With three games to go in the regular season, the Las Vegas Raiders' leadership will be tested, as the team makes a push to the postseason.
There's no denying that the Silver and Black needed to win on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, but not all hope is lost. With the Los Angeles Chargers, Miami Dolphins, and Denver Broncos left on the schedule, the team will need to refocus its attention on correcting its mistakes before it can look ahead to the postseason.
Recalibrating the team's focus will put pressure on the players in leadership positions to step up, but this is a locker room filled with veteran leaders and even a few emerging ones.
"We got veteran leadership on this team, we have great leadership from young guys as well," second-year tight end Foster Moreau said postgame. "I mean, guys that are 23, 24, under 25 years old can lead this team, namely, Johnathan Abram. He's a great vocal leader on this team and Josh Jacobs, he doesn't say too much, but when he does, it's impactful. So, leadership in the locker room is going to step up and we're going to be right, and come Thursday ready to play."
As if the pressure of finishing the season strong wasn't enough, the Raiders will have to prepare for the first of their three final games on a short week. The division-rival Chargers are coming off of a game-winning field goal against the Atlanta Falcons, and look, we've said it before, the Bolts have a lot of talent on the roster and shouldn't be overlooked. The Raiders know they're going to need to put their performance against the Colts out of their mind in order to show up ready for the Chargers on Thursday.
"This game is going to have a short shelf life for us," Moreau said. "Everyone is going to watch the film, we're going to need to make corrections, but we don't have time to harp on our mistakes because we play a good Chargers team on Thursday. I don't know how they feel, but I'm sure they're not coming here to lose. So, we have to get our wits about us and press on."
Despite falling to the Colts 44-27, the Raiders weren't all bad, especially on offense. Moreau had an impressive rookie season, catching five touchdowns in 13 games, but around this time last year, he suffered a torn ACL. Since then, the former LSU Tiger has overcome numerous hurdles, and against the Colts he looked like his old self, taking his lone reception of the game 47 yards for a touchdown. While Darren Waller is the defacto No. 1 tight end on the Raiders' roster, Moreau has cherished learning from him, and especially veteran Jason Witten.
"To add to the leadership that I received last year with Frank Smith, Derek Carrier, and obviously with Darren, to add Jason Witten to that mix, he's really taught me how to be a professional and approach the game as such," he said. "I wouldn't take this year back for anything. Kind of a mantra that we preach is, 'Be where your feet are.' Witten loves to say — he said it two years ago after he retired from the Cowboys after 15 years — 'The secret is in the dirt,' and we kind of run with that, and he's taught us how to live our lives like that, especially in season — there's no one better."
The Raiders have leadership at several key positions on this team and each of them will be needed to keep the locker room in good spirits as the end of the season comes to a conclusion.
View photos from the Raiders' Week 14 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts at Allegiant Stadium.