Now that the dust has settled...
That was a game I expect the players will wake up to this morning and think: "We should have won that". Rewind a year and the players would have woken up after being soundly beaten at Seattle, thinking "It's gonna be another hard season".
That's the change in mindset that I expect to characterise our season. Sure, we'll have some bad days at the office where some of the best sides just turn it on but I'm expecting a lot more games like we saw yesterday over the course of the next 16 weeks. And (like yesterday) while we won't come down on the right side of the result on every occassion, I think we're going to start to see a team which believes it can and will compete. There's a huge difference between waking up thinking "damn, we should have won" and waking up thinking "damn, we got tanned out there". And not just for the players but for the fans too (which will hopefully translate into better attendances and support in the EJD this season).
It's a long road back from a 1-15 season. We knew it would take a lot of rebuilding. Some got a little carried away with pre-season performances and some will be overly disappointed by yesterday's defeat. The reality is probably that we're not quite as good as we hoped we'd be - but far from as bad as some worry we still might be. This will probably be a rebuilding and transition season, where we end up with something like four, five or six wins. That's not a terribly exciting prospect, admittedly, but it's what this young team learns from that process which is most important and which will make a difference in a couple of seasons' time. What Bradford, in particular, will learn between now and then is going to be crucial to our development. The coaches and playcalls too, will improve as we experience more situations like we found ourselves in with two minutes to play yesterday.
I'm already expecting us to go and beat Oakland next week. Not hoping but expecting. I reckon the players will be too - which is probably a long way from what they were expecting when we rocked up for week two at Washington last season. We're on our way back.