A new era will begin today as the Raiders get set to take the field against the rival Broncos. The familiar scowl of Jon Gruden on the Raider sideline will be absent for the first time in years as the recently maligned coach "resigned" earlier this week.
Rich Bisaccia, a long time Gruden Assistant, will take the reigns of a Raiders team who's season looked promising through the first 3 weeks of this still young season. But 2 consecutive loses and a rather messy HC departure has threatened to derail it. Today's game agains the Broncos should give us an idea of just how catastrophic the derailment will be.
Going to a division rival's home field, with a new coach at the helm and a 2 game losing streak, is not the ideal situation for a team. How the team plays today will undoubtedly give Raider fans a sense of what to expect moving forward. There are two potential outcomes: the team plays hard, or they don't.
As a Raider fan, I wouldn't come into this game judging the success of this team based on a win or loss. Instead, you should rely heavily on how the players respond to Bisaccia and the whirlwind that was this past week. Will play calling look the same? Will there be maximum effort from everyone?
One rather important factor that has not been wholly discussed in the media, is the impact of current Gruden supporters and non-supporters on this team. We have heard several statements from Raider players and while they have given some clarity to personal and professional beliefs on the situation, it is a sensitive subject that could impact individuals in a variety of ways.
Leadership will be critical in this juncture of the season for the Raiders. Particularly in this game against the Broncos. The passion and relentlessness of play will give us some insight as to whether this team has any chance of success moving forward. Something as trivial as play calling will give some semblance into what to expect from this team. "Gruden ball" will show that this team has given up in my opinion. Will Bisaccia, a long time Gruden confidant, continue to implement Gruden's vision? Or will he attempt to breathe some life into a now stale offense? Will these players even want to play for a long time Gruden assistant and friend?
These questions will be answered by the end of the day.