OK, let's face it: The AFC West was garbage in its '08 campaign.
No one was over .500 halfway through the season, and the Chargers won the division by the skin of their teeth. But their dreams of a Super Bowl were crushed by the current champion Pittsburgh Steelers.
So I want to address some things around the Raiders organization that have been bugging me as we head into what hopes to be a better 2009 season.
First of all, Jamarcus Russell is in no way a bust. It is simple math. If any NFL quarterback has ZERO talent around him offensively (besides McFadden, Fargas, and Bush, who are all running backs), chances are he'll have almost ZERO success.
Russell has one of the biggest arms in NFL history and the most underrated accuracy in the NFL. I don't think anybody can throw for 4,000 yards with only two seconds to make a decision.
If Al Davis can make the right decisions in the free agency this year, collecting a veteran guard or tackle, a solid OL in the third or fourth round, and a WR with the seventh pick in the draft, Jamarcus can have a solid year as a premier QB. I say a WR in the first round because we don't need a top-of-the-line OL for our offensive scheme.
Darren McFadden, Justin Fargas, Michael Bush, triple threat. Need I say more?
Our defense is even underrated. When your offense has a three and out on the first three plays on every drive, an NFL-caliber team will score a lot of points, no matter if they are the Steelers or the Lions. It's a credit that the Raiders defense kept as many games as close as it did.
If I were Al Davis, I would consider trading out of the Top Ten, using our first and third/fourth round picks to get two mid-first-round selections, which would be used for Percy Harvin, a solid playmaker, and Brian Cushing, who could solidify the linebacker corps.
As far as free agency, I would first bring in a veteran WR like Marvin Harrison to develop the young wide receivers that we have and may draft. Then, I would get a great DT in Rocky Bernard who could help Tommy Kelly live up to his potential. Finally, I would get a great offensive lineman, as there are plenty to choose from.
Please, Al, make the Raiders the dominant team in the NFL it once was.