The Raiders have a good core group on defense, but no true leaders on the field. Most great defensive teams are known for having a true field general leading the charge.
When Ray Lewis hit the free agent market this year, the first thing I thought of was Big Al's gravity towards signing players that were past their prime. But still had one or two years left in the league.
Of course we did not make a run at him, but for a brief moment you could see Lewis in the silver and black leading his troops Howard and Morrison to the pillars of greatness.
Having been in the league a long time and acquiring a treasure trove of knowledge about offensive audibles and trickery he could have shown the young defensive players what it takes to destroy an offensive game plan.
Now we obviously didn't sign him, but there are still a few linebackers on the market that can lead the defense out of the abyss and into glory.
Now I know what were all thinking, this is the new Raiders or at least this offseason would suggest. Those days of signing aging hard nose brawlers are gone along with our once feared defense.
New head coach, new defensive coordinator and staff, no dramatic offseason risks taken, there is little resemblance of the old days.
That seems to be the consensus around Raider Nation these days. However with the tragic loss of Cooper and no true complete starting corp of LB's there is some room for Big Al to fly the flag of old and bring in an ugly smash mouth veteran to solidify the front seven.
Nothing against Firm, but without a natural threat to help with the run and bring the pain on the blitz defense will continue to struggle in finding its identity.
Some of us are hoping to pick up a strong side LB or hybrid in the draft but with so many needs and so little picks it doesn't seem likely that the draft will solve all of our problems.
The only other way to get some help is maybe signing a free agent like Donnie Edward, Derrick Brooks, Willie Mcginest, or maybe bring Napoleon Harris back into our ranks.
Now I know the last one has never lived up to his expectations, but he's still a solid tackler and would out play any of our strong side/special teams backers that we have filling in.
I personally feel Edwards would be the best choice since Big Al always has a sweet spot for the enemies veterans.
Well maybe I'm just as sentimental as Big Al is, but these days a solid linebacker corp is a golden goose that will lay a fat egg every Sunday—especially when your safeties are getting more tackles than the linebackers are.
Honestly it really wouldn't hurt our chances. We can't field the same defense that couldn't stop second and third string running backs and expect a different result.
I say sign a big ugly leader that can take our defense into the ranks of victory!