By Barbara Mason
They come from near and far and the Raider Nation is always decked out in Silver and Black gear which of course leads the league in merchandise sales. There are those however, that go above and beyond when it comes to game day gear and I had the pleasure of talking a little football with one of them. In fact this gentleman could be seen from the press box clear across the field. He was dressed as one would expect, in Raider Nation’s finest. Most of these guys are not just dressed for the game but also possess an in-depth knowledge of the game.
We got to talking quarterbacks and the start of EJ Manuel in Sunday’s game. When Derek Carr unfortunately went down last Sunday the torch was passed onto Manuel who had a decent showing in the latter minutes of last week’s against the Denver Broncos. It was a huge task and we all found out Sunday how ready he was for the challenge.
“I thought he threw a few good passes last week with the exception of the last one which was the interception. I think if the offensive line would protest him I think he would do pretty well. He is a big strong quarterback; I watched him play when he was on the Buffalo Bills and I saw the potential and I think he could win this game for us,” he said.
Looking back on the drop in the end zone by Cook he felt that it was just a continuation of what has been plaguing the team for a while now. “I don’t know what was going on in that game. Everything was going wrong for us just like in the Redskins game,” he said.
Our thoughts turned from Manuel to Derek Carr and the phenomenal healing that he is experiencing actually throwing the ball in practice last Thursday and Friday. As with any athlete he is itching to get back on the field. ”I think the decision not to play Carr was a good one. The Ravens would be trying to hurt him.” Carr would have been nothing more than a target with a bull’s eye on his back. The injury that he has sustained needs to heal giving him the greatest chance for continued success.
I asked the burning question that is on everyone’s mind. Is the 2-2 start for the team of concern? ”I am not concerned just a little frustrated because last week we should have won that game were it not for the dropped balls. I’m pretty sure we’ll bounce back . The only one I’m worried about is the Kansas City game. I’m pretty sure we’ll win the next two games,” he said with confidence.
As it would unfortunately turn out for the entire Raider Nation and this loyal fan the Ravens deserved a fair amount of worry as the stadium witnessed a stunning defeat. Sunday’s loss was the third in a row for the Raiders and the memory of the 2-0 start is merely that, a distance memory. Is there a doctor in the house? The Silver and Black is suffering with some malady that many cannot put a finger on. The darlings of the NFL prior to the start of the season have now realized an absolute nightmare and they have to wake up and wake up fast. With San Diego on the horizon and the history of how Philip Rivers has handled Oakland followed by the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs the team has cause for some very real concern. A lot of concern. While it’s not the end, there have to be some drastic changes for the team that many, at one time, saw as being Super Bowl bound.