Strange, but not all that surprising.
In the span of 12 months the Raiders had gone from a 12-4 team many believed would be a Super Bowl contender in 2017 to one of the biggest disappointments in all of sports. The fall was epic and embarrassing, the latter of which owner Mark Davis couldn’t tolerate any longer.
So where did it all go wrong? How could a team with so much promise and high expectations do a total belly-flop?
There were warning signs in training camp, with Donald Penn’s holdout and Gareon Conley’s mysterious shin injury, not to mention cornerback Sean Smith getting arrested on an assault charge.
Still, things didn’t go bad until Week 3 when the Washington Redskins pounded the Raiders with very little trouble. That started a freefall that lasted the remainder of the season, with Del Rio and his staff unable to stop it.
Not all of the problems were Del Rio’s fault. Receivers repeatedly dropped passes, quarterback Derek Carr looked uncomfortable most of the season and the secondary was a mess from the beginning.
But it wasn’t just about the losses. It was the way Oakland was losing.
Del Rio stood tall and smiled when the team was winning but had no answer when things got bad. Week after week the losses piled up with little signs of improvement, and each week the head coach seemed to get testier when answering questions from reporters.
Perhaps it was because Del Rio knew