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Righting the Ship


Photo by Tony Gonzales

Since he entered the NFL out of Northern Iowa in 2010, Austin Howard has seen a lot of football.

He has been on teams with winning records as well as teams that didn't find a lot of success on the stat sheet. But the veteran offensive lineman is determined to right the ship in Oakland after an 0-2 start.

"The errors that we saw on film are not errors that we can't fix," said Howard. "They're absolutely fixable. We still have a lot of progress that we are making. Though things might not have gone 100 percent our way, we have been making strides and getting better in certain areas. With that being said, we do have to iron out some of the details and continue to get better."

Similarly to Howard, LaMarr Woodley was brought to Oakland to provide a veteran presence, and the former Super Bowl champion shares Howard's opinion that the team is capable of bouncing back from their early stumbles.

"I'm real confident in it," Woodley said. "We have to eliminate those things: pre-snap, post-snap penalties and missed tackles and quit giving up the big plays. In the last two weeks, we gave up some big plays and put ourselves in bad field positions."

He continued on to say that the responsibility to get back to winning falls on the players.

"We got to get it done," he said. "That's something that each individual has to go back and make that correction and say, 'Hey, was I in my gap? Did I do the right thing? Did I miss that tackle?' You have to do that."


Photo by Tony Gonzales

Justin Tuck, a player well versed in winning, agrees with Woodley that while there's no need to panic in Oakland, the team does need to quickly fix their errors.

"It's no panic, but it has to be a sense of urgency," Tuck said. "It has to be a button that you push that says we got to fix this and we've got to fix this in a hurry."

The Raiders have a big challenge ahead of them, as they fly east on Friday to take on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots before they continue on to England for their match-up with the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium.

Howard is looking forward to heading to Foxborough and knows the importance of having a good showing in the game.

"I think we always have something to prove," he said. "This is just another stepping stone in terms of our goals. It's all within the plans, so we'll see how it goes, and we're in playing form and ready to go out there and do our best."

The Silver and Black haven't had the start to the 2014 season that they envisioned, but with the pieces they have on the roster and their determination to return to their winning ways, there is reason for hope in Oakland.

QB Derek Carr might have summed it up best after Sunday's game when he assured Raider Nation that change was coming.

"We're going to fix things," the rookie said. "I'm going to get better and we're going to get better as a team, I can promise you that."

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