Programming note: Watch Raiders Press Conference Live today at 2:00 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California, or streaming live right here.
OAKLAND – The Raiders aren’t playing to remain competitive. They want to win a game as bad as fans hope they do. The Silver and Black haven’t done what is necessary to win that first one.
They did some good things before and after Sunday’s 24-13 loss to the Cardinals that should be recognized in our weekly segment.
Here are three positives to take from the Raiders sixth straight loss:
1. Old man’s still got it: Veteran free safety Charles Woodson has always been an opportunistic sort. He doesn’t miss chances to make a big play, as he did on Sunday when a tipped ball turned into an interception and a 30-yard return.
Woodson’s game or his solid start to the season shouldn’t be defined by one moment.
He’s excellent because, even at his advanced playing age, he committed to the prospect of playing free safety the right way, and is doing so to the best of his great ability.
“You continue to work hard if it means something to you,” Woodson said. “That’s one thing I can show. It means something to me. Despite how things look and how these losses feel, you have to show up every day and work hard. In games, you have to sell out. That’s what the guys see from me.”
He has set a high standard in this season and, if his teammates match his work ethic, they’ll win some games.
2. Mack’s relentless attack: It’s been well documented on this site that sack totals should not define outside linebacker Khalil Mack’s rookie season.
A performance like Sunday should.
The No. 5 overall pick has become the team’s best run defender and a solid pass rusher despite significant double teams.
Mack had a team-high 11 tackles, three for losses, against Arizona in a standout performance that is becoming a regular occurrence.
He’s flying under the radar some without sack totals, but those will come in time. Then he’ll be recognized on a wider scale.
3. Derek Carr’s attitude: The Raiders are 0-6 and rookie quarterback Derek Carr is disappointed by that fact.
And, whether he’s on the phone with his dad or having a Skype conversation with his brother, you assume frustrations vent.
He remains outwardly positive, steadfast in his belief that the Raiders will play better and continue to work hard.
Encouragement is the foundation of his leadership – maybe Derek should be writing this weekly installment – and it will continue to be even if he’s the last optimistic person in the locker room.
“I’m never going to change,” Carr said. “I just keep my head down and I keep working, because you’re going to be praised a lot in this game, you’re going to be criticized a lot. You’ve got to ignore both because neither matter. You’ve just got to keep your head down and keep fighting.”