During the 2009 NFL Draft and during most of this off season, a lot great things happened that have not been addressed in years past. Most, if not all of those decisions and changes have brought what the media has called “the laughing stock of the NFL,” back into a positive light. The Raiders draft choices have been great, the recent acquisitions of players such as Jason Campbell and Kamerion Wimbley have been great and even the cuts that have been made have been great. With all these new and fresh changes, we should be worthy contenders now right? Not quite, as there’s still one more question that hasn’t been answered, and probably won’t be answered until the season starts.
Can the Oakland Raiders play consistent, hard working and determined NFL quality football?
That question was a little strung out, but not just because it needed to look better. Let’s really take a look at what the question really asks, along with some insight into the subject.
Can the Raiders be a determined and hard working football team?
The answer to this question is a most definite yes, and there are many factors that play into this, with two that stand out; the first is the fans. Raider Nation will never fail the Raiders.
They will always stand tall and stick with the team through thick and thin. Some are analytical Raider fans that see not only what our strengths are but also our weaknesses, and will go out of their way to try to get the word out to address what the team needs. In back of those fans you have the people who aren’t so much into the analysis, but simply want the Raiders to win, no matter the cost and how many days they have to spend in jail. Then of course you have the casual fan that roots for them from home and on occasion wears the team colors. Raider Nation is very diverse, but overall, will never falter for the team.
Another big factor is the team itself. Let’s face it, our Raiders have a penchant for beating themselves up when the rough gets going, and it’s been a rough 7 years. The team needs to make sure that they keep that fire that is burning in them right now. I say right now because it seems that the team is generally happy and things are progressing very well. They are hungry, and they need to stay that way. If they can do that, they we can move onto the next question, and the whole point of this discussion.
Can the Raiders play consistently throughout the 2010 season?
We have said they can be hard-working and determined, now can that translate into consistent play? Let’s take a bit of history and apply it and see if can come up with an answer.
How about back in 2003, when the Raiders faced the supposed playoff bound Ravens, who were on a 3 game winning streak, in December? The score ended up being 20-12, with the Ravens never challenging for the lead. Where was this play the rest of the season? We’re not going to go there.
Let’s move on. How we look at 2004, when they played the falling Titans, also in December. Final score, 40 – 35. Whoa, wait a minute… 40 to 35?! Where did this come from and where was it before? Again, we’re not going there.
I’ll skip ahead to the 2009 season, where we go up against the Eagles, and end up beating them, but right after going back down the tubes for a while, we come back and beat the Bengals and the Super Bowl defending champion Steelers. Where was this play the WHOLE season? We're not going to go there.
To put a long story short, consistency has been an issue. Hold on, I’m sorry, let me not be a minimalist… it’s been a BIG issue. For the Raiders and Raider Nation to win, there has to be consistency. Over the past 7 years, there has been little to none. Without that, no matter how good the team looks, it will always falter and fall flat. The pieces have been put in place to get us to consistency with our new quarterback, coaching and leader quality players. Can it hold? Can the Raiders go into and through this 2010 season, playing consistent good football? Recent history will say no, but I’m optimistic. What say you Raider Nation?