The 2010 Raider Defense: Regaining Fear and Respect In The AFC West
Once upon a time, the legendary Oakland Raiders were recognized as being one of the hardest hitting and punishing teams in the NFL. Big names such as Lyle Alzado, Lester "The Judge" Hayes, Ted "The Stork" Hendricks, Jack " the Assassin" Tatum, Howie Long, Matt Millen, Rod Martin, John "The Toos" Matuszak, Gene Atkisson and of course Gene Upshaw. Rest in Peace
The legacy left by these gridirion warriors still shadows over Oakland. But the past is just that, a past. The Oakland Raider defense has since been filled with holes and no great names have emerged when it comes to its linemen. That is until now.
The Oakland Raiders have put together a rather impressive corp of defensive players beginning with its CB Nnamndi Asomugha. A pro bowler and ball hawk, Asomugha puts fear in to the hearts of opponent QBs and their coaches. Its very rare to see the ball thrown in Asomugha direction and we like it that way.
Asomugha however can't do it alone. In fact, opposing teams seem to thrive off the Oakland Raiders by running it straight to the defensive line i.e. L. Tomlinson. So enter Richard Seymour. A Superbowl player Richard Seymour excelled in Oakland last year and won the heart of Raiders around this universe. Yes, the almighty above is a Raider fan.
To compliment Seymour, the Oakland Raiders then added Kamerion Wimbley. Wimbley had a great first season with the Cleveland Browns but his sacks began to decline. Bring Wimbley to Oakland should create a welcome turn around. Both Seymour and Wimbley are solid players and play hard every play. This is a vital trait on any playoff team. Kamerion and Seymour should see a decent amount of sacks this seaason. I would guess that they should average three sacks a peice per game. Sound far fetched? Probably, but it is not out of reach. Both players are strong and fast an have the talents to disrupt plays and hurry QB's
The 2010 NFL draft brought in another mentionable player that was good enough to fill in for the released Kirk Morrison. Get used to this name Raider fans because he is none other than Rolando McClain. McClain has overcome many obstacles since childhood. Without parents or getting into drugs, he used football as an escape and became an outstanding college player and now wears the Silver and Black. Rolando McClain is a solid replacement and because of him the defense in Oakland is ready to pound on all opposing RB's and TE's.
Phil Villapiano once stated that the Raiders were so feared, QBs "would literally throw the ball to the Raiders" fearing the hard hitting sacks. Its gonna be hard to live up to the Raiders of past but this year looks to come quite close. In fact there should be no reason why Oakland cant make the playoffs this season and topple the SD Chargers from holding the AFC West title.
The Oakland Raiders were very close to defeating SD last year and that was with JaMarcus in the driver seat. Thankfully those days are over. This season should be a different story. The Raider defense is notably improved and despite its losses looked hungry.
Tyvon Branch was another standout last year for Oakland as was Trevor Scott. Thomas Howard has been solid and with this many talented players it is safe to say that opposing teams will feel the pain when they face the "Silver and Black" defense.
The only weakness I see in Oakland is the CB across Asomugha and that's Chris Johnson. However, Tom Cable has done a good job moving players when he needs to and Chris Johnson has either practiced harder this season or Tom cable has another player in mind. It is unfortunate that Charles Woodson was released and would have great CB to partner w/ Asomugha but the past is just that.
The facts still remains that the Oakland Raiders are getting better with each season. Cable has a corp of hard working and smart players this season. The Raiders should easily post a 10-6 this season and dethrone the San Diego Chargers.
It is a great feeling to see the Raiders return to the greatness that belonged to them. Yes, the Team of the Decades has been revived with youth, strength and speed. Beware NFL, the Oakland Raiders are back!
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