Derek Carr, Jon Gruden, and the rest of the Oakland Raiders are frustrated.
At 1-8 the Raiders are struggling to put "W"s in the win column, and the team has failed to score a touchdown in back-to-back weeks. Things are challenging right now, but Gruden and Carr are using the negative energy to build a callus.
Historically, the Silver and Black have been associated with grit, toughness, and a mentality that strikes fear into its opponents. It's that mentality that Gruden is trying to instill in his group, and at 1-8 — the team would obviously prefer to be on the winning side of things — the players are figuring out what they're made of. It's easy to coast and laugh when the team is flying high, but it takes a special group to rally together in the face of adversity.
"This will be a year that a lot of us never forget, and it's really hard, and it's painful," Gruden said postgame. "It's going to be hard to sleep again, hard to get up in the morning, but we're going to keep working hard, and this will be the foundation this program is leaned on. Mental toughness. Physical toughness. Doing everything you can in the eye of adversity. I know it sounds corny to some people, but that's the grit and toughness this organization was built on."
The Raiders' 20-6 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers was yet another tough pill to swallow. Losses can take a beating on players emotionally, mentally, and physically, but all the team can do is power through. There are seven weeks left, but the Raiders have to keep a week-to-week mentality.
"It's hard to lose, takes a toll on all of us," Gruden added. "Apologize to the Raiders fans, and assure you we'll keep working."
During Carr's rookie season, the Raiders started 0-10, and it was understandably challenging for the then-23-year-old. He understands what many of the young players are going through right now, but the hardships will only make the youngsters appreciate the wins even more when they start rolling in. A lot is being asked of the team this season, and Carr was pleased with the effort he saw against the Chargers.
"There were guys that coach challenged in the team meeting, and those guys battled their butts off," No. 4 said during his postgame press conference. "When you have guys that can handle tough coaching, and they go out and show you, 'I heard you, Coach, I can do better.' That's another thing that lets you know we got some right guys — trust me, five years in this business that's not always the case — but we have the right guys, and they answered the call. Were they perfect? Obviously not, but with that said, they fought, and sometimes that's what you need to ask of some guys, and we saw it today."
I think it's fair to say that at 1-8 the Raiders chances of making the postseason are slim, and staying patient is easier said than done — I get it, truly — but the ground work is being applied for the future. As the weeks pass, the Raiders front office will know who wants to fight through the hard times.
The Raiders will get another chance at victory next Sunday when the team travels to Arizona to face the Cardinals.