Will the Oakland Raiders ever win a football game?
By PAT RALPH
College Contributor Network
There is no question that the Oakland Raiders are the worst team in the NFL this season. In addition, there are many who would make the case that the Raiders have been the most pathetic NFL franchise for the last decade. The more important question now is whether or not the Raiders will win a football game this season.
The last time the Raiders made the playoffs was in 2002, when they were soundly defeated by former head coach Jon Gruden and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII. Since that season, the Raiders have had zero winning seasons, eight different head coaches, and 20 different starting quarterbacks. The only constant since their last playoff appearance has been losing.
The 2014 season has been no different for the "Silver and Black," as the Raiders have yet to win a game this season. Head coach Dennis Allen was fired after starting off zero-and-four, and assistant coach Tony Sparano stepped in as the interim head coach. Sparano served as head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2008-2011 and led them to a playoff appearance in his first season. But clearly, a change at head coach has not made the Raiders any better.
The Raiders' problems go way beyond the coaching staff because a constant change in leadership has not at all improved the organization. The problems go even deeper than at the quarterback position, where a change in play-caller every season has not made any difference. The Oakland Raiders need a complete change in their culture in order to return to glory.
One example of the Raiders' problems has been their horrific draft history. Of the Raiders' previous eight first-round draft picks, not including linebacker Khalil Mack and quarterback Derek Carr from this year's draft, half of them are no longer on an NFL roster. While the other four first-round picks are still in the NFL, none have truly lived up to their high expectations.
On the field, the Raiders' problems run rampant. Oakland has the lowest-rated offense in the NFL, more specifically, the worst running game in the league. The Raiders have the lowest number of total rushing yards and average rush yards per game in the league, so it is clear to see that their offensive line is not doing their job and Oakland is simply not winning the battle at the line of scrimmage. Simply put, if you cannot run the football, you cannot win in the NFL. While the Raiders' passing game and defense are not the worst, they certainly are far from the best.
The Raiders' remaining schedule is no walk in the park, as an 0-16 record is very possible. Oakland must still play the red-hot Kansas City Chiefs twice, on the road against the division-leading Denver Broncos and St. Louis Rams, and home to the San Francisco 49ers and Buffalo Bills. The Raiders' best chance comes against the Bills in Week 16, but still will not be easy.
The future for the Raiders is more uncertain than ever due to the rumors of a possible return to Los Angeles in the next few years. With the NFL looking to re-establish a franchise in the second-largest market in the U.S. and the Raiders always having played second-fiddle to the 49ers in the Bay Area, a move back home to Southern California makes perfect sense to give the Raiders a fresh start.
In the off-season, the Raiders will be searching for a completely new coaching staff to bring this lowly franchise back to life. However, it will take more than just a new head coach to bring the Raiders back to greatness. But for right now, the Raiders should be more concerned on simply getting a win this season.
Pat Ralph is a junior at Villanova University. He has a passion for Philadelphia sports, especially the Phillies and Eagles, as well as Villanova Basketball and the New York Knicks. Follow him on Twitter @Pat_Ralph