It is now quiet around the NFL, unless your name is Michael Vick. Most of the teams are in between OTAs and training camp. The Raiders look like they have their offense set for the upcoming season. Here is a preview of the Oakland Raiders starting offense for opening day 2010 against the Titans.
Quarterback: Jason Campbell is expected to be the starter with an injury to Bruce Gradkowski and inexperience among Kyle Boller and Charlie Frye. Campbell will make or break the success of the team. He has had improving stats in each of his last five seasons, and the Raiders need that to continue. Campbell is just like Rich Gannon was when he joined. If he has success, the Raiders will be very good; if he fails, the team will be set back.
Running Back(s): Once upon a time Tom Cable wanted a premier back, now he wants a committee. Darren McFadden must step up his game and durability if he wants to succeed. He won't be an every down back because he goes down to easily, but I hear he is working on that. Michael Bush is likely to get more carries, unless contracts still have the final say on who starts. Bush can use speed and strength to get away from tacklers; he led the team in YPC last season.
Wide Receivers: Some people want DHB to be in the slot. But stories out of OTAs say that he has developed his hands into "the hands of a top pick." If he has learned how to catch, I want him to start with Chaz Schilens. Louis Murphy has great speed to be in the slot and he would get mismatches against nickel-backs.
Tight End: With a new offensive coordinator and new QB, there are two possibilities. One is that Zach Miller will take a step back back with a new playbook with a new QB. The other is that he will connect with Campbell and thrive in Hue Jackson's system. Miller has the talent and potential to be a Pro Bowler in 2010.
Offensive Tackle: Mario Henderson and Khalif Barnes are expected to start with Henderson on the left and Barnes on the right. Henderson has another year under his belt and Barnes has recovered from his injury last year in training camp. If either of these men falter, look for Jared Veldheer to crack the line-up.
Guard: Robert Gallery is the heart of the line, but he has become injury prone. When healthy, he is a good guard. I don't know about a Pro Bowler, but he gets the job done. His counterpart is Cooper Carlisle, who could be surpassed by rookie Bruce Campbell. Campbell could eventually take over at Carlisle's spot, but for now at least, the job goes to Carlisle.
Center: Samson Satele was acquired in a trade with Miami, but he didn't start opening day last year, as the job was won in training camp by Chris Morris. Morris is versatile and can play along the inside of the line, Satele can only play center. I expect to see these two fight again for the starters job.