Before we go from the euphoria of the overtime win at home to Kansas City two weeks ago to the dismay of Sunday’s blowout loss at Pittsburgh, keep in mind that this Raider team is an average team. Meaning, you win some, you lose some. In the AFC West, that may be enough to win a division, but let’s not get any delusions of grandeur: this is not a Super Bowl team. This is, more than likely, an 8-8 team.
I could be wrong. They could go in the tank, not rebound from this poor drubbing, and finish at 6-10, extending their NFL record of seasons with at least double-digit losses to eight.
I could be wrong the other way as well. They could put together another winning streak and finish at 10-6. Tom Cable could get the team to, once again, put on a miserable performance like the one against the Steelers behind them. Like the 49ers game a month ago, the Raiders looked lost and ready to throw in the towel on the 2010 season. Instead, they put together two dominating performances against Denver and Seattle, before the OT win against the Chiefs propelled them into a tie for the division lead.
More than likely, though, they’ll finish somewhere in between, and at this point that looks like 8-8—which, by definition, in the NFL, is average. That’s because, among other things, they still can’t get consistent play from the quarterback position, whether that be Jason Campbell or Bruce Gradkowski. Both, at times, can look like a bona fide #1 QB in the NFL. At other times, it appears as if they’ve never played the position past high school. Somewhere in between would be nice. Somewhere in between exceptional and poor play. Somewhere in between, which would be average.
Raider fans should be jumping for joy at being average. When you’ve been as bad as they’ve been the past seven seasons, average is the first step towards being good. And from good you take that next step to great. It’s a natural progression.
Am I saying it’s time to write off this season? Of course not. The Raiders have a very winnable game on Sunday vs. the Dolphins, and from there, who knows how the season will play out?
It’s just that before we can get back to a Commitment to Excellence, let’s admit to being average. For now, there’s nothing wrong with that.