Oakland Raiders: Will the "Air Attack" Fly or Flop in 2011?
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The Oakland Raiders had some spectacular catches last season, and the wide receiving corps stepped up to win a few games.
However, it was also obvious that the wide receivers were inconsistent. Simple passes dropped cost the Raiders a few games as well. Darrius Heyward-Bey is an example of inconsistency, and unless he can improve in 2011, he should be released.
Defensively, the Oakland Raiders are to be feared. The defensive front is simply "The Four Horsemen," as Tommy Kelly, Richard Seymour, Matt Shaughnessy and Kamerion Wimbley inflict suffering upon opposing rivals.
Last season the defense was fast and stopped the run whenever necessary. Yeah, there were a few costly misses, but overall it was awesome!
The offense, however, is in need of either a star wide receiver or growth from one of the promising talents. The Silver and Black need a go-to wide receiver other than Pro Bowl TE Zach Miller.
Both WRs Louis Murphy and Jacoby Ford are nearing their game and are, of course, young and talented. Yet the key word is that they are young.
Which Oakland Raider wide receiver will lead the team to the playoffs in 2011?
For Raider fans around the universe, it will rest on the shoulders of these players to step up and be the guys or bring in a Santana Moss or even T.J. Houshmandzadeh.
For entertainment purposes, even a former Raider like Randy Moss would be great help to the Raiders. Maybe under Hue Jackson, Randy would perform. Who knows?
Under newly acquired QB Jason Campbell, the Oakland Raiders have definitely improved. Campbell has great poise in the pocket and seems to be improving as he gets better acquainted with the speed of his receiving corps.
Let's not forget the Hue Jackson factor. Jackson has been successful with his past QBs. As most Raider Nation fans know, he helped coach Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco to the playoffs.
Yet pinpoint accuracy by a quarterback will not win games if those pigskins are dropped. A veteran receiver with excellent hands would benefit the Raider air assault. He would not only contribute by adding an option for Campbell, but he would also bring experience, knowledge and open lanes for the current speedsters.
The other option for success in 2011 is the current wide receiver roster. Jacoby Ford and Louis Murphy each have the opportunity to shine even brighter in Oakland. The problem so far is that Murphy excelled two seasons ago, and Ford took over last season.
For the fans, it was expected that Murphy would be the leader that the team needed. This, however, was not the case, as Murphy dropped passes as well.
Jackson will probably work on getting the passing attack up to par. There is no doubt the running game is strong, but the Raiders need the bomb—and to have success, balls cannot be dropped.
So will the Oakland Raiders flop or fly in 2011? Luckily, the odds are with the Oakland Raiders, who appear to be on the rise. To begin with, the QB and WRs have been practicing while the NFL holds a lockout.
Second, is the experience and offensive talent of Hue Jackson. Jackson has done well with the Raiders at this point. He was a factor in the 6-0 AFC West domination last season and also helped Darren McFadden "be all he could be."
Lastly is the talented defense, which, after forcing fumbles and causing turnovers, will expect the offense to yield big results. In fact, even a field goal is acceptable. The key here is that the offense needs to put up points when the "D" does its job. The less time the defense spends on the field, the better.
The arm of QB Jason Campbell is precise, and now the Raiders wide receivers need to step up if they are going to get to the playoffs next season and, above all else, surprise millions if they take a Super Bowl win next year.
The passing attack is one of the last links to repair. Campbell has enough time to throw the ball, and there's always an option for the blitz. The Oakland Raiders offensive front has done an excellent job blocking for Darren McFadden; now it's time to give Campbell the extra half second so he can throw the bomb to a "reliable" wide receiver.
Ford or Murphy—who will soar the highest? I would bet Jacoby Ford. Ford is aggressive and fights for the ball. You gotta love it! He turned it up against the Chiefs! Go Raiders!
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