“Confidence imparts a wonderful inspiration on its possessor.” — John Milton.
To play in the NFL you must have plenty of confidence. Laced with just enough doubt that if you don’t work harder than anyone, that confidence will not lead to anything.
There’s no question the Raiders defense is coming off a rough season. It was historically bad, in fact, and the pass defense was the main culprit.
Much of the blame seems to have fallen on the secondary for those issues, even though it was the non-existent pass rush that should probably shoulder the bulk of the blame.
Late last season former top pick Gareon Conley started to come into his own. Starting across from him was Daryl Worley who spent the first six games of the season suspended for an offseason DUI arrest while with the Eagles.
The kind of season they had overall lends little to be confident about, but the strong finish has Worley seeing he and Conley as taking big leaps this season. The two have been living together and everything and Worley thinks that will make them better teammates on the field. I asked him if he thinks he and Conley have the ability to be mentioned among some of the legendary Raiders duos. His answer “Yes, definitely.”
“That’s something Coach Gruden has been emphasizing to us this year,” Worley continued. “We are at that point in our careers where it’s the prime and for our team to thrive we feel as if we have to be playing at the highest clip as well.”
Any self-respecting Raiders fan knows that’s setting a high bar. The Raiders have perhaps the richest history of great cornerback play in the league.
The first legendary duo was Kent McCloughan and Dave Grayson in the late 60s. They passed the torch to Willie Brown and Skip Thomas in the 70s, leading to the Raiders’ first Super Bowl win. That iconic secondary was followed by perhaps the best Raiders duo of all time — Lester Hayes and Mike Haynes in the 80s, leading to two more Super Bowl wins. Then it was Lionel Washington and Terry McDaniel in the 90s, Charles Woodson and Eric Allen/Tory James in the late 90s and early 2000s and Nnamdi Asomugha and Stanford Routt in the late 2000s.
Conley and Worley are being entrusted with the two starting jobs in Oakland this season. If it works out, Worley could receive a long term deal and they could be a pair for many years to come. If not, second round rookie Trayvon Mullen will have to be the next to take a crack at it.