When was the last time the head coach of the Oakland Raiders preached the importance of rivalry week? Any answers? Lane Kiffin? Nope. Rivalry was just another game. Art Shell? Perhaps. But seeing as how the team never flew around on the field, I doubt he got the message across. Norv “I know how to destroy teams” Turner? He was too busy having a man crush and holding the hands of Kerry Collins. Bill Callahan? Nope. He would rather state how dumb his team play (anyone remember his famous line about the Raiders being the dumbest team in America). Jon Gruden is the correct answer.
So what does this means? That during the course of this black abyss of seasonal depression the importance of beating divisional opponents has been lost in the shuffle. Divisional games and stomping on teams that we hate– Chiefs, Broncos and the Chargers (all foes from the AFL) has not been preached to the Raider players. And fans ponder why we haven’t been winning (yeah, drafting and signing free agent bust is another story for a different day).
I am not saying that every other game is not important. Believe me… every game means something. However, based upon from where I sit, winning in your divisional is bittersweet – some team’s seasons become failures off the bat because they are unable to beat their nemesis. It is exciting to hear a head coach preach the importance of beating a rivalry – and we saw this with the play of the Raiders last Sunday. We finally saw a defense which was willing to put a hard hat on somebody; a special teams which was lethal; and a offense which showed no love for the Broncos.
Furthermore, I will make this prediction: if we are able to beat Kansas City and San Diego, we need to bring Cable back as head coach. Beating these two teams would mean the following:
We would be 4-2 in the AFC West for the first team since 2002. Moreover, the Raiders will have 5 wins for the first time since 2004 (4 of the wins by Cable who was handed a mess midway through the season. Thank you TWO-FACE KIFFIN.) And, in addition to these things, Cable is a fiery guy on the sideline, much better than the stoic Art Shell, or the standing man mannequin in Norv Turner. You can see the emotion that he brings.
In closing, we would be able to build around Cable . Additionally, players would have a believe system for the man and what he is preaching. Still, assuming this does happen, we would need to add much needed talent at OL, DL, LB, WR and depth at Safety.
Have a great Turkey Day.