Aug 8, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; An Oakland Raiders helmet against the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Raiders 10-6. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Raider Nation has had their strong opinions heard throughout the week after a lackluster performance in week 1 of the Preseason. In many cases, some are calling for a QB controversy, or they are dismissing this team all together. We in the Raider Nation have always been the teams, coaches, and organizations biggest critics. Yet we are their biggest fans!
This is an Oakland Raiders team who just got together in June. It’s a team who has been totally revamped offensively and defensively. If you look at the actual time they have spent on the field together, it may equal somewhere around 2 months. That’s not much time. Chemistry takes time to unfold and bear fruit.
This week, the Raiders are in Oxnard, CA, to scrimmage with the Dallas Cowboys for two days. These will be live scrimmages, and the intensity of practice will be taken up a notch from Napa, CA. Why? Well, both these teams have been practicing against the same players for the past two weeks, and it will be refreshing to go against another team. That refreshing feeling will kick the adrenaline into high gear. Game speed will be in full affect, and we all know that some players play better in true game time situations.
The Raiders will be tested this week. With the two live scrimmages against the Cowboys and then a Preseason game on Friday against the Detroit Lions, their resolve and conditioning will be tested. Though, I believe this is exactly what the “Doctor ordered.” This team needs to gel together and build that necessary confidence. Facing two teams within days of one another will do just that.
The defensive and offensive lines of the Dallas Cowboys are tough, and the same can be said about the Detroit Lions OL and DL. Running unscripted plays against two opposing teams will generate that necessary gear to find the flow. This is the week that Raider Nation will see growth in the Oakland Raiders. This week will be a better barometer as to how the team will play in 2014. This will also be the week that we see how well conditioned this team is or isn’t.
Then, when week #3 against the Green Bay Packers comes, in Green Bay, that’s when Raider Nation will see the Raiders of 2014. For this week will be a true game planning week against a formidable opponent. The way the team gels, the way the offense moves the ball, the way the defense handles the passing game, and so on so forth. This is the week in which I will base my primary opinion of the team progressing into 2014. Then, I will reserve myself until week 1 of the regular season against the New York Jets.
In the end, these two games will shed the most light on what Raider Nation is to expect from the Oakland Raiders. So just chill and enjoy the Silver and Black on the field. Watch the new additions that are hopeful candidates for the 53-man roster, and know that the best team will be on the field to face the New York Jets in September. Go Raiders!