“We want more,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said at his final press conference of the season. “As an organization, our goals are higher. So, that’s not going to change.”
Del Rio continued to talk about his teams’ good accomplishments. The fact that the team won 12 games, six-games in a row, and made the playoffs.
However, the Raiders leader is right. This team should not be satisified. They were a broken leg to Derek Carr away from at least playing in the divisional round of the playoffs.
So when we look back at the 2016 season, there are no moral victories.
It doesn’t matter that the team averaged more points per game than they have in a decade. It doesn’t matter that Derek Carr was an MVP candidate and his offensive line gave up the least amount of sacks. It doesn’t matter that Marquette King led the league in punts of more than 50 yards, or that the team lead the league in turnover differntial.
All that matters is that this team got bounced in the first round. All that matters is that this team lost a tie for the AFC West due to head to head losses via the Kansas City Chiefs.
Sure, the Raiders have a lot to be proud of. However, they also have a lot to improve. The 2016 season was merely a series of lessons to learn from.
Carr said it himself. The whole team has to work to be better next year. That is the only way they can take the next step as a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
If the Wild Card loss to the Texans showed us anything, it proved how valuable a single playoff experience can be to a team. Last season, Houston got spanked by Kansas City in the same round.
Hence, Oakland will benefit from their own whooping on ESPN.
Therefore, I don’t want to hear about brightsides or silver linings. The Raiders are building a winning culture and they can not be satisified with moral victories or advanced statistics.
What is tangible is that the Raiders will be sitting at home next week. They need to remember that and come back for more next season.
Forget, the moral lessons and sports cliches. Oakland must move forward and prepare to win more next season.
Further, it is time for us to expect more from our Raiders. It is time for the Raiders to expect more from themselves.
Only winning matters. No moral victories.