The New Decade Will Bring A New Oakland Raiders Team
The Raiders have just finished off their worst decade in history. They hold the longest streak of most double-digit loss seasons in a row.
They had a total of six coaches in those ten years. They finished the decade with a 62-98 record.
The 2000s weren't the best years for the Raiders, even though there was early success in the decade. The Tuck Rule was introduced, and will forever be hated by Raider Fans, and of course there was the Super Bowl.
Old coach Jon Gruden handed the Raiders one of the worst Super Bowl losses ever.
These last seven years have been so hard for Raider Fans that it is almost hard to believe that the Raiders won more playoff games than any AFC West team this decade. They were also the only team from the AFC West to compete in the Super Bowl in the 2000s.
The new decade has arrived, and it is time for the new Oakland Raiders to arrive. There is a lot of promise and hope coming from this young team. Let's take a look at why the Raiders will be a different team starting in 2010.
Tom Cable will be Oakland's longest tenured head coach since Jon Gruden. This is a good thing for the Raiders.
Continuity is big in the NFL, and it will be a positive thing for the Raiders to have Cable back on the sidelines.
Last year, Cable was wearing too many hats, and struggled in the play calling department. When the year was over he said he was open to giving up the play calling, if that was in the best interest of the team.
The Raiders hired Hue Jackson to come in and take over the offense. Jackson was a coach that was on a lot of team's wish lists. He had the opportunity to go work with Jay Cutler in Chicago, but instead chose to come to Oakland.
The Raiders also hired defensive line coach, Mike Waufle. He had great success with Oakland before, and duplicated that success in New York with the Giants.
The rest of the staff stayed intact, and that can only be a good thing for Oakland.
Trying to get something out of the offense has been a struggle for the Raiders in recent years. This year's coaching staff could be the best staff assembled for such a young team on offense.
The offense is full of young talent and high draft picks, which is a good explanation of why it has struggled to find itself in the recent years.
There will always be growing pains in the NFL, and that has been evident for the Raiders last three first-round picks.
Last year's offensive production was dreadful, but the good news is that it really can't get any worse. This is a young unit that has a lot of potential and a lot of talent, and speed.
It will be important for these guys to have a fast start next year. Al Davis's triplets have played a year together now, and it's time for them to show what they can do in their second year together.
On offense it's not all about first choices either. Zach Miller, Michael Bush, Louis Murphy, and Chaz Schilens were all drafted after the first round, and will be major contributors for the offense.
With Coach Jackson running the show, we should expect the Raiders offense to wake up and put on a show in 2010. With all the skill positions covered, its time for Davis to do something about the O-line.
The O-line should help all the skilled postions, including JaMarcus Russell, who struggled last year. With a strong, hard-working offseason, Russell will be back behind center with a lot of speedy weapons at his disposal.
The defense is loaded with talent and veteran leadership. Players like Nnamdi Asomugha, Richard Seymour, and Greg Ellis bring quality leadership and experience to the Raiders defense.
The Raiders have a lot of young talent emerging also on the defensive side of the ball. Trevor Scott, Tyvon Branch, and Matt Shaughnessy all appear to be solid players, and Mike Mitchell looked strong in the second half of the season.
Linebackers Kirk Morrison and Thomas Howard are still on the squad, and should return to the team next season. Stopping the run has been an issue with the Raiders, but all that can change with the offense improving.
Overall, I expect the Raiders defense to improve greatly next season, especially if the offense gives them more time to rest on the sidelines by moving the ball. This is a talented unit that has no reason to be a top ten defense next year.
The Raiders special teams look good.
They have two of the highest paid kickers in history with Sebastian Janikowski and Shane Lechler. Good kickers are always good to have on a team. In the 2009 playoffs, it was more evident as to why teams need good kickers.
Lechler will help out our strong D with his amazing punting average, but let's hope we don't see him as often as we did last year.
Janikowski gives us an opportunity to score points from further away than most teams would dare to kick from.
Our return game struggled this year after an exciting year in 2008. Johnnie Lee Higgins didn't produce the same magic, and it appeared as if he was trying too hard. He should be back returning punts next year, and is still capable of breaking a long run to produce a TD or great field postion.
Our kickoff return game needs work, but that can easily be fixed. I've thought it would be a good idea to use Darren Mcfadden or Darius Heyward-Bey on kickoff returns. They have speed, and can turn the kickoff into a track race.
Overall, our special teams look pretty strong, and they should produce bigtime for us.
Wanted: 53 Men Comitted to One Purpose.
The man who put the Raiders on the map should be excited for the coming years, and so should the Raider Nation.
The Raiders have a fan base that is unlike any other.
No one can dare call us "Fairweather Fans", because it's been nothing but cloudy and stormy lately, but we always keep our heads up, stand proud, and put on our Silver and Black.
The Nation is due a better performance from its players, and that is what we will get starting in 2010.
Though it is only February, we can feel the Autumm wind, and we can feel the organization turning around. The skies are clearing, and the sun is shining, it's time for the Raiders to "Just Win Baby."