O-Line Improvements. Robert Gallery is healthy, Mario Henderson has a year under his belt, expected to improve. A pair of Athletic, talented, rookies with an upside off the charts. Will the line Dominate in 2010? Not likely. But. . .
With the Addition of Hue Jackson, who, despite being fired from his last OC jobs, lead the Falcons to the Playoffs before the Vick disaster, Cable will have the time to focus on HIS O-line. An O-line that made Justin Fargas a 1000+ Yard rusher. Justin who? Yea, he’s a Chief now, but “Justin Who?” is correct. Only Raider fans know who he is - And the Silver and Black Salute you, Mr. Fargas. With that much attention to the O-line, which ranked in the top 10 for a few years prior to his head coaching gig, Cable should have the O-line whipped into shape in no time.
Which, in turn, will help Darren McFadden, who’s shown the potential for greatness but hasn’t grasped it, get going. And if D-Mac is a bust, we still have Michael Bush. If you followed College Football, you may remember that Michael Bush was a highly touted RB. Projected as a Top 5 RB in the 2006 Draft, after being the second highest scoring RB in the NCAA (behind LenDale White), he choose to return for his senior year and a projected run at the Heisman Trophy. His first carry of the season was a 48-yard run for a touchdown in the Cardinals' annual rival game with Kentucky. He then scored two more touchdowns in the first half, and had carried for 128 yards when he was tackled during a routine rushing play, and suffered a broken right Tibia. Bush has since fully recovered, and gained several, relatively easy years, to learn the game. Mike Bush, Raider nation is behind you.
Improved O-line play equals an improved Running Game. Which, in turn, also assists in giving JC time to read Defenses. As for the Receivers? Zach Millers stats alone put him in the same category as any of the “Elite Tight Ends” in the NFL. Go ahead, compare stats. Then factor in Russell behind the passes, and you’ve got a Pro-Bowler in Miller.
Louis Murphy had a hand full of drops last season. He had more epic, clutch, end-of-game, go-ahead/1st down catches than drops though. And ask Zach Miller, Louis Murphy can block his @$$ off too.
Chaz Schilens is easily measurable to Calvin Johnson. Chaz is bigger though. And faster. An inch taller, too... And showed better hands at the combine and in college. He got hurt, though. We’ll see if he can get over it.
DHBust. . . We shall see. Lots of talk about his enhanced play this off-season. If it all turns out to be true, he may be a deep-threat comparable to Desean Jackson. Again, though, DHB is Bigger and Faster than Jackson... more upside.
Big John, Q. Groves, Kamerion Wimbley, Ro-Ro McClain, Mean Lamarr Houston. . . All formidable additions to a strong, young Front 7. Who’s in this “Strong, young Front 7” that I speak of?
Trevor Scott: He was a 6th round pick (169th overall) in the 2008. Scott recorded his first and second career NFL sacks on October 19, 2008 when he brought down Brett Favre twice. That performance earned him a nomination for the NFL Rookie of the Week award. Scott finished the 2008 season with 24 tackles, a forced fumble, and tied two others for the most sacks by a rookie with 5.0.
He got better last year... this year he gets to start.
Tommy Kelly: Best known for A.) Huge Contract that he hasn’t lived up to, and B.) showing his @$$ (litterly) to national TV. Despite those, the man is still a very good football player. Maybe not worth his bloated contract, but definitely a good player.
Richard Seymour: No explanation needed.
Matt Shaugnessy: 24 Tackles, 4 sacks. . . Not bad for a situational/give-Seymour-a-Breather player.
Thomas Howard: One of the Fastest LBs in the NFL, and it shows with his phenomenal coverage skills.
Secondary was 7th in the NFL for a reason, and not just because it was easy to run on the Raiders. Ask the Carson Palmer, Donovan McNabb, or Big Ben Roethlisberger. . . The secondary is beastly. Asomugha, like Seymour, needs no explanation. Tyvon Branch led all safeties in the NFL in tackles last season (Including: Troy Palomalu, Ed Reed, Bob Sanders...). Mitchell is capable of Jack Tadum-esq, clock cleaning hits. Huff started to live up to his draft status last season. Hiram Eugene is a solid player. Chris Johnson, the Cornerback, (who’s faster than Chris Johnson the RB) is actually a very talented player, just not on the same level as Nnamdi.
If Vincent Jackson holds out, San Diego can kiss any playoff hopes goodbye.
Seriously? Name 1 player on the Bronco’s who’ll make the Pro Bowl in 2011 that isn’t named Elvis Dumervil.
A Safety isn’t going to fix their needs. As good as Jamal Charles was (when it no longer mattered for the Chiefs or their opponents) at the end of last season, we’ll see where he goes this year. And Matt Cassell is the worst QB in the AFC West. Skill and Stat-wise. Jason Campbell blows him out of the water.
2010 Playoff's beware. The Raiders are coming.