It's that time of year when all of us football fans start salivating and have dreams of our star player, coach and owner lifting up the Lombardi trophy.
I have started reading the articles from the armchair prognosticators, and I have decided to add my thoughts along with the others. Feel free to pick me apart or join in, because I have tasted the kool-aid and I like the flavor.
This year feels different and camp is still weeks away. There are no catchy slogans, "I'm in", this year. Just the desire by the coach and some players to get rid of the ugly aura and stench that has been around this team following the Super Bowl loss and the mutiny against Bill Callahan.
I believe that the negative influences on this team are a minority and at this point it seems as if any player was to make a negative statement that they would be tarred and feathered and fed exed to San Diego.
From the reports coming from the OTAs Jamarcus might finally have started getting it! Yeah it's easy to make the passes in light drills, but that is where it starts, things should start slowing down and he will have a better understanding of what the defense is wanting to do and how he can counter that.
As long as he is playing above average and his qb rating stays above 75%, there should be no talk about Garcia being the starting qb. J-Russ needs to have that fire EVERY week, because once he gets complacent, then the talk about thew switch starts back up. I believe in the guy! Hopefully, he feels the same and doesn't begin looking over his shoulder wondering is this the week the put Garcia in as the starter.
The Running Back position deserves the least amount of attention, as long as each guy understands and accepts his role and doesn't start whining about carries then this position is pretty well set.
Now on to the most enigmatic position on this team. Anybody could write about who needs to start and let everyone else fall into place. As much as DHB was crapped on following his pick, he needs to prove himself! Not be handed a spot because he was the first pick, but show the coaches, his teammates, us, and his critics why the Raiders picked him.
In my opinion the starters should be Chaz and JLH and maybe Walker. I want Arman to come back with a vengeance! The dude lost a season due to injury. Unfortunately, for Murphy he sounds like a practice squad project, I would hate to lose this kid after cut-downs.
Imagine, the possibility of a 4 receiver set or 5, if McFadden moves from the backfield and lines up as a receiver. Or a 4 receiver set after DMac comes out of the I formation. This should throw D- co- coordinators for a loop. This is something I don't remember in recent history seeing the Raiders do.
Out of Samie Parker, Will Franklin and Todd Watkins, who will make the biggest impression on the coaches and make the team? Out of the one who sticks how much of a factor will he be? This player needs to show that he can take enough pressure off of his teammates to be trusted to make the catch when the ball comes his way. Thus adding the unknown quantity and keeping the opponents on their heels even more.
Tight ends- the only player guaranteed to see action is ZM. But what about that player Cable is looking for to offset Zach? Is it Tony Stewart, Darrell Strong, Brandon Myers or John Paul? This guy is a blocker first and most likely the last in check down order. I haven't seen much about this position, but going with my gut I would say Strong gets the nod with Myers going to the practice squad. But he wont be there all season.
Linemen, I wont really address, but this line seems to be more stable than any from the preceding years. They are all pretty young, and want to prove themselves. And it doesn't hurt that they are buying into Cables motivation/Jedi mind tricks.
Anything beats Kwame Harris, and he was beaten regularly. It starts with the line, as Kerry Collins and Walter found out a couple seasons ago under the B&B offense. The backfield is nothing without good solid blocking!
I guess under Kiffin and Shell,I had blind optimism. But don't we all at the beginning of the season. All it took last year was Denver's first series for me to say " here we go again". All the he said/ he said bullcrap that took place during the first quarter of the season wore me down as a fan.
This is a new season and fairly new coaching staff. If Cable can do the same job that he did to end the season that they could realistically be 4-4 by the bye week. But then again they could also be 8-2 or 2-8. But THIS IS THE YEAR THE RAIDERS BEAT THE CHARGERS. Why not start off the season by beating them? Everybody likes to point out that the Chargers are slow starters. Well what if the Raiders start off that game like a bull out of the chute and totally impose their will on the hapless visiting team to the point that they are demoralized? Norv pulls LT during the 4th quarter to save him for the next game.
I believe the division is there to be taken. It all depends on who steps up. Except for several poor coaching choices and horrible line play and Barrett Robins mental issues, and a mutiny. This team should never have fallen to where it has. But scars make us stronger, they show where we have have come from and what we are made of. Wounds fester and are prone to disease.
This team has been healed of its diseases and has nothing to show but scars! Let everyone associated with this team look at the scars and remember what they came through and how to avoid getting wounded again.
It is time for the Raiders to own this division again and leave everyone else wondering what happened! Last year Arizona shocked the world, this year its our turn! Only the Raiders will stay on top and not be a one year wonder.
Next article I will go over the defense. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.