JaMarcus Russell Set to Lead the Oakland Raiders to the Playoffs
No, I'm not kidding. Seriously.
I loved J-Marc in college and I honestly think this kid is poised to take the Raiders to the playoffs in the AFC this season. But hey, you don't have to take my word for it. Listen to my reasoning.
1) He's fully loaded at WR
Russell is working with an offense that's absolutely loaded. I wouldn't be exaggerating if I said it might be the most skilled young offense in the league. He's working with a talented WR corps that includes Javon Walker (1,064 yards and eight TD in 2006), Ronald Curry (717 yards and four TD in 2007), and Ashley Lelie (1,084 yards and seven TD in 2004). Al Davis has quietly assembled one of the best threesomes in the league at WR.
2) He's got backfield help
Without an injury in the first game of his senior campaign, Louisville running back Michael Bush is a first-round pick. No doubt. And the thing is, he's the third-string back on the Raiders.
Darren McFadden is going to be straight nasty even as a rookie. We all know that. Especially in an offense that made Justin Fargas (the current second stringer) a respectable player. So with D-Mac, Fargas, and Bush there's no shortage of talent to hand off to.
3) The line will turn the corner
Yes the Raiders gave up 41 total sacks last year, but they have two first-rounders on the line and they also have fantastic size. It's all about giving these guys a consistent position and letting them learn on the job. I really think that they will do a decent job protecting J-Marc and blocking for D-Mac.
4) The defense will give the offense a learning curve
No, it's not exactly an amazing unit, but the Raiders defense is quietly pretty darn good, especially in the secondary. Count on players like Nnamdi Asomugha, DeAngelo Hall, Gibril Wilson, and Michael Huff to cause turnovers and get the offense a short field to score on.
5) The schedule is weak
Especially in the AFC, this list looks like a cakewalk. I can see potential wins in these weeks:
-Week One: VS Denver
-Week Two: @ KC
-Week Three: @ Buffalo
-Week Seven: VS NYJ
-Week Eight: @ Baltimore
-Week Nine: VS Atlanta
-Week 10: VS Carolina
-Week 11: @ Miami
-Week 12: @ Denver
-Week 13: VS KC
-Week 14: VS Houston
-Week 17: @ Tampa Bay
That would leave the Raiders with 12 potential wins. Even if we're negative, that looks like ten almost positive chances at wins. I'm not even a Raiders' fan, but J-Marc is gonna turn a corner this year. And the Raiders might just too.
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