Gut Busters: What Al Davis's "Weight Loss" Means for the Denver Broncos

Reid BrooksAnalyst IMay 6, 2010

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 03:  JaMarcus Russell #2 of the Oakland Raiders in action  against the Baltimore Ravens during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on January 3, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

I doubt even Josh McDaniels would have been willing to take on that mess of a quarterback.

It looks like the speculation can end in the AFC West, as Al Davis has finally clipped one of the biggest draft busts of all time from the roster in Oakland.

Immediate analysis should include the obvious observation that the replacement to JaMarcus Russell is Jason Campbell; Denver Broncos fans are likely not trembling in fear over whatever horrors the Raiders might be interested in unleashing on the field next.

The Oakland Raiders had, in recent years under Al Davis, become the laughing stock of the NFL.

Last season, in the game at Invesco Field, one of the Raiders' defensive linemen lost his pants while tackling Knowshon Moreno. The squad had become more akin to a troupe of clowns, wandering absent from their circus, than an actual football team.

Pants-less, overweight, apathetic, fast, and talentless are all words that have become synonymous with the Oakland Raiders roster under Al's latest flurry of coaches, but there can be little doubt that cutting JaMarcus today was a defining move for one of Denver's biggest rivals.

JaMarcus getting cut came after what was a relatively good Oakland draft (by Raiders standards, it was a magnificent class). The team still needs a lot of work in various areas and a complete style and coaching overhaul, as Hue Jackson isn't exactly an offensive savior (every team he works for gets good after he leaves), but Denver fans need to take notice to what is going on.

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And the first thing they need to notice is that Al Davis, according to Adam Schefter, publicly said that he was wrong for selecting JaMarcus Russell.


An admission of wrongdoing from the crypt keeper, signals what I thought is going on.

It seems that, in light of recent personnel moves, Al Davis might not be calling all of the shots in Oakland anymore.

That means, gasp , the Oakland Raiders might become a decent football organization again!

Now like I said, nothing is happening overnight, and the Raiders are going to be reeling for at least a little while from years of poor decisions and incomprehensible foresight.

However, in a bit of time, the AFC West could be at least a three-team division again.

That concept is potentially exciting (at least from a quality of football perspective).

The rivalry with Oakland is without a doubt the biggest for the Denver Broncos; with the Raiders trapped in their own, private Dark Ages, Broncos football has suffered.

The suffering has been in the form of the loss of valuable football history that this particular rivalry should be producing every year. I know the rivalry is still alive (in fact, I would anticipate at least as many Raiders fans reading this as Broncos fans) but how can it be exciting when the Oakland Raiders are, quite bluntly, an absolute disgrace?

JaMarcus' farewell from Oakland doesn't only end any shot at his redemption and cement his place in NFL history as one of the greatest busts ever, but for the rest of the AFC West, it might mark the end of a major downswing.

For at least a couple of seasons, the AFC West has been viewed as one of the weakest conferences in football. Having the Denver Broncos and the San Diego Chargers fight it out every year wasn't going to fix that reputation.

There is room in the playoffs for two teams from the AFC West every year; the conference has enough name-recognition to make that possibility exciting for fans throughout the country.

An added element to discuss is that if the Raiders do indeed get better, then the Broncos must elevate their level of play in order to be competitive. That would likely transfer over into non-division match ups.

So, for Broncos fans, improvements in the AFC West, or particularly in this case, Oakland, are something to be embraced.

They aren't Superbowl bound, and they aren't threatening for the division yet, but at least next year, perhaps we can actually enjoy the rivalry...

Instead of being embarrassed by the fact that we have a rivalry with "those guys."

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