After a dismal 5-11 record for the 2009 season,The Oakland Raiders have to now figure out how to strengthen the weak spots that have resulted in loses throughout the year.
Some can be addressed in free agency and some through the draft, granted they can be a impact player.
Much like other teams,The Oakland Raiders have had there share of injuries. Injuries are a major team killer and enough of them can send any coach packing,which is why it is good to have depth.
I'm not going to predict who Al or Cable will draft,because the fact is, no one knows. Ask any "expert" and they could tell you the teams needs, but they will also have no clue as to who will be drafted based on all being fooled last year with the DHB and the Mike Mitchell picks.
It is no surprise to anyone that Raiders need the most help on the offensive line.
One big stat that has been sticking out to me throughout the 2009 season, is the one of the Raiders trying to convert 1st downs on 3rd downs.
Out of 213 attempts, the Raiders only converted 63 for a 29.6 percent! Much of that had to do with the lack of blocking for both running and passing.
I watched every game last year and this is a big problem that needs addressed.
Now that Tom Cable has one less hat (Offensive Coordinator), he can spend more time improving these problems.
First, you have to address the positions that have been weak and those positions for the Raiders have been as follows:
Right Tackle: Current Starter Cornell Green-3rd and short would always be turned into 3rd and long with Green getting called for False start.
Even if he didn't get the call for false start, he would end up getting called on holding negating any progress made on the play.Good run blocker, but doesn't matter when your a drive killer.Keeper,but only as a back-up and or last option.
This can be addressed in the first round of the draft by picking a impact player who can start this season. Otherwise, Al will have to sign a legitimate RT and it won't come cheap.
Mario Henderson would be also a good option here to compete, because he hasn't lived up to expectation this year at LT.
Right Guard: Cooper Carlisle-A player who is getting up in years and is suspect if his heart is really still in it. He also gets called on an occasional penalty and isn't great at pass blocking. Keeper,but only has so much left in the tank.
This is a position that is in need of depth. This can be addressed also in the draft, but in later rounds by picking up a "sleeper pick."
Center: Samson Satele: He's an undersized center with a lot of heart, but needs the head to go along with it. He's great at second level blocking, but just can't handle the leagues powerful guys in the trenches.
He lost his job early in the season to back-up Morris, but earned it back after injuries to Gallery.Keeper with hard work ethic in the off-season, needs to bulk up, and work on the calls on the line.
Morris does provide depth here, but is Satele or Morris really quality centers for years to come?
The center is the second most important position on the O-line behind the LT and I think a veteran signing is needed here to solidify this line and get them as a group playing great.
Left Guard: Robert Gallery- He has been a big difference maker when he is not injured or playing hurt.
First, it was an emergency appendectomy in preseason and then it was a hurt back during the season. Morris did an average job filling in here. His health this year, along with depth is important for this years success. Keeper.
With Morris having Gallery's back,I think we are good at the position barring anymore injuries to Gallery.
Left Tackle: Mario Henderson- In 2008, Mario did a great job taking over the position only to regress some this year giving up 10.5 sacks. He gave too many big plays at the position and needs to improve his technique, hands and footwork.
Competition is needed here to challenge Mario to get better. Keeper,but we might want to try him at RT to see how he does.
This position is THE most important on anyone's Offensive line. Having to protect the QB's blind side against the leagues premier pass rushers is never easy.
If we draft a LT in the first round, he had better be an instant starter and be able to make an impact by not giving up 10.5 sacks and/or penalties.
The Oakland Raiders are not as far away as many haters think,but this(The Offensive line) is the area that is most needed for improvement.
As long as the Raiders can fill these areas, then the playoffs are not as far off as many people think..
Keep The Faith Raider Nation!