Last season the legendary Oakland Raiders stepped their game up a notch and worked towards their former greatness as they took the AFC West with a perfect 6-0 record. The Oakland Raiders at the same time put historical numbers in their record books when they defeated the Denver Broncos in Denver with a 59-14 win.
So what was the recipe for the Oakland Raider success playing their rivals last season? Some of the recipe may have been the faith that former head coach Tom Cable had for the team. The players seemed to play hard for Tom and they looked good.Or possibly, the presence of Hue Jackson? Jackson helped the running game and helped Darren McFadden blow through holes to gain over a 1000 yd running. Either way this team was much improved than it has been in the past. The running game was fantastic!
Currently, the NFL is in a lockout and teams are working out potential newcomers to the teams. As for the Oakland Raiders, they to are doing the same but the biggest advantage the Oakland Raider have over their AFC West rivals is the camaraderie between the team mates and also owner Al Davis keeping this particular unit together.
Keeping lineman Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour was huge for Raider fans around the universe. It is also great news to hear that the former New England Patriot and SB champion Richard Seymour wants to end his career in Oakland. He has played just as hard as he did in New England and has not lost a step in his game.
The defense is actually improving every year. Rookie Rolando McClain had a spectacular year and was as hard a hitter as former Raider great Greg Biekert. Yes, I said it Greg Biekert.
Another huge reason why the Oakland Raiders can repeat last seasons performance is the talent that stepped up last season. The new guys in particular. WR Jacoby Ford played like a ball hawk. He literally took the ball from opposing CBs ( Kansas City Chiefs CB Brandon Flowers). What an awesome game it was to see Ford get the team downfield twice to defeat the Chiefs!
Next is the melting pot of champions to help coach the team and improve. Welcome Rod Woodson to the CB coaching position. It appears that the Oakland Raiders may lose Nnamndi Asomugha. Woodson will definitely improve the secondary should we lose the pro bowler.
Losing Asomugha. This would be a huge mistake by the Raiders and owner Al Davis. One can only hope that the Silver and Black will recall the loss of Charles Woodson. Charles Woodson has played well in Green Bay but the past is the past. Pay Asomugha and keep the secondary strong.
Rod Woodson does bring a winning attitude as does the hiring of former coach Chuck Bresnahan, Al Davis is basically bringing in a support network of winners to elevate the play of the Raiders.
Mike Mitchell is another newbie to the team that really stood out last season. His diligence, speed and toughness elevated the Raider defense. In fact the Silver and Black Attack is looking good. There's always room for improvement. Particularly, the tackling. Poor tackling cost the Raiders a win in Jacksonville.
The last factor is of course the addition, or should I say promotion of Hue Jackson to head coach. There was a bit of conflict when Al Davis let Tom Cable go, especially since he put together a competitive team that had heart. There were some great moments for Tom Cable. One was the defeat of the Tampa Bay Bucs.
The reward a that game was defeating former coach Jon Gruden.The Oakland Raiders under Tom were able to take them out of the playoffs and then there was the win over Pittsburgh with QB Bruce Gradkowski. This however was not repeated last season.
QB Jason Campbell will be the X-factor next season. He has played some good games with very very few interceptions. His precision throwing will improve and should open the lanes for Darren McFadden. Of course lets not forget the speedy WR's Jacoby Ford and Louis Murphy. Both these two players will dominate the gridiron for the Silver and Black and look extremely good. Murphy dropped a few balls but will improve. Quote me :)
RB Darren Mcfadden should have a huge season and having broke through the defensive lines of the Broncos, Chiefs and Chargers should have no problem repeating his performance last season.
Michael Bush is a great compliment back for Darren McFadden as is FB Marcel Reece.
The Oakland Raiders should be able to repeat last seasons performance and also get into the playoffs if coach Hue Jackson can eliminate the small issues that hurt this team last season. Tackling has to improve for one.
Overall , can one expect the Oakland Raiders to repeat wins over their division rivals in perfect manner? The answer my friend is a simple YES!