If the score is not close in Oakland and the Raiders get beat down on their home turf Sunday, I will not be a bit surprised. If they come out and go toe to toe with the Ravens trying to take something positive into their offseason and give the Ravens early seats on the couch this year, I will not be surprised.
The thing that I would most like for the Raiders to do is look inside of themselves as a team and find out where their emotional leader is.
Ray Lewis is an explosive player for the Baltimore Ravens.
What do I mean by that?
Ray brings high energy to the game of football. Ray Lewis is a game changing player, whether it be with his stuff of LaDainian Tomlinson on fourth down in the Chargers game earlier this year, or whether it be by creating an opportunity for his defensive teammates to make a big play.
Ray Lewis is one of the most respected players on the field in every game that he plays in. Ray is the type of guy who gives 110 percent on every play in practice. When you play on a team with Ray Lewis, not giving your full effort is not acceptable.
But Ray Lewis is more than that. He is the Ravens voice, heart, and soul.
The Oakland Raiders have talent. They have players who can make big plays, or help their teammates make them. The have players who give maximum effort game in and game out. However, you would be hard pressed to look at their roster and find a player that can be the heart, soul, and voice of the team.
Perhaps Bruce Gradkowski could be that player for them. Bruce brought an extra bit of energy to the field when he was playing. He changed the atmosphere. He got in peoples faces. He played showing his full emotions.
Unfortunatly, he was hurt before we got a chance to see how much of a real impact he could be on a more regular basis.
Nnamdi Asomugha is the voice of the team right now. He is a player who other players look to for advice. He is a guy who the media seeks out to let Raider Nation what is going on with the players behind the scenes.
Nnamdi brings a high energy level with his play. He is widely considered one of the few shutdown cornerbacks left in the league these days. But his energy and emotion does not show through enough to rub off on his teammates. In order to be that guy, he has got to be more aggressive towards his teammates.
I don't want to see Asomugha go out and punch anybody in the face, but I would like to see him get fired up when his teammates make a big play. I wanna see Asomugha jump on their backs, push them in the chest, do a special handshake with them, something !
The Raiders have a roster that should be included, in terms of talents, with the best teams in the NFL. What they are lacking is the emotion. They don't have that Ray Lewis who is going to get mad and start shouting for better play when they are down. They need that.
They need to watch how Ray Lewis plays on Sunday on their home field, and somebody needs to step up and be that Ray Lewis type of player for the Oakland Raiders. They need somebody who says, "WE MUST PROTECT THIS HOUSE!"
And now some quotes with regards to Lewis:
"You understand the Pro Bowl—it’s all of the top guys. You don’t think in terms of a captain on the team," Nnamdi Asomugha said. "All through the week guys are shooting the bull during practice. Nobody cared about anything. We’re getting ready to play and guys are cracking jokes.
"Ray Lewis calls everyone up, commands a group huddle in the locker room, and gives probably the greatest pregame speech I’ve heard in my life. For the Pro Bowl! [Even] Peyton Manning is standing at attention. It doesn’t matter who it is.
"Everyone’s stone-faced, standing up straight. When he finished, everyone was going crazy and excited, and I thought, 'He’s got the most respect of anyone in this room.'"
'When you have a guy like that, you don’t want to let him down," linebacker Kirk Morrison said.
“You see the amount of passion he has, what he puts into it. He’s been doing it for a long time and you develop that respect where you have the Pro Bowls, the accolades. Everyone knows you’ve been there, and you demand it from everybody else. If you’re not playing to the best of your abilities, you’re going to have to deal with him."
"There’s a different vibe about him," Charlie Frye said. "Different than anyone else I’ve played against. At the end of the day, you want someone like that on your team."
"My message to the team this week is Brotherhood is found thru our struggles, But now we have overcame, it is our time. Take it upon yourself to be better everyday. It was really just talking about adversity. We've been through adversity, dealing with all these injuries, all the ups and downs, and my message is very simple: that stuff pulls champions together.
"When you go through things like that and you have to fight through it. Once you learn how to deal with those things and you know how to fit people in like 'next man up,' the next thing to do is keep moving.
"Now it's time for us to grab momentum because the scariest thing ever is when you add confidence and camaraderie with talent. And that's one thing that we have and probably makes us one of the best in the business right now. When you add that together, we'll get on the right road." -From Ray Lewis on Yardbarker.com blog October 2009
Oakland Raiders Pregame Speech: http://fanhuddle.com/oaklandraiders/2010/01/03/my-oakland-raiders-pregame-speech/