2011 Oakland Raiders: Predictions...Bold and Not-so-Bold in the AFC West

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2011 Oakland Raiders: Predictions...Bold and Not-so-Bold in the AFC West
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

It’s no secret that Al Davis is the most senile owner in professional sports.  His refusal to hire a GM and hand over the reins has resulted in one of the most miserable decades for a franchise in NFL history. 

Last season, behind Tom Cable’s leadership, the Raiders were able to sweep the division and finish 8-8: their first non-losing since losing the Super Bowl in 2002.  So things are looking up, right?

Not exactly.  Despite Cable’s ability to, “just win” (well, sort of…) not only football games, but the allegiance of this players, Davis insisted on firing him after the season.  In the aftermath, there were multiple Raiders who complained publicly about the decision. 

Despite the encouraging progress of the 2010 Raiders, Davis has found a way to nearly dismantle a team that seemed to be headed in the right direction.  He fired his head coach, and two of the Raiders’ best offensive players (Zach Miller and Robert Gallery) followed him to Seattle.  Both explicitly mentioned Cable when asked about their decision to leave the Silver and Black.

But Davis didn’t let everyone go; he managed to make Stanford Routt, an above-average CB, one of the highest paid in the league.  He hung on to Richard Seymour, which is a good thing.  But then he signed Michael Huff to a contract about twice as large as his on-field accomplishments deserve. 

Oh yeah, and Davis, notorious for his defensive back fetish, let the best cover corner in the league sign elsewhere for a contract only slightly larger than Routt’s. 

This offseason has been a mess for the Raiders.  They lost their best offensive and defensive players to free-gency and signed no one of significance in return.  Despite major losses in the free-agent market, (and the lack of a first round-pick) the Raiders managed to have an excellent draft, and the 2011 season will largely depend upon the performance of a few of those rookies. 

It is entirely possible for this team, despite their owner’s best efforts, to finish the season above .500 and compete for a playoff berth.  Here are a few predictions for the upcoming season, some optimistic, others not so much.

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