Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Raider season turns into a period of turmoil and tragedy

This was a landmark season for the Las Vegas Raiders. Instead, it’s a franchise full of turmoil and tragedy as the team heads towards the second half of the NFL schedule.

The horrific details of a Tuesday morning car crash are still being revealed, in which Raiders receiver Henry Ruggs III crashed his sports car into the back of an SUV driven by a 23-year-old woman who died in a fire.

Authorities say Ruggs drove his Corvette at 156 mph and had twice the alcohol content in the blood of Nevada. The accident occurred at 3:40 am. Tina O. Tintor from Las Vegas died with her dog in a demolished Toyota Rav4.

The 22-year-old Ruggs, selected by the team in the first round of 2020, was released by the Raiders later that day and faced four felony charges – drunk driving resulting in death, DUI resulting in serious bodily injury, and two for careless driving. He also faces a misdemeanor for possession of a weapon while intoxicated.

The situation is unspeakably sad, dire and devastating in all directions. It is also the latest and most excruciating of a series of incidents this season for a promising team that opened its shiny new stadium to the fans for the first time. Yes, there was COVID-19 season, but this year was the real debut of the Raiders in Las Vegas.

Over the summer, inspiring stories were told about the team, including the inspiring successes of players Darren Waller and Max Crosby, both struggling to maintain their sobriety, and the courage of Karl Nassib, who became the first NFL player to publicly declare he was gay.

But a series of off-field situations pushed the franchise towards founding. From the sudden and dismal resignation of team president Mark Badaine – along with CFO and team controller – shortly before the start of training camp to the departure of coach John Gruden due to an electronic scandal – the Raiders staggered.

Even for the Raiders, who are no stranger to the hustle and bustle, this season has been a hectic one.

Las Vegas police investigators work at the crash site involving Henry Ruggs III on Tuesday.

(Eric Jameson / Associated Press) #

“We’re dealing with a lot of things this year, that’s for sure,” said defense attorney Derek Carr, who was clearly crying before he sat down with reporters for his weekly press conference. “Lots of guys, what a crazy year. I’ve heard this a couple of times. I heard, “Oh my God, can we please? Nothing more.’ Not for our own sake, but for the sake of everyone else, for all participants. “

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Carr, who spoke candidly about the sadness of the accident for everyone involved, also acknowledged the somewhat uncomfortable reality that the season is advancing and that he and his teammates need to pay attention to football.

In this regard, the Raiders are in pretty good shape. They have 5-2, lead AFC West and are the three-point favorites in Sunday’s New York Giants.

It’s odd to think that Carr outlived Gruden, given that early on, it was widely believed that the coach was looking to move up to quarterback level from the start. But like last season, Carr has consistently proven himself to be an outstanding quarterback and reliable leader of the franchise.

Moreover, these raiders rely on their protection, an idea that would have been absurd in earlier years when this unit would have been overthrown in high winds.

The Raiders are 11th in defense this season, first under coordinator Gus Bradley, after 30th last season, 26th in 2019 and 32nd in 2018.

It is ironic that these Raiders, led by interim coach Rich Bisaccia, rely on two sides – quarterback and defense – that have long been considered weak.

Of course, the real field trials for this team are yet to come, especially in light of the raider crash pattern in the second half of the schedule. For example, last season the team started with a score of 6: 3, then lost five out of seven and finished with a score of 8: 8.

The Raiders have lost five of their last six in 2019, lost 4-12 in 2018, and lost four in a row, ending coach Jack Del Rio’s term in 2017.

The current Raiders started 3-0 with victories over Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Miami, beating Ravens and the Delphins in overtime before losing to the Chargers and Chicago.

Las Vegas has bounced back with victories over Denver and Philadelphia, and after a week of hiatus, is playing the last-placed Giants 1-3 at home.

The bigger challenge for Las Vegas comes in late November with games against Kansas City, Cincinnati and Dallas.

“We have a game this week and I have a job, just like the guys in the locker room,” Carr said. “We had to go out and practice. On Mondays and Tuesdays we had film lessons. We have all these things that we still have to do.

“I don’t know how to deal with it, but I’m trying.”

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