I really need to be pinched because Al Davis and the whole Raider organization is doing just what we as fans had hoped for. Thats is to put the Raiders back on top in the AFC West.
In past seasons Al Davis has made some bad choices and many of us faithful have merely accepted (well theres some rebuttal) his decisions and gone along the ride as the Raider ship slowly sank.
But this season is a dream. Its really nice to hear folk say that the Raiders are looking good this year. So good that they are contenders against the San Diego Chargers who, or so it is rumored, are worried about the Silver and Black passing threat and running ability. So how did this all start and what changes or additions have caused it all ?
1. The Oakland Raiders retained the coaching ability of Tom Cable. The "Cableman" was given a shot to coach when Lane Kiffin was expelled and ever since he has won the heart of this writer and the fan base. I was glad to see the Oakland Raiders defeat Tampa Bay and take former coach Jon Gruden out of the playoff runnings.
2. The release of of the blood sucking and former Green Bay Packer, Javon "I got my lights punched out" Walker. Javon Walker was given a chance to shine and instead he "leeched" Al Davis and deserved to be cut. We only wish it would have been sooner.
3. The NFL Draft. Talk about astounding. For the first time the Raider fans got to see Al davis make some very wise choices. Usually he picks players that make us wonder, what is Al thinking? But this year was different. The Raiders chose linemen and the Raiders had been hurting in these areas. Rolando McClain looks sharp and quite frankly I feel that the Raiders should dominate the AFC West because of this years decisions.
4. Keeping Robert Gallery and Nnamndi Asomugha. Robert Gallery was beginning to look like a bust and many were unhappy with his performance at the start. Gallery however has turned out to be a good player. He just needed to be put in the right position so he could be comfortable.
Then there was to possible trade for McNabb by letting go of the best CB out there Asomugha. I wrote an article explaining that this was a horrible move. Believe me folks, Mcnabb is a great QB and I would have loved to have recieved the big guy, but I would rather have a shut down corner and a young QB.
5. The Raiders get a great Offensive coach in Hue Jackson. No more former "breakfast in bed " coaches. What a nightmare that was!
Hue Jackson should find great success in Oakland. Both Gradkowski and Campbell are hardworking QB's and should do well with Jacksons coaching. He did an outstanding job in Baltimore and has coached with the "Cableman in Cal State Fullerton and at the University of California. Its nice to have that friendship in Oakland.
6. The Oakland Raiders pick up Washington QB Jason Campbell. This was great great news. Why? Because it meant the going away of JaMarcus Russell. Jason Campbell is a so-so QB and hasnt really lived up to expectation, however, he has experience in the pocket and can throw the football.
Gradkowski was also a joy to watch and gave the Raidernation hope that we could win. These two players going out and playing for QB starter, brings competition and with the great WR we have i.e. Murphy, Higgins and hopefully Bey, the Raiders should be able to top the AFC West.
Between the two QB's I would rather see Gradkowski at the reigns of this Raider offense. He threw well to Murphy, Higgins and Schilenz.
7. This brings us to lucky number 7 and to what I shall name "trimming the fat". Al Davis finally gave up on what Steve Young called the " Jamarcus Project ". It was doomed from the start. We all had such high hopes for J. Russell and he totally let the oganization down. Just like Javon Walker, Russell "leeched" millions but was only worth 8.00 an hr. I wont say more because I am sure you have all read the bashings already. JaMarcus was a huge bust.
I must admit it Raidernation. I am feeling it this year. The Raiders and Al Davis have done their homework and made some impressive moves. As I stated before, it so nice to hear other fans tell me that the Raiders made great picks and not hear the laughing.I love the Raiders and what they have represented since the 1960's. Lets not forget the greatness the Oakland Raiders represent. Game time is nearing and I am willing to bet that game one will be a win and then the "rise to excellence". Nice moves Al. This is a dream come true