HOW 'BOUT THEM RAIDERS?!

Posted September 08, 2012

 

ROMORULES requested that I write an article talking about how I think the RAIDERS going to do this year. If it wasn't specifically asked for I wouldn't do it; but considering how the Oakland page (like most NFL pages on YB) is ghost town I figured "Why not?"

At this point I peg the RAIDERS at 6-10 or 7-9. 

On Offense:

(?) Carson Palmer looks too erratic throwing the ball. His on-field leadership and take charge attitude (missing since Rich Gannon left) are great to see, but you need to be able to reliably make plays with your arm at QB, and I'm not sure Palmer can do that anymore. As I said in this article: http://www.yardbarker.com/forum/3/43/discussion/it_may_be_time_to_let_pryor_play/11572879

  if Palmer can't get right (meaning if we start 1-4 or worse to open the year AND Palmer's a big part of the problem), the time for Terrelle Pryor should be week 6. This kid can BALL, and the excitement he generates among his teammates is not to be denied. He's Cam Newton without all the blah blah.

(+) The O-line is good enough to keep the QB healthy. Especially since the RAIDERS are a power/zone running team, and opposing D-linemen tend to protect themselves before committing to an all out pass rush on downs that aren't obvious passing downs.

(+) Everyone is sold on the notion that if DMac can stay healthy, we could have one of the most dangerous offenses in the NFL; but if he goes down again, that we're dead in the water. The RAIDERS have enough talent to threaten on the ground even if DMac is out. That's what the trade to get Mike Goodson was all about. (Taiwan Jones has the explosiveness, but is an indecisive runner.)

(-) WR is a mess with injuries right now. That and the fact that there is no sense of anyone pushing anyone else. It just feels like a positionwide lack of hunger to win or even to play. Actually that isn't fair. Temple product Rod Streater is a guy I'd start just to send a wake up call to the more "pedigreed" WR's on the roster. I think that's what the recent signing of Derek Hagan was supposed to do, but it's hard to scare your roster with a guy you already let leave before. Streater being an undrafted rookie is a guy you DON'T want to lose out to because it destroys your negotiation leverage come contract time. Isn't that right DHB?

On Defense:

(+) The EAGLES are a freak. No one can match them upfront, so as good as the RAIDERS D-line is, it looks almost sickly by comparison. Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly make your line good just by virtue of playing on it. Only gets better when you add in Lamar Houston. Don't let his low sack numbers fool you. He's a 300lb DE and he does something no DE has done in Philly since Greg Townsend (whom we got from the RAIDERS): Houston sets the edge of the defense, and enables the LBs to clean up the trash. He is one of the reasons Kamerion Wimbley (now a DE (?) for the Titans) was able to be such a successful passrusher at SLB. On the other side Matt Shaughnessy is coming off a shoulder injury that cost him last year. He's talented but has battled injuries since college. If he goes down again I expect Seymour to slide outside and Desmond Bryant to come in and do his thing some more at DT.

(?) If MLB Rolando McClain doesn't go to jail (for pointing a gun at a guy's head, then firing the gun beside it) or if he isn't suspended by the NFL over it, the RAIDERS have a LB corp that could quietly end up as one of the best in the AFC. We need better play from that position to improve on a pretty crappy defense from a year ago. I'm STOKED to see what we get from rookie Miles Burris.

(-) Secondary worries me in a way that EAGLES fans can't understand. I think when we re-upped Matt Giordano it was a supersmart move. Especially since with the passing of Al Davis, defensive coaches can decide on what style they use and how they implement it. Mike Huff is a beast and it'll be great to see him unshackled and used different ways. I worry about the CBs. The starters, Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer are 30+ retreads, who don't exactly arrive with an All-Pro pedigree. Between them they have 5 picks since 2008. And all 5 belong to Spencer.

(+) We have the best kicking duo in the game. As we should since they were drafted high enough.

BOTTOM LINE: Denver won the division last year and got decidedly better. KC had massive injury trouble last year but they're healthy now. Plus they got better. San Diego took a FEW steps back. They continue to believe that Phillip Rivers and (the overrated) Antonio Gates can offset the glaring lack of talent EVERYWHERE ELSE on the offense.

The RAIDERS are in the middle of a make-over. They have a lot of pieces, but I'd crazy to expect them to do much better than they did last year. Hopefully they'll prove me wrong.

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