Okay, okay I know, it is too early to talk about how the 2010 Raiders are going to turn it around. That's not where I'm going with this, though, so bear with me...please.
What I mean is that this team now has real-life starters. It's not like the plug-and-play players that Oakland has had in the past. You can actually look at the team and say, "Ok, who will be starting in 2010?"
Kicker: Sebastian janikowski
Strong safety: Tyvon Branch
Cornerback: Nnamdi Asomugh
Defesnsive End: Richard Seymour
Defensive End: Matt Shaughnessy
Defensive Tackle: Tommy Kelly
Outisde Linebacker: Trevor Scott
Left tackle: Mario Henderson
Left Guard: Robert Gallery
Wide Receiver: Chaz Schilens
Tight End: Zach Miller
Running Back: Justin Fargas, Darren McFadden
Okay, sure there are some open ends still, but i'm not sure you could look at this team in Week 12 last year and say, "Hey, we know more than half of the starters we will have for next year."
This, my friends, is called progress. I don't care what anybody says about wins and losses.
You could probably throw in the idea that we could figure out more "potential starters" also, like the other wide receiver will be either Darrius Heyward-Bey or Louis Murphy.
The quarterback will most likely be either JaMarcus Russell or Bruce Gradkowski, depending on how Gradkowski does in the last part of this season. The main point is that the likely starter is already on the roster.
Kirk Morrison and Thomas Howard could also factor into the equation, although they are both free agents this offseason. Don't think that Al Davis won't re-sign both players either. look no futher than Shane Lechler and Nnamdi Asomugha for an example.
And I'm guessing that Kirk Morrison might slide in with a home team discount, being that he has entrenched himself in the California area.
This is why I want to keep the coaching staff here too. Consistency, that is what it's all about.
People consider Pittsburgh to be a historically great team. Pittsburgh has had three head coaches since the 70's. So few that Raiders fans from across the country, in California, can name all three. Six Super Bowl championship rings, the most in league history produced by three coaches.
Oakland tight end Zach Miller has had three coaches in three professional years.
Philadelphia has had six NFC Championship appearances in ten years. They have had the same QB and coach combination since 1999.
Look, in short, all that I'm saying is that Raider Nation needs to recognize when they are in the face of progress and not revert to the same community that is going to take seven bad seasons out on fourteen or more starters, many of whom are new to the team, or only in their second or third year.
I can see the progress. Can you look past the bad and see through the storm clouds?