There were already signs that this group was going to be different from the Raiders squad that withered in the second half of last season. Quarterback Derek Carr has openly praised the roster’s chemistry and camaraderie. A series of offseason moves gave the locker room more leadership, in the form of accomplished veterans like linebacker KJ Wright, cornerback Casey Hayward and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. These elements were meant to help the Raiders overcome adversity, and that’s exactly what this team is ready to do.
Yes, Las Vegas won a massive AFC West game against Denver to go 4-2 on Sunday. The Raiders have also just told the world that wins aren’t the only way to define this current squad. “We still have our guys room, our leaders,” Carr told reporters after the Broncos game. “More than ever we had to rise up and be a voice… There will be a time to deal with the emotions of it all, but now is not the time. If anything, (the controversy) has brought us closer together. “
Acting head coach / special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia deserves credit for his focus in the midst of a tumultuous week. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson rekindled a struggling attack and reminded people how explosive the Raiders had been earlier in the year, when they opened the season with three straight wins. The common refrain among this group was that training and playing the game provided comfort, a real sense of normalcy. Football is a game built on strong emotions, and the Raiders have skillfully channeled theirs.
The critical aspect of Sunday’s win is that it keeps the Raiders right in the middle of the AFC West race. At 4-2, they’re currently tied for first place with the Los Angeles Chargers, with the Kansas City Chiefs one game behind. The next three weeks will give Las Vegas even more time to stabilize for the second half of the season. They’ll see the Eagles and Giants – two teams that have combined for three wins so far – with a bye sandwiched between the two.
This kind of promising situation can be as inspiring as what this team has just experienced. “Sure, it’s touching for everyone, isn’t it? Said Bisaccia. “So I think they did a good job as a group of adult men managing their emotions throughout the week, putting them in perspective when it was time to go play the game. work for all of us, and again they seem to be doing a really good job with that. We’ll see what happens from here. We’ll see the consistency we can have going on. I think that will be the challenge. for all of us. “
The Raiders learned how intimidating it can be to maintain such success last season. Before Gruden left, he spoke openly about the lessons learned from his many close and heart-wrenching losses with a playoff spot on the line. He has now left his post in that franchise, becoming an outcast who is likely to hope forgiveness will find him. one day. But the men he trained still fight and win, showing us that they didn’t need him as much as we once thought.