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Horse Tracks: Raiders fans staking 2018 success on the backs of the Denver Broncos

Nobody wants to start the season 0-2, especially if you’re the Oakland Raiders.

Oakland Raiders Introduce Jon Gruden Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Now that the 2018 NFL schedule has been out for a few days and everyone has had some time to digest, let’s take a look at how one of our closest AFC West rivals is looking at their week 2 matchup against the Denver Broncos.

On Sunday, our sister site, Silver and Black Pride, featured this article stating that when Oakland comes to Mile High it will be both the biggest and best game on the schedule. Don’t get me wrong, when the Raiders come to town it’s required watching, but the reasoning behind this declaration is worth noting.

Why is this the biggest game of the season? Marquette King! I get it. When your perennial Pro Bowl selections over the last decade and most recent Hall of Fame inductee are selected for their ability to put their foot on the ball, you tend to get really excited about it.

Gruden will have his hands full reining in those who wish to do King harm in the best interest of safety and just overall good sportsmanship. Fans will see how tightly Gruden will have this team under control by the way they respond to the hype that will lead up to the game (most likely fueled by King’s social media antics) and the emotions that come with playing against a long time Rival in the hated Denver Broncos.

Will Gruden be ready to have his Raiders playing their most disciplined in week 2? No. No way. Despite being a top punter in the league, Gruden didn’t like King’s personality and so Chucky cut him. In doing so, Gruden sent a signal to his team that personal beefs are more important than actual football talent. It’s a tough return to Raider football! Let’s see how that plays when the new guy shanks one 8-yards deep.

Cordarelle Patterson confirmed this in an interview with Good Morning Football on NFL Network saying that “people didn’t like [King].” Bruce Irvin even requested a place on special teams when these two units clash.

The fact that multiple players are babbling across multiple outlets with months to go just shows that a lowly punter has not only gotten under the skin of the coach, but the team itself, not to mention their fanbase. Please... Please coach, please put in an inexperienced Bruce Irvin in on punt returns. He’ll be safe from the errant 8-yard shank!

Everyone assumes Gruden has accrued plenty of tricks up his sleeve during his 10 years off. More telling perhaps than offensive scheme and play-calling will be how he gets his team prepared. The time he’s spent visiting all 32 teams and their coaching staffs while working at ESPN should have yielded new approaches to dealing with the challenge of a short week.

Let’s not forget that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fired Jon Gruden six years after their Super Bowl victory... over the Oakland Raiders. Turning in only two playoff appearances and a few sub-.500 seasons wasn’t enough to save ol’ Chucky. I’m sure that the author of this piece is right. You can’t do a 10-year tour of Monday Night Football media buffet’s and not pick up a few things other than stains on your tie. His scheme didn’t work then and 10-years of his butt in a comfy chair isn’t going to make it magically work. There’s a reason NFL teams don’t give 10-year coaching contracts and the Oakland Raiders are about to learn why in the most awesome way possible.

This road match-up will show the world where this Raider team belongs in the hierarchy of not only the AFC West but the entire NFL. Competing on the road against tough opponents is the recipe for success and securing a playoff berth in the NFL. Raiders fans should have a great idea about the state of the team and we’ll only have to wait until week 2 to find out.

The sad reality is that the AFC West, AFC, NFL, and pretty much everyone the world over knows where the Raiders belong in the hierarchy. Their last Super Bowl victory was in 1983. They haven’t won a playoff game since January 19, 2003. By the time the Broncos and Raiders take the field, that will have been over 15.5 years! Their playoff win drought is applying for its learners permit to drive a car. It’s enjoyed two and a half years of PG-13 movies without mom or dad. With just one winning season in that time, it’s hard to predict anything more than the same.

With so much to anticipate in this 2018 season, the consensus in Raider Nation is that NFL schedule makers created an easier slate for Gruden to navigate than in years past.

Lastly, I couldn’t let this go. The Raiders open against a stacked Rams team and then travels to altitude to face the Broncos. To paint the first couple weeks as a concession to the cult of Gruden is nothing short of hilarious. The reality is that chucky will be looking down the barrel of an 0-2 start with 10 years to go.


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