Oakland Raiders Could Surprise Next Year
Under first-year head coach Lane Kiffin, the Raiders were competitive in most of the games they played last season, even with a new system on offense.
They had a revolving door at QB and nobody respected their passing game because they did not have one.
The D had trouble stopping the run on any kind of consistent basis, often doing well for a good part of the game only to allow a few huge runs at critical times. This was due to very poor tackling.
Even with all of this the Raiders could have very easily been an 8-8 club last year, losing more than a few games late in the fourth quarter after holding the lead for most of the game.
This year they will start the second season under Coach Kiffin with Jamarcus Russell at QB. Russell was able to watch and learn from the sidelines last year and got his feet wet toward the end of the season.
A full camp and preseason this year for Russell, along with the knowledge that he will be the starter on opening day, will be huge for Russell.
With the offensive line going into their second year under Coach Cable they should only get better. The running game last year was a bright spot. It is said that the blocking scheme Cable brought in takes a season or so for the linemen to learn, and they picked it up better then anyone could have expected last year.
One of the Raiders' LBs told a reporter that Bush was a monster and was one of the Raiders best kept secrets. With Fargas, the other RBs, and the added players on the O line the running game should only get better.
I expect the passing game to be much improved this year as well. The addition of two new WRs, the rookie TE going into his second season, the running game, and Russell should all contribute to the passing game going up.
I also think Rob Ryan and the D will have something to prove this year. Bringing in a safety who is a great tackler and can play the SS position was huge. Adding D. Hall only made an already good secondary better.
There will be more help coming by way of the fourth pick in the draft and whatever other draft day surprises Mr. Davis might have in store for us.
Through all the laughter and the past five bad seasons the Raiders have been adding some very good young players on both sides of the ball. Even the free agents were young; D. Hall is just 24 years old.
They still have work to do, but once fully built the Raiders will be a force for years to come. Much will be riding on how J Russell settles in. Once this kid gets some games in he has the potential to become great. The 2008 season will go down as the year that the Oakland Raiders started to rise from the ashes and reclaim their heritage.
The Raiders are headed back to doing what they have done in year's past that has caused them to be hated by so many today. Mr. Davis is doing it the way he has done it for more than 40 years—and that is his way.
The Raiders played in
- 3 AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES in the 1960s
- 6 AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES in the 1970s
- 2 AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES in the 1980s
- 1 AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES in the 1990s
- 2 AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES in the 2000s to date
- 5 SUPER BOWLS WINNING 3 to date.
- They were also literally a play or two away from playing in another 5 SUPER BOWLS
- Under Al Davis they have played in or had been knocking on the door to play in almost 25 percent of all Super Bowls played to date.
Like all teams in the NFL the Raiders have had their lows, but unlike most NFL Teams the Raiders have rose from the ashes decade in and decade out.
The one constant to all of the above has been the Great Mr. Al Davis
If you want to deal in FACT, put the Raider Organization and what they have accomplished up against other NFL Organizations and you will see that only a select few would not hold their head in shame when stood up next to the OAKLAND RAIDERS.
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