Making strides during the off-season had not been a recent hobby of the Oakland Raiders, prior to this year. With a strong draft and some nice acquisitions via trades, this organization looks to be on the rise. Instead of going for the "height-weight-speed" specimen, they went and got supposed solid players that will immediately help areas needing improvement. As I read more and more articles about this great off-season, the more I notice everyone saying how the Raiders have finally went the right way, getting all these "high character" guys. Which brings me to my point- when the Raiders were in their prime as an organization, wasn't their roster stacked with guys people were scared of?
Possibly my two favorite Raiders ever were Jack Tatum and Bill Romanowski. They brought a feel to the defense; actually, the entire team for that matter, that made opponents circle us on their calendar. Nobody wanted to run through the middle of the field when The Assassin was back there, setting his sights on his next victim. In one of Romanowski's first practices with us, he got into a fight with our tight end Marcus Williams and shattered his eye socket. What I'm saying is yes, Oakland has had a relatively good-looking off-season in terms of getting players that will help, but how will their attitudes be? I WANT Raiders that badmouth opposing players in the public eye. I WANT a safety that all wide receivers make a point to steer clear of. I WANT a defense that is notorious for hitting harder than any other defense. As much as everyone wants to talk about how good the offense will be, let's keep in mind how much better other offenses still are. Yes, there's a very decent chance we'll put up a touchdown more a game, but that still may not cut it. In the end, our best attribute will still be our defense, and would you want to be tackled by a guy that shatters eye sockets? Neither would I.
Don't get this twisted-the attitude I'm talking about is on the field, a high level of energy and love for the silver and black; not the bad attitude that some players, such as Jamarcus possesses. I want players that are proud to be a Raider, and will crack any opposition. Someone that immediately comes to mind is Mike Mitchell. As much as analysists wanted to bash and criticize the pick, I had seen him on Youtube and fell in love with his playing style. We need players that light up receivers every chance they get. It's what made us so good in previous years, why stray away?
So this year I'm definitely going to be watching our new MLB Rolando McClain. I've heard he'll have a Ray Lewis type impact for us, which would be absolutely phenomenal. I'll also be looking to see who our next Tatum will be. Chances are Tyvon Branch will put up astonishing numbers once again, and hopefully he'll make a pro bowl appearance come February. But let's not forget our roots-we're the dreaded "black hole" of the NFL. So let's start playing that way!