The Oakland Raiders had a tumultuous offseason—but with the lockout, I suppose everyone did—in which they saw their long-standing defensive leader, Nnamdi Asomugha, and their leading pass receiver, tight end Zach Miller, leave in free agency.
Also gone was left guard Robert Gallery, and head coach Tom Cable. Though the Raiders improved on and off the field last season, and though they finished at or above .500 for the first time in seven seasons, Al Davis saw fit to jettison Cable despite endorsements from Miller and Gallery, and Cable wound up as offensive line coach in Seattle.
It was the right move.
Hue Jackson came on as offensive coordinator last season, and the offense was instantly improved, rocketing up to No. 6 in the NFL in scoring after failing to crack the Top 30 for the previous three seasons.
There has been a sea change in Oakland, one that was necessary for this once proud franchise to be able to look itself in the eye again. The Raiders of old showed through at times last season, physically dominating opponents and running all over them while making big plays downfield.
But there were also the old albatrosses hanging around the neck of the franchise: the inability to stop the run; the defense's propensity for giving up the big play; inconsistent quarterback play; and instability at the top of the food chain.
Thus, the Raiders came into this season with a renewed focus on building a bully, stopping the run and getting more consistent play out of the quarterback and wide receiver position. Oh yeah, there's also the pesky matter of trying to replace Nnamdi, one of the best defensive backs in the entire NFL.
How has it gone thus far? Let's see, shall we.