Latest Loss Exposes Oakland Raiders’ Lack of Overall Talent

The Oakland Raiders' late push fell short Sunday in a 16-9 loss to the New England Patriots in Foxborough. It wasn’t a moral victory for the Raiders, but it was a good reminder that coaching isn’t the only reason the team is 0-3.

Head coach Dennis Allen’s team fought hard for four quarters, but it wasn’t enough to get a road win against a Bill Belichick-coached squad that hasn’t lost more than six games since 2002. While a coaching change is still possible if the Raiders can’t beat the Miami Dolphins in London next week, Sunday’s result suggests that it might not make much of a difference.

An overall lack of talent was to blame for the loss to the Patriots, and it should share some of the blame for the Raiders' atrocious start. General manager Reggie McKenzie added a lot of talent in the offseason, but it’s clear his team still has a long way to go.

No place was the lack of talent more clear than at inside linebacker and wide receiver.

Starting inside linebackers Sio Moore and Nick Roach were out with injuries, so the Raiders started backups Miles Burris and Kaluka Maiava. Both Burris and Maiava are nothing more than special teams players on most teams, but the Raiders had to lean on them heavily against the Patriots.

Burris and Maiava were largely responsible for covering tight end Rob Gronkowski, running back Shane Vereen and helping a team that had allowed 400 rushing yards in two games stop the run. Maiava was a liability in coverage while Burris in all areas.

On a key 3rd-and-5 in the fourth quarter, Burris couldn’t stick with Vereen in coverage. Vereen easily evaded Burris’ tackle attempt to pick up 12 yards and the first down at Oakland’s 32-yard line. A few plays later Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski made a 36-yard field goal to put New England up 16-9.

Maiava lost Gronkowski on a crossing round...

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