I, as a long-time Colts fan, am accustomed to underachieving teams – and their fans – proclaiming that they’re playoff-quality. You hear the recurring theme all the time in Tampa, San Francisco and other NFL cities.
But very recently, a NFL head coach has joined the fray: he has said that his team is playoff material. Who might this coach and the team in question be? None other than Tom Cable and his Oakland Raiders.
According to the National Football Post, Cable this week told the media this about his team:
“I actually believe that’s where we are headed, there’s no doubt.”
“When I look at us as a football team, our biggest opponent is us. That’s our goal right now, that’s our purpose, to take care of us. How we handle things, from penalties to discipline to tackling to finishing to being on times, will write the script for what we are this year. Thirty-two of us are similar right now. We feel good about ourselves right now.
“We all like what we have, we are all relatively healthy, more some than others, we all feel good about our draft, and our offseason. But the reality it’s how you are in the locker room and on the practice field that really dictates who those twelve teams will be and who is willing to eliminate distractions and really work for each other for a real purpose. If you’re purpose-driven you have a good chance at the end, and if you’re not, you’re just like the other 20 teams that don’t go anywhere.”
To be honest, Cable could be correct in his assertation. And the Raiders have done some good things this offseason, including getting Jason Campbell as their starting quarterback, having Hue Jackson as their offensive coordinator and drafting linebacker Rolando McClain in the first round.
But being the pessimistic soul that I am, I tend to believe that despite the changes in Oakland, I do not see the Raiders visiting the playoffs this year (even with a weak AFC West). Maybe that could change as early as the 2011-12 season. But 2010? Forget about it.