Oakland Raiders: Protecting the Blind Side Will Be Key For Playoff Run

Elias TrejoSenior Analyst IIJuly 21, 2010

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 13:  Mario Henderson #75 of the Oakland Raiders gets set for the play during their game against the Washington Redskins at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December 13, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

There is no doubt in my mind that the Raiders are a stronger team this offseason than they were this time last year. They have added key pieces to key positions and have removed pieces that were not producing the wins they needed.

The biggest difference in all the offseason acquistions this year compared to others is that they were done in a much smarter fashion.

Oakland looks to have a very stout defense that could be championship caliber. Stars like Nnamdi Asomugha and Richard Seymour combining with emerging stars Tyvon Branch and Trevor Scott give the Raiders an edge. There is plenty of talent on that side of the ball.

On offense, the Raiders are very young but also very skilled. Jason Campbell is now the man under center and that alone gives the team more credibility in their passing game.

Their running game has the ablility to become the strength and motor of the offense with Michael Bush and Darren McFadden.

The receivers are young but they are full of potential and hunger. Campbell will make life a lot easier for them.

Perhaps the biggest key to the success of the Oakland offense, and team as a whole, is the left tackle position.

Mario Henderson is the man slated to be the starter for the Raiders. If he can prove to be a solid option at the position then you better mark Oakland down as a playoff team.

Henderson has been putting the time in during the offseason to get better. If you follow his Twitter, https://twitter.com/mariohenderson , you'll see Tweets from him talking about his first workout of the day, then his second workout.

Henderson is primed and ready to become the solid foundation the Raiders need at left tackle.

This is truly the only piece missing in the Raiders return to glory. If they can protect Campbell's blindside and be strong in the running game, the Raiders are poised to make a deep run into the playoffs.

Most of the pieces are already there. They have a great mixture of proven veterans who know how the game is supposed to be played and young, hungry guys who want to play the right way.

This Raiders team is prepared to shock the world. If Henderson can grab the reigns and become the anchor to the Raiders offensive line the AFC West title is coming home to Oakland.

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