The Oakland Raiders are struggling to find a way to win. Their latest effort against the Chiefs was yet another bitter loss in what has become yet another lost season for the Silver and Black.
This loss could be considered good for draft position, as it left the Raiders as the fifth worst team in the NFL, catapulting them behind the Chiefs despite their split record.The Chiefs have the edge with a slightly better divisional record.
This is the time where the Raiders of past years have mentally packed it in and begun their plans for their offseason vacations, or contacted their agents to get them on the first plane out of Oakland, so they could leave the dysfunction behind.
Unlike past years, this team still has confidence they are going to be better in the second half of the season than they were in the first. On Monday, center Samson Satele told local media, “We did some good things out there and we can build on it and I feel like we will be a lot better team the second half. We came out firing off the ball, both sides, we just have to continue it the whole game. Play sixty minutes, the full sixty minutes.”
Through the first half of the season, the Raiders compiled a 2-6 record and an offensive output that fell behind the Art Shell/ Tom Walsh “bed and breakfast” offense in 2006 in terms of production. This leaves a lot of room for improvement. Defensive end Richard Seymour exuded confidence that the Raiders would be better, “Well, I’m confident that we can beat anyone on any given Sunday. I’m definitely confident in that. It’s just, we have to collectively, as a group, understand what it takes to win in this league.”
With controversy surrounding head coach Tom Cable, as well as a potential quarterback controversy brewing, the team still has confidence in their embattled head coach, Linebacker Thomas Howard said, “We’ll let Cable and whoever makes that decision, make that decision. [starting quarterback] We’re going to support whoever’s out there. We love them all. We’re all one big family in here. Whoever’s out there, we’re going to support him.”
Defensive back Nnamdi Asomugha, who has been through the totality of the Raiders struggles since he was drafted in 2003, kept an even keel about everything after Sunday’s loss, “I don’t get frustrated. We have been taught to be patient. Just do as Tom would say he is going to do and the direction he is going to take us in. When he says ‘I am going to pull a quarterback’ we are going to rally behind Tom. It is not a matter of being frustrated. Its a matter of trusting the coach and what he is trying to do with the team.”
Bruce Gradkowski is the one who would seem to have the most to gain from JaMarcus Russell being benched, although Cable would not rule out Charlie Frye as an option to start, commented on his relationship with Russell, “He’ll give me his opinion, he’ll tell me what’s up, what looks good, just I do for him. We’re there for each other, like I said, this is a team sport, and we need to just find a way to win, whatever that may be.”
Most telling of all, Cable has not had a “Dumbest team in America” moment. He has maintained that the most important thing for the Silver and Black is to keep working and plugging away at it. Yesterday in his weekly press conference Cable said, “I feel like we have such great character in that room. It’s something we talked about today. I would not expect that from this group of men. Too good of people, too many strong leaders. I feel good about that part of it.”
That does not sound like a team that has packed it in. In 2008, they surprised by winning their last two games convincingly. With seven losses, the playoffs are no longer a possibility, but that confidence and willingness to fight on through a lost season could be the beginning of a light at the end of a long dark tunnel for this franchise.
You can also find Patrick A. Patterson at Examiner.com