Raiders: Will JaMarcus Russell and Darren McFadden Be As Good As Advertised?

John LewisSenior Writer IJune 12, 2008

JaMarcus Russell, Darren McFadden, and some offseason moves; does this equal a dramatic improvement for the Oakland Raiders, a team that hasn't won more than five games in a season since 2002?

With the ball firmly in the hands of Russell for 2008, he will be looking to build on the success of his only start against the San Diego Chargers in the final game of last season. A game in which he completed 23 of 31 passes for 234 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

It's hard to look at his rookie season and draw any conclusions, but some have questioned the accuracy of his passes. Russell did throw four interceptions in limited action, most coming late in the games. He must quickly realize that he's not throwing passes against college secondaries. 

Secondly, there was some talk earlier in the offseason about his playing weight, and how he was out of shape entering training camp. We now know this wasn't the case, as Russell was reported to weigh less than 270 pounds and was able to move around quite well.    

So if the former LSU QB plays well this season, it could be attributed to the fact that the Raiders, and head coach Lane Kiffin, brought him in slowly, letting him learn the speed and pace of the NFL

But where would this new-look offense be without Darren McFadden?

The fourth pick overall in this year's draft, McFadden is expected to carry the load in the backfield. With his 4.33 40-yard speed, he should be able to provide the consistency that they've lacked over the years.

The new $60-million-dollar man has also had some questions come up about his character, stemming from two nightclub altercations and his paternity cases. But make no mistake, McFadden wants to show the nation that he's worthy to wear the silver and black.

So what can we expect from the Oakland Raiders this season?

Ask some fans and they say an 8-8 record is in the cards. I'm a little more realistic. I see an improved offense, but a defense that still has some question marks.

Prediction time.

Record: 6-10

Russell: Just over 3,000 yards passing, 20 TDs and 25 Ints

McFadden: 1,100 yards rushing, seven TDs


What do you guys think?