Oakland Raiders Building From The 1983 Blueprint
One of the first things that came out of Hue Jackson's mouth after he was hired was, "I'm going to continue to build a bully around here." The 1983 Los Angeles Raiders defined the word bully and Raider football at the same time.
They pounded defenses with the power running game and threw the ball deep to ultra fast receivers on offense. On defense, they got to the quarterback with four men and made life miserable for opposing receivers at the line of scrimmage with the bump and run.
The 2011 Oakland Raider's 8-8 record doesn't indicate that this team is anywhere near the 1983 Raiders. But teams don't win the Super Bowl the first year that they are put together.
The 1980 Raiders started being put together in 1978 and won it all in 1980. Then they retooled more in 1981 and got some major pieces in of the puzzle in 1982, leading to the 1983 Super Bowl run.
The Raiders as they are now have but a few pieces to add for a Super Bowl run. You can already see the blueprint is there along with many of the pieces in place.
Turn the page to see who they are.
Quarterback Jim Plunkett
Jim Plunkett is the best quarterback ever to wear the silver and black hands down. He won two Super Bowls in 1980 and 1983 but was never the sexy pick at quarterback during his time.
Joe Thiesman, Dan Fouts, Dan Marino, and Joe Montana were the sexy quarterback then.
Plunkett was considered to be a bust after being the first pick in the 1971 draft by the New England Patriots. He then struggled more after going to the San Fransisco 49ers before entering Raider Nation.
He was expected to save two horrible teams at the time and when he didn't, bust became his middle name. Plunkett wasn't expected to do much with the Raiders as he didn't even throw a pass in his first year.
His second year, he threw only 15 passes and was to be the back up in his third year. As fate would have it, starting quarterback Dan Pastorini broke his leg to end his season.
The rest would then be history for Plunkett and the Raiders.
Quarterback Jason Campbell
Jason Campbell, like Plunkett in his day, isn't looked at a sexy quarterback of today's game. Philip Rivers, Payton Manning, Drew Breeze, and Tom Brady are among today's sexy quarterbacks.
Maybe that's why Campbell was pegged as "the next Jim Plunkett" by Raider owner Al Davis. Many a Raider fan believe that Davis is crazy for saying such a thing but the story of his early years is simple.
Campbell also went into the NFL off of a National Championship run before being picked by the Washington Redskins in the first round. When he was unable to reverse the fortunes of the horrible Redskins, the bust label was added to his name.
He then comes to Raider Nation and was almost immediately sent to the bench after he didn't adapt to his surroundings so fast. He would then come on to lead Raiders to their first .500 winning percentage in seven years.
Many are still not sold on the big armed Campbell, blaming him for some of the loses as a Raider. Some still point back to his struggles as a Redskin, using it as evidence that he won't do it as a Raider.
The Redskins built a better team around Donovan McNabb this year and look what happened.
Running Back Marcus Allen
Marcus Allen was a beast back in the day.
Despite going to a team that already had a Super Bowl winning quarterback, the 1983 Raiders became his on arrival. In just his second year in the NFL, Allen set a record for rushing yards and longest run from scrimmage in a Super Bowl on his way to Super Bowl MVP honors.
Allen set a record for total yards from scrimmage on the way to NFL MVP honors a couple of years later. His records have since been broken but you can't take away the fact the he was a Rookie of the Year, Super Bowl MVP, and NFL MVP.
His ability to run, receive, block, and throw made him special.
Running Back Darren McFadden
Darren McFadden's career didn't quite get off to the start that Allen's did. However, he boasts multitude of talents just as Allen did.
He didn't block or throw quite as well as Allen but looks to be just as potent a weapon as a runner and receiver. McFadden finished the 2010 season with over 1,000 yards rushing and over 500 yards receiving despite missing three and a half games.
Raider Nation is excited to see what McFadden will do next for the Silver and Black.
He has the skill set of a future NFL MVP.
Receiver Cliff Branch
Cliff Branch seriously belongs in the Hall of Fame.
He was a little guy that played big.
The man played even bigger when it was a big moment, a big game, or both. His speed put the fear of God in every opposing corner slated to cover him.
Branch was so fast, there wasn't a corner in the NFL that could run with him in his day. He was also competitive enough to go up a get the ball wherever it was.
Running after the catch is another skill he had from his collegiate kick return days.
Former Raider head coach John Madden once said, "Cliff Branch told me he could beat his man deep before they even sang the National Anthem." I said, "You don't even know who your man is yet!"
That shows you right there that the moment wasn't too big for him.
Receiver Jacoby Ford
In just his rookie year, Jacoby Ford has shown that he has plenty of Cliff Branch in him. It doesn't look like there is a corner in the NFL today that can run with him.
He is still a kick returner and applies that skill to running after the catch. What stands out the most to me about him is how he goes up and make the circus catch despite his small size.
His overtime catch against the Kansas City Chiefs shows that no moment is too big for him.
DE/OLB Greg Townsend
At 6'4, 265 pounds, Greg Townsend is one of the height, weight, and speed guys Al Davis loves. And Townsend is a height, weight, and speed guy that could actually play.
Of his 12 years in Raider Nation, Townsend led the Raiders in sacks five times. He is the Raider's all time sack leader and No. 16 on the NFL all time sack list with 109.5.
He could come off the edge standing up in a 3-4 and with his hand in the ground in a 4-3. Townsend was a major part of the 1983 Los Angeles Raiders bullying opposing quarterbacks.
He made "the quarterback go down and go down hard."
DE/OLB Kamerion Wimbley
Kamerion Wimbley is more of a complete outside linebacker than Townsend was but he does put heat on the quarterback. He started out as a 3-4 outside linebacker with the Cleveland Browns and had 11 sacks in his rookie year.
Those numbers plummeted in his ensuing years with the Browns then Wimbley was traded to the Raiders to reclaim his career. So far, Wimbley has done just that as he led the Raiders in sacks in 2010 with nine despite the Raiders not being a blitzing team.
However, Wimbley did help his cause by putting his hand in the ground on third down. The loss was all Cleveland's in their trade with the Raiders for their former first round pick.
How many more years will Wimbley lead the Raiders in sacks.
Defensive Lineman Howie Long
Hall of Fame defensive lineman Howie Long was an up and coming star leading up to the 1983 season that he became one. Lamarr Houston, in my opinion, is in that very position now as his immense talent will show itself more next season.
Long's approach to his craft was to beat the guy up in front of him on the way to the quarterback. He got off the ball as if he were shot out of a cannon with an explosive first step.
Long was just as good against the run against the pass.
He was a nightmare for the opposing offensive coordinator, offensive line coach, and all five offensive lineman.
DE/DT Lyle Alzado
Sacks weren't an official stat for most of Lyle Alzado's career but stats weren't the measure of Alzado's impact. But he did manage seven sacks in 1983 as a 3-4 DE/4-3 DT and 24 in his four years in Raider nation.
Alzado was fierce against the run and took double teams so others could get sacks. The volatile Alzado was also an enforcer that affected the opposing offensive lineman's play with intimidation.
With Alzado in the mix, opposing team chose their words carefully when playing the Raiders.
Defensive Lineman Lamarr Houston
Lamarr Houston like Long is a versatile defensive lineman.
He is a big man at 6'3, 300 pounds and came out of the University of Texas as a defensive tackle. He ran a 4.7 in the 40-yard dash and the Raiders saw him as a defensive end and picked him in the second round.
There were points in the 2010 season where he was asked to play his collegiate position of defensive tackle with injuries to Seymour and John Henderson. He looked very good inside as well, making tackles for losses on short yardage situations.
But what he has most similar to Long is that rocket start off the ball.
DE/DT Richard Seymour
Richard Seymour is actually a combination of 1983 Los Angeles Raiders. He has the versatility to play any position on the defensive line like Howie Long and the dominant inside presence of Reggie Kinlaw.
He is also a volatile but wily veteran that enforces and intimidates like Alzado. See the Oakland Raider Pittsburgh Steeler game in which Seymour dropped Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
He has taken talented rookie defensive lineman Houston under his wing. Alzado did the same thing with then youngster Howie Long when traded to the Raiders in 1982.
Seymour only had 5.5 sacks this season but took double and triple teams so others can get those sacks.
Inside Linebacker Matt Millen
Matt Millen was ready from the word go when drafted by the Raiders in 1980. He was a football head from a great Penn. State program that's know for it's line backers.
Millen studied, ate, slept and drank football everyday and all day to become an impact player right away. That led to the Raiders winning the Super Bowl in Millen's first year in the NFL.
The Raiders were always among the top defensive units with Millen calling the defensive signals.
Having a physical, thumper inside linebacker like Millen in the middle had to have been a key reason.
Middle Linebacker Rolando McClain
Rolando McClain comes from a great program in itself at the University of Alabama. They even ran a pro style defense in which he knew everyone on his side of the ball's responsibility.
He could not have reached such a point if he weren't a studier himself. McClain played well in his rookie and year and the Raider run defense started to improve a bit until McClain was hurt late in the season
But McClain did manage to show Raider Nation that he was indeed that thumper linebacker the Raiders were looking for. He is a 3-4 inside linebacker by nature so it is a wonder what the Raiders will run going forward as they have yet to name a defensive coordinator.
Regardless, McClain will be prepared.
Corner Mike Haynes
Mike Haynes was a true shut down corner before they started giving such a name out. He was tall, rangy, fast, athletic and was extremely physical at the line of scrimmage.
The Raiders traded for Haynes during the 1983 season and many dubbed that to be the trade that the Raiders over the top. All I know is that it couldn't have hurt because there was one receiver that wouldn't do much against the Raiders that day.
Haynes was the best cover corner of his era.
Nnamdi Asomugha is the best cover corner in the game today. If you don't believe it, listen to all the quarterbacks in NFL.
Don't listen to their words but listen to their actions or lack there of. Asomugha gets a pass thrown his way less than any corner in the league.
Asomugha is also tall and rangy with big time physicality at the line of scrimmage. It's funny how talking about all the great Raider corners throughout their history makes you say the same things.
Asomugha is among a long line of great Raider corners.
Most of the peices seem to be in place for the Raiders to make a Super Bowl run in 2011. They need a solid corner to play opposite Asomugha.
They also need a left tackle along the lines of Art Shell and Henry Lawrence. That is why I am so adament about why the Raiders need to hurry up and grab Jared Gaither.
How nice would it be to have a great center on the team?
Is Stephen Wisniewski a player Davis will make a move to get?
The outside linebacker position opposite Wimbley can use an improvement to help stop the run. Other than that, the Raiders look to have one heck of a season coming next year with this young team.
They are closer to bringing back the 1983 Raiders than the NFL realizes.
This off season will tell just how soon in will happen.