Oakland Raiders: Building a Winner

MInus VasiliadesContributor IMay 10, 2010

Greetings Fellow Raider Comrades,
I have been a Raider fan for 20 years. I have celebrated a Super Bowl and many a great year of Silver and Black football. During that time, the attribute that distinguished us from other teams was indeed a winning, no-nonsense attitude. Our persona reflected that of our owner, Al Davis. Our motto is: "Just win Baby," isn't it?" But wins have been hard to come by recently. Instead, the Raider Nation has endured seven years of painful failures and uninspired play. Yet, that is not what we are accustomed to. We, The Nation, have been spoiled.
The Tom Flores coached 1983 L.A. Raiders won the Super Bowl. They were led by great players such as Howie Long, Rod Martin, and Reggie Kinlaw.... not to mention Lester Hayes and Mike Haynes. These super defenders shot down the high-powered Washington Redskins offense with relative ease. On the other side of the ball, Jim Plunkett, Marcus Allen, Cliff Branch and Todd Christensen connected all to many times for scoring drives that deflated the opposing team. Ray Guy played his own part as we all know. That was a team - in all sense of the word.
In 2002, a tireless and motivational Rich Gannon along with legendary wide receivers Jerry Rice and Tim Brown composed the league's top offense. Defensively, Sims, Kennedy, Romanowski, and the Woodsons played big in crucial situations. We fell just short, undone in the end by a great coach.... Jon Gruden still talks highly of the Raiders and Al Davis.
To build a winner, you need a winning attitude..... You need a winning quarterback. Exit: Jamarcus Russell. Enter: Jason Cambell.
The 2010 Oakland Raiders will most likely not win the Super Bowl, granted. We will however win the AFC West. I have not written an article like this until now. I couldn't. Not with Russell at the helm. Cambell will put in the necessary study time, he will put forth the expected effort demanded by the position that touches the ball on every single snap. He will emulate Plunkett and Gannon in that respect, and that sadly is something that Jamarcus Russell was never able to... was never willing to do.
The Raiders have also learned that high character, high IQ football players are crucial in this day in age where talent is widespread in the league, but where the difference between "elite" and "mediocre" lies in understanding of the fundamentals and execution of the game. I think, as I hope you too Nation, that we are finally instilling these very virtues into our football team.
In conclusion, I admire and respect Tom Cable and applaud Mr. Al Davis for at last giving the Silver and Black deserved fans an opportunity to hope for better days ahead... and a chance to finally rejoice... and maybe... just maybe lift another (our 4rth) Lombardy Trophy.
Thank you Raider Nation....
Forever bleeding Silver and Black,
Mike Vas.