We’ve seen what these Oakland Raiders are capable of. We know that when they run the rock, pressure the QB and dominate the clock they can hang with anybody in this league. We’ve also seen their ability to fall apart like a swap meet t-shirt run through the wash.
From here out there is no room for error. If this team wants to be playing in the post season then winning the West is the only way. Tom Cable has proven he can get his men to rise to any occasion. Where he’s struggled is getting them to play with the same focus week in and week out.
There are no secrets at this point in the season. Therefore it’s all about effort and execution.
As the San Diego Chargers learned, when the Raiders are fired up and focused it makes for a long afternoon. But if you ask the Pittsburgh Steelers, all you’ve got to do is beat them at their own game.
Coach Cable didn’t hide the fact that his mission from day one was to resurrect Raider Mystique. You’d have to say he’s done precisely that as this team has become known for its bullying nature.
Now is the time for the veterans to step up. Guys like Richard Seymour who are familiar with playing high pressure games in December must set the tone. Even though Nnamdi Asomugha has never been here before he needs to act like it. Without having to look over his shoulder, Jason Campbell must become the Jim Plunkett clone Al Davis imagined.
While it is young talents such as Darren McFadden and Jacoby Ford that are making plays, it’s the locker room leadership that is necessary to take the next step.
For these Oakland Raiders the time is now. Tomorrow is not promised and being content with what’s been accomplished so far this year is a recipe for disappointment. Let’s not forget Cable had this team wearing ‘AFC West Champions’ shirts in camp. That goal is still very much alive but it could be DOA with just one more less than inspired effort.