It’s quite interesting what difference this Oakland Raiders team has made for fans in as little as two games into the 2013 regular season. In the Pre-Season, there were so many questions being raised about the Raiders, the players, their talent level, their abilities, and the coaching staff. Money was an issue, lack of draft picks was an issue, and injuries plagued key players along the offensive line and defensive front. Yet, two games into the regular season, a new optimism has grown among a good majority of Raider Nation.
This optimism is a feeling I began to have when the Oakland Raiders picked up linebacker Nick Roach and safety Charles Woodson. This was a feeling that wasn’t shared by many, at first. Especially not a feeling shared by my good friend Mark Taylor. I would spend hours “spinning a yarn” about the newly revamped defense to Mark, and he would just tell me, “I like your enthusiasm Shane, but I’m going to reserve myself until I see a game…I’m a trenches guy, and I just don’t think we (the Raiders) have the pieces in place to win the battle…I’ve gotten my hopes up every year only to have them dashed by a lackluster performance…”
Still, I would try to project my excitement onto Mark, no matter how stubborn he was. It’s really funny what a couple of hard-fought games can do for the mindset of people. One moment they are curbing their enthusiasm so that their hopes won’t be dashed, and the next moment they are like giddy school children running to the playground during recess. Such is the transformation that I am beginning to see and hear from my good friend Mark and many readers here on Just Blog Baby. Sometimes change is a good thing. In the case of the Raiders, it was necessary to change the entire face of the team in order to accomplish the goal of being a winning franchise again.
Can we honestly say the Raiders are a winning franchise after two regular season games? Maybe not just yet, but the winning attitude is alive and well in Oakland these days, and it has been translating to better performance by the players on the field. Are they buying into the system in place by the coaches? Is it one or two or three or more players that have begun to unite the locker room? I believe that it is a combination of all of these factors. All of these factors will be the reason why this Raiders team will have a chance Monday Night against a formidable opponent. If you don’t believe me, just ask the San Francisco 49ers, who got annihilated by the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday 27-7. Didn’t the Raiders almost beat the Colts in Week 1? So, if the Raiders can play or keep up with the Colts defense as it did in Week 1, the game tonight against the Denver Broncos will be a battle.
Two division opponents meeting for the 108th time in their storied histories. One franchise has already been given the 2013 Super Bowl nod by a good majority of the NFL Analysts and other media pundits, while the other was dubbed the bottom feeder of the league due to its many changes and lack of veteran leadership. Yet, in Week 3, a large number of the Raiders critics have changed their views on the organization and its players. Still, the critics believe this will be a walk in the park for Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. Folks, the Raiders are from the City of Oakland, and I wouldn’t want to take a walk in the park in Oakland on any night. Simply put, the Raiders will be looking to show up “the great” (sarcasm) Peyton Manning, especially if they can do it Oakland style! Change is good Raider Nation, especially when it translates to winning.