The exasperating Raiders need to change their fortunes and their narrative

HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) — There’s always something exasperating going on with the Las Vegas Raiders.

What happened Sunday isn’t nearly as serious as the recent Chandler Jones saga or the offensive emails that cost Jon Gruden his job, but it still follows a disturbing pattern for the Raiders.

Jerry Tillery took an unnecessary shot at Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, who was clearly out of bounds, in Los Angeles’ 24-17 victory. That drew a personal foul penalty, the ire of the LA players on the sideline who immediately came to Herbert’s defense and the decision from the league office to eject the former Charger.

As for whether the play warranted an ejection, the NFL is always going to come down on the side of keeping the quarterback safe. Tillery should’ve known better, and it was in that same SoFi Stadium last season that he swiped the ball out of the hands of Los Angeles Rams QB Baker Mayfield. That helped extend what turned out to be the winning drive for the Rams.

Las Vegas coach Josh McDaniels said Monday he spoke with Tillery about the play on Herbert.

“I thought he was making a great effort to get over there,” McDaniels said. “As we saw later on Herbert, he’s a big guy that when he chooses to keep running and go down the sideline, he can actually make some yards. He’s a problem when he has the ball in his hand, so I give Jerry credit for the effort. At that point, the burden is on the defense.”

The Raiders’ problems aren’t all about Tillery, especially after Jones spent about a month lighting up the organization on social media, complaining he was locked out of the facility and making some bizarre claims. Jones’ arrest Friday morning for allegedly violating a domestic violence temporary protection order gave the Raiders the out they needed to finally release the defensive end.

Drama is nothing new for this organization, which has long prided itself on its outlaw image. That was fine 20 or so years ago when the franchise was often a Super Bowl contender, and collecting three Vince Lombardi Trophies helped justify that approach.

But the Raiders have made the playoffs only twice since 2003, and the negative headlines suggest an organization in extreme disfunction. McDaniels had hoped to change the tenor and bring the Patriots’ success with him from when he was the offensive coordinator in New England.

A quarter of the way through his second season in Las Vegas, however, McDaniels is 7-14 and has made decisions inside the 10-yard line during the past two games that have backfired.

The Raiders (1-3) likely will play in front of another hostile crowd at home Monday night when the Green Bay Packers pack out Allegiant Stadium. Especially if the Raiders lose in a standalone game and whoever is playing quarterback has to go to a silent count, it will be another sign of how far the organization has fallen.


Scripted plays. Las Vegas’ early success shows McDaniels’ game plans are strong when the first handful of plays are scripted. The Raiders are second in the NFL with 6.92 yards per play over their first two drives in each game and fifth with 3.88 points per drive.


Making adjustments. As well as the Raiders have played early, they haven’t done nearly as well when going off script and having to adjust. They are 30th with 4.35 yards per play after the opening two drives and last with 1.0 points per drive.


AJ Cole. He already was one of the league’s top punters, but this season has taken it up a level by averaging 52.1 yards (49.0 in net average) with six of 14 attempts inside the 20-yard line. Against the Chargers, Cole averaged 53.8 yards (50.2 net) with three of his five punts in the 20.


The offensive line. Rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell was under constant pressure by Los Angeles, getting sacked seven times, including six by former Raider Khalil Mack. The Raiders have given up 11 sacks over the past two games after not allowing any in the first two.


QB Jimmy Garoppolo, who was injured Sept. 24 against Pittsburgh, remains in the concussion protocol. ... McDaniels said he didn’t have an update on CB Nate Hobbs, who didn’t play at Los Angeles because of an ankle injury.


Receiver Davante Adams faces the Packers, his former team.