Sunday's Super Bowl was a up and down but entertaining struggle to between the two best teams in the NFL. Some watched the game purely for entertainment value and as it was their last time to watch an NFL game for six months.
I looked at the game for those same reasons but also looked to see just how close or far the Raiders are to being contenders. The Raiders really aren't as far off as this year's 8-8 record indicates but the areas that the Raiders are weak really kill them.
Many mock draft and free agency articles have been written to figure out who could actually help the Raiders. This one covers the free agents that the Raiders should let walk to make room on the Raider roster and under whatever the cap may be to help the Raiders bring in new players that can help.
Turn the page to see who they are.
Let's not even waste time.
Samson Satele needs to go.
Tom Cable showed me his eye for talent when he said, "I always thought the Samson Satele was the best offensive lineman in the 2007 draft. This has to be a big part of the reason Cable is no longer the head coach for the Raiders.
Satele was neither a good run or pass blocker when faced with a larger 3-4 nose tackles. The nose tackle has to be blocked to run against a 3-4 defense but Satele usually found a way to get ran over by the nose tackle .
Most football experts say that the heart of NFL offense in the NFL is in the middle.Three games that the Raider offense had no heart in were the 49er, Steeler, and Dolphin games.
That's because Satele couldn't handle the big nose tackles that either of the three teams had. While the center and and left tackle are supposed to be anchors of the offensive line, Satele is a liability at center.
He and Cooper Carlisle, Cable's other guy don't fit the Raider's new power blocking scheme and must go.
Robert Gallery wasn't the bad part of the middle of the Raider's offensive line.
So why let him go?
He wasn't that good either and he gets hurt an awful lot for a six million dollar man.
Gallery has also been reported to want out of Raider Nation after the firing of Tom Cable. The Raiders need players who's heart is with the Raiders and what they have a chance to do going forward.
Gallery should go ahead and follow his heart to Seattle where Cable now dwells. That money could be spent upgrading to New England Patriot free agent Logan Mankins with money left over for another player.
Gallery becoming a decent guard still makes him a bust as he was supposed to be a franchise left tackle.
Mario Henderson has been anything but super the last couple of years in Raider Nation. The man simply can't get out of his stance quick enough deal with a speed rusher off the edge.
It would be one thing if Henderson were inconsistent but he is consistently horrible against speed rushers. That means opposing teams can simply put a speed rusher on his side should he go into a game.
Jared Veldheer, the man that took his position, is hardly better as he has shown an equal weakness toward pass rushers with length. Therefore the Raiders need badly to address this position in free agency or the draft so that Veldheer can either be a back up or switch to another position on the offensive line.
The "Super Mario" experiment failed.
Bruce Gradkowski won a couple of games in 2009 and led Cable to say, "If we had an average starting quarterback, we would have made the playoffs." With Jamarcus Russell being the biggest draft bust in NFL history, that's actually a nice plea for your job.
But where Cable messed up is thinking that Gradkowski was an average quarterback based on a couple of wins. Gradkowski is horrible starting quarterback as his career record and statistics have indicated.
Davis trades for an average starting quarterback (Jason Campbell) with potential to be better and Cable pulled him in favor Gradkowski, a career 67 rated passer, when he struggled early. The result was no wins for Gradkowski as a starter and four losses to sub .500 teams that clearly kept the Raiders out of the playoffs.
Raider Nation was enabler along with Cable in this deal by giving him rock star treatment, making him believe he is better than he is. Now he has the nerve to criticize a franchise quarterback in Jay Cutler during the playoffs via twitter.
He even showed Campbell up by pacing the sidelines while Campbell struggled against the Steelers only to enter the game later and throw an interception. Gradkowski fans will say, "That's just how Gradkowski is. He's an intense competitor."
He didn't pace the sidelines in Cleveland, Tampa Bay, or St. Louis.
Campbell has since gotten used to his surroundings and proven to be the best man for the job in Raider Nation. Gradkowski should now be set free so Campbell isn't looking over his shoulder in 2011.
This way, fans at the stadium won't chant as if Rich Gannon was on the Raider bench.
Johnny Lee Higgins showed flashes of being an explosive return man and run after the catch receiver in 2008. But watching Higgins try to catch a football and return punts was painful in 2010.
I believe in the Raider's young receiver corps but if the Raiders want to pick up vet, Higgins should be the one that leaves room on the roster for one. I also happen to believe that Nick Miller should be given another shot to return punts with a healthier ankle in 2011.
We do two things in life.
We get better or we get worse.
Higgins got worse and shouldn't be rewarded for it.
When Ricky Brown replaced an injured Rolando McClain against the Jacksonville Jaguars, he looked lost. He looked a lot like former Raider middle linebacker Kirk Morrison in 2009.
The Jaguars rushed for 234 yards against the Raiders in Week 14 and 128 of those yards were on three carries. On all of the Jaguars big runs, Brown was badly out of place, hitting gaps that the running back wasn't going through.
On Maurice Jones-Drew's game clenching, 30 yard touchdown run, Brown was at his worst. Jones-Drew started to the right with both Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour taking double teams.
Jones-Drew had nothing play side but Brown ran himself into a pile instead of shooting the gap that Jones-Drew cut back and ran through. There is no excuse for such a play when he was kept clean by double teams on the defensive tackles.
I'm sure Travis Goethel can do a better job than that should McClain get injured again.
What was Davis thinking here?
Eugene was starting at free safety for a time when Stuart Swaggart left the Raiders and they experimented with Michael Huff and strong safety. Fill up the stat sheet is something Eugene didn't do as he has only one career interception.
He also had his fair share of missed tackles on running backs that broke through the line of scrimmage. Huff is now looking like a play maker and Stevie Brown just finished a rookie season where he showed some promise.
This makes a Eugene the odd man out.
The Raiders need to improve and have depth at a few key positions. The only way that is going to happen is if they have enough room on the roster and under whatever the salary cap will be.
There are plenty of Raiders becoming free agents that need to be resigned immediately. The men I just named need to be let go to make that necessary room on the roster and under the cap.
The next couple of months will be interesting to say the least.