Nothing has come easy for the Raiders this season. In the long run, coach Hue Jackson says that might be a good thing.
Oakland lost starting quarterback Jason Campbell, has had to cope without top running back Darren McFadden and has seen its secondary and receiving groups thinned by injury. And, on top of that, the franchise experienced the loss of Raiders owner Al Davis.
And, in compiling a 7-4 record that puts them in first place in the AFC West, the Raiders haven’t really had an easy victory.
Steve Corkran of the Bay Area News Group notes that none of the Oakland victories has been by more than 10 points and the difference in those games is only 43 points combined.
Jackson – who’s always looking for the positive light anyway – says pulling out close win after close win may be a good thing in the big picture.
“It’s very important because as you go down the stretch here these games are going to be close, going to be tough,” he told Corkran. “We all wish we had those blowouts where you’re sitting in the fourth quarter smiling. But that’s not the way it is in the NFL.”
Going into today’s game in Florida against the Dolphins, the Raiders may again have an uphill battle.
Oakland could still be without running back Darren McFadden, receivers Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore and defensive end Jarvis Moss Sunday. All missed practice again Wednesday and their status is uncertain against Miami, which won three straight before a loss to the Cowboys on Thanksgiving.
Jackson says the Raiders’ success, even in the face of adversity, will be an advantage toward winning the division and succeeding perhaps beyond the regular season.
“Nothing is going to be given to us,” Jackson told Corkran. “We understand that. We know it’s going to be tough. This team kind of likes it that way. I don’t like it that way. They’re OK with it as long as it (leads to) wins and wins.”