Oakland Raiders: 10 Changes the Team Will Make To Become a Contender
Call me crazy, but it seems as if the Oakland Raiders actually have a plan for the 2010 season.
Most critics will bash the Raiders and their fans for being optimistic. The reality of the situation is that the Raiders have gotten better. They have made changes and will make changes to make sure they contend.
Let's look at 10 changes the Raiders will make to turn their fortunes around.
The play calling will be done by Hue Jackson this year. He is in complete control of the offense and it will show in 2010. He now has a quarterback who can be a true leader and is capable of executing his game plan.
Watch out for the Raiders offense in 2010, it will be much better than 2009.
Hue Jackson is now calling the plays and that will change the direction of the offensive line. Jackson will not use the zone-blocking scheme to the extent the Raiders used it last season.
Look for more of a power blocking-scheme than a zone-blocking scheme.
The offensive line is much deeper and more talented with the addition of two rookies. Last year the Raiders suffered two injuries to two of their starters and didn't have the depth to back them up.
Two is Company, Three is a Crowd
Last year the Raiders tried using the three back formula and it failed. It had nothing to do with the backs but more of how they were used. You can't split carries with three backs and try and give them equal carries.
This year the Raiders are going with Run DMC and Grand Master Bush as their duo in the backfield.
The defense will have to respect the passing game with Jason Campbell under center. Michael Bush and Darren McFadden are ready to show the world what they can do.
If the Raiders watched the Jets beat the Chargers in the playoffs last year, then they know what they need to do. Darrelle Revis shut down half the field just like Nnamdi Asomugha does, but he shut down the best half of the field.
The Raiders have to put Asomugha on the other teams best receiver the whole game. Revis has Revis Island and Asomugha has Nnamdi Land.
If Oakland is going to shut down a whole half of the field then they should shut down the side that has the biggest threat on offense.
Linebackers packing a punch
Tom Cable wasn't shy to name Rolando McClain, Kamerion Wimbley, and Trevor Scott the starting linebackers during the offseason.
This is a whole new starting lineup from the start of last season. The primary focus is stopping the run and being physical. These changes should help stop the run but they should also help the defense get to the quarterback.
How they will do in pass coverage is the bigger question?
Men in the Middle
So far in camp, Richard Seymour has been lining up in the middle. He even went as far as saying that is where he plays his best football.
With a rotation of Seymour, Tommy Kelly, John Henderson, and Desmond Bryant, the Raiders are ready to stop the run this year. Expect this defensive line to be an upgrade over last years.
Stopping the run and getting to the quarterback will be the main focus, and should be achieved by this motivated group.
The Raiders receiver situation last year was uglier than Lindsay Lohan's new lover and cell mate.
Their best receiver didn't play until Week 10 and they started two rookies who were very inconsistent and sometimes invisible.
That experience will be valuable and their offseason work ethic will make them better. It's very debatable whether the Raiders have a true No. 1 receiver. At the very worst, they have a couple solid No. 2s, which is better than what they had last year.
Also an accurate quarterback should make life easier for them.
Follow the Leader
The Raiders looked like an NFL team when Bruce Gradkowski led them on the field. The Raiders now have Jason Campbell, who is a much more experienced and talented quarterback.
We really don't know how good Campbell can be because he wasn't given the opportunity to play in an offense that fits his style.
The Raiders offense is built for Campbell's talents and he will have the opportunity to prove himself. He is still a young guy who hasn't entered his prime, but he is a veteran that knows how to be a professional quarterback.
Could Campbell be another Rich Gannon? Either way he is better than what Oakland had last year.
Immediate Impact Rookies
In recent years, the Raiders have added rookies that were not able to make an immediate impact. This year, the Raiders have at least two guys who will start on defense and will make an impact.
Rolando McClain is the new leader of the Raiders defense. He is the man in the middle and he is ready to make plays. The day after he was drafted he asked for a playbook so he can study the defense and learn it.
Lamarr Houston could very well be McClain's top competition to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year award. Houston is a beast and will play defensive end.
Mel Kiper and John Gruden felt they under-valued him before the draft, and both say they see no differences in game film when they compare him to Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy.
The rookies should have an immediate impact for the Raiders.
A Commitment to Excellence
I was very skeptical of Tom Cable when he first started, but now I love the guy. Not only because he loves the Raiders, Celtics, and Yankees like I do, but because he is the man who will turn the Raiders around.
The Raiders in 2010 are committed to excellence and their actions have showed it. From top to bottom, the Raiders are ready to give their fans what they have been waiting for and wanting for a long time: A real NFL Team.
They release JaMarcus Russell and get Jason Campbell. They Hire Hue Jackson to come call the plays and develop the young guys on offense. They bring back Mike Waufle to run the defensive line.
They bring in veterans who will set an example for the young guys on the field. Richard Seymour comes to camp on the bus with rookies. Darrius Heyward-Bey stays in California to work on his catching and his route running.
Every player on the team has made it a priority to get better in the offseason. For the first time in a very long time the Raiders have 53 men committed to one purpose.
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