Raiders losing streak dampens playoff talk
Three weeks later, the postseason chatter inside Oakland's locker room has gone silent.
Now the focus is on fixing a long list of problems on both sides of the ball and ending a three-game losing streak that has quieted any talk about the playoffs.
Quarterback Derek Carr said that's exactly where the Raiders' attention needs to be.
''I haven't even looked at the race,'' Carr said Tuesday. ''Every game for me is urgent. Every game I need to win now. As long as we keep that approach, we'll be all right.''
With only six games left, Oakland is running out of time to get things turned around.
The Raiders (4-6) have fallen out of contention in the AFC West and are losing ground in the chase for the second wild card spot.
Barring a turnaround in the final month, Oakland is on pace to miss the playoffs for a 13th consecutive season.
Raiders coach Jack Del Rio doesn't want his players thinking about that, however.
''It's important that we not look at it that way,'' Del Rio said. ''When you deal with adversity like we are, when you drop a few in a row, you have to be able to get up, dust yourself off and move forward. It really shows the kind of character you have.''
The three-game losing streak is the Raiders' longest since going 0-10 to start last season.
They began this year much more optimistically and were one of the NFL's biggest surprises through the first two months of the season.
After beating the New York Jets on Nov. 1 to improve to 4-3, Woodson said he wanted the Raiders to start thinking about themselves as a playoff team - a sentiment shared by several Oakland veterans.
The narrative in the locker room has changed somewhat following the three consecutive losses.
''It's definitely a time when guys are starting to realize that we're getting into desperate needs now,'' cornerback David Amerson said.
''We need to start putting together some wins, start stacking them up. Time's getting short. You're getting toward the bottom of the season and right now it's starting to get the mentality of all or nothing.''
The path to the playoffs isn't as complicated as the Raiders might think.
Of their final five opponents - Oakland plays Kansas City twice - only two have winning records.
Given their loss to 3-7 Detroit last week, however, the Raiders can't take anything for granted.
''It really just comes down to us,'' Carr said. ''I went back and watched (the Lions game) and it's like, man, this is completely on us, which is a good thing because now we can go out and fix it.''
Carr shot down any talk that the Raiders might be pressing. The problems they've had - on both sides of the ball - are self-inflicted and, he said, correctable.
''I don't worry about it but you always have to keep an eye on it,'' Carr said. ''You have to make sure that we're just doing our job. If we just stay focused on that we'll get back to what we've been able to do.''
Notes: Linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong was waived, leaving an open roster spot. That could be filled by rookie linebacker Neiron Ball, who has missed the past four games with a knee injury. Ball was not at practice Tuesday, though. . Center Rodney Hudson (ankle) did not practice.
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