Hope Springs From Loss
Chargers 24 - Raiders 20
"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope."
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Last night's result was a rare 'daily double'. When the scoreboard hit 00:00, 2 feelings washed over me which are usually mutually exclusive. The combination was my heart sinking yet being filled with hope at the same time.
It is easy to figure out why it was a tough loss to swallow. In spite of the questionable call overturning Murphy's TD at the end of the 1st half, the Raiders put themselves in a position to close out the game. The Chargers were backed up on their 11 yard line, down by 3 with 2:11 to play.
For inexplicable reasons, DC Marshall had the LBs play a soft umbrella coverage 10 yards off the line of scrimmage. This was an error in tactics that needs to be corrected going forward. Play to win. Don't play to "prevent" a loss.
DC Marshall deserves praise for getting the Raiders to play "Lights Out" (Sorry Merriman) D for 57:49. What impressed me the most about the Raiders defense was the energy, aggression, and fundamentals throughout most of this hard fought contest.
Of course, the addition of Seymour paid off immediately. He made a HUGE contribution and impact. Seymour had 2 game altering sacks and showed his versatility by playing all 4 positions on the DLine.
This versatility will give opponents nightmares as they try to locate and adjust to Seymour. It was crystal clear that Seymour has the abilities to lead and inspire his teammates to new heights. I had VERY high expectations for Seymour making a noticeable, tangible difference in our run defense. The fact that he garners so much attention from the opponent's OLine by being constantly double teamed has allowed his teammates a better opportunity to make a play.
Holding the Chargers to 77 net yards rushing is 1 sign that Seymour is a game changer. The other aspect of the game last night that really stood out was the Raiders ability to collapse the pocket. Throughout the game, the Raiders base 4 was able to put pressure on QB Rivers. Adding a blitzer is the next step in the D being less predictable and more dynamic. By Rivers count, the Raiders only blitzed twice the entire game.
Another aspect to the game that gives me hope is how Russell responded late in the game. By all accounts, Russell had a rough night both physically and from an accuracy standpoint. He was simply missing wide open receivers. However, he showed his poise and focus when the stakes were the highest. Facing a 4th and 15 with the game on the line while overcoming a hyper-extended knee, Russell connected with Murphy for a 57 TD pass. I was proud of how Russell responded to adversity. I am confident that he will develop better timing with his 1st year receivers. Murphy is well on his way to establishing a chemistry with Russell.
CJ's Bottom Line:
Last night the Raiders displayed the type of competitive spirit, effort, and aggression that can't be quantified but fills my heart with pride. It is odd to say it but hope can spring from loss.
"Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything."
-- Napoleon Hill