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Raiders mailbag: Fans want to know what’s wrong with the team

Updated November 19, 2021 - 8:40 pm

The Raiders are on a two-game losing streak, and it has stripped them of first place in the AFC West and a prospective playoffs spot.

Their fans are growing anxious as they await the next turn. Will the Raiders get back on track, or will they fall into the same frustrating habit that cost them potential playoff berths in 2019 and 2020?

Here is a sampling of what arrived in this week’s mailbag:

John Richardson (@JohnIsaac55): The Raiders are stuck in this 7-8, 8-8 purgatory. Is it time to tank, the rest of this year and next, and then come back with a new roster, quarterback and coach?

Vincent Bonsignore: The short answer is absolutely not.

With eight games remaining, the Raiders are a half-game out of first place in their division and tied for the last AFC wild-card spot. They have a chance to finally turn the corner.

Will that happen? No one can predict the future. But to presume they are going to win just two or three more games the rest of the way, and approach the back half of the season by tanking with an eye toward a rebuild, represents a defeatist attitude that would mar the franchise.

The Raiders’ emphasis has to be on maximizing the next eight weeks. Where that ends up taking them is anyone’s guess. But wherever they arrive will dictate what they do next.

justwinwendy (@justwinwendy88): Looking for a couple 20-plus passes to DeSean Jackson in Sunday’s game. Nobody mentioned the fact that he caught the perfect pass from Derek Carr before he fumbled. Do you think he will get more targets this week?

VB: It would be a shock if he wasn’t more involved in the game plan. The focus is on how the play against the Chiefs finished, but the Raiders were excited about the quick connection Carr and Jackson made and what it will mean over these next eight games as they try to build more chemistry.

Lightning McQueen (@TMCsean14): Do you think the Raiders bounce back and make the playoffs?

VB: When the Raiders play clean, efficient football, they have shown they can compete with anyone in the NFL. The only question remaining is, can they play at that level enough over the second half of the season to win the necessary amount of games to punch their postseason ticket?

No one has that answer. But we’ll find out soon.

1LAkid (@LeeMart20484224): Why can’t the Raiders run the ball?

VB: Not trying to be simplistic, but it’s been a combination of an offensive line that hasn’t played up to expectations and — as Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs showed — the penalties that reduce the number of plays.

Also, falling behind on the scoreboard lessens the chance to run the ball. When teams play from behind, the run game becomes secondary.

ENorx (@ENorx14): Have away opposing teams fans taken over every game at Allegiant like the Chiefs did? I was there, and it wasn’t a product of the score. They were louder from the opening kickoff. Seems like a Chargers-esque situation with no home-field advantage for the Raiders.

VB: Going to agree to disagree on who’s fans were the loudest to start the game. The sense is it was Raiders fans who were the loudest.

That said, when the Raiders don’t play well, it gives their fans less to cheer about. And when the opposing team takes control of the scoreboard, its fans are empowered to be more vocal.

Las Vegas is the curiosity piece on the NFL schedule, and being a vacation city, the opposing fans always will be a factor at Allegiant Stadium.

Bobby D! (@Hushtonebob): If you can fix one section of the team right now, what would it be?

VB: The offensive line. Looking ahead, though, more linebackers that can defend the pass.

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on Twitter.