The Oakland Raiders have had a rough start to their season, having been smoked by the Rams and edged out in a one point loss by the Broncos. Now, they have to travel across the country to Miami to play a 1:00 PM Eastern game in the heat of South Florida against the Dolphins to try and get their season back on track. This doesn’t figure to be an easy task for either team, but you have to think the Dolphins should win this game. If they can keep tight end Jared Cook from running wild, Miami should prevail.
New coach Jon Gruden has already alienated the team’s fan base with the unpopular trade of Khalil Mack, and those two first round picks Oakland is getting in return seem a long way off now. Owner Marc Davis has at least one trait in common with his legendary father, Al, in that they both like to make big, bold moves, in the mold of former New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, to try and put their team over the top. Unfortunately for Oakland fans, this approach generally tends to work better in baseball than in football. Remember former Super Bowl MVP Larry Brown? A 12th round pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 1991, Brown was the 320th player taken in that draft, but was able to parlay his modest path to the NFL into a $12.5 million dollar contract in 1996, after he pulled down two interceptions of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Neil O’Donnell in Super Bowl XXX, one of which hit him right in the numbers. He started one game in two years for the Raiders but walked away with $3.5 million in guaranteed money.
Now, the Raiders have hitched their wagon to Gruden in a big way, to the tune of a ten year contract for one hundred million dollars. Having coached the team from 1998-2001 before being traded to the Buccaneers, he had been away from the sidelines for nine years before returning to the team this season. Once regarded as one of the brightest offensive minds in the game, he’s little more than a nostalgic retread at this point. I think most observers will be shocked if he ends up coaching the Raiders for the next ten years.
Still, this is a talented and dangerous team to have to face, particularly with them coming in 0-2. I look for them to take some chances and try and shake things up, going for it on fourth down, maybe a gadget play here or there, etc. If the Dolphin defense can keep the pressure on quarterback Derek Carr, Miami should win this game. Then again, we said the same thing last year, when he came into Hard Rock Stadium on a Monday night and threw the ball all over the field. Like last week, this should be an entertaining game.