Most coaches and players will say their number one goal is to win championships. Surely that is the Raiders' goal as well but Jack Del Rio has a slightly more modest goal, although one that is still ambitious considering the state of things: Win the division.
"I have a healthy respect for the division. I think it's a good division," Del Rio said Wednesday in his press conference at the Scouting Combine. "...our goal, number one, and everything that we're doing in our building is to win our division first. So, everything that we're about, every decision that we make is about ‘can that help us win our division'. I think once you accomplish that you can talk about other goals. But goal number one has to be that."
For a 3-13 team to win a division as strong as the AFC West would be quite an accomplishment. But even the strength of the division aside, the Raiders haven't won their division in 12 years. That's also the last time they were in the playoffs. So, it's pretty understandable that would be goal number one.
After all, once you get in the playoffs anything can happen, right?
Plenty of teams have come from being the division cellar to the top of the mountain. The most recent example happened in the AFC West two seasons ago when the Chiefs went from 2-14 to 11-5 in one season.
Most projections have the division stacking up similar to what it did last season with the Broncos winning it, the Chiefs and Chargers hanging around .500 and the Raiders looking at top draft options in November. And considering that is where they've been nearly every season in the past 12 years, the odds are typically pretty good.
So, yeah, let's start with the win the division goal because that would be incredibly impressive.