The playoff hopes for the Oakland Raiders were dealt a crushing blow in the loss to the division-rival the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 13.
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden made it a point before the 2019 NFL season that he wanted to give fans in Oakland a good reason to cheer before they made the move to Las Vegas. With just four games left in the year, the team is struggling to leave a lasting impression amidst their recent two-game skid.
The Raiders still have two games left at the Coliseum before getting ready to pack their bags. It seems that the looming relocation has started to set in for the team.
Gruden admits that the team is hoping to end the year on a high note for fans in Oakland one last time, but the thoughts of the move have not been easy, via Myles Simmons of the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
“That’s tough, man. It is tough,” Gruden said. “It’s tough driving in here seeing these fans. It’s tough the thought of all the change that’s happening — on our roster and in our future. But it’s exciting at the same time. So you try to just focus on what we can control, play it one snap at a time, one game at a time. And try to be very, very respectful of where we come from. We come from Oakland. We’d like to finish strong.”
Gruden’s comments are certainly understandable considering all the looming changes that are set to come to fruition in the offseason. Although the prospect of getting a fresh start in a new stadium is an exciting one, it is a bittersweet feeling for those that were closely tied to the team while they were in Oakland like he was.
Although they have endured their fair share of struggles on the road this season, the Raiders have actually done a spectacular job of defending the Bay Area at 4-1 on the year. As a result, they have given fans plenty to be thankful for whenever they have played host in the 2019 campaign.
While Gruden has already ushered in some significant changes since his arrival, his comments seem to indicate that there could be more on the way when it comes to their personnel. This means that the final stretch of the season could be a deciding time for players that may be on the roster bubble once the regular season concludes.
Regardless, it is clear that Gruden is focused on going out with a bang over these final two home games.