Jason Campbell is now a member of the Chicago Bears
The Oakland Raiders usher in a new era in 2012 and will enter this season with some new faces. Fans may not always be excited about losing certain players, but the business aspect of the NFL makes it hard for players to stay on one team for their whole career.
Oakland has lost several players from last year's roster and has replaced them with new guys that Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen see fit for the team. This organization is moving in a new direction and has enough weapons on both sides of the ball to surprise a lot of people.
Let's take a look at five players the Raiders won't miss in 2012.
Stanford Routt is now a member of the Kansas City Chiefs. Last season he was the No. 1 cornerback for the Oakland Raiders, but struggled to make a major impact on defense. Reggie McKenzie did not feel he was the type of player the Raiders wanted to keep, especially with his contract size that was given to him by Al Davis.
While Routt was one of the most penalized players in the league, he was still the best cornerback on the roster. Oakland did not waste anytime replacing him after his release. Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer were brought in by McKenzie to give the Raiders a veteran presence on the field.
Defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, known as the Mad Chemist, brings in a new defensive scheme that will be aggressive and put the secondary in a better position to make plays and stop the run. Routt will not be missed in Oakland in 2012.
Kevin Boss, like Routt, was let go by the Raiders and later joined the Chiefs. Even though the Raiders are not very experienced at tight end, they will not miss Boss in 2012. The type of offense that offensive coordinator Greg Knapp will use may not always feature a tight end.
The Raiders have weapons on the offensive side of the ball that can be moved around to line up in the slot. Darren McFadden and Marcel Reece will often be set in motion to line up as receivers. Oakland also has a stable of young receivers that can be used during pass plays to spread the offense.
Brandon Meyers is the most experienced tight end on the roster and the favorite to start, but don't sleep on second-year player Richard Gordon. He has superb blocking skills and is starting to become a reliable pass catcher. Gordon or Meyers could easily duplicate what Boss did last season in Oakland; the Raiders TE caught 28 passes for 368 yards and three touchdowns.
Jason Campbell is now a member of the Chicago Bears. He was the starting quarterback for the Raiders last season until he went down with an injury. That triggered somewhat of a panic reaction from former head coach Hue Jackson, and Oakland traded for Carson Palmer. Campbell was doing a fine job at managing the Raiders' offense while the run game dominated other teams, but his numbers weren't staggering.
Palmer is a much better quarterback than Campbell and Matt Leinart is just as viable of a backup. Campbell now backs up Jay Cutler in Chicago. Oakland players may miss him in the locker room, but this is a business and they'll be much happier with Palmer when the season starts. Palmer will benefit from having a full offseason to get into shape and develop some chemistry with his receivers.
Perhaps the guy that will be missed the most on this list will be Rock Cartwright. Maybe not for his contributions on the field, but his leadership in the locker room and his presence in practice. Cartwright moved across the bay and is now a member of the 49ers. He rarely saw action as a running back and played mostly on special teams. Safety Mike Mitchell will now take his plays on punts and could be one of the team's emotional leaders as well.
Cartwright is a class act that every team would want on their roster, but the reality is his production is something that can be easily replaced. Oakland also has plenty of veterans in that locker room that can step up as leaders to fill the hole that was left behind.
Kamerion Wimbley is a strong pass-rusher that many in the Raider Nation felt we had to keep. While he did have an impact on defense, his new replacement, Phillip Wheeler, will make everyone forget about Wimbley quickly.
Wheeler is going to be a playmaker for Oakland this season. He may not be a familiar name yet to the Raider Nation, but they'll quickly learn to love him. He's aggressive against the run and is not afraid to lay a hit on the running back or lead blocker. His coverage skills are also impressive and much better than Wimbley's.
The Raiders' new defensive scheme will feature many different looks and blitzes, so getting to the passer this season won't be that big of an issue. Oakland's defensive front is also solid and should generate plenty of sacks.
While Wimbley was a physical specimen that led the Raiders in sacks the last two seasons, he won't be missed as much as you think. Pay close attention to Wheeler this season. You'll be hearing his name a lot.