Thump In The Morning

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The New England Patriots will take on the Las Vegas Raiders in the team’s last preseason game.  More than just a tune-up for the regular season, the last preseason game is usually when teams determine which players make the final roster. Cuts will be made league-wide. The Patriots have been 1-1 during this preseason and the Raiders have a 3-0 record. Last season the Raiders started the regular season with the same record, but unfortunate adversities caused the Raiders to fall short of a great season.  The horrific details of the car accident one Tuesday morning in which Raiders former  receiver Henry Ruggs III slammed his sports car into the rear of an SUV driven by a 23-year-old woman who died in the ensuing fire.

Meanwhile, Raiders cornerback Damon Arnette is facing accusations involving a hit-and-run car accident. , A lawsuit claims Arnette was driving 65 mph in order to attend a morning meeting at team headquarters, and made a hard turn that led to a crash that allegedly injured a woman.  A series of off-the-field situations has jolted the franchise to its foundation. From the abrupt and murky resignation of team president Marc Badain   along with the team’s chief financial officer and controller  just before the start of training camp, to coach Jon Gruden stepping down amid an email scandal. And that’s just a taste.   The beauty of the Raiders still making the playoffs  is that anyone acquainted with the big fade never saw it coming. That would include yours truly, who has loved  the team for over 30 years and had grown conditioned to seeing bad football and bad breaks.

Head coach Josh McDaniels, replacing interim head coach Rich Bisaccia, who did an outstanding job taking over when Jon Gruden was fired. Bisaccia led the Raiders to four straight wins to close out the season, punching their ticket to the playoffs, where they lost in the Wild Card round to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Now, the bar has been raised for this group, a talented roster that has brought in elite players on both sides of the ball this offseason. Sure, they play in a loaded division in the AFC West, but they have more than enough talent to come out on top, and getting even deeper in the playoffs has to be the expectation this season. “Win Lose Or Tie Raider Nation Til I Die”  Lets Go Raiders! “Just Win Baby”