The silver lining around the Oakland Raiders' 2-4 record as they head into their bye week?
Perhaps it is the fact that Oakland was in position to win three additional games.
Consider: the Raiders were eight yards away from beating the Indianapolis Colts in the season opener; they jumped out to an early lead at home against the Washington Redskins before getting Matt Flynned; they were handling the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs in every phase of the game in the first half Sunday before their offensive line crumbled.
Maybe that’s why Terrelle Pryor said after the 24-7 loss to the Chiefs, a game in which he was sacked 10 times and threw three interceptions that resulted in 17 points for Kansas City, including a pick-six, that he thought the postseason was still within reach.
Yes, for a franchise that has not had a winning season since 2002.
“Two and four?” Pryor said after the game. “We can get to the playoffs.”
If he said it, he meant it, right? But even as he said it, you got the sense that Pryor said it because he thought he should say it, and it came across as a pseudo-throwaway line.
And when Raiders coach Dennis Allen was asked about it Monday in his weekly news conference, he did not go all Jim Mora on the assembled reporters.
“I’m not worried about playoffs,” Allen said. “That’s the last thing I’m worried about. I am worried about trying to get this team better.”
Now, to a man, every player in the NFL will tell you that the goal is to qualify for the NFL’s postseason tournament, something the Raiders have not been in since Super Bowl XXXVII.
And Allen has long said his long-term goal is to make this club a playoff contender.
But this is still a rebuilding venture and general manager Reggie McKenzie has said it was about a three-year project. We’re in Year 2.
And remember Washington? It was 3-6 a year ago before winning seven straight and the NFC East. Then there was Miami, which was 1-15 in 2007 under Cam Cameron and then went 11-5 in 2008 with Tony Sparano as coach. Yes, the same Sparano who is currently the Raiders’ assistant head coach and offensive line coach.
“I do like this football team,” Allen said. “There’s no moral victories in pro football. We’re competing. We’ve had chances to win games. We’ve got to figure out ways to win games when we have those opportunities. And that’s really the bottom line.
“But we are what our record says we are and we’ve got to get better.”
What was more surprising, then, Pryor saying the Raiders could get in the playoffs, or Allen saying he’s not worried about the playoffs?