Henry Ruggs: We definitely should have been in the playoffs

USA TODAY Sports

The Raiders looked like a contending team when they started the season 6-3, highlighted by a 40-32 victory over the Chiefs in Week 5.

But then things changed, with the Raiders dropping five of their last seven to finish 8-8. Las Vegas conceivably could have finished 7-9 if not for wide receiver Henry Ruggs’ 46-yard touchdown reception with five seconds left to beat the Jets.

But defeating the Chiefs early on and nearly beating them in Las Vegas meant something to the Raiders. For Darren Waller, it illustrated the gap between the two teams wasn’t that big. Ruggs sees the team’s situation similarly.

“I would never disrespect anyone in this league, but I feel like we definitely have the team, definitely have the pieces and if we put it together, we showed in that game that we can compete with anybody,” Ruggs said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “I know that one thing we have to do is to stay consistent and focus on the little things and we can be a top contending team. We definitely should have been in the playoffs.”

He also noted the Raiders likely got complacent after their season began well.

“We had a couple tough wins, so we felt like we were doing the right things in certain situations,” Ruggs said. “But you know, as the season goes on and teams get more film on you, you can’t just get by doing the little things wrong. You have to pay attention to all details.”

That’s been a problem for the Raiders over the last two seasons, which ended in a similar fashion. In 2019, the club started 6-4 before finishing 7-9.

Head coach Jon Gruden has taken steps to improve Las Vegas’ defense by bringing in coordinator Gus Bradley. But the team as a whole has to stay consistent through the second half of the season to become a true contender.

16 responses to “Henry Ruggs: We definitely should have been in the playoffs

  1. This guy needs to spend time on his craft, right now he’s way behind CeeDee Lamb and Jefferson. Now that I think of it, there’s probably some second rd receivers that put up better numbers. Idk if the raiders can’t draft or can’t develop. Either way it’s frustrating.

  2. Three games were the difference between 8-8 and 11-5, the second Chiefs game, the dolphins game and the second chargers game, all blown by the defense, fix the defense! Give Derek Carr a defense for once

  3. The problem with people who think they’re already good enough – they never improve. It’s someone else’s fault you didn’t win in life. Those you are mature enough to accept their faults work harder to improve. The Raiders are one of those teams that think they’re a lot better than they are, therefore they’ll perpetually be average.

  4. But I thought Chuckie would solve all the Faders coaching ills lol. Doesn’t matter how well Mayock drafts when the coaching in Raiderville will always be lacking.

  5. Dating back to his first Raider stint, I thought that Gruden as a Raider HC was a lot like Mike White who got fired after 2 years in Oakland. White’s ’95 Raider team started out very strong (8-2) but then went on a losing streak to miss the playoffs although at least in White’s case there was the mitigating factor that Jeff Hostetler got injured. Gruden’s first ’98 Raider team started 6-2 and finished 8-8 which parallels White’s ’95 team as well as the last 2 years. Even the 2001 Raider team that made the playoffs lost their last 3 regular season games under Gruden which forced them to travel to New England for the “Tuck Game” rather than having home field advantage in Oakland.

    Teams with good coaching don’t wilt down the stretch. They also manage to win (or are competitive in) the games that they’re expected to rather than just lifting their performance for elite teams (like the Chiefs) while mailing it in for equal or lessor teams.

  6. Moonshine Mullins says:
    Three games were the difference between 8-8 . . .
    ==

    I love it when people cherry-pick stats to play the woulda, shoulda, coulda game.
    If if’s fair to say the Raiders were three GAMES from 11-5, it’s equally fair to say they finished 8-8 and were one idiotic PLAY from being 7-9.
    The only thing that really matters is what actually happened, and what actually happened is the Raiders completely collapsed for the second season in a row and ended up a .500 team that didn’t make the playoffs — yet again.

  7. Gruden was at his best running the FFCA. Any subjective analysis of his head coaching career reveals he’s never actually built a team or developed a first rate QB.

  8. Now that I think of it, there’s probably some second rd receivers that put up better numbers.

    Gabriel Davis (a 4th rounder) had better numbers 35 rec /599 yards/7 TDs

  9. Spoken like a true player, who plays for a perennial 8-8 team. Sadly he’s already bought into their average ways. Just .500 baby! Over the course of 21 years they’re a 6-10 team. Boise Raiders, coming after another city kicks them out in 2025!

  10. Imagine if Mayock didn’t think he was smarter than everyone and actually took Devin White instead of reaching for Clelin Ferrell.

    The Raiders would be a wildly different team.

  11. I’m sure the Raiders thought they should have gotten more production out of the #12 pick (and first WR) in the draft than twenty-six catches. Maybe if he had played better they’d be in the playoffs. He should look in the mirror…or better yet, spend more time working on improving his game.

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