The Oakland Raiders didn’t win a Super Bowl this season but they earned the respect of the NFL. That may not count for too much as their goal entering the season was a title but they took their first step towards being labeled a contender.
They did make the playoffs but injuries at the wrong time and to the wrong players put them in a bit of a hole. Without MVP candidate Derek Carr the Raiders were doomed but were they supposed to forfeit the game? No, this is still the mighty Raiders and they left it all on the field this past Saturday against the Houston Texans.
While the loss will sting the entire offseason for players and fans, we must look on the bright side and say “if only”. If only Carr was healthy then the Raiders would be getting ready for another game next weekend but it wasn’t in the cards for them. But, to hear fans say that the season was a waste makes my heart hurt.
Here is why Raiders fans should not hang their heads.
The Raiders have a legit MVP player in QB Carr. Before his injury, Carr threw for 3937 yards, 28 touchdowns, six interceptions with a completion percentage of 64%. When was the last Raider QB to come close to those type of numbers? To make it look even better, Carr is only in his third season? WR Amari Cooper in his second season in the league caught 83 passes for 1153 yards and five touchdowns as he has emerged as an elite receiver. Michael Crabtree who was thought of as being left for dead after he left the San Francisco 49ers has been nothing short of reliable for the Raiders after finishing the season with 89 catches for 1003 and eight touchdowns. Latavius Murray has provided the Raiders with a legit threat out the backfield and with these four players the Raiders will have a top flight offense for the foreseeable future.
The defense is young and will continue to improve. There were a lot of blown assignments this season but let’s see how they tackle free agency and the draft in 2017. If the Raiders can find a cheap pass rusher and run stuffer, that will take pressure off Khalil Mack and the young secondary. The defense was the achilles heel this season but this was more of a lesson learned outing for a team many over-looked.
Their playoffs ended on a sour note but the season was anything but. The Raiders proved to the rest of the league they could contend with the likes of the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos and if not for a freak injury there’s no telling how far they could have gone.
There’s no need for the Raiders or fans to hang their heads. They did what no one thought they could do. They took years of pent-up frustration and set the foundation for a promising future.[Mark3]