This time of year hasn't always been kind to the Raiders organization. Offseasons are supposed to be filled with things like hope, promise, and change. Well, the change part they have done plenty of times. Unfortunately, it's usually their head coach.
Their offseasons have been filled with ridiculous free agent signings, coaching carousels, and questionable draft picks. Javon Walker, Tommy Kelly, Lane Kiffin, Sebastian Janikowski, the list could get quite long if one was so inclined. But I'm trying not to dwell on their past mistakes.
This offseason has been different. There is almost a refreshing breeze sweeping through the Raider Nation. What is causing it? Nobody seems quite sure. They just know it's different. And seemingly for the better.
Instead of signing ridiculously priced free agents from elsewhere, they paid money to two proven and worthy players of their own, Nnamdi Asomugha and Shane Lechler. Some feel they were still paid too much, but at least it was to two players they know what to expect from. They didn't shell it out to another DeAngelo Hall.
They kept interim coach Tom Cable who finished off last season after the firing of Lane Kiffin. The players seem to like him and they did play fairly well down the stretch last season against teams that had much more to play for than the Raiders did.
Last year's contract signing debacles have started to get corrected. Javon Walker agreed to a substantial paycut. Other players who have restructured their deals include Robert Gallery, Tommy Kelly, and Justin Fargas.
This just doesn't seem like the Raiders and Al Davis. Is there somebody behind the scenes pulling the strings? Is it Al himself, finally realizing his past mistakes? Nobody seems to be able to say for sure why, but there seems to be a different feel about it. And if it is someone behind the scenes, then who is it? Is Cable being allowed to have a say?
Of course, this all could go up in smoke if they sign Terrell Owens. Everyone would know right away that this is the same old Raiders at that point. Or they could draft everyone based on 40 times again. Then all would seem normal in Raiderland.
But for now, Raider Nation, there's a different feel to this offseason. A nice feeling. Nobody is quite sure what is causing it. But it's refreshing.