Heading Into Training Camp 2016, Raiders Looking To Live Up To The Hype

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Thirteen seasons.

That's how long it's been since the Oakland Raiders found themselves in the "second season" – the playoffs.

A lot has changed since 2002; back then Jack Del Rio was the defensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers, David – not Derek – was the promising young quarterback in the Carr family, and current assistant defensive backs coach Rod Woodson was still wearing a Raiders helmet on Sundays, putting the final punctuation marks on what would be a Hall of Fame career.

Now though, heading into 2016, there is a different feeling surrounding the team, and after an improved season in 2014, combined with the development of Derek Carr and the rest of the team's young nucleus, there's a feeling around the league that 2016 could be the season that playoff drought ends.

For the first time in a long while, the Raiders are a team with expectations attached to them, and while excitement is high heading into Training Camp 2016, now the players and coaching staff have to find the line of balancing that expectation while also working hard each day.

"You can't be worrying about everything else," said safety Reggie Nelson. "If you worry about expectations, then you're worrying about the wrong thing. All you have to do is play football. Like I said, just let it take care of itself."

While Nelson preached a message of not listening to the outside noise during the team's first day of media availability, cornerback David Amerson did admit that sometimes it's a challenge not to listen to the hype from around the league.

"I think everybody hears the talking heads, talking about what the expectations are, but I think as a team, you just have to go out there and just work hard," Amerson said. "Like I said, put the best foot forward, put 100 percent effort in each day, day in and day out, and just live with the results and see what happens."

The Silver and Black are hoping that those results equate to more wins in 2016, and while the accolades and positive press are nice for right now, cornerback TJ Carrie knows that words won't win games on Sundays.

"Expectations are always going to be high," Carrie explained. "It's our job to keep focus, stay sound. Words are words. Things are going to be said, but at the end of the day, we still have to perform on the field on Sundays. That's the main goal as of right now."

While the team won't officially kick off the regular season until September 11, there's plenty of work to be done between now and then, particularly as the Raiders try to live up to the hype and go after an AFC West crown.

"We know the expectations for ourselves, and obviously the talk that's been going around, but again, we know that right now it's just talk, and the only thing that we can go out there and do is get better, come together as a team and put it all together, so we can again, play and win on Sundays," said running back Latavius Murray. "Right now, it's just on paper, and here's the time where we put it together and live up to the hype."

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