One Postgame Take
But whether it's one or the other, it beats the way the last several seasons have left me feeling, which is numb and bored. The return of competent, competitive football to Oakland is something to be celebrated.
But while I might crack a beer, I'm not ready to pop champagne corks. There was a moment in Sunday's telecast where they cut to Al Davis, who seemed to be sitting apart from his other suite mates, clad in an oversized Raiders jacket. He was muttering to himself, and while I'm no lip reader, it sure didn't look like PG-rated language to me.
If he's pissed, then I sympathize. Do you think he enjoys being three wins short of the Chiefs, who were 2-14 just two seasons ago? I've been called impatient. Well, I guess I have good company.
It's hard for me to be angry with Jason Campbell for an offense that is simply too inconsistent through the air. It's not like he's throwing to an all-star cast. Also, he has performed precisely as he has performed in the past. Pretty good, but nothing too great. To paraphrase Denny Green, "He is who we thought he is."
Meanwhile, McFadden gets 11 carries on Sunday, compared to 42 throws by Campbell. Our coaching staff seems to have schizophrenia when it comes to our "identity."
Here are some quotes from a few weeks ago, after beating the Chargers:
Cable: "Getting back to our identity. Getting back to what we do best, and that's play hard on defense, battle them in the kicking game and run the football.
Reece: "The game plan was just be us," fullback Marcel Reece said after the Raiders ran for 251 yards and allowed only 21 yards rushing. "Just be us. We're a physical, resilient, bloody-nose team. We're back and we're here to stay."
Gallery: "We had to get back to who we are, and that's physical and smash-mouth. We're not going to win games throwing the ball 40 times."
Is that what you saw on Sunday? Neither did I.
Meanwhile, on defense, the same old problem has reared its ugly head: not stopping the run. We are currently ranked 29th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed.
At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if the Raiders are 10-6 next season, or 6-10. There are enough bright spots to be bullish, yet enough nagging issues to be bearish.
One thing for sure, this isn't the same old Raiders of recent years, and that alone puts a smile on my face.