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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Oakland Raiders 2010: Can They Improve?

Last Years Record: 5-11

Wins: Chiefs, Eagles, Bengals, Steelers, Broncos

Losses: Chargers (2x), Broncos, Texans, Giants, Jets, Chiefs, Cowboys, Redskins, Browns, Ravens
Biggest Playmaker: Nnamdi Asomugha
CB, California, Drafted #31, Eight years
Asomugha is one of the top corners in the league and has been one of the only bright spots on the Raiders over the past few years. He may not put up the statistics, (only 3 interceptions in the last 3 years) but that is mainly because he is never thrown at.
Impact Player: Richard Seymour
DE, Georgia, Drafted #6, 10 years
The Raiders acquired Seymour for a first round pick last year. At 6’6” 310 lbs. Seymour has the size to play defensive tackle and the quickness to play end, so obviously he is a hard guy to block. Seymour is one of those players that makes everyone around him better, he draws a lot of double teams and does a great job of getting in QB faces and in their passing lanes. For the Raiders to have a winning season, they are going to need Seymour to have a big year.
Biggest Offseason Addition: Jason Campbell
QB, Auburn, drafted #25, six years
You would have to go back to 2005, with QB Kerry Collins under center, to remember the last time the Raiders had a reliable QB. After giving up on former first overall pick JaMarcus Russell, the Raiders will now hope Jason Campbell can be the answer. Campbell has showed improvement every year as a pro, but was not the right fit in Washington. The Raiders will see if he can be the right fit for them.
Biggest Offseason Loss: Greg Ellis
DE, North Carolina, Drafted #6, twelve years
Ellis was released to free up some cap for the Raiders. His veteran presence and team leading 7 sacks will be missed. Ellis was bothered by knee injuries at the end of the year but could have been a guy that could still help contribute this year.
Biggest Draft Steal: Bruce Campbell
OT, Maryland, Drafted #106, Rookie
Campbell has all the physical attributes that you look for in a tackle, he is 6’6” 314 lbs, very strong, and a great athlete for his size. He has all the physical talents but needs to get better with fundamentals and technique.
Biggest Draft Mistake: Kirk Morrison Trade
Drafting Rolando McClain 8th overall in the draft seemed a bit odd at first because they had MLB Kirk Morrison. Morrison had started every game but one for the last five years for the Raiders, and had 115+ tackles every year. The Raiders promptly traded away Morrison for a 4th round pick. It does not make a lot of sense to me that you trade away the leader of your defense and a guy that is still young for only a 4th rounder. Plus, both Morrison and McClain are versatile enough to play outside linebacker, a position filled with question marks right now for the Raiders.
Offseason Grade: C+
Regardless of what the Raiders did this off-season, they were not going to be able to become a playoff team; there are just too many holes on their team. I really like Rolando McClain but do not agree with trading away Morrison. Getting Campbell was a good pick up and they did a good job in the later rounds of the draft getting some guys with a lot of potential.
X-Factor: Darren McFadden
RB, Arkansas, Drafted #4, three years
Coming out of college McFadden was a guy that had similar talents as Adrian Peterson. Big, strong, fast and could make people miss in the open. Yet, so far he has disappointed. For the last two years injuries have killed him. If he has one full healthy year, McFadden could be a huge playmaker for the Raiders.
Name You Should Know: Michael Bush
RB, Louisville, Drafted #100, three years
Bush probably would have been drafted top 15, but broke his leg in his first game of his senior year. Bush was able to make a comeback and has been a very good back for the Raiders. In his two years playing he has only gotten 218 carries but has averaged 4.6 yards.
Rising Star: Zach Miller
TE, Arizona St., Drafted #38, four years
Miller receptions and yards have improved every year as a pro; he had 66 receptions and 805 yards last year. Miller has yet to have any stability at the QB position while with the Raiders, and now with Campbell as the starter Miller may be able to have a break out year.
Offensive Outlook: C-
There are so many question marks on the Raiders defense: How will Jason Campbell do? Who will he throw to other than Zach Miller? Can McFadden stay healthy? Can the O-line protect the QB (let up 49 sacks last year)?
Defensive Outlook: C-
The Raiders defense seems to also be filled with holes except at cornerback and the defensive tackle spot. The rest of their defense is either inexperienced or unproven.
Special Teams Outlook: A-
Johnnie Lee Higgins has the ability to be a playmaker in special teams like he did in 2008, and they also have Speedster Yamon Figurs, and rookie Jacoby Ford. The kicking game is probably the most stable thing the Raiders have. Sebastian Janikowski has one of the best legs in the NFL and Shane Lechler is paid a ridiculous amount of money for a punter but may be worth it.
Projected 2010 Record: 3-13
When you look at the Raiders roster there simply is not a handful of guys that you know that you can rely on to have good years. Their team is a model of inconsistency. Every game they won last year was by 4 points or less, I think they were lucky to go 5-11. For them to have a great year, a lot of players would have to have breakout years, and I think that is very unlikely.

4 comments:

Alex Jenny said...

I see the Raiders finishing second in the AFC West, behind the Chargers and ahead of the Chiefs. Jason Campbell will succeed in Oakland. Hopefully for him one of his receivers will step up and contribute.

Anonymous said...

You're not very good at this - the Raiders enjoyed their best off-season in almost 30 years. We picked up what might very well turn out to be the best def. lineman in the draft after trading down twice, no less in the 2nd round. Houston had two sacks against the Cowboy's first team in the first half of his first game in the NFL. Pow. He has a mean streak. Asomuouga said that Shaugnessy (DE) is going to be a superstar, this 2nd-year player's got all the tools. Kelly, our DT, lost 35lbs. and has never looked better or more agile. We have moved Seymor back inside to be the leader of this stout unit which had 12 sacks in the first two pre-season games. Pow. McClain is not going to be a Patrick Willis type, but instead a Matt Millen type, which is exactly what the Raiders need to finally put the brakes on opponent's running game. All of our draft picks made the team, 3 will start. Offensively, we added by subtraction. This is a different team with JR. The Raiders could have been 7-9 last year, easy, without him. We have a very inspirational OC, the former Ravens qb coach, who so far has impressed. The Raiders have scored on their first possession the last 3 pre-season games in a row. Last season that didn't happen once. DHB, last year's 1st-round bust, is back and he's on a mission. His camp and pre-season was a 180 degree turnaround from last year. Louis Murphy, WR, plays like a crafty, wily old veteran. Bush, our bruiser back, was recently injured, but he was practicing with the team this week and may surprise the experts and play. We have a new starter at qb with improving numbers every year he has been in the league. He has led those 1st series TD drives the last 3 games, spreading it around. Our backups are excellent, so no worries, in any case. All in all, 8-8 would be a conservative prediction given the weight of their off-season.

Alex Jenny said...

@Anonymous, thanks for your comment. I do think the Raiders are going to be better this year, but you do need to look at their team a little more objectively. You must know you cannot base every point/prediction/analysis on preseason. I will be a bit surprised if DHB and Murphy play all year like you say they will after last season. In 2009 DHB had nine catches and six drops. That is brutal. Louis Murphy had nine drops.

Just because three draft picks will start doesn't give them immediate playmakers at the position. I think McClain is a phenomenal player and that he will win defensive ROY. That said, it is very hard (and uncommon) for a rookie to come in and dominate.

The offensive line is still shaky while the defense is improving. And just because Asomuouga said Shaughnessy will be a star doesn't make it true! It's nice that some players have confidence in others, though. And you can't base a prediction that Houston will be the best DL in the draft because of one half of a preseason game!

All that said, adding Campbell was a HUGE upgrade at QB. DHB and Murphy need a complete turnaround this year, as well as Darren McFadden...he is becoming close to "bust" category.

Keith McGonigle said...

I don’t know if you remember a guy named Jamarcus Russell but he went 26 for 39, last preseason with 1 Td and 0 Int. I’m guessing at this time last year Raiders fans thought they were going to win the super bowl. Preseason is not that important, so you may want to pump the brakes with the whole best off-season in 30 year talk. The Raiders had a good draft, but the expectations are so low because of previous drafts that you may be over hyping it.

I don’t see how losing a bad QB that had 2 wins in 9 starts and replacing him with an average QB that had 4 wins in 16 starts, (a QB the Redskins have been trying to get rid of for the last 2 years), will equal a dramatic improvement. The Raiders still have a bad offensive line, no proven backs or receivers.

The defense has potential, but I just don’t see any reliable weapons on offense. You say that there are a lot of guys that are being talked up and could have breakout years, but there are many player around the league that get talked up every year, yet never seem to make a huge impact: Laurence Maroney, Trent Edwards, Roy Williams, Robert Gallery, and Michael Huff to name a few.

The last thing is that the fact that 3 rookies are starting does not mean that it was a great draft; it just means there were a lot of holes. The Colts and Saints do not have any rookies starting on their depth charts, that does not mean they had a bad draft, they just didn’t need them to start, the Raiders do.

By the way, what is up with the Pow thing?

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