Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels remains level-headed despite all of the hoopla surrounding a possible playoff berth. At the same time, he’s fully cognizant of the impact this long season has on his record. Will the team’s head-scratching losses eventually come back to haunt him and his team?
Right now, the prevalent cooler talk is surrounding McDaniels’ squad. This spotlight is coming off the heels of arguably one of the craziest finishes in NFL history last Sunday. However, are these expectations realistic? Despite the Silver and Black’s up and down year, they’re certainly still a possibility. While speaking to the media this week, McDaniels was candid about all the playoff hype and the Raiders’ chances.
“I mean, the reality is that until they tell us there’s not, there is. Again, in order for us to maintain that positioning and that mindset, we have to do what we need to do ourselves this week to prepare and try to go to Pittsburgh and play a really good team on the road, and I’m sure in a great environment, and try to win one game.”
It’s truly one game at a time for the Raiders and Josh McDaniels
An NFL locker room isn’t immune to the news or social media. That’s true for the Raiders, just like any other squad. So far, they’re taking it one game at a time rather than getting ahead of themselves. McDaniels himself expressed self-restraint in terms of what these sudden expectations can do to you. For now, it’s onto Pittsburgh, and that’s it.
“We don’t have control over all that stuff three weeks from now. So, that’s best we can do, and I think our team understands that, is just focus on what we have control over, which is our own preparation. And so, we’ll try to keep it there. Like I said, we understand where we’re at, the ramifications of the long season, like everything eventually will have an impact, whether it happened in Week 2 or Week 13, or whenever. I mean, it will all eventually tell the tale of your season and then what happens, happens, but I think our team has had a great mindset now for a while of just trying to focus on the one thing that we can control, which is this week.”
Raiders fans have to be asking themselves what this year might’ve been had it not been for all of the blown leads. Clearly, the Raiders are still finding their true identity under McDaniels. This past Sunday, they came together and made some timely, clutch plays with a slight nod from the officiating crew. Even so, when you look at the quality of opponents that McDaniels lost to, it’s truly bewildering. Nonetheless, it doesn’t matter now; they need to win out, simply put.
*Top Photo: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports