Raider Nation: A Nation Without Hope for Too Long

Shaun WeissmanContributor IJuly 5, 2010

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 03:  Nnamdi Asomugha #21 of the Oakland Raiders sits on the bench against the Baltimore Ravens during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on January 3, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

A history of excellence is now being rewritten as a history of despair and doubt that the organization so "committed" to being great will ever return to the level the organization promises its followers.

Seven years, seven seasons concluded with a losing record, and 10 first round draft picks during that span.

But improvement has been far from the direction the Raiders have gone.

A vampire heading the front office and everything else the Silver and Black do, paired with a coach that minimizes the potential that the once feared Raiders have.

Good reasons not to be enthusiastic about the future.

The peak years of 2001 and 2002, robbed of one opportunity to go to the Superbowl (for those of you who don't remember the tuck rule...that was probably the Raiders' year) and beat down in the championship game the next, distant memories for the Oakland faithful.

So here we are, just over four months away from the first whistle of the season (I don't count that preseason garbage) and the question still remains: Will the Raiders again fall into a black hole?

The Raiders made three key acquisitions this offseason aside from their very mediocre draft: Jason Campbell, Richard Seymour, and John Henderson.



Sure, Campbell is an upgrade compared to JaWalrus Russell, but he's an unproven quarterback who couldn't find success on a team with more offensive talent than the Raiders have.  

So will he really improve the team, or will the spark we are depending him to provide turn out to just be another broken fuse?

This season will be tough for Campbell, but it will be hard not to improve an offense that ranked near the bottom in most categories last year.

But to expect Campbell to turn the team around is asking too much, especially when considering his biggest offensive threats are Louis Murphy and Michael Bush.

For the acquisition of Campbell to be a success the former Auburn Tiger needs to do two things: He needs to increase the time of possession with the ball and he needs to minimize the amount of turnovers.

Unfortunately Oakland failed to make further offensive improvements and is resting all of its hope for an improved attack on the arm of a quarterback who has yet to live up to the hype...a very common theme for starting QBs on the team.

Will Darren McFadden and Darrius Heyward-Bey play up to their contracts and live up to their athletic ability, or will they just use their biggest attribute (speed in both cases) to run away with the money they haven't yet earned?  

Either way, sorry Raiders fans, the offense is looking shaky as ever.



This is the bittersweet side of the ball for the Raiders.  Yes, they've improved an already talented and physical defense, BUT no defense can save this franchise if they have to spend all day on the field.

John Henderson and the extension given to Seymour gives the Raiders two proven big bodies that should both limit the run and provide a little more pressure on opposing QBs.  

If Rolando McClain lives up to his massive potential (something the Raiders rarely help their players achieve) then the linebacking crew should be better and more athletic than they've been in a long time.

Walter McFadden should add some depth to a secondary reliant on the greatness of the one man shut-down crew of Nnamdi Asomugha.

In theory, the defense should be better in all facets, but it's just theory, which is no better than speculation.  

The answers to the questions of the fans that have lost hope in one of the greatest franchises turned laughingstock in the NFL will be answered on September 12 against the Tennessee Titans.

Be hopeful, not because you have reason to be, but because that's the only thing remaining for those who love the Silver and Black.