The Oakland Raiders are buying in. General manager Reggie McKenzie has revamped the roster bringing in a plethora of new players, who have experience, leadership and winning pedigree. Those additions have transformed the Raiders' attitude for the upcoming 2014 season. The players are optimistic that this season they have the pieces to be better.
That is not an uncommon feeling for NFL teams during Organized Team Activities. Every year, every team gets fresh start, but in the case of the Raiders they believe in this team. Their optimism sounds real. From the first week of OTAs to the closing session this week, Raiders' players have expressed their excitement and confidence for 2014.
“There isn’t a ceiling,” safety Charles Woodson said. “We’re trying to bust through the ceiling. I look at the team and I feel like I have what I need from a team standpoint to get all the way there. Now, does that happen? Nobody knows until the time comes, but we have players in there, and if we all focus in, all our goals at the end of the season will be there.”
“The thing about it is, you have a lot of great players, and it doesn’t matter where you are, when there are a lot of great people around you, you have to up your scale and up your what you’re able to do and what you want to do, and you want to be great as well,” linebacker Sio Moore said. “The level of expectation, the bar is high and you have to live up to that. There’s no expectation.”
“And then just watching them offensively from afar over the last few years, just a lot of talent, a lot of weapons, a lot of young talent, but a chance to do a lot of great things,” quarterback Matt Schaub said. “And with the offensive staff and the scheme that we have, along with some additions in free agency, there’s just a ton of firepower on offense and I’m very excited about the weapons we have at every position.”
“You sometimes, like I said, you have to bring in players sometimes that come from winning programs that know how to win and let them lead sometimes, let them show you the way,” defensive end LaMarr Woodley said. “I think right now we have some veteran guys in here that have been in those types of situations and understand about winning. The next thing you have to do is, guys like us, we have to get the younger guys to buy into it. When they buy into it, they want to win that Super Bowl.”
“You ought to be playing for a championship,” head coach Dennis Allen said. “And we feel like we brought guys in that understand that, that know exactly what the vision is for this organization and where we need to get to. And they’re committed to doing everything it takes to get there. So again, I'm excited about it. I think when you combine those veterans with some of the young players that we've been able to acquire not only in this draft but in the previous draft, I think we have a nucleus of building a really solid football team.”
The next step for the Raiders is putting these words into practice. They have the right mentality and attitude, but they will have to translate that into wins. The excitement and optimism is there for Oakland to surprise some people in 2014.
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