LaDanian Tomlinson, Brandon Marshall, and Jamal Williams all have new homes. While the players are on the decline or perhaps have off-field issues, they have been on-field issues for the Raiders in recent years.
Tomlinson loved playing the Raiders not only because they are a hated rival, but because he put up big numbers. He has scored 22 touchdowns in 19 games vs the Raiders in his career, and 13 of those came in the last four seasons.
Marshall, who came into the league in 2006 has enjoyed a fair amount of success vs the Raiders despite playing against one of the best cornerbacks in the league. Last season he managed to grab two touchdowns vs the Raiders in two games.
Wiliams has been a force for the Chargers defensive line for many years and he has helped control the Raiders running game. The Raiders have only had one running back go over 100 yards vs the Chargers since 2002.
That may explain why the Raiders haven't beat the Chargers since 2003. Even though he is still in their division, he is now with a team that hasn't had any success building a good defensive line. The Broncos have had 27 opening day starters along the defensive line since 2000.
These players have all attributed to the Raiders recent woes. Not having them line up against them, or in Williams case line up with a weaker supporting cast, should give the Raiders extra confidence when playing vs these division rivals.
The Raiders are close to being a good team. They have a lot of talent, and they just need to put it together. Winning games within the division is vital for the Raiders if they want a shot at the playoffs.
In recent years they have been able to split games against the Chiefs and Broncos. Last year they were a couple of bad calls and bad coaching decisions away from beating the Chargers.
For the Raiders to position themselves to win a division title they have to take care of business within the division. Not having some these players in the division will make that task easier.
It's nice to see the Raiders chances of winning the AFC West improving a bit, without having them make any big offseason moves that normally don't work out.
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