The Oakland Raiders have a lot to prove and are hungry to prove that they all can turn their losing ways around.
After six losing seasons, after Al Davis made a mistake in giving a young, arrogant coach a chance he didn't deserve, now he finally realized the diamond in the rough in Tom Cable.
There are many Raider players and coaches that have their own personal stories and I will explain the why, the when, and the now.
Tom Cable has always been a Raider fan growing up in the state of Washington. He followed the Raiders no matter what there record was and what he was doing.
He, like me, fell in love with the "old style, hard nosed Raider football" with the likes of Jack "The Assassin" Tatum and Kenny Stabler. After last years fiasco, he saw an opportunity to pursue his "dream job" and finish what a young head coach messed up.
He did the best he could and ended on a positive note by beating the Texans and the Buccaneers, both being knocked out of the playoffs. In those two wins, Al Davis decided to give Cable the head coaching job and it wasn't until after the SB it was official.
You see, Cable lost his father before he was appointed the head coach, and Al Davis gave him the time off he needed. Now Cable has a year to dedicate to his beloved father, who he learned from and was raised by.
JaMarcus has been under the microscope this year more than any other. With the addition of Jeff Garcia, his job is there for the taking if he doesn't perform.
He also has other adversity to deal with, but with his calm cool demeanor, he never gets rattled under pressure. This is going to be a make or break year for JaMarcus and I for one think he can do it (barring injury).
He (like Cable) has lost two very dear family members in the loss of his grandma who raised him and the loss of his very close uncle who was told to watch over the young man from his grandma.
This year, JaMarcus has more reason to dedicate himself more than anyone in the passing of two very important members of his close family.
Here is a picture of Marquis Cooper on the right when he played with the Buccaneers. Marquis Cooper took his boat and some friends out to sea to spend a day fishing and talking about football.
Mother nature took over and the NFL, family, and friends lost a few of there own. Marquis Cooper was a special teams ace who was about to sign a new contract with the Raiders.
Although Marquis Cooper was not a big name, I would have thought the Raiders would have his number on their jerseys for a tribute (that's still not to say it won't happen).
With all that being said, Marquis was a funny man who made people laugh and feel comfortable, he made the special team and team as a whole better, and he was a team player who never quit trying. He is a another reason this season will be special.
We all know that Javon Walker lost his best friend and former fellow teammate Darrent Williams to a drive by shooting a couple of years back.
Javon Walker could not bare playing on the same team or same town that once had his best friend. After signing with Oakland, he has since been playing through pain, dealing with things mentally, and has also dealt with adversity.
Javon went under the knife to fix what has been bothering him for a couple of years now. If Javon had any intention of retiring and giving up, he would have done it when he was being vocal about it last year. It would also be nice to see him dedicate this year to his best friend who died unexpectedly.
Even though they dedicated last years passing to Gene Upshaw, I think this year it is really dedicated to him because his passing wasn't until August 21, 2008.
The team should quietly commit to honoring the late great player who once showed the opposing teams what honor and pride of the Oakland Raiders was about.
In conclusion, the Oakland Raiders have many personal stories and the ones that will fill the voids are winning again. Some have angels looking after them and they are Raider fans.
With adversity comes great leaders and the will to win. The Oakland Raiders will not simply give up or give in to what the non-believers say, they will move on, move up, and return to glory.