A true measure of a team is not how they react when they win, but how they respond from a resounding defeat; this rings deafeningly true for the Oakland Raiders.
The team’s mettle was never intended to be revealed until it languished through a despondent defeat. That came at the hands of the Washington Redskins last Sunday.
The Raiders’ resolve will be on full display when Jack Del Rio’s Raiders march into Mile High this Sunday against an AFC West rival, the Denver Broncos.
Truth be told, I forecast Oakland at 2-1 heading into this pivotal tilt before the season began. I predicted the Raiders would not only right the course, but do it emphatically.
Will the Raiders rise to the occasion with a resounding victory? Alternatively, will they go off meekly into Week 5 fresh off another loss?
Here’s four Raiders who need to rebound for the team to get back in the win column:
(Hold it: The offensive line is the de facto numero uno and needs to return to its mean and nasty roots, so I purposely left them off).
- Derek Carr: No. 4 was an abysmal 19 of 31 for 118 yards, two interceptions, and one touchdown. Oakland will need its quick-strike aerial attack to be on point against a stout Denver pass rush and secondary. Carr needs to be sharp to ensure the Broncos don’t sell out to stop the run. The Raiders will only go as far as DC (and the O-line) takes them.
- Amari Cooper: No. 89 had one grab for six yards. Against the Jets a week prior, he had four catches for 33 yards. That’s not good enough. A dynamic playmaker, Coop also has been bitten by the dropsies. He’s too talented not to light up DBs on a weekly basis. In fact, he’s got the skills to make even the Broncos’ accomplished corners look mediocre.
- David Amerson: No. 29 was victimized on a 52-yard TD bomb. It was a true flap as Amerson was in excellent coverage and position to nab an interception. Instead, he was complacent, didn’t leap and high point the ball and looked utterly helpless. The Raiders are in dire need of Swag Amerson, the ultra-confident shadow corner before inking a fat long-term deal.
- Bruce Irvin: No. 51 has been an afterthought pass rusher. He did rack up six tackles this past Sunday but has zero sacks through three games. That must change. Broncos QB Trevor Siemian was taken down four times by the Buffalo Bills and Irvin must be part of a ferocious Raiders pass rush that replicates that.
Gareon Conley. The talented rookie is going to have his rough spots and last Sunday’s game was one of them. But he’s got all the requisite tools to be a sound cover corner.
Sean Smith. I put the veteran corner way down here because his snaps last Sunday can be counted on one hand. He failed in his role of covering the tight end.
Michael Crabtree. Like Coop, King Crab was cracked by the Redskins secondary (both in coverage and by a hit).