The Oakland Raiders haven’t made the playoffs since 2002. In fact, they haven’t finished with a winning record since 2002 and have won five games or fewer in 10 of the last 13 seasons.
Well, this year could be different. The Raiders, who went 7-9 a year ago, are 2-1 after beating the Titans, 17-10, in Tennessee on Sunday.
Ultimately, what does this franchise have to do to become the perennial playoff power it was in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s?
“A lot of people will say, ‘The Raiders need to get back to being like the Raiders,’” former Raider and Super Bowl champion Mike Haynes said in studio on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “Well, I can tell you that that can’t happen. It just can’t happen. We were intimidators. The league does not allow that anymore. We intimidated other teams. We intimidated the officials. You just can’t do that anymore, and everybody knows it.”
In that case, how can the Raiders become one of the best teams in the league again? How can they get their swagger back?
“You just got to win,” Haynes said. “You got to be better than the guys you’re going against. It looks like they’re on their way. They have a young team – a young defense and a young offense – and a great coach, I believe.”
Haynes was in attendance when the Raiders lost to the Falcons, 35-28, in Week 2.
“They didn’t win that game, but they showed up and they played great,” said Haynes, who played for the Raiders from 1983-89. “I think every former Raiders player was proud to watch that game and felt pretty good about it. But this past week against Tennessee, they won.”
Indeed, Derek Carr threw for 249 yards and a touchdown, Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper accounted for 12 catches for 164 yards, and the defense forced three turnovers.
“I predict they’re going to make the playoffs,” Haynes said. “I think they’re so young that they have to grow into it. There’s so many guys who are really just starting to come into the league and you’re going up against great players. Once they figure out all they have to do is do their job, (they’ll be fine). They don’t have to be doing somebody else’s job. If you’re supposed to take away the outside, take away the outside. If you’re not supposed to get beat deep, don’t get beat deep. Once they get that down, they’ll realize, ‘Man, this game really isn’t that hard. I can be myself. I can walk with a little swagger. I can do my thing.’ When they get to that point, then they’ll start being like the Raiders of old.”
Oakland plays Baltimore (3-0) on the road this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.