With the current state of their franchise in uncertainty, the Las Vegas Raiders currently find themselves in a tough place. They will have some serious changes to consider if they fail to make the postseason for a fourth straight year.
Currently possessing a roster that is loaded with young and talented stars, the Raiders have definitely underachieved over the past three seasons.
Having said all this, let's take a look at the two major changes the Raiders will have to make if they miss the playoffs in 2021.
Raiders Needs: Begin Searching For A New Quarterback
The future direction of this team will very heavily depend on how well Derek Carr performs during the regular season and if his play will be strong enough to get them into the playoffs. Over the past few seasons he has had to battle through some serious injuries while working with a shaky offensive line that ranks as one of the worst in the NFL. However, the Raiders do possess a killer running game and a few stellar deep threats in Josh Jacobs, Henry Ruggs III, and Darren Waller.
With these offensive weapons in the fold for him, Carr should be able to provide the Raiders with more consistent and productive play. Otherwise, the team will have to start searching elsewhere for their long-term solution at quarterback. This would more than likely involve trading Carr for another quarterback and/or future draft picks.
There's no question that lots of teams would be interested and see Carr as a welcome addition in potential trade scenarios. Another logical solution for them could be to promote Marcus Mariota to starting quarterback who did very well for them last season while Carr was out injured. At just 27 years old, Marcus Mariota still has plenty left in the tank and could be their long-term solution at quarterback.
Find A Coaching Replacement For Jon Gruden
On the other hand, they've got a seasoned head coach in Jon Gruden who also finds himself in a tough position after the Raiders failed to make the playoffs for a third straight season. At this point, it's safe to say that Gruden does not have the same coaching touch as he did in first stint with the Raiders or as a super bowl winning coach with the Buccaneers.
After making a few questionable play calls down the stretch of a season defining game against the Dolphins that ended in a heart-breaking loss, it became apparent that “Chucky” Gruden did not have the same late-game coaching magic as he's had in prior seasons. Granted, he could turn things around for them next season and revive this Raiders team that is on the verge of making a strong playoff push, but his recent coaching results might dictate otherwise. With all this in mind, the Raiders may need to move on from Gruden if they end up missing the playoffs for a fourth straight season.
There's no knowing how the Raiders season will turn out, but with the competition in the AFC west spicing up each season things will definitely get harder for them if they continue to see the same results. After all, a fresh start may be just what this young Raiders squad needs to reach the playoff contention that they've been so close to for the past three seasons.