The momentum the Raiders had from a three-game winning streak that had them in first place in the AFC West has come to a screeching halt, as the team was blown out in Weeks 13 and 14 to push them back into second place. Poor effort from the defense was partially to blame for the negative results, but many around the team looked at the offense for not picking up the slack as a primary reason the team was embarrassed on the road by the Dolphins and Packers. The Raiders averaged 15 points in the two games and turned the ball over six times.
Former Raiders QB Rich Gannon told PFW he believes the offense has struggled for a variety of reasons, but the main one being poor play from QB Carson Palmer and no play from RB Darren McFadden. Gannon believes that Palmer needs more time with the club before he is comfortable with the scheme being run, and that there are serious concerns if McFadden can ever become the every-down back the team envisioned when he was drafted fourth overall in 2008.
"I can't say I'm surprised that it has been sluggish," Gannon said of Palmer. "I just thought it was going to take a while. It would be one thing if he had been in training camp or been around, I just thought it would take a while. He hadn't been around the system, so trying to learn that, but also the receivers and backs and tight ends. It's a lot to ask."
Injuries have been a killer to the Raiders' offense, as WRs Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore have each been out in recent weeks. However, the biggest loss has been McFadden, who went down in Week Seven with a foot injury that was supposed to take just a few weeks to heal and instead has sidelined him ever since.
"Not having (McFadden) has really hurt. If they have to run it and can't throw, then its not built that way just yet. I'm not surprised to see them struggle a bit," said Gannon, who is currently an analyst for CBS. "McFadden was playing incredible football. Then he gets hurt again, and it's a real setback. I've seen a lot of their games and I saw him running and just thought, 'This guy is running physical, he's got explosiveness, they're using him out wide, he's great in the screen game.' That killed them, he's their most explosive player, so not having him, you can see how they have struggled."
Follow Eli Kaberon on Twitter