By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Wednesday, September 29th, 2010 at 8:24 am in Oakland Raiders.
The Houston Texans are finding it slow going in their bid to go from mediocrity to a legitimate playoff contender.
The Raiders are facing a similar process simply trying to ascend from the depths to somewhere approaching mediocrity.
Just when Houston appeared to have a breakthrough with season-opening wins against Indianapolis and Washington, the latter in a comeback mode, the Texans were returned to earth by their in-state rivals, the struggling Dallas Cowboys.
Oakland put itself in position for a 2-1 record in Week 3 against Arizona but didn’t deliver, arming skeptics everywhere with evidence the Raiders will never amount to anything.
Gary Kubiak, talking by conference call with Bay Area reporters bright and early this morning, was talking about the step he’d like his team to take.
“It’s a big, big corner to turn,’ Kubiak said. “You don’t turn it in one game, one play, one week. I think you turn it over a period of time. Our focus right now is on the Oakland Raiders and being as good as you can be this week.”
Warren Sapp used to insist “stats are for losers,” his argument being they could be twisted like taffy to say illustrate just about any point.
Kubiak latched on to stats Wednesday morning to paint the Raiders as a one of the NFL’s top teams.
“I think there’s two teams in this league that are in the top 10 offensively and defensively and they’re one of them,” Kubiak said. “That tells you how balanced they are and how well they’re playing.”
Indeed, the Raiders are 10th in offense at 351.3 yards per game, which doesn’t explain a 3-for-13 performance in the red zone. And they’re No. 3 in defense, right behind Baltimore and Green Bay, which may be more a factor of the St. Louis and Arizona offenses than anything else and doesn’t account for allowing the Cardinals to pass for two scores in the red zone with relative ease.
Note: Raiders are actually tied with second for Green Bay.
Kubiak is undeterred, even elevating the Raiders’ defense a spot to No. 2, deflecting a question about Nnamdi Asomugha and the possibility of shadowing Andre Johnson to pile more superlatives on his opponent.
“I never get caught up in that,” Kubiak said. “We’ve got to go and play their defense. We’ve got to do a good job. I mean, they’re second in defense in the NFL, that tells you how good they are, how talented they are across the board. He’s a great, great player, but it’s going to take 11 of us to play well and not just one if we’ve got any chance of winning.”