After Five Weeks, Raider Nation Hits an All-Time Low

Brian ParkContributor IOctober 13, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 11:  Mathias Kiwanuka #94 of the New York Giants forces a fumble against JaMarcus Russell #2 of the Oakland Raiders on October 11, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Raiders 44-7.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

It's comforting to believe that when you're down on your luck and you feel like you've reached rock bottom, that there's nowhere to go but up. Against all odds, you try to maintain a positive outlook on your prospects, while still keeping a realistic perspective on things, and you fully embrace the notion that when your back is against the wall, you are not one to be reckoned with.

Forgive me if I'm beginning to read like a self-help book, but for many Raider fans, this was the battle cry of sorts prior to the start of the 2009-2010 season.

It's not so much that a lackluster preseason was considered a slight misstep or that the past six years have been ignored or forgotten, but considering the maturation of JaMarcus Russell during the offseason and the tumult of a newly shaped AFC West, it wasn't far-fetched for Raider fans to ponder the most quintessential of underdog credo's:

Why not us?

The answer in a nutshell?

The Raiders' offense is inept, the defense is incapable and inconsistent, and the head coach is headline news for his supposed on-the-job street fighting exploits.

Now if that isn't a formula for disaster, then the Raiders are certainly doing a tremendous job in rewriting the NFL's book on futility.

Time are tough in Raider Nation. (What ever happened to reaching rock bottom and looking forward to the long climb up, or at the very least, just wallowing in the NFL's dark abyss?)

No, just when you thought things couldn't get any worse, the Oakland Raiders have sunk to new and uncharted lows and have found brand new ways to disappoint one of the most loyal and passionate fan bases in all of sports.

And so, the Raiders trudge along in what is an unprecedented downturn in the organization's once sterling history.

Fandom is a curious situation of time-bending proportions. All at once, Raider Nation embraces its past, begrudgingly accepts its present, and constantly sets its eyes towards the future.

Truth be told, it's hard to predict when the Raiders will be able to right this ship. When dealing with an infamous owner such as Al Davis, whose staunch methodology is beyond any alteration or questioning, it's unlikely that change will come easy.

Could it be that the Raiders' only hope is to catch lightning in a bottle?

After all, the pieces are there. The strong-armed quarterback, the deep threat wide receiver, the explosive and dynamic backfield, the lockdown corner, and the stalwart linebacker. Add to that the offseason acquisition of two veteran defensive ends, and the Raiders have the elements, at least on paper, of a team poised to make some noise.

Yet even this, the methodical construction of a championship caliber team, has failed to equate in wins, or at the very least, in showing a legitimate dedication to the development of a winner.

The Raiders organization is mired in a quandary of unusual sorts.

Al Davis is Oakland Raider football. He has been the one constant in the franchise and his fingerprints are all over the Raiders’ three Super Bowl championships and their ascension to the upper echelon of hallmark NFL teams.

Unfortunately, his fingerprints are also found on this current Raider team.

There’s no real easy way to go about this situation. Davis knows how to win. He’s been at the top and he knows how to get there. The Raiders have suffered before and have always managed to reclaim their place among the NFL elite.

But this time around, it’s a little different. Perhaps it was in reaction to two consecutive Super Bowl misses (the Tuck Rule game and the debacle of 2003), but since 2003, Davis’ style in managing his team can best be described as hurried.

Too many quick-fix moves that brought in as many big names as they've pushed out have left this current group of Raiders with a significant leadership void.

It might have been too much to ask these young Raiders to finish in the top half of the division. Reality has set in and just as quickly, the high hopes and good vibes of the offseason have made their way out in dramatically disastrous fashion.

After five weeks, the Raiders are a disappointing 1-4 and face the daunting task of squaring off with the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets, and the San Diego Chargers in the coming weeks.

You might own some small glimmer of hope that the Raiders will undergo a dramatic change. That in the next three weeks, the Raiders morph into something special, and that by season’s end, all the major sports networks will be raving about how miraculous of a change the Raiders showcased starting in Week Six against the Eagles.

But then, the real world comes knocking on your door.

The Raiders are 1-4, and not the good sort of 1-4 where a severely over matched team puts up a good fight and falls short despite their most valiant efforts.

It's the kind of 1-4 that makes you sick to your stomach on Monday, feel utterly depressed by Tuesday, angry on Wednesday, unreasonably hopeful from Thursday through Saturday, and all of this only to come crashing back down on Sunday.


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