What did my Oakland Raiders need to do to win the West?

FRANK YRAYContributor IMay 31, 2008

Here we are, the team is taking shape with OTA's, mini-camp. I sit back analyzing our current roster up and down. It's the day before the June 1st cuts, I think we still have one glaring need this tornado of an off season didn't bring!

Those that have read my previous articles and comments know where I'm going.....

I'm going back to the Offensive Left Tackle position which is currently maned by the turn-style formally known as Kry-Me-A River Harris. I have nothing against the Kry-ME but I do wish I was writing about how we are going to win the west and host a playoff game in the Net, instead of wishing a cap casualty at left tackle falls out of a tree!

The truth is in my mind we had an opportunity to make the leap to that #2 seed in the AFC playoffs. One more move and we were there Raider Brothers! I'm referring to the monster pro bowl left tackle which is currently back guarding the blind-side of Tony Romo! What could've been had Al stepped up and got big #78 in this years Free agent whirl-wind?

Dallas gave up 25 sacks to our 41 and a majority of sacks were given up by Sims. It's logical to think we needed an upgrade at his spot. I've been crying for an upgrade here for 5 years as I watched our pass-protection stats drop year after year. So you can imagine my joy when in late Febuary #65 is shown the door!

I checked the free agency list and prayed Flozel Adams wouldn't get franchised. Unbelievable as it sounds, he made it through and we are poised to change our weakest link on the offensive line over the past 5 years, combine that with all the other huge improvements we made. We have a great chance to win the west!

Denver was a team we dominated and should have beeten twice last year.

KC was another team we had more talent then and should have beaten twice.

So that leaves the San Diego Chargers that are again loaded and ready to make a run at the West title and into the playoffs.

So how do you beat these Chargers?

If you look at our games we matched up good with them in both games the last game we even shut down their running attack.

Where the biggest difference to me  occurred was in sacks. 9, yep, 9. And turnovers 7, 3 int's and 4 fumbles 2 by JR and 2 by Culpepper although only one of his was lost. How do you stop the bleeding?


I decided to take one for the team. I took a trip to the past and re-watched both of these painful games over and over and #65 had his finger prints all over these losses!

One play he gets beat around the corner by his man who proceeds to hit J-Russ, and knock the ball loose into the end zone and there's #65 with an opportunity to fall on the ball (the least he could've done) or knock the ball out of the end zone. If you forgot what happens, he whiffs and Tucker his man falls on it for a San Diego touchdown!

Ouch! These are painful memories to have to relive, but as Coach Kiffin said," you only need to look back to our last two games to see how far we need to go".

The blueprint to me was and is very clear. We needed a stud left tackle to protect our young QB's blind-side and give him time to utilize all these new fun toys at WR.

I do think Harris is a good run blocker that will help guide us to the #1 ranked rushing team in the NFL. But I feel he is a marginal upgrade for #65 at left tackle, when we needed a huge upgrade.

I also know we have had 0 success at drafting a left tackle, it made it all the more important to pick one up in free agency or trade for one like we did with D. Hall.

The June 1st cuts are upon us, will we find the answer or will we trade for a disgruntled left tackle like Peters in Buffalo? Desperate times call for desperate measures and...

Al needs to see wins!

Kiffin needs to see wins!

I need to see wins wins!

Raider Nation Deserves Wins!

Al get me a stud left tackle at all cost trade Buffalo a 2nd rounder if you have to!

I don't care how you do it get this issue fixed or JaMarcus is going to be looking up at lightning bolts instead of collecting Superbowl trophies!