Everything looked hopeful for the Raiders this season. Due to some superior off-season acquisitions, it seemed like at long last the Raiders were poised to regain their status as an elite franchise. The Jason Campbell trade in particular was going to make the offensive attack shine, ensuring the defense would spend less time on the field.
Looking back, Sunday's game was clearly a wake-up call, but it also pointed toward ways for the Raiders to grow in order to ensure they'll come to the field next week ready to play.
Although the Raiders standout defense shined during the preseason, on Sunday's season opener Titans running back Chris Johnson at times made them all look foolish. Johnson took control of the game dodging the defense's tackles. A few bad breaks that went against the Raiders further contributed to Johnson's standout play. That day Johnson showed Vince Young and his receivers who the best player on the field was.
It was not a pretty sight. It was like the Raiders were being tested but the entire team forgot to bring their pencils. The offensive line looked sluggish, giving Titans defenders ample opportunities to shoot through the gaps to reach Jason Campbell. Campbell's only safety net was Raiders running back Darren McFadden, who rushed for 100 yards and carried the ball in for the only touchdown of the game for the Raiders.
There were other signs of disappointment on both sides of the ball mainly coming from the offensive line that desperately needs to be fixed. It’s penalties, mostly false starts, that are killing the Raiders.
Learning from a loss like this can sometimes make a team grow closer. Going over the tape and seeing where they missed their assignments will help them mentally prepare for next week.
It's better to have this type of loss now than later on in the season. There is still time to fix things, whether it's the offensive line's blocking schemes or the tackles missed by the Raiders defenders. The team will improve, the season is young, but that "magic" the Raiders were looking for is still missing. Hopefully, learning experiences like this one will help build a better team with stronger chemistry.
As the Raiders prepare for this coming Sunday they need to prepare to slow down another running back, the Rams Steven Jackson. Hopefully, better preparation and playing back in Oakland for their home opener will provide some of that "magic" they need.