A Love/Hate Article: Expectations
Jon York – Oct 9, 2012
A funny thing, expectations. They don't require quantifiable facts. Irrefutable evidence is not required. Expectations are what opinion believes reality will be.
Coming into the 2012 season there were a wide assortment of expectations. Some expected Dennis Allen to instill long-awaited discipline in this group of penalty record holders. Most expected an already good defensive line to be bolstered by the return of Matt Shaughnessy. A few expected a tamper-free defense to provide enough support to a mostly returning offense to contend for a playoff berth.
Not to suggest that the whole fan base thought everything was roses and marshmallows.
Some expected Carson Palmer to continue to be a turnover machine and fail in an offense that required him to adjust his game. His first two seasons had more than a couple fans expecting Darren McFadden to fail in the zone blocking scheme. Too many fans saw band-aid fixes at linebacker and cornerback and knew the defense was doomed.
Love when good expectations become reality, hate when poor expectations are met.
As I said it doesn't take hard facts for anyone to form their expectations - though a knowledgeable and passionate Raider fan base will rarely let unrealistic expectations go unquestioned.
The Raiders were getting a healthy Darren McFadden back and were the seventh ranked rush offense last season. I'm not sure anyone would have honestly predicted for Greg Knapp's scheme to look this bad running that ball.
Returning defensive linemen combined for 20.5 sacks last year. Who could realistically predict the pass rush disappearing?
Who would have expected both starting cornerbacks to go down? To possibly lose a game because of a Jon Condo concussion?
It's not all doom and gloom - Carson Palmer and Philip Wheeler are the most obvious examples of players outperforming what a lot of fans forecasted for them.
The best and worst part of expectations is that they are always evolving... Which brings me to the biggest hate part of this love/hate rant.
I can't say I have my finger on the pulse of the entire Raider Nation. I talk to people. I read message boards. I use the gift of Twitter. A lot of people are more than willing to voice their opinions on various social media outlets. I'm not in contact with a large percentage of Raider backers - but I feel I've seen a large enough sample size to see a dramatic change in expectations for 2012.
Expectations are what opinion believes reality will be.
Yes I repeated it, because all too often I'm seeing a common thread. A lot of fans expect the team to flat out suck for the rest of the season. The first pick in the draft has come up. "Fire Greg Knapp" has been shouted ad nauseum. Some have already called for Dennis Allen to be canned, or for Reggie McKenzie to be let go....
It has been four games. No doubt, two of them were ugly - and a loss to Denver always stings. Still, four games.
I would never have expected so many to give up after four games. Unfortunately, my opinion there does not match reality.
Palmer has picked up the new system pretty well. Wheeler and Burris have been pleasant surprises. The coaching staff has a bye week to make adjustments. Neither injured corner is out for the season. Darren McFadden is healthy and still gifted... It has only happened once but we've seen what the offense can be when the team gets McFadden on track - and they have 75% percent of the season left to get it right.
That's right - it's only one quarter down. I know as a group we're not the most patient bunch, rightfully so after the past decade... It's just that given the injuries and new schemes on both sides of the ball I think the General Manager, coaches, and players deserve far more than four games. It should take more than the quarter pole for people to throw in the towel and start wondering who the Raiders will take with the first pick in the draft.
Is that too much to expect?
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