When things are hard, it's easy to throw your hands in the air and give up, but Derek Carr refuses to do that.
At 1-7, and fresh off the heels of a 34-3 loss courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers, the Oakland Raiders are looking in the mirror trying to figure out what they're made of. It's the second time this season the Silver and Black have finished a game only putting up three points, and the team knows it needs to be better on both sides of the ball.
Following Thursday's game, the general vibe in the locker room was one of unification. The players are in this together, and veteran safety Reggie Nelson said it best postgame, "we were out there playing for the guy next to us." The team has officially reached the halfway point of the regular season, and the next eight weeks will reveal who's willing to fight for the Silver and Black.
"I think just that dog inside of you," Carr said when asked what he hopes to see in the second half of 2018. "When things suck, just to still fight. I know that I've got some guys I want to put in the foxhole with me, and there's a lot of 'em. So going forward, when I look at each man in the eye — I tell them before each game, 'you're going to get everything I have.' I tell them that every time — so I want to make sure when I look in everybody's eyes going forward that's the same thing. We build that trust, and see who really wants to be a part of this, and you see who really wants to be here.
He continued, "who really wants to turn this thing around? Who really wants to do the hard things that no one wants to do? It's easy to say, 'I'd rather do it somewhere else.' That's easy. I think we figure that out, and going forward we find out who's a Raider, honestly. I love this place, and I'm not going anywhere. So I'm in for the long haul, and I want to see the men step up and say, 'I want to do that too.'"
The Raiders are one of the most historic franchises in sports, and donning the Silver and Black demands playing with grit, toughness, and a commitment to excellence. It's for that reason Head Coach Jon Gruden and his players take pride in wearing the uniform, and representing the shield, and he knows there are others that feel the same want to do the same.
"I see players after every game that want to be Raiders," Gruden said during his postgame presser. "That's been the case my entire life. I think the brand of the Raiders is an exciting one, and I think a lot of players do want to play for us in the future."
The next few days will be spent reflecting on how the team can improve, and execute better down the stretch. Thursday's loss is a tough pill to swallow, but Derek Carr and his teammates are staying unified in the face of adversity.
After a weekend away, the team will return to work next week to being their preparation in earnest for their Week 10 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers.