The ever-logical Amari Cooper looked at the Oakland Raiders current situation, well, logically.
With just three wins at the halfway point of the 2017 season – a place that hardly any, if any, thought the team would be at – Cooper knows that the Silver and Black have to start stacking wins, and quickly, if they want to make a return to the postseason.
"If you just look at the numbers, you pretty much have to get 10 wins to get into the playoffs, sometimes more than that," said Cooper. "So where we're sitting at now, we can only possibly get 11 wins, so of course we're going to have to stack up these wins."
For context, in 2016 the Silver and Black went 12-4 – at one point winning six games in a row – but even with their impressive regular season, they still qualified for the postseason as a Wild Card team, and as such, had to go on the road to take on the Houston Texans in the opening round of the playoffs.
Head Coach Jack Del Rio continually preaches the importance of remaining solely focused on the next game on the schedule, so any talk of the Raiders qualifying or not qualifying for the postseason tournament is a little premature, but sitting at the bottom of the division, two games under .500, there is indeed a sense of urgency surrounding the Silver and Black.
"Honestly, it's crunch time," defensive tackle Treyvon Hester said. "We just have to push that button, and come into work every day. We still have a lot more games left. We can still predict our own future. We can still put ourselves in a good [situation]. All we have to do is just come out hard, keep playing, and keep focusing on the small details."
The halfway point of the season provides a natural point for reflection, and with eight games behind them, and eight games still on the docket, the second half of the season provides a much-needed clean slate for a team trying to re-find its footing.
"We kind of have to, because we have a lot of work to do if we want to accomplish our goal," said quarterback Derek Carr when asked about looking at Week 9 and beyond as a fresh start. "Now, is it possible? Absolutely. There are not a lot of people that believe that, except that are through that door, but we always believe. That'll never be a problem. It's cliché, but once you win – and we always say, move on to the next one – well the first half of the season is done; we have to move onto the next one, and first up is Miami on Sunday night. We have to care of business."
And Carr is right; with just eight chapters left in the Raiders 2017 story, wins – while always important – become even more paramount starting Sunday.
Although the Dolphins recently shipped running back Jay Ajayi – arguably their best playmaker – to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Fins are a team that has won three of their past four matchups, and are still within shouting distance of the New England Patriots in the AFC East.
Regardless of who the opponent is, Carr and Co., knows that the time to make a run starts now. With eight games left, the team has a lot of catching up to do, and that process can begin in earnest Sunday night.
"It is an urgency; it has to be, and Coach Del Rio said it best to the team, urgent doesn't mean you rush things," Carr explained. "It doesn't mean you go away from your process, and it sounds redundant, but it is what it is. We have to attack our process with urgency, but don't rush things when we got on the field. The preparation is where you get after it. The preparation of your body, the training, the mental side is where you get after it, and when you get on the field, you have to compete and let it flow.
He continued, "Be urgent in your preparation and your process, but when you get on the field, man, just cut it loose, because we're all talented enough to go out there and play well."