The Oakland Raiders must make some serious changes in 2013.
2012 has been far less than kind to the Oakland Raiders. The offense is anemic, and the defense has been just as terrible.
General manager Reggie McKenzie is having a tough time trying to change the culture of a franchise that has been built on rugged, physical play. Then again, it was impossible to think it would happen overnight.
As Week 17 approaches, the Raiders are 4-11 and remain one of the worst teams in the NFL. They had their impressive moments this season, but a struggling offense coexisting with an even worse defense is a recipe for disaster.
Here is a blueprint of what Oakland needs to do in the offseason.
The Oakland Raiders will have 17 unrestricted free agents once the 2012 season is complete, but only a select few are worth holding onto.
The Raiders should re-sign Philip Wheeler, Desmond Bryant, Shane Lechler, Brandon Myers and Mike Goodson.
Other notable unrestricted free agents like Richard Seymour, Matt Giordano and Khalif Barnes are not worth keeping.
Wheeler had the best season of his career and Myers emerged as an up-and-coming tight end in the NFL. The rest of the guys are dead weight and haven't played well enough to earn a spot on the team for next season.
Even though the Raiders have only allowed 17 points over their last two games, the rest of the season was about as bad as it could get on the defensive side of the ball.
This year's draft is loaded with defensive talent, and the Raiders are sure to come out of it with a solid pick.
The team is in desperate need of a pass-rusher, and with big-time threats on the end like Jarvis Jones, Barkevious Mingo and Bjoern Werner, Oakland can finally patch up a leaky part of its defense.
The secondary was also in shambles this season and has given up over 240 yards per game through the air, good enough for 22nd in the NFL.
Even if the Raiders offense was clicking, it would be nearly impossible for them to keep up with teams dropping 30-plus points on them like they've done this season.
Oakland's young wide receivers have shown signs of greatness this season, but they've also shown signs of immaturity and have dropped several passes.
Darrius Heyward-Bey has regressed after a much-improved 2011 campaign, and Denarius Moore has struggled mightily during the second half of the season.
Oakland needs a consistent No. 1 receiver to throw the ball to, and there are some big-name wideouts who are set to become free agents once the season is over.
Especially if Greg Knapp is still in Oakland next season (holds breath).
It's comical to think that Greg Knapp still has a job in the NFL. The guy just can't admit that his system is a complete failure and he refuses to adapt to the personnel around him.
The Raiders have not scored a touchdown in three weeks and they have only managed 21 points in their last two games against two mediocre defenses.
Oakland's offense has been completely one-dimensional this season and Carson Palmer was forced to take control of it ever since the running game began struggling with Knapp's zone-blocking scheme.
Knapp was so bad as the Raiders' offensive coordinator in his first stint that former head coach Tom Cable stripped him of his play-calling duties. The writing is on the wall, and the Raiders' talented offense will continue to struggle as long as Knapp is running the show.