The biggest question facing the Oakland Raiders this season—beyond the ongoing labor issues— is crossing that last hurdle into the playoffs.
Last season, Darren McFadden had his breakout season and the team compiled its first non-losing season since 2002. The next step is morphing into a playoff contender.
The first glimpse of Oakland’s most talented squad since the Super Bowl team of 2002 will go on display in Georgia next week.The Oakland Raiders’ team passing camp will get underway in Duluth, GA. The four-day event will be held Tuesday-Friday and be led by defensive tackle Richard Seymour and quarterback Jason Campbell.
AFC West blogger Bill Williamson passed the story down on Wednesday, and it included an interesting declaration by Seymour: “Men, I hope everyone is well and is staying in shape because we are going to out-work everyone we face this season, and it starts right now in the offseason.”
Seymour’s “tone setter” was the opening line of his email inviting teammates to join him for the team’s first minicamp. But more importantly, the 11-year veteran sounded like he’s fully embraced his role as team leader. We all knew he was, but the leader of the AFC West's most talented defensive line just told his teammates to step it up.
Williamson also noted in his report that the camp would include weight lifting, swimming and nutritional counseling. He went on to say that the event would be professional and supervised and would not include Oakland coaches, obviously.
This is certainly a good sign for Raiders coach Hue Jackson and the rest of the organization.Seymour deserves credit for bringing the team together and for picking up the tab. The costs of the camp will come out Seymour's pocket. So, when many other teams are splintered in different directions or working out in small pockets, Oakland’s on the way to becoming a playoff contender.
And while the Raiders are preparing for a season after lockout ball, Seymour’s former boss Bill Belichick has essentially thrown in the towel—on mini camps anyway.
Quarterback Tom Brady has not conducted a passing camp this offseason, and Patriots’ beat writer Ian R. Rapoport of the Boston Herald reported on May 17 that Belichick is essentially looking at the start of training camp to force feed his team the playbook.
But that’s going to sting, without adequate time to install the team’s famously complex schemes, Belichick and the Pats could enter the season as vanilla as the Penn State Nittany Lions in July.
Who would have thought the Raiders might be the better prepared team when the Patriots travel to Oakland for a Week 4 matchup.