The last game of the regular season is upon us, as the Oakland Raiders hit the road to take on the San Diego Chargers this Sunday afternoon.
What was to be a season of promise (mostly by Raider Nation standards), turned out to be a year of disappointment and rebuilding for the Silver and Black. I’m sure the organization, and Raider Nation saw this year as a big gigantic step backwards after competing for the division title two years in row.
But what else can you expect from a team that has had so much turnover at the head coaching position over the last several years?
The much maligned late-great Al Davis was criticized for a lot of his decision making after the Raiders 2002-03 Super Bowl run (in which they loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers unfortunately), but before he passed away, he finally got it right with the head coaching position by hiring Hue Jackson. But that decision will never be remembered due to his passing away midway through last season.
Even though the Raiders did falter down the stretch last year, the consensus amongst Raider Nation was that Jackson had the right personality to turn this franchise around. But when there is turnover in the front office, there is usually a trickle down effect. That took shape in the form of firing Jackson and hiring Dennis Allen.
Allen has failed to motivate, and instill any sense of fight in this year’s Raiders squad. Am I the only one who still can not get a sense of who Allen is? I digress for now, but if the Raiders don’t have an incredible draft, and an off-season filled with much needed acquisitions, the Silver and Black could be in the same predicament next year.
Which brings me to today’s game against the Chargers. Besides salvaging a season split with San Diego, the real question becomes do you lose this game to gain a higher position in the upcoming draft?
Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer is out today due to injured ribs. Terrelle Pryor passes Matt Leinart on the quarterback depth chart to start in today’s game. And Allen expects to lean on running back Darren McFadden today, as if McFadden’s average of 3.3 yards per run (third lowest in the NFL) will really help out a wet behind the ears Pryor.
If you’re trying to evaluate talent at the end of the season, during ball games, chances are you’re not really trying to win those games, but I digress once again.
All this looking to the future talk sounds logical, but who is Allen trying to convince, the team, Raider Nation, or himself? I believe it to be the latter because the team and Raider Nation believed they had a quality enough product to win this season, but new schemes on both sides of the ball, and injuries put the Raiders behind the 8-ball from the jump.
Over the last two years, the Silver and Black came into the last week of the season with a somewhat legitimate chance to make it to the playoffs, but this year all they are playing for is a high draft position and future aspirations, much to the dismay of Raider Nation.
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Written by Arthur Kai