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Raiders return to Wembley, once again desperate for a win

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Oakland Raiders v Miami Dolphins Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Hello from lovely London town. It’s great to be back. The business of covering the Raiders match-up is at hand, but really it is a good excuse to once again explore this amazing city. That’s a luxury I have. The Raiders on the other hand, have far more serious business on which to focus – getting a win.

The last time the Raiders traveled to London was 2014. Current high paid veteran starters Derek Carr and Gabe Jackson were rookies then. And they came to Wembley winless at 0-3 on the season. Carr was desperate for his first win as a pro quarterback.

He wouldn’t get that win. Carr would leave the game with an injury, replaced by Matt McGloin and the Raiders would lose to the Dolphins to fall to 0-4. Immediately after the game, third year head coach Dennis Allen would be fired, replaced by interim head coach Tony Sparano (RIP) and the team would go on to lose six more before Carr would get that coveted first victory.

Carr is now a fifth-year quarterback. He and the Raiders are back at Wembley today, preparing for their sixth game of the season and once again desperate to put a win on the board.

This time they aren’t winless, but they aren’t far off. They lost their first three games just as in 2014, then they pulled out a win in overtime against the Browns before failing in spectacular fashion to the Chargers in LA and now sit at 1-4. Derek Carr is feeling the pressure to put a winning product on the field.

“It means a lot. Just to have a win. Especially when you have a bye week. It’s always good to win on a bye week, make the corrections and then you feel the momentum of ‘hey, we won the last game, let’s take it over and carry it over to this one,” said Derek Carr.

“We know as a team we’re in a spot where we need to win. We need to win this game and our sole focus on the plane ride over, our sole focus all week is whatever it takes, let’s just win this game. Just like it is every week, but I think that heightened sense of urgency has been good for our young guys, it’s been good for our team.”

While Carr is approaching this with a sense of urgency, his veteran receiver is taking a page out of his former All Pro quarterback’s book, in saying R-E-L-A-X.

“I think if you’ve been in this league long enough you’re going to experience the ups and downs, the highs and lows,” said Jordy Nelson. “if it’s anything in the middle of the season going through a four game losing streak which I experienced a couple years ago, you know there’s no reason to panic, there’s no reason to change everything you’re doing, you got to trust in what you do and you got to stay true to what’s going on and you just got to work. And eventually it will turn. That’s what happened then, and I think that’s what will eventually happen here. You just got to continue on that grind, continue to put in the time and the effort and stay positive, stay focused and just keep it week by week.”

With all due respect to Jordy, that Packers team wasn’t going through a re-build. They had a rough patch and they had Aaron Rodgers. No offense to Derek Carr, but he ain’t ARod.

Jordy is right that panicking won’t help matters. But simply staying the course and expecing things will turn around is for proven teams. This squad is cobbled together and trying to find its identity. They’ve been in desperation mode for several weeks now. That continues Sunday at Wembley.