This Team Can Win Even If It Loses

A newborn is like a clean slate. It is a world of limitless possibilities and potential of expectations and hope. A blank canvas, that has not been tainted by the funk of disappointment, failure or letdowns.

The 2010 season is our newborn. Every season has its infancy, but most seasons carry with them a certain amount of carryover from the previous year.

This Raider season is different. This season has that softer than soft posterior and new car smell.

This season features lots of new and handsome faces, the lack of chubby, old ugly ones and a shiny new collective personality.

All of this positive change makes it hard not to attach lofty expectations onto this team. It is easy to see the vast improvements and then expect wins to follow. I am trying to avoid these kinds of expectations. Instead I want to focus on the growth of a young team.

This is, after all, a team with a new offensive system, a new QB, an entirely new LB corp--which features a converted DE and a rookie middle linebacker--a new Center that, when he last played a real game was a Tackle in Division II, a team that has the youngest starting WR's in the league and features seven rookies on the roster and another on the practice squad. 

This is a team attempting to change a pattern of futility that has become a way of life. A team that hasn't had back-to-back wins in over two years.  A team that was so riddled with cancer last year that, at times, completely stopped trying.

This is why my expectations and hopes are not rooted in the record, they will be measured in the distance this team places on the past. I want to see growth.

Here are my expectations:

I expect to see

  • A team that brings it's best effort every week. A team that never again inspires these kinds of quotes from their opponents:

    There was no vibe of trying or effort from the Raiders at all from a defensive standpoint against their offense. We're getting three-and-outs. You don't hear nobody (saying), 'Hey, let's go!' trying to pick the guys up, rallying them, getting guys fired up. There was nothing. It was quiet. A guy gets sacked or somebody gets beat, they just get up. It's not like there's yelling or no kind of (emotion) about the way they were playing.

    I do not like knocking teams. But right now, they're struggling. We're playing that game the other day and, honestly, it felt like a scrimmage, like a practice. It felt like we were going against our offense (in a controlled setting) as far as the tempo. It was shocking to be out there in that game and get that kind of feeling.--Antonio Pierce 

  • Defensive improvement in awareness and discipline. I imagine there will be some rough spots. Some residue of yard hemorrhaging, but as the year goes, I want an opponents big play to become more of an oddity that a regularity. 
  • A defense, by the end of the year, that is a legitimate NFL run defense.
  • The rookies progressing. Most importantly, I want to know by the end of the year that Rolando McClain is going to be the answer at MLB for years to come.
  • Veldheer to improve every game. I want to see flashes of him being physically dominant, while learining the tricks of the trade. I want to see a ripple effect on the whole line as Veldheer's play improves.
  • DHB to show he is a legit NFL WR. I want the rate of growth, that he has shown this off-season, to continue in the season. I want to see that he can make a mistake and bounce back and by the end of the year, I want to know that he is a threat.
  • A team that at the end of the year, no team in the NFL looks forward to playing. I want the Raiders to form an identity of a hard hitting defensive team that you may be able to knock over but never out.
  • I expect this team's kickers to stop sucking! (Just seeing if you are still paying attention.)
  • Most importantly, I expect to see a team that is better at the end of the year than it is at the start. A team that makes all the Raiders jokes a thing of the past. A team that shuts up that fat-ass Warren Sapp and has people calling in to tell him to eat shit about all his anti Al Davis quotes. Actually, I want to be one of those people that calls in to tell him to eat shit. 

These are my expectations for our newborn. I have thousands of hopes and an improved record is among them, but I am not going to expect it.

If this team meets these all of these expectations, I will consider this season a raging success no matter what the record is. It will then be the '11 season (if there is one) that I will begin to put expectations on the record.

After all, this is the squad that is trying to resurrect a dead franchise.

The dead are newborn awakening

with ravaged limbs and wet souls--Jim Morrison

A touch dramatic, perhaps, but I love that quote.

So Nation, those are my expectations for this team. What are yours?

*If amazing music performed flawlessly live is your thing, click the newborn link.

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