T.J. Houshmandzadeh: How the WR Can Upgrade the Oakland Raiders Offense
New quarterback Carson Palmer has more than two practices under his belt now, and a new/old friend to play catch with.
This move, while not flashy, does really strike home the fact that the Raiders are doing all they can to win this year. Rightfully so, considering the price paid for Palmer.
Housh's addition does upgrade the Raiders offense. While it doesn't make them faster at the wide receiver position, it adds some badly needed veteran leadership to the receiving corps. So far this year Jacoby Ford, Darius Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore have been the only "reliable" pass-catchers for the Raiders as well as Darren McFadden.
Kevin Boss, while a good blocking tight end, hasn't gotten any opportunity to be a receiver. Perpetually injured Chaz Schilens still hasn't come back to his 2009 level, while Louis Murphy, a very solid receiver the past two years, has also battled injuries to no avail.
All in all, despite the Raiders having a great receiving corps "on paper," they haven't had enough health to see the group live up to their hype.
Houshmandzadeh isn't going to blow anyone away with his speed, but he will be a very solid possession receiver who is sure-handed and more likely to come through in the clutch. He did not perform well at Baltimore last season, but that can be attributed to the Ravens' bizarre use of the passing game that varies greatly from game to game.
With Palmer and Housh back together solid contributions can be expected. While Houshmandzadeh isn't the caliber of receiver that Terrell Owens, Randy Moss or Chad Ochocinco are, he doesn't come with the drama headaches either. The Raiders are best when they play as a team and Housh should be able to integrate himself in a relatively short amount of time with some success. Immediately it appears he will become the No. 4 receiver behind Ford, Moore and Heyward-Bey, but I'd expect quick contributions once he sees adequate playing time.
Working in tandem with Carson Palmer should let Houshmandzadeh contribute immediately. This is evidently, now more than ever, a go-big-or-go-home year for the Oakland Raiders.
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