For the past several years, Oakland has loaded its roster full of players with so much potential yet have no work ethic or willingness to be great players.
These players were known for dragging their feet and really kept the team down because they didn't commit themselves to the team, therefore when they failed it negatively affected others around them both in practice and in games.
When your $30 million quarterback is sleeping in team meetings, your two defensive tackles are preferring to get fat rather than work out and have some form of stamina to play more than one good play in a row, or your right tackle is hitting his wife with a broom handle, things have to change.
These type of players bring a team down because of lack of focus and willingness to commit to the team.
However, the past two years we've seen Al Davis and Tom Cable commit to drafting players with great work ethics. DHB is looking very good in practice because he's been working his ass off and studying everything he can get his hands on.
The rest of the '09 draft class like Mike Mitchell, Matt Shaughnessey, Louis Murphy, and Brandon Myers are all working their asses off unlike several Raiders who were drafted or brought in via free agency between the years 2003 through 2008.
The Raiders' recent draft picks of Rolando McClain, Lamarr Houston, and Edwin "Jared" Veldheer further show these young Raiders understand how to work and how these new Raiders are going to excel.
Recently I read a quote by McClain. "You went from being the big guy on campus, and now it's like you're starting at the bottom of the totem pole. Everybody's good and the thing that separates those that are just good and don't play from those who do play is how well you study. How much film you watch, how well you know the defense. Get in your playbook as much as possible and know what to do when you're on the field, because everybody's good, everybody has talent. "
These new Raiders are changing the attitude and bringing with it a team willing to do what's necessary to succeed.
The following slide show shows players who are now gone with some of their replacements. I'm very impressed with Al Davis and Tom Cable. I think these two work very well together and Al's going to be proud this year to see a team finally compete and be prepared because the players want it.
Gerrard Warren was drafted No. 3 overall by the Cleveland Browns, who Butch Davis knew from his Miami days.
If Warren decided to get the work ethic together and be a force on every play, Warren could be a monster defensive tackle. Unfortunately, he's just another in a long line of players Al Davis has brought in to play the position based on their potential.
Desmond Bryant was an undrafted rookie free agent out of Harvard the Raiders picked up after the 2009 NFL draft. He immediately was considered a very good pickup and has shown the work ethic and high character to supplant Gerrard Warren's position at DT.
Word out of Oakland is Bryant has added another 15 lbs this offseason and is looking much better.
Talk about someone with all the talent in the world to be a monster defensive tackle, yet has no desire to bring it more than one or two times a game. Sands was a classic Al Davis pickup, big and looked great coming off of a bus.
The Raiders released Sands last year and he failed to do anything with New England, coincidentally where Gerrard Warren is currently playing.
John Henderson is known for his work ethic and for the way he likes to get slapped before games. He's a hard worker and he's determined to really help the Oakland defensive line on rushing downs this year.
At the age of 31, it remains to be seen how much gas he has in his tank right now, but if the Raiders can get a full season out of him as a part-time rushing defensive tackle, he could still be a big contributor to the team.
Most importantly he's another player who is going to bring leadership the defense.
Cornell Green was known as a great run blocker in Oakland, but he struggled mightily in pass protection and was constantly getting penalized.
The fact he had the audacity to hit his wife repeatedly with a mop handle further reduces the character of this individual. He has no focus and could care less.
It's good he's finally gone. It's fitting Oakland and Buffalo have switched right tackles. Enjoy the penalties Buffalo.
Ultimately I believe Mario Henderson is going to hold off rookie Edwin "Jared" Veldheer and this will force Veldheer to move to right tackle where he has the potential to succeed.
From everything I've read about practice so far, everyone's been very impressed with his strength. When he entered college his goal wasn't to play in the NFL at tiny Hillsdale, it was to get into medical school. He's smart, dedicated, and will have the work ethic to at least not be penalized every other play.
I doubt we'll see this guy hitting a girl or anyone for that matter with a mop handle.
JaMarcus Russell is the person most people place blame over the past three seasons. Russell was given a huge contract, yet never put the work in to become a good QB. Sleeping in team meetings and not doing the extra work necessary to compete against the tough talent in the NFL, as McClain emphasized, was the cause of Russell's downfall.
Russell could've been a monster QB if he gave the NFL his all and stayed in shape. He was known for being overweight and having poor footwork in the pocket.
Given the fact Jason Campbell has struggled to get wins in Washington, there's obviously cause for concern with bringing Campbell aboard.
Jason Campbell is known for his work ethic and he has the skills to become a great QB in the vertical system. Right now this young team is thirsty for a QB who is going to work as hard as they have and have the skills to win more ballgames than Bruce or Charlie.
I think right now he's in the perfect situation and if the offensive line can block for him he could put up really good numbers, yet not have to win games because the running game will do it for him.
He's a major upgrade from Russell. This time last year Oakland was practicing five and seven step drops with Russell. This year instead of working on mechanics, they are working on the offense and making good plays.
I have to give a lot of credit to Tom Cable for the way this team has been rebuilt the past few years and with the players brought in the past two seasons. Tom Cable is building for the future through the draft and has convinced Al not to bring in expensive free agents.
I wrote an article awhile back describing how I believe Al Davis coordinates the draft with Tom Cable. In my opinion, I believe Davis gives Cable a list of players and Cable weeds out the bad character, no work ethic guys and they come to a compromise. Al gets his player, Cable gets his worker.
I'm excited to see what the 2010 NFL season will bring for Oakland. Finally the team has no turds who are spoiling the party and keeping the team from playing like a one, finally there are no weak links to worry about.
Everyone is focused and it appears they will finally look like an NFL team. I'm not expecting this Oakland team to win the Super Bowl or get to the playoffs, but I am expecting them to at least win eight games and play like a team.