Raiders Evolution: How Oakland Began to Change

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Oakland Raiders

By the time the Oakland Raiders completed their sixth game last year, the team was 1-5. The team had lost a few scrappy games and had outright blown a couple of them. Fan morale was certainly low, and rightfully so. After the embarrassing 27-3 loss to the Seahawks in London, the general outlook for the team was trending towards tanking.

Awful

As the season progressed, the criticisms continued as well. The Raiders had traded away one of the best defensive ends in football and had lost their two star receivers, Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper.

All the pieces were in place to set this team up to tank, but Derek Carr said he intended to “mess up” the draft order in the second half of the season. The Raiders would do exactly that and would improve their record to 4-12 by the end of the season. This whole situation left fans confused. It showed that the Raiders weren’t the worst team in the NFL, but isn’t the point of tanking to be the worst? Sure, winning is fun, but situationally, the Raiders probably should have been eyeing the first pick in the NFL Draft.

Slow Revival

Since that abysmal season, the Raiders have certainly turned things around. The team won three times as many games that they had at this point last season. However, there are still steps to be made and, fortunately, the fans know this.

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It is quite clear, especially after the blowout loss to the Packers, that adjustments need to be made. But it is also clear that this is a very mentally tough team. The team dials in and more intense in close games, but needs work mentally when it comes to big losses.

Perception

Whether it comes from various articles, Reddit, or the general NFL media, there is a different kind of buzz around this team now. The Raiders certainly are no longer overlooked on opponents’ schedules, and they are getting tagged as “dangerous” and “frisky.”

Following a general team dismantling and a quick tank-and-turn (tanking for one year just to get things on track), a 3-3 record with a dangerous tag should not be overlooked. The Raiders possess the toughest schedule in the NFL in 2019, and this team has answered as well as anyone has expected.

Optimism

The Raiders survived the toughest part of their schedule, they have done better than expected. After the game against the Packers, the Oakland Raiders will face only two teams with above-.500 records (Texans, Chiefs). Not to mention, the AFC West is still very much open.

The Raiders have shown more resilience than fans give them credit for, and this loss to the Packers will not be the straw to break backs, expect Oakland to come out firing next week against the Texans.

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