What a difference a win makes for the morale of a football team. The Raiders, fresh off their 16-13 overtime win against the Jets, not only find themselves within shouting distance of the top spot in the AFC West -- it's true -- but the coaching staff is actually getting along. Crazy. I know.
Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan, alwaysat odds with former coach Lane Kiffin, called the new boss, Tom Cable, "a breath of fresh air" this week, and went on explain why he was sick and tired of having his defense blamed for everything that went wrong in Oakland. From David White of the San Francisco Chronicle:
To the point, Ryan thought Kiffin was too quick to blame the defense for the failures of his 5-15 stay. "To be honest, I felt a lot of stuff was pointed at the defense that I wasn't necessarily agreeing with. It's been well-documented, we lost six games giving up one offensive touchdown last season and it seemed like every single game was the defense's fault. "Attribute that to whatever it is. Bottom line is, I think we've got a damned good leader in front of the group now and everything's fine."
Excellent. It's important to have such a strong leader when you're playing in the National F(reaking) Football League, and it's great to see some sort of unity on the Raiders coaching staff.
Better yet, it's important to keep in mind that the Raiders are still only a game-and-a-half back of the AFC West leading Broncos,who suddenly don't look as strong as they did a few weeks ago. As crazy and dysfunctional as this season has been out there, the Raiders are still, technically, very much in this thing. Imagine if they could have held onto those fourth quarter leads against Buffalo and San Diego.