2010 Oakland Raiders: Are The Raiders Pretenders Or Contenders in 2010?

Elias Trejo@@Elias_TrejoSenior Analyst IIMay 17, 2010

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 03:  Nnamdi Asomugha #21 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

The attittude in Oakland has changed.

Not only does it seem like the coaches and players are expecting to win in 2010, but the Raider Nation also appears to expect a big season in 2010.

The Raiders have had a different kind of offseason thus far. Normally the buzz surrounding the Raiders is about who they bring in during the offseason. In the past they've made headlines by bringing in guys like Warren Sapp, Randy Moss, DeAngelo Hall, Gabril Wilson, and Richard Seymour.

There are usually more questions than answers after recent drafts. The projects the Raiders have picked in recent first rounds usually have the critics and fans scratching their heads.

This offseason is much different.

Perhaps the biggest story up until now is who they have let go of rather than who they have brought in. While they have added guys like Jason Campbell, Kamerion Wimbley and Quentin Groves, it's who is no longer on the team that has been the biggest splash.

JaMarcus Russell, Justin Fargas, Gerrard Warren, Javon Walker, Cornell Green, and Kirk Morrison are among the guys no longer on the roster from 2009. While some of those players were fan favorites and some were the reason for the Raiders struggles its hard to argue with the moves.

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The draft even brought in players that will be able to contribute on the field on day one. Rolando McClain is expected to start at middle linebacker after being picked in the first round by the Raiders.

Bruce Campbell and Jared Veldheer were rookie linemen that will give the Raiders depth they didn't have last year along the offensive line. Perhaps one or both of them could land a starting spot along the offensive line.

The Raiders hired Hue Jackson to call the plays and retained head coach Tom Cable to keep the much needed continuity at the head coaching position.

This is arguably the best offseason the Oakland Raiders have had in recent memory, but will it be enough to contend in 2010?

In most cases the answer would be no. The Raiders have had big offseasons with big time signings giving the Raider Nation hope only to be let down when the season starts.

This offseason is much different.

It was very successful for the Raiders and it was done the right way. The Raiders don't have a GM—they have Al Davis. Fans are quick to follow the media and make a mockery of Davis.

Billboards make headlines and go up in Oakland, quotes are brought back to light from the famous "Projector Firing."

This offseason the Raiders made themselves contenders and more competitive because Davis made it happen. Davis deserves credit, and he may not be getting enough of it. While the Raiders haven't won yet, they've done all the right things they could do up to now.

A fellow writer, Terrell White, mentioned this could be the "Jump Off Year" that puts the Raiders back in contention and puts the rest of the NFL on notice.

While most of the league and media will be quick to call the Raiders pretenders in 2010, there is no reason the Raiders can't contend for a wild card birth next season.

For more Raider news and notes follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RaiderWorldWide

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