The Raiders mystique has been evolving and changing for awhile now and it is starting to become hard to remember what it used to be. The days of Kenny Stabler and Cliff Branch are long gone, as are the days of Rich Gannon and Tim Brown. The rough and tumble, sock'em in the mouth attitude is leaving more and more everyday.
Though some of the things associated to the Raiders image like gang violence and straight thuggery are nice to see disappear, the style of play that they were always known for is missed. Will it ever be able to return now that Al Davis is gone and the way the game is played has changed so much?
I don't have an answer to that today, I can only hope that the on the field attitude of the golden years will return. It is fine with me to see Reggie McKenzie target players with solid character that are not out causing ruckus all over town but it is important for them to start causing disruption on the field like so many Raider greats were known for. There might not be a need for attitude off the field anymore, but there will always be a need for it on it.
Hue Jackson had the mantra of "building a bully" which was a poor choice of words but the overall goal of it was to reinforce the need to play aggressive football. The type of aggression that he was encouraging has been missing from the Raiders and from the NFL mostly in general for a long time and it is time to recapture some of that magic.
Not so coincidentally when you look at the two teams most people will agree were the best last year, you see the old school aggressive mentality shining through with them. Those teams were the eventual Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks and their divisional foe the San Francisco 49ers. Say what you will about the cockiness of several stars on both of those teams but there can be no doubt that they backed up their words with action on the field.
For the Raiders to get back to their rightful place at the top of the NFL they will need to find a way to reintroduce the aggression needed to play that way. We will see in the future what players are added via free agency and the draft but hopefully they will be players that carry with them the swagger and confidence needed to dominate in today's NFL.
Maybe it isn't possible to play like the Raiders of old did with the new rules across the league, but it is important for them to try anyway. This team is full of high character guys, but they need to learn how to play like the badasses that the Raiders were always known for. It is time to fight to recapture the Raiders mystique and when they do the wins will return with it.