Oakland Raiders: Without Zach Miller, Nnamdi Asomugha, It's Next Man Up

Back2 BlackContributor IIIAugust 2, 2011

KANSAS CITY, MO - JANUARY 02: Oakland Raiders defensive players celebrate after stopping the Kansas City Chiefs during the game on January 2, 2011 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

No, it's not a massive earthquake that just struck California, but many members of the Raider Nation have been completely shaken by the loss of two of their top players, Nnamdi Asomugha and now Zach Miller. Although many are at a point in which the Raiders are being written off, to quote head coach Hugh Jackson, it's nothing more than "next man up."

By no means am I trying to reduce the talent or importance that both played during the time they spent with the Raiders, but it's very important to note that football is a team sport and practically the rest of team is intact. With that being said, let's look at what has actually taken place.

Nnamdi Asomugha is very difficult to replace. You can't really look at his stats to assess how talented he is because quarterbacks rarely threw in his direction. Due to financial constraints, the Raiders chose to go with Stanford Routt.

Last year, quarterbacks threw at Routt three times as much as they did Ausomugha, yet they have exactly the same target/completion ratio at 39.4 percent.  Both Asomugha and Routt were tied for third in the NFL. Now that Asomugha is gone, Routt will be a fine replacement for him. He has already proved that he can play at the level of the top cornerbacks in the league. 

Based on reports coming out of practice, Chris Johnson has actually played better than Routt. By no means should this be confused with a game situation, but it's good to know that between Routt and Johnson and some of the younger players being groomed under Rod Woodson, the Raiders will fair very well both presently and in years to come.

Zach Miller has been the Raiders' top receiver for the past three seasons. This is a very telling statistic due to the fact that Miller is a tight end. Here is the thing: given the quarterback situation that existed in Oakland for the past three years, the tight end became more of a bailout than a target. Miller had great hands and ran sharp routes, but is he replaceable? I think absolutely.

Last week, on SiriusXM radio, Kevin Boss of the Giants said he wants to be a Raider.
Soon after Miller was signed, this is a player that should be pursued. If they are able to sign him, this would be a tremendous pick-up for the Raiders. Is Boss better than Miller? I won't go that far, but I will say they have a different skill set.

If you compare their numbers last season, Miller ended the year with, 60 receptions and 685 yards. Boss only had 35 receptions but had 531 yards. In other words, Boss averaged four more yards per catch. Boss is also a much better blocker than Miller was and with McFadden and Bush coming out of the backfield, this could be the making of something special.

Al Sanders' offensive schemes usually utilize the tight end. So this could be a perfect time for Boss or whoever becomes the starter, to move into the position. If they are able to replace Miller with Boss, which sounds possible, this would be a major pick-up.

With Miller out, Wimbley restructuring his contract and the possibility of Seymour, Henderson and Routt being asked to do the same thing, the Raiders could free up additional money to sign additional free agents. This could possibly fill any remaining holes that the Raiders have.

With the lost of their top cornerback and tight end, it appears that the Raiders may be better off than most are aware of. Any team that loses two of its best players can cause quite a shock to the team and to the fans, but in this case, I think the Raiders will "man" up and manage electrify the AFC this year.