Oak­land fore­casts proved im­per­fect

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - SPORTING GREEN - By Matt Kawa­hara

When these 25 pre­dic­tions for the Raiders’ 2018 sea­son ran in The Chron­i­cle on July 24, Khalil Mack was still in a con­tract hold­out, Amari Cooper and Bruce Irvin were on the ros­ter, Mar­shawn Lynch’s groin was healthy, Gior­gio Tavec­chio was the in­cum­bent kicker and Reg­gie McKen­zie was the gen­eral man­ager.

So you can prob­a­bly guess how they turned out.

But just for fun, let’s re­visit what seemed pos­si­ble back in train­ing camp, in the first sea­son of Jon Gru­den’s re­turn as head coach, if only to un­der­score the tur­bu­lence of what came to pass.

1. move re­ceive Raiders’ player Jon rea­sons. Gru­den’s will or more re­sults unit, be an­a­lyzed, What credit/blame for ev­ery than about hap­pened: any play and 100 one call for he mil­lion and will the OK, than moves this the was drew play-call­ing, a layup. a lot The more though per­son­nel scru­tiny — some were pretty of Gru­den’s suc­cess­ful. open­ing scripts 2. The “Mon­day Night Foot­ball” opener against the Rams on ESPN will in­clude ap­prox­i­mately 47 shots of Gru­den stalk­ing the side­line, yelling at of­fi­cials, scowl­ing and hold­ing a flip card over his face. What hap­pened: Un­con­firmed, but likely (seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it?) 3. Despite an elec­tric at­mos­phere at the Coli­seum, the Raiders will lose Gru­den’s first game as head coach since 2008 to the tooledup Rams and their mini-Gru­den, Sean McVay. What hap­pened: The Raiders led 13-10 at half­time and lost 33-13. 4. Gru­den’s first win in his re­turn comes in Week 3 at Mi­ami. The Raiders’ fi­nal record mir­rors that of Gru­den’s first sea­son as head coach in 1998: 8-8. What hap­pened: Nei­ther of these things. The Raiders’ first win came in Week 4 over the Browns. They did not win again un­til Week 11 and fin­ished 4-12. 5. Wins: at Dol­phins, vs. Browns, vs. Sea­hawks (Lon­don), vs. Colts, at Car­di­nals, vs. Chiefs, at Ben­gals, vs. Bron­cos. What hap­pened: The Raiders beat the Browns, Car­di­nals, Steel­ers and Bron­cos at home. Most egre­gious miss? Prob­a­bly the Seat­tle game — the Sea­hawks man­han­dled them. 6. Losses: vs. Rams, at Bron­cos, at Charg­ers, at 49ers, vs. Charg­ers, at Ravens, vs. Steel­ers, at Chiefs. What hap­pened: They lost seven of these games (Pitts­burgh the lone ex­cep­tion) plus five more. 7. Derek Carr will re­bound from his sub­par 2017 in Gru­den’s sys­tem, throw­ing for more touch­downs (29) and fewer in­ter­cep­tions (10) while fall­ing just short of the 4,000-yard mark. What hap­pened: A 2018 bright spot. Carr set ca­reer highs in com­ple­tion per­cent­age yards record with­out he was (4,049) for sacked an con­sec­u­tive in­com­ple­tion, (68.9) and a ca­reer-high set and a at­tempts pass­ing fran­chise though 51 times. 8. Gru­den’s Amari Cooper streak of will hav­ing main­tain a 1,000yard re­ceiver (all 11 pre­vi­ous sea­sons as head coach) and record dou­ble-digit touch­down catches for the first time. What hap­pened: Cooper (22 catches for 280 yards in six games with the Raiders) was traded to the Cow­boys for a 2019 first-round pick Oct. 22. 9. Mar­shawn Lynch and Doug Martin will fin­ish with com­pa­ra­ble rush­ing to­tals, Lynch with 878 yards and Martin with 694. What hap­pened: Martin fin­ished with 723 yards af­ter re­plac­ing Lynch (376 yards), who didn’t play af­ter in­jur­ing his groin in Week 6. 10. Jordy Nel­son will be a re­li­able No. 2 op­tion and catch 64 passes for 791 yards, but Mar­tavis Bryant will fin­ish with more touch­down catches (if Bryant plays a full sea­son). What hap­pened: Nel­son caught 63 passes for be­fore 739 Week yards. 1, Bryant re-signed, was hurt cut his knee in Week 10, was sus­pended in De­cem­ber for vi­o­lat­ing the NFL’s pol­icy on sub­stance abuse — and did not have a touch­down. 11. Don­ald Penn will start the opener at left tackle, but firstround pick Kolton Miller will start at least one game be­fore the sea­son ends. What hap­pened: Miller started all 16 games at left tackle and took his lumps against some of the league’s top edge rush­ers. Penn moved to right tackle and started four games be­fore in­jur­ing his groin. 12. Third-round pick Bran­don Parker will be the start­ing right tackle What went and of the took down, league’s hap­pened: at some his Parker lumps top point Af­ter edge stepped against in 2018. Penn rush­ers. some in — 13. will Fifth-round start on the pick de­fen­sive Mau­rice line Hurst from Day 1. What hap­pened: Hurst started from Day 1 and led the team with four sacks. 14. Bruce Irvin ... will achieve his cov­eted goal of dou­ble-digit sacks for the first time in his ca­reer. What hap­pened: Irvin had three sacks and six tack­les in eight games be­fore be­ing waived Nov. 3. Signed by his home­town Fal­cons, he had 3½ sacks over the fi­nal eight games. 15. Khalil Mack will record his fourth con­sec­u­tive sea­son of 10-plus sacks. What hap­pened: Mack did have dou­ble-digit sacks — for the Bears, to whom he was traded Sept. 1. Mack fin­ished with 12½ sacks. The Raiders, as a team, fin­ished with 13. 16. Third-round pick Ar­den Key will con­trib­ute 4½ sacks. What hap­pened: Key had one sack, though coaches were adamant late in the year that he should’ve had seven or eight. The mantra for Key: Fin­ish the play. 17. Best-value draft pick: Hurst (fifth round, No. 140 over­all). What hap­pened: Call­ing this a win. Hurst showed po­ten­tial to be a build­ing block for a young de­fen­sive line un­til an an­kle in­jury side­lined him late in the sea­son. 18. Worst-value draft pick: cor­ner­back Nick Nel­son (fourth round, No. 110). What hap­pened: Nel­son missed the first six games while re­cov­er­ing from an off­sea­son knee in­jury and had some shaky mo­ments at slot cor­ner. Also a can­di­date: punter Johnny Townsend (fifth round), who was 30th in the league in net av­er­age. 19. Best-value free-agent sign­ing: Mar­cus Gilchrist. What hap­pened: Gilchrist tied for the team lead with three in­ter­cep­tions and played the sec­ond-most snaps among de­fend­ers, but made $4.5 mil­lion on a de­fense that al­lowed the most points in the league. 20. Worst-value free-agent sign­ing: right tackle Breno Gi­a­co­mini, who, out, role. was had work­out his 21. will Raiders’ un­der Guen­ther 12 What $5.3 times, coach­ing time de­fense? in cap Cor­ner­back have only would yards cut The What mil­lion di­min­ished if new hap­pened: but the hit be­fore en­tire bonuses de­fense $1.3 a staff Oak­land but wasn’t and didn’t Raiders’ team-high hap­pened: be co­or­di­na­tor — and mil­lion fall slated or points and de­fense the Rashaan played as as mesh will out­side ter­ri­ble. guar­an­teed, Melvin sea­son, was his draft many a in for re­sult. make al­lowed. five play­ing ros­ter with Paul Gi­a­co­mini last last well a picks Melvin backup as the made in­ter­cep­tions but strides The sea­son. the in the at and top pan so points 26th yards 22. last con­tinue Meli­fonwu, by sea­son’s Cor­ner­back year’s in per al­lowed to­tal Con­ley will to play. first-round last progress. end. yards stall. (29.2 be­came year’s Gareon Meli­fonwu What and per Safety pick, sec­on­drounder, last Con­ley, a hap­pened: game), starter will in was Obi waived 23. de­fen­sive free-agent be­cause hap­pened: be­cause Con­ley be­fore of of snaps still signee nag­ging a Con­ley con­cus­sion the will at Daryl sea­son. log cor­ner missed in­juries. fewer Wor­ley late than time What in the play­ing per­cent sea­son sea­son snaps. on 66 of IR. snaps per­cent Wor­ley but proved and played of fin­ished the durable, de­fen­sive 49.1 the 24. will tack­les. Line­backer lead led What the the team team hap­pened: Tahir in with com­bined White­head 126 White­head to­tal tack­les, snaps. play­ing all but three de­fen­sive 25. played fi­nal Cen­ter two through weeks Rod­ney kid­ney of last Hud­son, sea­son, stones who the will not 2018. miss What a snap hap­pened: or yield a Hud­son, sack in Mr. Re­li­able, snaps played and did all not 1,042 al­low of­fen­sive a sack.

Car­los Avila Gon­za­lez / The Chron­i­cle 2018

Jon Gru­den

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