Top 5 Reasons the Oakland Raiders Will Succeed: Debunking Arguments for Failure
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I have often talked about the reasons I feel the Oakland Raiders are on the brink of a new era, as have a number of fans, and even many of the players.
Just a few days ago, the San Jose Mercury News reported that the team's new media guide even touts "A New Era of Excellence."
Quarterback Carson Palmer commented, "It's a new regime, top to bottom."
I truly believe the Silver and Black will be on top of the AFC West by the time the 2012 regular season is said and done. Of course, many fans of opposing teams, and especially of the Raiders' most hated rivals, such as the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs, believe that Oakland will be at the bottom.
Surprisingly, even a few alleged fans of the Silver and Black have even bought into some of this hate talk.
Here is a look at five of the most common arguments I've heard behind the talk of the Raiders' possible failure, and the reasons they can mostly be debunked.
The Kansas City Chiefs Are Stronger
Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs
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Apparently, a few fans believe that the Kansas City Chiefs became a stronger team when the Raiders cut Kevin Boss and Stanford Routt and allowed them to join the dreaded rival. While the Chiefs may be better than last season, that isn't saying a lot.
Stanford Routt was the first player to be cut from the team in the offseason. In February, the penalty-ridden cornerback, who allowed nine touchdown passes and led the league in penalties with 17, signed with the Chiefs. Taking back any one of those touchdowns could have easily meant a different end to the 2011 season.
I'm not sure how anyone can think that losing Routt is a negative for the Raiders. As far as I'm concerned, the Chiefs now have the penalty magnet on their side of the fence. Isn't this a good thing for the Raiders?
While there may be a slightly better argument in regard to losing Kevin Boss, I still don't believe the Chiefs will be that much better off snagging the tight end. Boss didn't really live up to his potential in the one season he was in Oakland. He was injured during the 2011 preseason and missed the first two games, ultimately playing in 14 matchups with 11 starts. His stats were the lowest since his rookie season with the New York Giants, scoring three touchdowns and catching just 28 passes for 368 yards.
Losing Michael Bush
Michael Bush with the Chicago Bears
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Running back Michael Bush did a solid job in 2011 as a backup, but with the Raiders' difficult financial situation, there was no way to afford him this year. Was it a disappointment when he left to join the Chicago Bears? Yes. Does Bush leaving spell failure for the Raiders if Darren McFadden can't stay healthy in 2012? No.
Although we'd all like to see McFadden remain healthy for the entire season, even if he doesn't, we have some outstanding running backs in both Taiwan Jones and Mike Goodson, who arrived this year in a trade with the Carolina Panthers.
Between Goodson and Jones, they should be able to give some relief to McFadden and potentially prevent further injury this season.
The Loss of Kamerion Wimbley
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Kamerion Wimbley was the seventh player cut by the Silver and Black, leaving in March. Wimbley had a total of seven sacks in 2011, but was he really worth the massive amount of money he was asking?
According to ESPN, Wimbley's agent Joe Linta remarked, "We tried feverishly to work it out, but we couldn't. The Raiders' salary-cap and cash constraints were too great to get anything done. Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie is a real pro and I appreciate how he handled this situation."
While I didn't want the Raiders to lose Wimbley, the team has plenty of strong candidates to replace him. We'll find out in training camp who that will be, but I believe linebacker Philip Wheeler could be a huge help here. He's a strong run defender, and with the Indianapolis Colts last year, he was responsible for a sack in addition to making 80 tackles.
When it comes time to battle the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning, he could be a key component of a Raider victory.
Carson Palmer Is a Has-Been
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This is one of the worst arguments to date. Those who believe Carson Palmer is a "has-been" like to focus on Palmer's number of interceptions without looking at the whole picture. After just three days in Oakland, he was thrown into the game during Week 7, and in his debut with the Raiders that afternoon, he knew just 15 plays.
Sports Illustrated's Pete King tweeted recently, "Carson Palmer just told me: 'I've never been this excited for a football season in my life.'"
Throughout the offseason, Palmer has talked about his passion for the talent he has to work with on the field, and I believe that he has assumed a strong leadership role with the ability to dominate the AFC West this year.
They Keep Firing Staff Hired by Al Davis
RIP Al Davis
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While most of us respected and admired what Al Davis did not only for the Oakland Raiders, but for football in general, many fans felt that in his later years, Davis did not make the best decisions for the Silver and Black, so it doesn't make much sense to me to hear people upset that much of Davis' staff has been fired.
A new era has to equal change. One of the biggest problems within the Raiders organization was a lack of discipline. A new staff is bringing that much change, and new general manager Reggie McKenzie needed a mostly clean slate to make the turn around that will get the Silver and Black back to where they need to be.
Adam Schein was wrong. The Raiders will not be on the bottom of the AFC West. What he was right about is that "after years of confusion, chaos, and a commitment to the total antithesis of excellence, the Oakland Raiders have become a football team."
This new disciplined team will play smart in 2012. A change was needed, and that positive change is in the air.
Just win, baby!