The NFL season is finally drawing near, and this writer is already planning what games to attend in Oakland. What many of you may have noticed is that the Oakland Raiders are not in the news as much nowadays. There is no controversy this year. Actually, things appear to be normal in Oakland. This is a welcome change.
The Oakland Raiders have done a great job in nailing down a permanent coach, the "Cableman," Tom Cable. They also have a whole new system set up in Oakland. I am certain that we as fans can expect the QB to scramble a lot less in the backfield, and we should also see a lot more blitzes. This was lacking under Lane Kiffin and Rob Ryan. This also gives Derrick Burgess or rookie Trevor Scott more opportunities.
I was impressed that the Raiders didn't go after a name like Terrell Owens, who, as the past has shown, could only hurt the team. I have always felt that the Raiders should go after the young blood that is hungry for wins, and Cable proved it at season's end.
What is even more promising in Oakland is the young talent on the practice field in Napa. There are many new names that most people who do not know Oakland are familiar with. Johnnie Lee Higgins, Chaz Schilens, Zach Miller, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Oren O'Neal, and Mario Henderson are promising players.
There are also many veterans and leaders on this new Raider team. We as fans have seen the acquisition of Lorenzo Neal and Jeff Garcia. Both these players bring what had been lacking for the Raiders. Neal brings defensive experience and should be a great teacher for O'Neal, while Garcia brings reliability at the QB position.
I feel that Andrew Walter should be the backup, but since the signing of Garcia, Bruce Gradkowski and Marques Tuiasosopo can go. Garcia may not have the arm JaMarcus has, but he has experience.
JaMarcus Russell has a great deal of accuracy. He is big and can run should the need arise. He did extremely well at season's end, and with Cable he is likely to have a stellar year. Since Russell has seen enough play versus the AFC West division, he will win games. The AFC West currently has three new QBs.
The Raiders have a great corps of RBs in Darren McFadden, Justin Fargas, and Michael Bush. This will surely open the passing game for Russell. I really believe McFadden has a great deal of talent and used in the right formations is a serious, serious threat. The guy is tough as nails and hits with solid accuracy.
Al Davis has assembled what appears to be one of the best teams the Raiders have had since Jon Gruden.
Yes, Raidernation, we are all aware of the sleeping giant. We all know what challenges the team has faced. We have all gone through the torment of seeing our AFC rivals defeat the Raiders in one of the losingest years this fan has seen.
Yet once again the Silver and Black will stand proud in the NFL jungle.
The pounding of NFL teams before the Silver and Black will soon have wishy-washy sports announcers on the Raider side, the dark side, praising excellence, pride, and poise on the gridiron. There's a sleeping giant in Oakland, and knowing that is simply a pure adrenaline rush if you bleed Silver and Black.
Al Davis...thank you.
One small note: I know a GB fan that feels they are the sleeper; we will call him "Joe Quick." Well Joe, the answer is NO.