The 2009 campaign brings up a lot of questions in terms of player personnel. Six consecutive losing seasons will do that to a team.
After dishing out big money to bring back homegrown All-Pros, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and punter Shane Lechler, Al Davis and the Raiders ran a fairly conservative ship most of the off-season.
Aside from the tragic loss of special teams linebacker Marquis Cooper, this past off-season was fairly quiet.
This is a stark contrast to last off-season where Al Davis doled out massive contracts to flashy, yet questionable talent such as Deangelo Hall, Gibril Wilson, and Javon Walker, just to name a few.
Coupled with a public feud between former coach Lane Kiffin and the longtime owner, last off-season was anything but quiet.
This off-season was viewed as conservative, at least by Raiders standards. The Raiders, ability to re-sign Asomugha and Lechler, two of their longest tenured players and best at their position, spoke volumes in terms of the direction the team was heading.
Many “experts” assumed the team would lose one, or both players due to their losing ways.
Tom Cable’s interim title was lifted as he was named full time head coach, amidst the death of his father.
The Raiders appeared to have turned over a new leaf under Cable, focusing on keeping their own team intact, rather than signing the sexiest players available as they have in years past.
Then came the 2009 draft. Al Davis made this year the ultimate boom bust draft class, selecting Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Mike Mitchell, with picks 7 and 47, respectively.
Davis was crucified by the media for swinging for the fences, but only time will tell if he struck gold or struck out.
With most of the team’s young nucleus returning in 2009, here is a breakdown of 10 key Oakland Raiders to watch in the 2009 season.