Oakland Raiders: Addressing Preseason Questions
I've read around three or four articles in the past few weeks telling us Raider fans that we shouldn't get our hopes up.
The problem is that those articles don't provide a lot of factual information on why the team will finish poorly this season. They aren't fans of the team, so naturally they don't know what's going on with the silver and black.
Since my slideshow app isn't working, I decided to do this on basic article format.
I'm asking the five most common questions from an outsider's perspective, and then answering from an insider's perspective.
Question One: Kam Wimbley is strictly a 3-4 outside linebacker. After busting in Cleveland, what makes you think he'll transition well to the 4-3?
Well, first of all, read this article by Raiders FC Carl Cockerham.
What's the point of reiterating what someone just said? The article explains how the Raiders will most likely use Wimbley.
Question Two: Jason Campbell's stats were good, but the fact is that his team went 4-12. What gives?
Consider everything he had to go through last season.
He had:his owner try to get rid of him twice, a lame duck head coach, a distorted play-calling system, the league's worst offensive line, his two best running backs out for most of the season, his best receiving option on IR (Cooley), an ego filled locker room, and a west coast system that didn't fit his strengths as a quarterback.
That, in a nut shell, is what happened. The Redskins would've been 6-10 had Shaun Suisham not missed two game winners, one against the New Orleans Saints.
Nothing of that nature will happen this season, if Campbell plays up to his ability.
Campbell has a more talented cast of players than he did in Washington. People can try to dispute that now, but in two years they will have no choice but to concede that this group of players can get it done.
Question Three: Darren McFadden has only had one good game in his career. What makes Oakland fans think he's going to suddenly break out?
McFadden had an injury plagued rookie season after the breakout game against the Chiefs.
Last season, McFadden was injured in the early part of the season last year also. When he was on the field, however, he wasn't productive.
A reason why Bush had a much better YPC than McFadden was that Bush is a between-the-tackles type of runner.
Tom Cable tried to do this with McFadden, but it was evident that McFadden isn't that type of running back.
I watched the 2008 Kansas City Chiefs game for more details on why he was successful that Sunday. The majority of his long runs were on tosses to the right or left.
That was with a play caller who actually knew offense. Yes, Lane (fill in the blank) Kiffin knew offense. While Cable tried his hardest, he absolutely had no clue on how to use his most dynamic talent of offense.
He started to realize that McFadden is actually a dynamic receiving threat out of the backfield.
With an actual offensive coordinator in Hue Jackson, McFadden will most likely break out, barring injuries. Unfortunately, McFadden hasn't been able to stay healthy (he now has a hamstring injury), which is a big key for success.
Question Four: The Raiders' offensive line has been ranked dead last by Profootballfocus.com and Yahoo.com. What makes you think Campbell will be going into a better situation as he departs from Washington?
Well, a big reason why the unit wasn't very good last year was the injury filled season of Robert Gallery. When a unit loses its best player for an extended amount of time, they tend to struggle.
In fact, in five of the six games Gallery was healthy, the Raiders rushed for at least 94 yards on the ground. Those aren't great numbers, but considering they only had two good games (Philly, @Denver) without him, the rushing totals will pass for mediocre.
The biggest problem area on the line is Mario Henderson, the left tackle. Henderson was rated the worst tackle statistically, by Profootballfocus.com.
Henderson struggled mightily, after playing really well down the stretch in 2008. You could see the many differences in Henderson.
He practically got beat to the edge by speed rushers every time, or he got over powered by bull rushers. Either way, he was just consistently bad last season.
He still has potential, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the rookie Jared Veldheer get playing time at left tackle if Henderson struggles once again.
Another good one is Bruce Campbell. The former Terp has a big learning curve to go from left tackle to right guard. He won't be ready to start immediately, but don't be surprised if Cable puts him into the starting lineup in 2010.
Question Five: Kirk Morrison had 133 tackles, which rated him in the top 10 with the inside linebackers. He rocked against the run. What was the point of trading him?
I'm not going to go in-depth here, but you can read my Kirk Morrison article at this link.
Morrison absolutely sucked against the run. The reason he had so many tackles was because teams consistently ran at the Raiders. Morrison disappeared from view on many plays.
He clearly was not fit for middle linebacker. I actually wouldn't have minded if the Raiders moved him to the weak side. Apparently, they think Trevor Scott is ready for the full time role.
By drafting Rolando McClain, the Raiders now have a thumper as a middle linebacker. What's overlooked, is that he played a 4-3 scheme in high school.
He was good enough to get him recruited to Alabama.
The Butkus award winner is a film junkie, whose instincts are top notch. Ask Nick Saban. He'll tell you McClain maybe knows more about defense than he does.
So, I hope that clears things up for non-Raider fans. If you like this article enough, reference it to your friends or family that maybe aren't Raider fans.
If you would like to ask (anything I missed?) or disagree with something I stated, make sure you put it up on the comments section accordingly!
Edit: Not that this relates to the story, but I thought it was I amusing when I heard about it. Apparently, the Raiders' rookies just got Tebowed! Can't wait to see the pictures. I heard McClain is wearing a baseball cap.
Edit #2: This is Tyvon Branch's twitter page. Enjoy all of the photos!
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