Raiders

How Oakland Coliseum has been 'legendary' even for newest Raiders

How Oakland Coliseum has been 'legendary' even for newest Raiders

ALAMEDA -- You don't have to be Derek Carr, Jon Gruden or a Raiders legend to appreciate what the Coliseum has meant to the franchise. 

It was a state-of-the-art facility and helped legitimize the Raiders when they moved into the building in 1966. It has been the home of a number of memorable Raider moments and has served as a second home for the legion of fans who pack it on fall Sundays to make life hell on the opposition. 

It no longer is state-of-the-art. It has a myriad of issues and the Raiders are waving goodbye after Sunday's game against the Jaguars, as the franchise relocates to Las Vegas in 2020. 

Most of the current Raiders haven't had many moments at all in the Coliseum. Only six current Raiders have been with the franchise for more than three seasons, with Carr and guard Gabe Jackson being the longest-tenured Raiders. Both were drafted in 2014. 

But even those who have only donned the silver and black for a short period of time know how important Sunday's farewell is. 

"It'll be exciting, I'm really looking forward to it," guard Richie Incognito, who only has played four games in the Coliseum, said after the Raiders' Week 14 loss to the Titans. "I got a bunch of family coming in to experience it. We're new to Oakland but the fans are awesome. They were rocking today, they were loud. I think next week will be a special moment for everybody involved." 

Last year was Daryl Worley's first season in Oakland. The Coliseum goodbye that wasn't a season ago didn't really impact him. 

But things have changed after spending another season with the Silver and Black. 

"Hopefully, it's going to be for real this time," Worley said of saying farewell a second time to the Coliseum. "It's definitely going to be emotional. Last year when I was here on a one-year thing, you just don't get the full feel. But coming back Year 2, just seeing what it means to Raider Nation, it's definitely a lot more emotional. 

"You really get to see -- around the town, around the entire Bay Area -- I mean there are two teams out here but it kinda seems that Raider Nation, they always have that fan base that is strong and passionate about everything that's going on with the players. It's going to be tough to leave a place like this even though going on to Vegas, I don't think this fan base will waver at all. 

"It's an amazing place," Worley continued. "For it to be an outdoor stadium, you would think that it's indoors the way that it rocks. Between the Black Hole to the costumes, it's definitely a legendary experience."

[RELATED: Raiders describe what it's like to jump into Black Hole]

The Raiders come in riding a three-game losing streak. While snapping that run of Ls is important, especially if the team has any hope of a miracle playoff push, it means more for the Raiders to give the Nation one more W in the house of loud. 

"It's definitely a big motivation and we feel like we owe it to everyone here," Worley said.

Raiders' Derek Carr 'progressed at rapid rate' in 2019, Mike Mayock says

Raiders' Derek Carr 'progressed at rapid rate' in 2019, Mike Mayock says

As the Raiders pack up their stuff in Oakland and prepare to embrace the bright lights of Las Vegas, they have a number of questions to answer.

How will they address the gaping holes at wide receiver? What about linebacker? And, of course, is Derek Carr the right guy for the job?

With a lack of offensive talent on the outside last season, Carr was serviceable. He led game-winning drives against the Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Chargers. The Raiders were 6-4 and flying high. Then the team, Carr included, laid four straight duds to fall out of the playoff picture. Carr remains an average NFL quarterback. He can win games when everything around him is perfect, but he was unable to will the Raiders to wins down the stretch that would have stopped the skid and kept playoff hopes alive. 

It was Year 2 for Carr in head coach Jon Gruden's system and questions about their long-term viability together constantly linger. General manager Mike Mayock, though, was pleased with Carr's play during the 7-9 season.

"As far as Derek is concerned, look, it, Jon demands a lot from his quarterbacks," Mayock told Raiders.com. "People don't understand how much, just from a verbiage standpoint all the way to control, pre-snap at the line of scrimmage, you know, his percentage of completions, his ability to command the huddle, his ability to command the pre-snap process at the line of scrimmage, his accuracy. He's got arm talent.

"You look at his development between him and Darren Waller, you know, Darren Waller had 90 catches for over 1,000 yards. Darren Waller is a Pro-Bowl tight end by any definition. And then the chemistry he developed with Hunter Renfrow. I think we've got a good offensive line and what we have to do is a better job of supporting him with some more wide receiver talent, the ability to catch the football, uh, the ability to spread the ball around a little bit. You know, Derek handled everything Jon threw at him mentally. I thought he progressed at a rapid rate in year two in Jon's system."

That certainly sounds like the Raiders will be bringing Carr back. 

There will be a number of quarterbacks on the free-agent market for Gruden to bring it to provide competition for Carr should he desire.

The Raiders also have two first-round draft picks and could use one to select a high-end prospect like Oregon's Justin Herbert, Utah State's Jordan Love or Washington's Jacob Eason if one of them appeals to Gruden. 

[RELATED: Raiders should stick to draft blueprint, raid Clemson-LSU]

With more talent on the outside and a defense capable of getting off the field at a more regular clip, perhaps Carr will play at a higher level in Las Vegas.

If not, his time with the Raiders could be over shortly.

Jon Gruden believes playing better in cold will help Raiders evolution

Jon Gruden believes playing better in cold will help Raiders evolution

The Raiders surged to 6-4 with a three-game winning streak just after midseason but had a tough time sustaining that success. They lost control of their playoff destiny in an ensuing four-game slide, finishing the season with five losses in their last six games.

There were plenty of reasons why the Raiders ran out of gas. They always were better than the sum of their parts, clearly talent deficient in certain areas when compared to better competition. They also suffered a series of setbacks, from Antonio Brown's meltdown to Vontaze Burfict’s suspension to a series of injury setbacks the Raiders weren’t deep enough to survive in the midst of roster reconstruction.

Head coach Jon Gruden threw another issue into the mix that cropped up during the Raiders’ poor finish.

“I think the cold weather is one thing,” Gruden said at his season-ending press conference. “We got to prove we can exorcise that demon. We got to play better in the bad weather.

“I remember when I went to Tampa Bay, they hadn’t won a game in the history of the franchise in temperatures that were below 40 degrees and every single game we played that’s all we heard. And we are going to continue to hear it, hear it and hear it until we prove as a West Coast team we can go out on a cold day and win.”

The Raiders have lost seven straight games kicked off at below 40 degrees, including three late in the 2019 season. They have lost 11 straight under 50, a brutal stretch that does have to be remedied if the Silver and Black wants to orchestrate a successful run into and through the postseason. Had the Raiders been in the AFC playoffs this year, two of the four conference playoff games had been waged below 50 degrees.

“I think it’s a combination of a lot of things -- talent, better coaching, experience, toughness,” Gruden said. “I don’t know. Travel plans, pregame meals, something. We’ve got to play better. We got to get wins on the road and we got to look forward to playing when it’s hot, when it’s cold, when it’s nasty, when it’s awful. You got to learn to love the misery and maybe we got to leave on a Wednesday next year and get acclimated to it. I’m not making excuses, but that’s one theme is pretty obvious and noticeable. We got to play better in lousy weather and we got to play better period in all three phases.”

[RELATED: Raiders should keep draft blueprint, raid Clemson-LSU]

Gruden also mentioned this point a day after the season finale, where they lost to Denver in the cold.

While fans typically blame Derek Carr for this issue due to his 2-11 record playing at less than 50 degrees, this is a team-wide problem.

“I know that the cold weather doesn’t affect Derek Carr," offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. "We practice in cold weather, he practices without sleeves, he throws the ball very well. He makes appropriate checks when in practice.

“I know the quarterbacks, generally, they’re always evaluated on wins and losses. No matter what kind of weather it is, they’re always going to be judged on records. We don’t read too much into it.”