The Oakland Raiders: Quietly Becoming Contenders

Robert McClureContributor IMay 2, 2010

DENVER - DECEMBER 20:  Chaz Schilens #81 of the Oakland Raiders is congratulated by Javon Walker (L) after scoring a touchdown late in the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos at Invesco Field at Mile High on December 20, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Raiders defeated the Broncos 20-19.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

I can't help it, I spend hours each day browsing the latest news stories, searching for articles I have yet to read. I'm excited! Every last bit of news is read, analysed, digested and read again. There is change on the wind, and you can see it everywhere. It's a good time to be a Raider fan!

The Raiders have quietly worked very hard to create a better team this year. While the press talked about Donovan McNabb the Raiders pick up Rock Cartright, Chris Cooper, and other stout players. Nothing flashy, just players to come in and compete for the job.

The press hit the wire with exaggerated accounts of JaMarcus Russell's weight, and, though I'll be one of the first to say let him go, he appeared at mini camp in decent shape (for Jamarcus) and is fighting for his job.

While Rolando McClain (monster!!) and Lamarr Houston are already proving the value of their picks, we hear about Langston Walker, who apparently slimmed down, and comes in fighting for the right tackle position. DHB spends his off time catching balls, period. He saw where his weak point was and worked on it.

Then there's the press. The Raiders were very quiet up until draft weekend so the press had to fill the time publishing outlandish stories about quarterback weight, people with broken jaws, and head coach's job's. Now though we have (at least some) decent commentary about the battle for QB position, the outlook for our rookies, even some (awesome) projections of playoff hopes in the weak AFC west division.

This is the change toward a winning attitude our coaching staff has been preaching about, and I, for one, am breathing easier.

I have September 12 marked on my calendar. GO RAIDERS!