There's a lot of talk and articles stating the Oakland Raiders legitimacy to an AFC West title run this season. Plausible. Possibly, but the saying that defense wins games is the absolute truth.
So what changes has Al Davis done to make this happen in the city of Silver and Black?
There has been a lot of changes in Oakland since the departure of Lane Kiffin. In fact we begin with the defensive coordinator John Marshall.
Marshall has helped coach two Super Bowl San Francisco teams from 1989-98. He has worked as a defensive coordinator for five different teams that include the Falcons, the 49ers, the Seahawks and now he is with the Raiders.
Jim Marshall brings 30 years of experience in the NFL.
Next, is defensive backs coach Lionel Washington. Washington is a former Oakland Raider CB that played from 1987 to 1994 and 1997.
It should be noted that both Charles Woodson and Al Harris of Green Bay have been under Washington's training, and went to the Pro Bowl in 2005.
What's not to like about Lionel Washington? He has a solid record as a player and brings that experience to Oakland.
What I enjoy about writing this particular article is that, although we always hear about the newly added players, we rarely hear about the Raiders coaches.
Unless of course it's Tom Cable.
Cable has really done a great job in Oakland. I have said this over a hundred times, but the Raiders began getting on track when Tom was allowed to coach the Raiders.
Many of the fans out there know that the Raiders have had a really tough time getting run stuffers.
It seems that opponents were able to find holes and I believe this issue should be solved with the additions of Kamerion Wimbley, Richard Seymour and NFL draft pick Rolando McClain.
The Oakland Raiders needed aggression on the front line, and it appears they may have it.
Prior to the start of last season, the Oakland Raiders were proud to pick up Richard Seymour. At 6'6", 300 lbs, Seymour had 47 tackles and four sacks.
Seymour has been consistent and his work ethics only add to the competitiveness of the Raider defense. He will be a huge reason why the Raiders have a shot at the AFC West title.
However, the addition of Kamerion should help raise the sacks.
On March 14, 2010, the Raiders added former Browns lineman Kamerion Wimbley. Wimbley is another huge lineman that the Raiders needed because of his youth in the NFL.
Wimbley is 6'4" and weighs 255 lbs. Normal for today's lineman, but his many sacks as a rookie shows that he has the ability to put pressure on the QB, provided he grows with the Raiders.
In fact, last season he posted 69 tackles and 6.5 sacks.
Judging by what has been seen in the Oakland Raiders OTA's, Wimbley is ready for some hard playing.
Next is another great Raider player, Thomas Howard. Thomas Howard is simply one of the best.
He posted 79 tackles and two sacks last year, and should be a fantasy defensive player this year. He is not at all prone to injury and has been solid for the Raiders.
He also has great field awareness and had close to six interceptions in '06. The addition of the above players should increase his performance this season.
Tyvon Branch has been a very welcomed surprise to the Oakland Raiders and the fans.
This 6'0" strong safety has been spectacular. He amassed 124 tackles last season and is a real ball hawk.
Expect a lot from this player this season as the Raiders work towards AFC West domination. Branch should be a Pro Bowler next season, and provided the Raiders have a CB to compliment Nnamndi Asomugha, opponent WR's will have a real hard time catching passes.
Nnamndi Asomugha. Enough said. He is the best.
The list goes on for the Oakland Raiders defense including Rolando McClain, Trevor Scott, and LaMarr Houston.
These are names that will be heard throughout the season as the Oakland Raiders come out of the West and dominate in a fashion not unlike their predecessors from past.
These defensive players and new coaching methods, plus the positive flow that is in Oakland, are some of the No. 1 reasons for the Raiders rise to glory.
So how do the Oakland Raiders measure up in the AFC West conference and in the NFL overall?
I would have to say the Oakland Raiders go 10-6 this year, and should at least make the playoffs. However, if the Oakland Raiders get into the playoffs then they are going all the way. This is a sleeper defense that will turn heads in the NFL.
One last mention is that of Albert Haynesworth. Rumors are circulating about Haynesworth coming to Oakland last minute. Al Davis already got QB Jason Campbell from the Redskins, so is Haynesworth next?
Maybe. This will solidify the defense even more so. Beware AFC West.
Sadly, because they are the Raiders, the media will always go against them but that's part of the Raider tradition.
The Oakland Raiders defense will be more than fierce this season. In fact, they will be downright mean!
I expect a huge change in the Silver and Black clouds. The Oakland Raiders defense has returned in 2010. Go Raiders.