It has been quite the year for the Silver and Black in 2015. From the hiring of a new head coach, through the NFL Draft and free agent signing period, to improvement in the win column – 2015 has seen plenty of highs and lows. Let's take a look back at some of the more interesting moments of this past year.
1. Jack Del Rio comes home. The Raiders introduced Hayward, Calif.,-native Jack Del Rio as the head coach of the Silver and Black Jan. 16. It didn't take him long to put his stamp on the team as his demeanor, direction and leadership created instant credibility and respect. From his commanding presence at his introductory press conference to his unwavering confidence in the players, Coach Del Rio is in firm command.
2. The free agent haul. From March 11 - April 13 the Raiders added key players who would make a significant impact in 2015. Linebackers Malcolm Smith and Curtis Lofton, defensive tackle Dan Williams, running back Roy Helu, Jr., center Rodney Hudson, tight end Lee Smith, offensive lineman J'Marcus Webb, and wide receiver Michael Crabtree came aboard and made contributions this season.
- Another bumper crop in the Draft.** The Raiders took Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper with the 4th overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft and he has been everything the Raiders could ask for and more. Defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. earned a starting spot before a season-ending injury, tight end Clive Walford is a downfield and Red Zone threat, guard Jon Feliciano is seeing more playing time, linebacker Ben Heeney has come on the last few weeks of the season, linebacker Neiron Ball was making an impact before a season-ending injury, and cornerback Dexter McDonald has contributed primarily on special teams.
4. Charles Woodson. The Raiders re-signed Charles Woodson Jan. 16 for his 18th and what would be his last season in the National Football League as his Hall of Fame career comes to an end. He played in his last home game Christmas Eve as the Raiders defeated the San Diego Chargers 23-20 in overtime in front of a Nation television audience. So far this season, Woodson has recorded five interceptions and three fumble recoveries and has been nothing short of his usual spectacular self.
- Ken Stabler passes**. Ken Stabler died at age 69 in July, and it was felt throughout the Raiders and NFL families. The author of countless come-from-behind victories and the offensive leader of the first Raiders team to win a Super Bowl, Stabler played the game the way he lived, fast and loose. The Raiders all-time leading passer was honored with a game-day tribute and NFL Network aired A Football Life: Ken Stabler on Christmas Day.
6. Hall of Fame Raiders. Former wide receiver Tim Brown and personnel executive Ron Wolf were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Jan. 31, and inducted in Canton Aug. 8. The late Ken Stabler is a Senior Committee Finalist for the Class of 2016.
7. Raiders win their first game in dramatic fashion. The Raiders started the season with a thud losing at home to the Cincinnati Bengals. The Joe Flacco-led Baltimore Ravens came to Oakland the following week and a Derek Carr to Seth Roberts touchdown pass proved to be the game-winner as Neiko Thorpe picked off Flacco to secure a come-from-behind victory.
- Raiders sweep Chargers**. The Raiders swept the San Diego Chargers for the first time since 2010. The first came at San Diego, 37-29, as the Silver and Black jumped all over the home team. The second victory was a come-from-behind, overtime thriller in Oakland as the Raiders topped the Bolts 23-20 in Woodson's last home game.
9. Raiders snap losing streak to the Broncos. It had been awhile since the Raiders had gotten the better of the Broncos. The Raiders ended that losing streak, 8 games to be exact, in dramatic fashion. After posting -12 yards of offense in the first half, defensive end Khalil Mack's strip-sack that resulted in a safety jumpstarted the Raiders as tight end Mychal Rivera caught the game-winning touchdown pass. Mack posted five sacks on the night.
10. Khalil Mack's Sack Attack. Defensive end Derrick Burgess set the single-season franchise record of 16 sacks in 2005. Mack has a chance to tie or break that record in the regular season finale at Kansas City. His 15 sacks through 15 games leads the NFL. After recording 4 sacks in his rookie season, Mack has terrorized opposing quarterbacks and offensive linemen all season long.