Oakland Raiders: The Biggest MINOR Threat to The Chargers AFC West Crown

Heneli IongiAnalyst IMay 22, 2010

SAN DIEGO - NOVEMBER 01:  Richard Seymour #92 of the Oakland Raiders rushes Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers during the game at Qualcomm Stadium on November 1, 2009 in San Diego California. The Chargers defeated the Raiders 24-16. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

I've spent majority of my time, since the last I've written a article, going around the AFC West BleacherReport.com sites and commenting on how I felt about the other teams.

That being said, I came to a conclusion that the Raiders have made the most of their offseason during the draft, trades, and free agency.  

The Broncos took a step back with what they have done drafting and through the free agency.  

The Chiefs made on good draft pick and they rest were terrible picks without addressing their major weaknesses.

Anyways, this is about the Raiders.  

Many Raider fans say they are going to beat the Chargers. Many fans say that they are more improved and that they barely loss to the Chargers which means with these currently new players, they'll beat the defending AFC West Champs.  

Here are their main arguments

Raider fans believe with the additions of three main free agents and with three suppose starting rookies, and one addition to the coaching staff, they are going to beat the Chargers.

Here is a look at those free agents.

First one is the most obvious, QB Jason Campbell.  

One thing is for certain, Campbell is a huge addition to the team at QB than recently departed JaMarcus Russell. The argument they have is, with Russell, they nearly beat the Chargers last season. Jason Campbell is a mediocre QB.  

That's the truth.  

I want to say he's going to be a great QB if he has a stable coaching staff but there is nothing backing that assumption. Campbell was a full-time starter in his last two seasons and was ranked 15th in the league last season and was ranked 19th in 2008. It doesn't say much, but he sure is a plus over Russell.  

I've heard about two guys that are supposedly going to bolster the Raiders pass-rush. Quentin Groves and Kamerion Wimbley.  

Groves played two seasons at Jacksonville. He played partly with seven games starting last season. Here is a stat: in those seven games he started, he did not get a single sack. In two seasons, he only has 2.5 sacks.  

As for Kamerion Wimbley, he's been a 3-4 OLB his entire career in Cleveland. He did what is expected by most 3-4 OLB's but his stats where just average for a 3-4 OLB.  

How is he going to fit in the 4-3 defense in Oakland?  

Is he going to be a DE which seems reasonable or a 4-3 OLB which seems like a experimental idea?  He had 6.5 sacks in that 3-4 Browns defense. I wonder how he'll do in the 4-3 defense.

Next, is the rookies that are starting that most Raider fans are raving about. The same rookies that most Raider fans say are going to help the Raiders beat the Chargers.  

Let's take a look shall we.

Rolando McClain  

I love the pick for the Raiders only in the sense that he's there supposedly to bolster the run defense. Here is the problem I have with him. He's a outstanding 3-4 ILB and has been in that defense for his entire career. He's coming to a team that runs a 4-3 defense. I think he'll do average this season cause' it's reasonable to argue that he's going to go through his growing pains as a rookie especially in a new defense.  

Lamaar Houston

He's a great DT with a great motor. Other than that, he's been a player that played with elite talent on that Texas defense which I believe helped his game. In NFL standards, the Raiders don't have a elite defense. So how is Houston going to do with not having much help on defense other than Richard Seymour and Nnamdi Asomugha. That's it. Those are the only "elite" proven players on that defense. Besides that, DT is one of the hardest positions to scout going from the college game to the NFL. So it's still up in the air how well Houston is going to do playing with a okay talented team.

Bruce Campbell

The word is that Campbell has a huge shot at starting, seeing that he's making a move from offensive tackle to offensive guard. Here is the thing. How is Campbell going to do moving to a position he's never really played in and making that change facing NFL competition without much experience in it? That's a huge wonder now isn't it.


Then there is the new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson.  

He's a great QB coach. He coached Carson Palmer and developed Joe Flacco his first two seasons in the NFL. He'll be a great addition to Jason Campbell becoming a more better QB. Here is the thing, he has as far as I know, zero experience in play-calling. That's something to have a rookie O.C. calling plays.

So, I ask you all, are the Raiders even close to taking over the Chargers spot as the AFC West Champs?  

I highly doubt that cause for one thing, the Chargers didn't get any weaker.  

The Chargers have internally promoted players to NT with adding Cam Thomas through the draft. The Chargers are having their own starting at CB with 2 free agent players as insurance. They have a rookie RB that will have help in the running game with defenses focusing on the elite passing game of the Chargers.

There is one thing for sure.  

The Raiders are heading in the right direction and Ramone Brown, the smartest Raider fan I've met yet, knows it. But he'll be first to say that the Raiders still have one or two years to go from becoming a huge pain in the a** for the Chargers.  

So in my humble opinion, the Raiders are improved and made the right moves but to say they are going to take over the Chargers is just plain ridiculous.  

Maybe this year they'll break the winning streak the Chargers have over them but I don't see them doing enough to take over the division especially if the Chargers were 13-3 purely on passing and with a easy as hell schedule this up-coming season.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.