The 2010 Raiders surprised the AFC West by sweeping their division rivals. But outside of their division, they only won two games.
In 2010, the Raiders were the second-best rushing offense in the league led by Darren McFadden and Michael Bush. But the glaring question is: How will their rush attack fare after losing their best offensive lineman, Robert Gallery, in free agency?
In addition to losing Gallery, the Raiders offensive line will most likely feature at least three players with little or no NFL experience. At left tackle, projected starter Jared Veldheer struggled as a rookie. Below I’ve listed his stats against the stats on other rookie tackles.
Jared Veldheer: 11 games started, 15 penalties for 110 yards, 7.5 sacks allowed for 59.5 yards, 169.5 yards lost total.
Russell Okung: 10 games started, three penalties for 15 yards, four sacks allowed for 30 yards, 45 yards lost total.
Anthony Davis: 16 games started, 10 penalties for 70 yards, 11.5 sacks allowed for 66.5 yards, 136.5 yards lost total.
Bryan Bulaga: 12 games started, nine penalties for 60 yards, 11 sacks allowed for 63.5 yards, 123.5 yards lost total.
The Raiders' second-round draft choice Stefen Wisniewski is projected to start at center. Joseph Barksdale, the rookie tackle from LSU, will be competing for a starting position either at right tackle or either of the guard positions—that’s a lot of youth on an already mediocre offensive line.
As for the passing game, the Raiders will be led by veteran quarterback Jason Campbell. Campbell has a propensity to hold onto the ball a bit longer than most coaches would like, but when he has adequate protection, he has proven to be an effective passer. Unfortunately, Campbell has been plagued by poor pass protection in Oakland as well as in Washington.
When you factor in Oakland’s underachieving receiving corps, it’s hard to be optimistic about the Raiders passing game.
In 2010, Oakland’s defense improved drastically led by veteran defensive tackle Richard Seymour and all-world cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. Unfortunately, Nnamdi is gone, and so will the second-place pass defense ranking. In 2010, despite improvements, Oakland ranked 29th in running yards given up a game.
The lone strength of the Raiders defense is their stout front four which terrorized opposing quarterbacks in 2010. But with the loss of Asomugha, opposing quarterbacks will have more options now that the shutdown corner is gone.
In 2011, the Raiders have a tougher schedule than 2010, and their division rivals, the Chiefs and Chargers, have reloaded. With the loss of their best defensive player, Nnamdi Asomugha , their pass defense will suffer. And with the loss of their best offensive lineman, Robert Gallery, the offensive will suffer.
Unless the Raiders secure veteran players in free agency at the offensive tackle, outside linebacker and cornerback positions, the Raiders will struggle to go 6-0 in their division or improve on their 8-8 record in 2010. In addition, the Raiders receiving corps could use a big “sure-handed” position receiver to complement their track team of unproven receivers.