Oakland Raiders: Low Expectations High Results

Jimmy HalCorrespondent IIIMay 28, 2010

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 22:  Louis Murphy #18 of the Oakland Raiders is congratulated by Darrius Heyward-Bey #12 after Murphy scored the tying touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on November 22, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Right now the Oakland Raiders are trying to make their transition into football without no. one pick Jamarcus Russell.

As far as the field is concerned, they have done an adequate job durring Mini-Camps and OTA's, giving a fresh look to the team and new life to the Raider Nation.

Though off the field Russell's presence still looms as it is being reported that the Oakland Raiders have filed a grievance against the disappointing quarterback.

Russell has had many reports written about how he has held this team back, his laziness and overall attitude toward the game.

I don't want to focus to much time on how bad he was, or even about the Raiders plea for their money, but I will give my opinion briefly.

The fact is, apart of Russell's contract is guaranteed, and the Raiders knew what they were getting when they drafted him.

They chose talent over heart, potential over proof, and measurable over production.

They thought that by paying Russell, he would love the game, but infact it was what the game brought him that Russell was in love with.

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The Raiders have made their bed, and now they must lay in it, no matter how expensive the sheets are.

Now back to the theme of this article.

True, not all of the Raiders problems can be blamed on Jamarcus Russell. However, Russell overall lack of football adequacy made some areas of the team look worse than what they were.

So, lets focus on Jason Campbell's arrival to the team and how the team has progressed in OTA's. A good quarterback, who may not be great, but has the heart to be.

Since Campbell's arrival, you have heard the media comment on how fast Campbell has caught up, how accurate he has been, and how he has done a good job throwing on time. All of which we have not seen in a long period of time.

The pressure might be on for Campbell amongst the Raider fan base, the main stream media will focus primarily on Campbell's release from the Redskins rather than his arrival in Oakland. Letting Donovan McNabb get all the attention deserved or otherwise.

The fact is because Campbell exceeds Russell in almost every way, unless he has a complete meltdown, he instantly makes the team better whether he puts up Pro-Bowl numbers or not.

Referring to the title of the article: Low expectations yet high results.

Lets now focus on other aspects of the team, offense in particular.

It is not a secret that it is time for the Raider receivers to step it up a notch.

In OTA's the recent receiver buzz has gone to Darrius Heyward-Bey.

Heyward-Bey undoubtedly had a rough rookie year getting jeers from media and fans alike. Now, head coach Tom Cable has raved about the improvements of the top 10 pick.

True reports have stated Heyward-Bey's improvement, but nothing like the reports from the most recent week of practice.

They all reported that Heyward-Bey looked like a new man, and his confidence was threw the roof, and how his team mates saw the progression from the young receiver.

Even a TD celebration with fellow second year receiver Louis Murphy made me feel good.

Why? Because even though Murphy had a better year than Heyward-Bey, he never gloated about it, and they seem to not just be good teammates but genuine friends.

I think that is going to go a long way for Darrius Heyward-Bey.

I'm not saying that he will lead our team in receptions or anything, but if Chaz Schillens can stay healthy, Murphy can improve, and Heyward-Bey can have a similar year to Murphy's rookie year, than we could be looking nice.

Last but not least the offensive line.

Now, I have been a Mario Henderson skeptic, but at the end of 2008 he did a very good job. But as a full time starter, he struggled.

He did give up a lot of sacks but not to many false starts. Which tells me he at least is mentally in the game and might be better as a right tackle than left. But it seems he will be our left tackle in 2010.

You haven't really heard any bad reports from Henderson at all unlike last year. Which for an offensive lineman, is a very good thing.

So, if my hunch is right and Henderson is a lot better, the combination of his progression and a quarterback with better awareness, should do wonders across the O-line.

Low Expectations Yet High Results.

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