Defensive end Justin Tuck, who won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants, has been in locker rooms where champions have been formed. Given that, what does he see in the Oakland Raiders’ locker room that makes him believe that they’re on the right track and that better days are coming?
“We’re not that far off,” Tuck told John Kincaide, who was filling in as co-host of The Doug Gottlieb Show. “We’re really not. And I know being 0-10, you say that and people (think), ‘Okay, yeah, right.’ But we’ve been in a lot of games. We just haven’t had the opportunity to pull them out. We’ve had six or seven one-score games that were decided on the last possession.”
Indeed, the Raiders have seen six of their 11 games decided by a touchdown or less. The bad news is, they’re 1-5 in those games. The good news is, they got their first win of the season Thursday, outlasting Kansas City, 24-20.
Latavius Murray, 24, ran four times for 112 yards and two touchdowns, and Derek Carr, 23, threw for 174 yards – not to mention the game-winning touchdown pass in the final two minutes.
“We got a lot of young guys,” Tuck said. “We got a lot of great talent. They’re learning. They’re going through this process right now. And I think last night was a huge part of just getting that winning taste in a lot of guys. Now they know what it feels like and what it takes to win games in this league.”
As the Raiders learned, it takes a lot. Oakland led Kansas City 17-3 at halftime only to find itself trailing 20-17 in the final minutes. Carr, however, led the Raiders on a 17-play, 80-yard drive that culminated with a 7-yard touchdown pass to James Jones.
And there it was. The first win of the season.
“Kansas City’s a great football team and came back,” Tuck said. “We had to fight back and win it. A lot of games in this league are going to be like that. I think that’s going to go a long way to just getting these guys a lot of experience heading (into) the end of this season and also in the years to come.”
Carr, a rookie, figures to be a major part of that. The Fresno State product has been solid this season, completing 59.1 percent of his passes for 2,249 yards, 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
“I’ve known Derek for a long time,” Tuck said. “I got the opportunity to play with his brother in New York, and they’re both similar. They don’t let the moments rattle them, and he’s cool as a cucumber no mater what situation we’re in. He’s always real poised. He’s always (good at doing) whatever needs to be done, getting the team lined up in the huddle. He’s a true leader. Obviously the quarterback position is a huge focal point on any successful football team. I think we got a real good one for the future. He just continues to get better.”