Dec 7, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Denver Nuggets forward JJ Hickson (7) celebrates during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Nuggets defeated the Sixers 103-92. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

2013 Oakland Raiders: A lost season

Dec 22, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders safety Charles Woodson (24) reacts after a penalty call during the second half against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Well Raiders fans, that’s it. The final game of the 2013 season is officially in the books, and while most fans would like to forget about this “lost season”, it was a part of the deconstruction and rebuilding the team needed to undergo. Remember that before the season started, Oakland wasn’t even slated to win a game this year with the dearth of talent this team has on its current roster.

If you remember correctly, many critics expected this team to win anywhere between zero and two wins this season, so when they started out the gate running, at least from how they were “supposed” to start out, many people including myself rushed into thinking that this team could actually make some noise around the league with Terrelle Pryor at center even with all the injuries we were battling.

Oh how we were wrong, as the injury bug caught up to us and revealed our not so shocking complete lack of depth at basically every position. The end result after a great start? Losing eight of the last nine while starting the fourth string QB going into camp.

Now that isn’t to say that this season was a complete disaster though, because it showed many signs for the future. The fact this team competed and had opportunities to win almost every week shows that there is some talent on this roster and that the coaching staff allowed the players to massively exceed expectations the first half the season.

Dec 22, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski (11) attempts a field goal against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After all heading into week 9, the team was 3-4 with Sebastian Janikowski missing fields goals left and right, including one in the season opener against Indy, where if he made it we were in a perfect position to win on the last drive. The loss in Washington was chalked up by fans to Matt Flynn, who was released after that. The other two losses were against the two best teams in the league, but the Kansas City game was close for the first three quarters.

That starts spurred all kinds of optimism in Raider Nation heading into a streak of 6 games against teams that were in slumps.

But all slumps end eventually, call it bad timing for the Raiders to play them as they ended their slumps, are call it a team this is constantly having to play their starters the entire game without rest just to stay competitive because of the lack of depth.

The injury bug did help the team though, as crazy as that sounds. Look no further than Rashad Jennings, the much needed quality backup to McFadden. He broke out when the unexpected happened and McFadden injured himself again somehow and provided a jack of all trades to the offense in dire need of play makers.

Speaking of players stepping up in the offense, the emergence of receivers Rod Streater and Andre Holmes were a bright spot on the team and showed Raider Nation that they have the potential to be great receivers in this league with the right quarterback play. Even 6th round pick Mychal Rivera stepped up the plate later in the season as a nice little surprise gathering 4 touchdowns in the process.

For the hate that Reggie and Allen have gotten this year about their draft, being called terrible, a failure, and other words that I don’t think I can repeat on this site, their picks have actually panned out quite well this year.

October 6, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders cornerback DJ Hayden (25) intercepts the ball against San Diego Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (13) during the fourth quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Chargers 27-17. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

DJ Hayden is a rookie, all readers need to understand that, and most great corners have had sub par rookie seasons, the facts are that with Hayden the Raiders averaged 21 PPG allowed, save that outlier against the Eagles when the entire secondary seemingly collapsed somehow. Without him the Raiders never held an opponent to under 21 points and averaged 32 PPG allowed.

Also, Hayden was responsible for covering the opposing teams number one receiver most of the time. Even though his numbers aren’t eye popping, keep in mind when it comes to DBs the corner that had a quiet game, most likely had a good game, calling Nndami . Also after six games, he was the only rookie to force two turnovers.

Nov 28, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Sio Moore (55) on the sidelines during the game against the Dallas Cowboys during a NFL football game on Thanksgiving at AT

Sio Moore self proclaimed himself the best linebacker in this draft, and while Kiko Alonso on the Buffalo Bills will probably take this title, Sio Moore definitely put himself in a position to be the best outside linebacker in the class. His numbers won’t make you say wow, but when he is on the field and healthy, he shows explosiveness and a motor that allows him to have incredible potential going forward.

So yes, you could look at all the negative things that the organization has blundered on this year, namely QBs Tyler Wilson and Matt Flynn, but if you take a step back and really evaluate all the things that have happened this year, then you should see that this season, while on the surface may seem like one to forget, was instrumental to the future of this team and should be viewed at as a success and progress.

It was a season filled have plenty of drama, play that exceeded expectations and tough losses, but in the end this is truly a lost season because of all the positives that seemed to have been lost in the sea of disappointment at the final record.

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