A lot has been made in the media about the Oakland Raiders' 0-3 preseason record and it has spread to the fans. Everyone needs to just relax because the sky is not falling in Raider Nation.
This is a time to get the kinks worked out and find out who's who on your team.
In fact, there's a lot going on with the Raiders right now that tells me everything is going to be alright as they get closer to the regular season.
Why is this important?
Everyone thinks that the Raiders can't defend the pass without Nnamdi Asomugha but that isn't the case. Last year, Stanford Routt tied Asomugha for second in the NFL in burn percentage at 39.4 percent with Johnson right behind them at 40.5.
Drew Brees was 100 percent picking on rookie Demarcus Van Dyke, who filled in for Johnson Sunday. That's not going to happen, no matter who the opposing quarterback is when Johnson is in the game.
All things being how they were, the Raiders were up 20-17 when all the starters came out.
If you think about it, all three teams that the Raiders have played so far have went up and down the field mainly on Van Dyke.
Van Dyke has a future but he's not ready yet.
Having Johnson back along with the acquisition of Lito Sheppard will make a huge difference there.
"Big" John Henderson is back at practice and expected to be ready for the opener.
Why is this important?
The San Francisco 49ers were really the only team to gut the Raiders with the run game this preseason. The 49ers did get outside on the Raiders twice but most of that damage was done on the backups.
There was a lot of 49er starters and Raider subs in that game.
The 49ers went straight up the gut on the Raider reserves where Henderson would have been.
Remember, it was Henderson that went into the Rams game after Steven Jackson had over 60 yards at halftime.
Jackson finished the game with 75 yards on the day.
Need I say more about Henderson's ability to play the run?
Rolando McClain was large and in charge of the front seven on Sunday.
McClain had five total tackles in the game while Pierre Thomas averaged three yards per carry and Mark Ingram averaged 1.9 yards per carry.
Again, the subs without John Henderson were the ones that gave up the majority of the rushing yards.
What I like in McClain right now is that he's finding the ball carrier and running to him. We all know how physical he is and the part that he was a little behind on last year looks like it's fixed.
McClain was even outstanding in coverage, covering on two passes.
Jacoby Ford actually went back to practice before the Saint game but there's no need to hurry him back. He is one of the Raiders' dynamic play makers that head coach Hue Jackson vows will become a household name.
Well, Ford hasn't played all preseason since breaking his hand, so you know there's a lot the Raiders can't do with him on the sideline.
Remember how he woke the offense up when the Raiders weren't playing well on that side of the ball in the first Chiefs game last year?
He's not going to give the offense a chance to start off stale this season.
Jason Campbell was large and in charge of the offense on Sunday like he should be.
This is the quarterback I've been waiting for, as he was accurate, decisive, and read the defense beautifully, making checks at the line of scrimmage into better plays.
Campbell was 12-17 for 150 yards in the game with a pass by Darrius Heyward-Bey dropped, another he didn't adjust to on a back shoulder throw.
If Campbell is going to play this way for the duration of the 2011 season, the rest of the NFL better look out.
I really like what I'm seeing from Campbell coming back from being not so decisive the week before.
Darren McFadden is the most valuable player on the Raider offense.
All you have to do is look at what the Raiders did on offense in his two injury riddled years, then look at what they did last year.
Yes, Jackson had a lot to do with using him the right way and now has Al Saunders to take that to the next level.
McDonald has also reported that he looks like the best football player on the field every time he practices.
The Raider offense will look that much better with Mr. MVP back in the fold.
Come on people!
This is the preseason man!
I love the way Jackson talks about how important it is to win preseason games so the players will play hard.
You can clearly see that the Raiders haven't even used one one hundredth of their playbook.
If Jackson was trying so hard to win, why did we see so many Cardinal and 49er ones and Raider twos and threes?
Jackson wants to win while getting a look at certain players in certain situations.
Van Dyke is a classic example of that.
The Art Shell led Raiders were 4-1 in the preseason and how did that end?
That makes 1-4 sound perfect now doesn't it?
They'll beat the Seahawks.
There is much to be excited about with key Raiders getting healthy.
Mike Mitchell isn't back yet but Jackson expects everyone to be back for opening week except for Louis Murphy. That means if Tyvon Branch continues to get abused in coverage, Mitchell, who played well in coverage last year, will be available to take over.
He was the starting strong safety to begin camp before he came up lame. I know you don't want to hear it, but this also means that Chaz Schilens will play in the first opening day of his NFL career.
Hey, the guy has Andre Johnson type talent and if that doesn't work out, Campbell seems to be getting used to Derek Hagan these days. Then, "mama, there goes that man again" Denarius Moore looks every bit of a play maker himself.
And I would be remiss to leave out how well the offensive line is protecting Campbell. I won't mention the rest of the guys yet because Jackson won't comment on where everyone will play on the offensive line.
But I have to mention left tackle Jared Veldheer because he is the one guy that has his position locked down.
I'm happy to say it again, I was wrong about Veldheer.
That makes me all the more excited about the Raiders this season.