Oakland Raiders: Just Blog Baby’s Day at Training Camp

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Dec 8, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Oakland Raiders fans pose during tailgate festivities before the game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

So there it is, my wonderful day at Oakland Raiders Training Camp in Napa, CA.  I have to say that I am even more impressed by the work ethic, speed, aggressiveness, agility, and overall cohesiveness that this Raiders team is displaying in practice.  This thing is really coming together, and the players are buying into what the coaching staff is selling.  It’s a special thing to see up close.  This will translate to a very good 2014 turnout, and this storied franchise will turn it around.

The most impressive thing that happened actually occured on the ride home.  See, my buddy Mark Taylor is a realist and a skeptic when it comes to the Raiders.  Every year him and I talk Raiders football, and every year he has doubts.  I try to tell him it will be all right, things will turn around, things are getting better, etc…  Still, the realist in Mark provides his skepticism, and not much will change his mind unless he sees results on the field.

Now, Mark has been an Oakland Raiders fan since they started in 1960.  His Dad took him to his first game, and he was introduced to some of the players, like Otis Sistrunk and Jim Otto, and he was hooked ever since.  Mark has seen the Raiders start from nothing and then become evertything.  Unfortunately, we have all had to watch the fall from grace.  Still, Mark has stuck it out like a true fan would.  No bandwagon’s here, and definitely no BS.

Back to the ride home.  Mark said to me, “I am impressed, moreso than I thought I’d be, and I am, for the first time in a long time, truly optimistic about this season.”  At dinner, he stated, “I can see this team easily going 9-7, with the chance to do more.”  For me this was the biggest highlight of the day.  To have my friend honestly be optimistic and excited about this year after so many years of disappointment.  Wow!

Why is he so optimistic and excited?  The Raiders have a better than good team.  That team is coming together and gelling.  This will translate to hard fought games.  There is so much depth at key positions, and this will allow the Raiders to keep the fatigue of the 4th quarter at bay.  No more 4th quarter leads gone to the wayside.  Plus, the offense will score the necessary points to win and allow the defense to hold that lead.  It’s an outstanding team ready and poised to take the NFL by storm.  The New York Jets are the first team to face the Raider wrath.  Go Raiders!