So the Raider rollercoaster reaches the bottom again. It has been up and down all season. Going from one end of the spectrum to the other from week to week. The Raiders are the NFL equivelant of bipolar disorder. One week they are on the crest and the next week they are in the trough.
It's like a soap opera around this team lately. Now let's join today's episode of "As the Raiders turn" or "Weeks of our lives" or "The Young and the Well-paid". Where Richard Seymour speaks to USA Today and has this to say about the Raiders:
"I don't think we could've beat an Oakland high school team today."
This is on the heals of his comments last week in which Seymour appeared on Sirius sattelite radio station 1530 Homer and was asked if they Raiders would make the playoffs to which he said yes.
"You can mark it down," Seymour told the station. "The Raiders will be in the playoffs in 2009."
He was baited into the question but his response was that of confidence. A statement he thought might motivate his team to play at a level he thought they were capable of.
Where he would get that idea is anyone's guess. Just a week before, after a horrendous top-to-bottom dismantling at the hands of the Giants (44-7), Giants defensive end Antonio Pierce said that playing the Raiders was like a "scrimmage". Pierce went on to say that there was "no vibe" on the team. This feeling was echoed by Richard Seymour's linemate, Greg Ellis who had this to say about the Raiders:
"The mood we're going to be in or should be in, right now we're kind of the laughingstock of the NFL, this isn't anything new. Teams have been that way before. New England wasn't always winning Super Bowls and Dallas wasn't always the team they are. So, it goes in cycles. When you're in that down cycle, you got to fight and claw to get back out of it and that's what we're doing here right now in Oakland."
After the harsh criticism the Raiders received from Pierce and their own teammate Greg Ellis, something seemed to awaken in them that hadn't been there since...well since the opening game against the Chargers. Which just so happens to be the last time the rest of the NFL was completely counting the Raiders out and looking at them as a "laughing stock".
I said it last week that overconfidence was the bane of this Raiders team. A sentiment that Warren Sapp had expressed in the early part of the season when he said the Raiders season was already over. That was back when the Raiders were suddenly feeling a little good about themselves. Which was just before they went on a three game losing streak of historicly epic proportions.
So it seems that Seymour, in his vast knowledge of what it takes to be a winner, is in the media again to try and make up for his gaff last week when he injected a lethal dose of confidence into this defense. He realizes now that this team thrives on criticism. Him saying that the Raiders couldn't beat an "Oakland high school team", while making the Oakland high school football players feel pretty good, is designed to challenge his teammates that were just ran right out of the colliseum by the Jets last week.
Not only that but his words don't seem like that much of an exaggeration at the moment. Now let's see how they respond against the Chargers.