pm
Derek Carr has often said that things are different. That there is a new attitude, more talent, a daily discipline that would help the Raiders avoid yet another midseason slump.
The last three weeks have proven him dead wrong.
Whether his stance will eventually ring true — the Raiders team that lost to the Cincinnati Bengals 32-13 on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium has no chance of doing so — would depend on a complete turnaround by, well, all involved.
Why would anyone at this point believe them good enough?
“I’ve been a Raiders fan for 20 years, and I’m sick of this crap,” said Carr, the team’s eight-year starter at quarterback. “No one is coming to save us, so we better figure it out.”
Think about future
Mark Davis as an owner finds himself in a curious spot. The Raiders are 5-5 and 1½ games behind Kansas City in the AFC West. So their postseason fate still hangs in the balance. We’re still a ways from anything being mathematically decided.
Not that you would watch this team right now and think playoffs.
So while Davis holds out hope that the Raiders can suddenly rediscover some semblance of competence and stay competitive in the division, his thoughts should also look toward the future.
He’s going to need a new coach once his interim choice of Rich Bisaccia finishes the season. A nice man, Bisaccia isn’t made for a leading NFL role.
Davis also needs to honestly evaluate general manager Mike Mayock, brought here by former coach Jon Gruden and whose drafts have left enough to be desired that Mayock’s job shouldn’t at all be guaranteed at this point.
Then there is Carr.
The wreck of an offense that the Raiders have trotted out of late assuredly isn’t solely his doing, but Carr also hasn’t been good enough to make much difference.
Is it time we see more of backup Marcus Mariota?
It gets tiring, the constant suggestions by coaches that there are actual packages for who has been the league’s highest paid No. 2 quarterback the past few seasons. Maybe he adds a spark and not just on short-yardage downs.
Did you watch Sunday’s game? Things couldn’t possibly look worse with Mariota.
“A poor performance by us,” Bisaccia said. “It didn’t look like we were in sync for most of the game. Why are we so out of sync on offense? It has been a theme the last three weeks. We all have to dig in. We all have to look at ourselves.”
They’re not making a change at quarterback. Not even a slight one. There are much bigger issues at play here. But it’s hardly outrageous to suggest a conversation about a change if things continue to slide. You’ve paid Mariota a whole lot of money not to have a clue about what you have in him.
For now, however, it’s only about this:
Two years ago, the Raiders were 6-2 and lost five of their last six.
Last season, they were 6-3 and finished 8-8.
Now, they have gone from 5-2 and in first place to 5-5 and looking awful in a 19-point loss to a Cincinnati team that ranks dead-flat average in total defense across the league.
Dallas next up
“I just want to be part of the moment it changes,” Carr said. “I want that so bad. That’s what keeps driving me. I get pissed off and upset and stand up here, and I’ve done this way too many times … It shouldn’t always end like this crap.”
But it did. And has for three straight weeks.
Things aren’t different. Not at the moment, anyway.
The Raiders on Sunday resembled a rudderless ship headed for another losing season and a high draft pick.
It’s on them to change course. To find a pulse. To make good on Carr’s belief.
The Cowboys — even while banged up — await on Thanksgiving Day in Dallas.
More crap isn’t advised.
Ed Graney is a Sigma Delta Chi Award winner for sports column writing and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.