Who Is The Leader Of The Raiders Offense

D.J. O'ConnorSenior Analyst IIIMarch 21, 2010

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 31: Punter Shane Lechler #9 of the Oakland Raiders stands on the sidelines during the 2010 AFC-NFC Pro Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 31, 2010 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

  The Oakland Raiders have a young offense, and thats a good and bad thing.  The offense is young and booming with rising and potential stars.  Players like Louis Murphy, Zach Miller, Robert Gallery and Bruce Gradkowski.  On the flip side, none of these players has the career accomplishments to be viewed as a leader on the offense. 

     The defense is loaded with respectable captains like Asomugha and Seymour.  Asomugha is feared by all NFl QBs and Seymour is constantly double and maybe even triple teamed.

     With Justin Fargas released, the Raiders don't have a player who has been consistently productive for the last 3 years.  So who can command the respect of the offense to be the man who they rally around?

     Bruce Gradkowski/JaMarcus Russell:  Bruce has shown he has the fire and passion to be a leader and he is young enough to inherit the label of "franchise QB".  He had an inspirational performance at Pittsburgh to topple the defending champs.  I don't care if Polamalu was out, it was still the defending Super Bowl champs in their home!  Or if Russell can earn the starting job, he will have earned it through hard work and being the better man which could win back his teammates.  We know Al Davis loves him and if Russell could get his team on his side he would be a great leader for the offense.

     Zach Miller:  Miller has been a consistent starter since he was the 33rd overall pick in 2007.  He immediately came into the starting lineup and it wasn't hard to see why he surpassed Tony Stewart on the depth chart.  His numbers have been rising each year and he should be a serious pro-bowl candidate.  He is still young and that is his only flaw. 

     Chaz Schilens:  Like Miller, he is young.  But like Miller, he has also been productive.  He caught a game-winning TD to beat the Broncos at Denver last year.  That is his biggest highlight, but not his only highlight.  This past year he was staggered by injury in a joint practice with the 49ers.  He missed 8 games.  Who knows what could have been?  Schilens is the go-to-guy for JR/BG, assuming the Raiders don't pursue Terrell Owens

     Michael Bush:  His weakness: he hasn't been allowed to prove how dominant he is.  He had a breakout game at Tampa Bay to end 2008 and earned slightly more playing time in 2009.  He had the highest yards per carry (4.8) of the trio of running backs and now it is a duo of running backs.  Bush can breakout unless the Raiders stubbornly use McFadden like they stubbornly used Russell while he struggled last year for half the season.

     Robert Gallery:  As a former #2 overall pick in 2004, Gallery has the hype to be a leader but he has been a part of a terrible offensive line.  That shouldn't be used against him, but it very well could be.  He has been consistent since he was plugged in at guard after a failed experiment at tackle.  If his improved play continues, he will get respect from the locker room.