The Raiders in the Playoffs? Something to Look for in 2009

Michael SippContributor IApril 17, 2009

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 28: Quarterback JaMarcus Russell #2 of the Oakland Raiders scrambles from the pocket against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on December 28, 2008 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

That is right...I said it.

It was about time someone did too.

I know some of you guys are going, is this a joke?

Well, guess what—it is not. The Raiders are going to be the Falcons of 2009. They might not make the playoffs, but they will challenge the Chargers for the AFC West crown.

JaMarcus Russell has another year under his belt, and he finally has a coach that is not in the hot seat.

The backfield is healthy and ready to tear it up in 2009, with Justin Fargas and Darren McFadden pounding it down the field, and Michael Bush and Oren O'Neal pounding it into the end zone.

The receiving corps is healthy, but adding a veteran wide receiver like Torry Holt or Amani Toomer, or drafting a stud like Michael Crabtree or Jeremy Maclin, would be a huge gain.

The offensive line is still weak, but the acquisition of center Samson Satele from Miami will help because we all know Jake Grove is not the answer.

Robert Gallery and Cooper Carlisle are talented, but our tackle position is even weaker. Mario Henderson is an okay tackle, but I would rather have him as a backup, and this whole thing with Cornell Green puts an even bigger need at tackle.

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If we can pick up a tackle in the draft like Andre Smith, Jason Smith, Eugene Monroe, or Michael Oher, that would be a major upgrade. I know Andre Smith's work ethic is in question, but just look at his film.

The defensive line is also weak.

Derrick Burgess and Tommy Kelly are good players, but Oakland needs someone to take the pressure off of them. Brian Orakpo or B.J. Raji would be a major upgrade in the draft.

The linebacking corps is pretty good.

We have Kirk Morrison in the middle, with Thomas Howard on the right, but we all know the Robert Thomas experiment all but failed.

If Aaron Curry from Wake Forest is somehow available, I say we take him.

The secondary is our strong spot in the defense. We secured Nnamdi Asomugha for a few more years, which is a huge boost since he is the best corner in the league. Chris Johnson is also highly underrated; I say he is as good as DeAngelo Hall.

Hiram Eugene is okay at free safety, but an upgrade would be nice. With the release of Gibril Wilson, another hole opened at strong safety. If we could sign Roy Williams or take William Moore in the third round, we could fill that need.

While I know filling these holes will take a few years, I think we can challenge San Diego for the top spot in the West.

I think the biggest thing is having a steady coach that is not butting heads with Al. I am confident that Tom Cable can lead us out of this six-year drought. 

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