Found June 12, 2012 on Fox Sports:
The Oakland Raiders will finish in last place this year. And history will eventually judge this season as the most impressive and important since Rich Gannon led the Raiders to the 2003 Super Bowl. Finally, after years of confusion, chaos, and a commitment to the total antithesis of excellence, the Oakland Raiders have become a football team. With every move, whether it is trimming the salary cap fat from the prior regime or tempo in practice, a Raiders fan has to be more convinced than ever that general manager (imagine that, a GM in Oakland) Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen are the right combination to take the Raiders out of the woods, into the football world in 2012, and eventually into the playoffs. Al Davis was a genius. He built some epic Raiders teams. But, you could argue, and I have, that the game passed him over the last 10 years. Perhaps he hired the wrong people. Perhaps, his control of everything, his archaic ways, forcing assistants on the head coach, were counterproductive to the cause of winning. And Hue Jackson abused his power after Mr. Davis' death last year and was rightfully terminated. Enter McKenzie and Allen, and not a moment too soon. The offseason matters. The OTAs and minicamp practices matter. The Raiders are becoming a totally different team. Allen and McKenzie are savvy, prepared and thoughtful. They come from championship programs. I'm sure it won't be all smooth sailing. It's the first time McKenzie and Allen are in their respective positions. But they are football people. Talking to McKenzie a few weeks ago on the SiriusXM Blitz, he rightly can't stop raving about Allen. When we asked what was most impressive about his young head coach, McKenzie gushed, "His leadership skills are off the charts. His command in the meeting room. It's his command with the coaching staff, the scouting staff, the defensive room, the entire team. He takes it over. He communicates his point. His knowledge and passion comes over clearly. Dennis and I connect on many different fronts and the coaching staff and the players respond." Read that paragraph again. When was the last time the Raiders could actually say that the entire coaching staff and upper management were on the same page? It shouldn't be a novel concept, but in Oakland, it counts as a major development. I love the idea of Dennis Allen. In two years, if he stayed in Denver, he would've been the hot name in coaching circles. Talking to Allen on Monday morning on the SiriusXM Blitz, he confessed a natural learning curve for the job. But there is no doubt who is leading the Raiders. And the players are buying in, not looking sideways wondering if they can circumvent the coach by going to the owner's office. Allen told us his Raiders will bring, "a physical and mental toughness. We will be a smart football team. We will understand situations and execute. We will be disciplined. We will train ourselves to do the right thing." He spoke with conviction. Allen spoke of practicing these core values so they wouldn't be a sound bite or lip service, but a way of life on the practice field, in the meeting room, with the carry-over to game day. When was the last time a Raider fan believed this? Allen is a defensive guru and should maximize the talent. Allen doesn't hide his expectations, saying, "We will be a tough, smart, fly-around aggressive defense that will dictate to the offense." He reports that Rolando McClain, "has done everything we've asked him to do since we've been here," and says "from our interactions, he's a good guy." Allen stressed honesty with every player. It will be tough to win games this year. Peyton Manning is a Bronco. San Diego has talent. The Chiefs are getting their key players healthy. Davis and Jackson left the cap a mess and with a lack of draft picks, too. Jackson sold his soul and the 2012 draft for Carson Palmer and it predictably backfired. While I applaud Palmer for his work ethic this summer, and Allen says he is, "determined to have a great year with the hunger of a rookie," I wonder aloud if Palmer can still play at a high level. The best thing to happen to Palmer and the Raiders would be a healthy rebound season from star running back Darren McFadden. Allen told us at the NFL Scouting Combine that McFadden playing 16 games is a huge key, and the coach had to help ensure it. Allen praised McFadden for being healthy during minicamps and said he has spent extra time with the strength and conditioning coaches. I think the upside is 8-8, with the Raiders being well coached and a difficult out every Sunday. Here are my guarantees. The Raiders won't lead the league in penalties. They won't lead in the league in picks. They will be smart, fundamentally sound and make the fans proud. They won't be a punch line. Just build, baby.

The Oakland Raiders Sign FA TE Tory Humphrey

What’s up RaiderNation? In case you haven’t already heard, the Raiders recently signed a Free Agent Tight End, the one position they seem to be most thin at. The Raiders announced yesterday that they have signed Tory Humphrey, who has experience with both Reggie McKinzie in Green Bay, and Dennis Allen in New Orleans. Tory [...]

Rookie brags about getting out of ticket

In a tweet that has since been deleted, Raiders rookie Christo Bilukidi bragged on Twitter that he dodged a $428 ticket because he was a member of the team.

4 Keys to Deciding the AFC West

1. Chemistry in Denver: They got their guy. The only question left is whether or not the likes of Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas can speak his language. If they pick up Peyton’s system, watch out. If they cannot, Denver’s season will be in trouble early on. 2. Oakland’s youth movement: There has been a [...]

Oakland Raiders Offensive Line Adapting Well to New Scheme

The Oakland Raiders added a few new pieces to the offensive line this offseason including signing free agent Mike Brisiel and moving Stefen Wisniewski from guard to center. As they familiarize themselves with each other during organized team activities their biggest adjustment will be learning and executing the new offense. New offensive coordinator Greg Knapp brings his zone...

Denarius Moore goes down with a hamstring injury

Getty Images Oakland Raiders wide receiver Denarius Moore went down with a hamstring injury during Tuesday’s minicamp practice.  He was able to walk off the field under his own power, but it was obvious he was hurt. “He’s going to be fine,” said Raiders head coach Dennis Allen. “We’ll evaluate it. Usually those things take a couple of weeks or so (to heal) so we’ll...

Oakland Raiders Matt Shaughnessy Back at Mandatory Mini-Camp, Denarius Moore Hurt

The Oakland Raiders welcomed back defensive end Matt Shaughnessy to team workouts as he participated in the  mandatory mini-camp for the first time since a shoulder injury put him on injured reserve three games into last season. On a less encouraging note, wide receiver Denarius Moore left with a hamstring injury, but it does not appear to be serious. “Yeah, he’s got a little...

Oakland Raiders Begin Final Mandatory Mini-Camp Today

The Oakland Raiders will have their final mandatory mini-camp this week in Alameda, California. The mini-camp marks the end of the Raiders' offseason program as the players will step away from the team until training camp in late July. So far this offseason the Raiders have had three organized team activities and a rookie mini-camp in preparation for the 2012 season. As the...

Terrelle Pryor says he’s a pocket passer

Getty Images When you look at Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor, you would think that he’s a run first quarterback.  Today he made it clear to the local media that he’s a pocket passer and not one of those quarterbacks that ran a spread offense in college. “A lot of people don’t know that at Ohio State I didn’t really run a spread offense, where you’re running...

Raiders sign TE Humphrey

Tight end Tory Humphrey signed with the Raiders. A veteran of 31 career NFL games, he spent part of the past three seasons with the Saints. Humphrey, who played at Central Michigan, also played in 24 games over three seasons with the Packers, with 11 of his 13 career catches coming while playing in all 16 regular-season games fr Green Bay in 2008. He will be battling for a roster...

Pryor looks to build on truncated rookie season

Terrelle Pryor's rookie year in the NFL amounted to a false start. The former Ohio State star quarterback entered the league late through the supplemental draft, served a five-game suspension for infractions from college and then got on the field for only one aborted play for the Oakland Raiders last season. That's why this offseason has been so crucial for Pryor, who is...

Kevin Boss Understands This Rivalry Just Fine

The President of the Oakland Tourism Board is NOT amused The NFL is full of long-standing rivalries filled with bitter animosity that helps to ratchet up the intensity on any Sunday the two squads square off. One of the rivalries that has defined the AFC West since the days of the AFL is the one between Oakland and Kansas City. Historically, both teams have enjoyed dominant...

2012 Minicamp, Day 1

The Raiders 2012 offseason took another step forward today with the first day of a 3 day minicamp running through Thursday.  As always, TFDS will attempt to sift through all of the information that comes from the camp and use it to predict what it means for 2012 and beyond. First, much may be made about the fact that the Raiders had 100% participation.  I in no way wish to take...
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