September 9, 2009

2009 NFL Preview: Oakland Raiders

New coach, same Raiders. All what you hear from football analysts is that the Raiders will only improve with Al Davis gone. I say BS. Al Davis has won three Super Bowls in his time as the Raiders owner. Davis knows how to make personnel decisions. What Davis doesn't know how to do, is stay out of the way of his head coaches.

After Davis fired Tom Florres in the late-80's, Davis has went out and hired young coaches who have a plan and know how to execute the plan. Davis hired a young Mike Shanahan, but he couldn't stay out of the way. Eventually Davis fired Shanahan and you know what happened to Shanahan after he was hired by the Raiders rival the Denver Broncos. Davis also hired a young offensive coordinator from the Philadelphia Eagles named Jon Gruden. The Raiders success earlier in this decade all goes to Gruden. But Gruden wasn't a "Yes Man" and was eventually traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Since Gruden left the Raiders have had a collection of "Yes Men" from Bill Callahan, Norv Turner, Art Shell, Tom Cable. Lane Kiffin could have been the next Jon Gruden or Mike Shanahan, but Davis wouldn't stay out of his way. Which leads us to where we are now.

The Oakland Raiders, a once proud organization, is now the laughing stock of the league. And it doesn't appear that Tom Cable is the right choice for the head coaching position. Especially after he knocked out his assistant coach. So their may be a new coach in Oakland, the situation hasn't changed. And I don't expect it to change.

The Quarterback: The Raiders brought in Jeff Garcia to compete/backup JaMarcus Russell. But instead of keeping Garcia around, the Raiders released Garcia in favor of Charlie Frye and Bruce Gradkowski. It's a clear sign that Russell is the quarterback and that no one behind him has a chance at the starting job.

Russell hasn't been bad, but he hasn't been good. Russell is at his most effective when the Raiders run the ball over seventy five percent of the time. Russell has confidence to be the starting quarterback, but he needs to show a better work ethic. Russell's teammates support him, now it's time for Russell to show that he is a leader.

Running Game: If their is one area that the Raiders should be affective at, it's the running game. Darren McFadden will be the every down back for the Raiders. McFadden was hurt the majority of last year with turf toe. McFadden this year seems to be healthy and ready for a breakout season.

Behind McFadden is Michael Bush, Justin Vargas, and Louis Rankin. Bush rushed for 177 yards in the season finale win over Tampa Bay. When healthy, Bush can be the Raiders sledgehammer. Vargas had been the Raiders every down back, now he will be the third down back. Rankin is the speed back for long yardage situations. The Raiders also brought in Lorenzo Neal to be the fullback. Neal has been the fullback for multiple 1,000 yard rushers.

Schedule: The schedule alone is brutal for the Raiders. They have to travel to Pittsburgh and Dallas late in the season. Philadelphia comes to Oakland early in the season. That's three loses right there. And that doesn't even counting a trip to play the New York Giants, a late season trip to Cleveland or their two games against San Diego.

Video: This video is great. In one of the NFL Networks Top Ten lists, they featured the greatest feuds in football. And the Raiders vs. The World was number one.

Prediction, 4-12, 3rd AFC West: Well look at it this way, the Raiders won't be as bad as the Denver Broncos. The Raiders though will be bad. Their defense is horrible. Even if Richard Seymore shows up, the Raiders still have problems along their defensive line. Then add in a difficult schedule and a malcontent as the head coach and the Raiders are once again at the bottom of the league.

No comments:

Post a Comment