The first order of business for the Silver and Black is to win the AFC West title, which is something they should be favored to do.
The San Diego Chargers are once again the early favorites to win the division, and the Kansas City Chiefs are looking to win it for the second year in a row. Meanwhile, the Raiders haven't lost to a division opponent since Nov. 15, 2009, when they lost to the Chiefs in Oakland.
A lot has changed since that day. JaMarcus Russell was the starting quarterback, Tom Cable was the head coach and Javon Walker was still one of the Raiders' highest-paid players. The Raiders were lacking true leadership within the locker room, but that is not the case today.
Seymour and Campbell give the Raiders what they've been missing since Rich Gannon and Rod Woodson were on the roster 10 years ago. Gannon and Woodson provided veteran leadership that helped the Raiders reach the Super Bowl. They took a talented team and turned it into a playoff-caliber team.
Seymour leads the defense just like Woodson did 10 years ago. He leads by example, and his teammates listen because he has won titles and will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Woodson is now a member of the coaching staff in Oakland and will help Seymour lead the defense.
The young players around Seymour have benefited so much already just by having him on the team. Not only does he bring championship experience, but he is also showing the young players what a champion is all about. Last offseason he rode into camp on the rookie bus, and this season he, along with Campbell, gathered over 30 players during the lockout to work out together.
Campbell, like Gannon, was brought in to give the Raiders a veteran quarterback who has starting experience. The Raiders went 8-8 under Gannon in his first year and went on to make the playoffs in his second year with the team.
Campbell is looking to have the same success as Gannon did in his second year with Oakland. Gannon came into Oakland and was immediately challenged by head coach Jon Gruden, who was a quarterback-friendly coach.
Gruden was fairly new to the head coaching position but had experience coaching quarterbacks and wide receivers and was an offensive coordinator before he took the head coaching job in Oakland. That is a very similar path to the one Hue Jackson took before he became the Raiders head coach.
The Gannon-Gruden pairing is very similar to the Campbell-Jackson pairing the Raiders have today. As a matter of fact, Jackson and Gruden were office mates at the University of the Pacific in 1989.
The Raiders in recent years have lacked structure, stability and true leadership from their players and coaches. In 2011, that is no longer an issue, and as a matter of fact, it could be their strength.
Campbell and Seymour are strong leaders to have in the locker room. Oakland is looking to build on last season, and it has the pieces in place to make a playoff run.
The coaching staff is also much stronger than it's been in recent years. Jackson has brought in quite the staff that has experience, titles, Hall of Famers and former Raider greats.
The team is eager to get started with the new season. The Raiders are ready to make the playoffs, and they have the leadership and talent to get them there.
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