Oakland Raiders Need To Beat Just One Opponent: Themselves

Following anemic losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins, the perceived wisdom of many was that the 2010 Oakland Raiders had been tried and found wanting. Yes, they may have picked up some wins against divisional rivals in the AFC West, and yes, they may have some good players. But put a decent opponent in front of the Raiders, and they just are not ready enough to challenge.

This type of analysis flies in the face of reality, and to believe this is to completely misunderstand the complex nature of Tom Cable’s Raiders.

On January 25, 2003, Barret Robbins left the Oakland Raiders’ hotel on the eve of the Super Bowl and began his sorry tale of struggle to find his identity. It has been a tragedy on many levels. Here was an aggressive, All-Pro center that had anchored the Raiders all season and had become the dominant player at his position, but he fell victim to bipolar disorder, depression and substance abuse.

But Robbins was a complex character who had become overwhelmed by insecurity. He was wracked with doubt and felt unable to compete. Since that day, his life story has been a sad tale as he has sought to find his true identity.

The story of Oakland Raiders has in many ways mirrored this sorry tale. For some of the time, they feel insecure and lost, unsure of who they are and not confident enough to compete in the NFL. Whilst at other times, they are able to play at a dominant level and destroy opponents.

So just who are the Raiders and when will we know their true identity?

Tom Cable firmly believes the true Raiders are the team that destroyed San Diego on Sunday. He described the match as “getting back to our identity." It is not clear to those outside of the organization if this is their true self, and if it is, where they have been hiding these past three weeks. Marcel Reece seems unconcerned, saying that it "don't matter" and adding "we found them and that'...

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