In part two of this three-part series, “Know Your Enemy”, we’re going to take a look at the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders are Denver’s most bitter rival, although in recent years, the Raiders’ record has taken some of the intensity out of the rivalry.
In 2007, the Raiders organization welcomed Lane Kiffin as the 16th coach of the franchise. In 2008, they handed him his walking papers.
Enter Tom Cable.
The team finished 5-11 and in third place in the AFC West. It was the first time in six years they didn’t finish in last. The Raiders, ranked 29th in total offense, amassed a paltry 263 points. The defense, ranked 27th overall, allowing 388 points.
The team hoped to address the offensive line and the wide receiving corp in the draft. Well, with the seventh pick overall, the Raiders selected swift-footed wideout Darrius Heyward-Bey from the University of Maryland. Heyward-Bey will probably have the opportunity to make an impact. The other six rookies selected in the ’09 draft will, more than likely, have to wait their turn.
JaMarcus Russell sort of came into his own this past season with a QB rating around 77, 2423 yards in the air, and 13 touchdowns versus eight interceptions. The Raider Nation hopes Russel to Heyward-Bey will be a phrase repeated many times this season.
With little altered from 2008 to 2009, it would seem the Raiders will be hard pressed to greatly improve upon their situation. Still, a brief look at the 2009 schedule and I could see them winning anywhere from four to seven games this year.
And, that may be enough to keep them out of the basement for a second consecutive season. Only Al Davis knows if it will be enough to give Cable a second season as head coach.
Next up in the assessment, the San Diego Chargers. Be sure to check out:
Retrieved May 16, 2009, from NFL.com
Retrieved May 16, 2009, from CBSsports.com
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