With the help of quarterback Derek Carr and head coach Jack Del Rio, the Oakland Raiders are off to a 7-2 start this season. The team has already matched their win total from the previous season, as the team heads into their bye week with seven more games remaining.
The team has had a culture change of sorts this season, with some teammates even noticing something special in the making.
Del Rio and the Raiders are 5-0 on the road, a mark they haven’t reached since the 1977 season. After losing two of their first three games at the Oakland Coliseum, the Raiders responded with a 30-20 victory over the Denver Broncos for sole possession of first place in the AFC West.
In a recent media session, Carr gave credit to coach Del Rio for the implementing a different mindset and culture change to this team, via Kyle Martin of Raiders.com:
“We haven’t done that yet, but this is the process that it takes to get there. [Head] Coach [Jack] Del Rio has done a great job of giving us a vision and a format of how that looks because he’s been there. He’s done those things. It takes a little bit of both. It’s us making it up in our mind, obviously, as players, but it takes a vision and a plan laid out by our leader. I think it’s just a perfect mesh of both.”
Heading into their bye week, Del Rio stated the team is growing to expect success, coming off of a primetime victory on Sunday Night Football.
The Raiders had the Broncos on their heels throughout the game, as offensive lineman Donald Penn said the team ran the same play 10 consecutive times.
Bill Musgrave and the offense have Carr off to a phenomenal start this season, throwing for 17 touchdowns and only allowing three interceptions. The motivation for the team sits solely on the roster and their efforts to win, with rumors floating around about a possible relocation for the franchise.
Carr stated that there is one common goal amongst the team, with the success achieved this season just a stepping-stone to the ultimate goal they need to prepare for:
“We kept our heads down, and we knew that there was an end goal in mind. Obviously, we’re not there yet, so we have a long way to go. To see that it’s working, to see how last year went, hey, we got better. It’s not what we wanted, but it’s better. Now to match our win total already, we see that the process is working. Honestly, just makes us bear down more, grit down more, just trying to achieve those things that we have set out.”
Del Rio recently stated that the team is embracing the “just win, baby” attitude that former owner Al Davis would be proud of.
Going into the bye week, Carr and Del Rio aren’t letting the success get to their heads. Del Rio wants the team to take a look at the recent negatives, which can be easily fixed with some application.
The team ends the season with three divisional contests on the road, plus another pivotal matchup at home against the Indianapolis Colts.