They say sometimes letting go is the best thing to do.
On May 7th, 2010 the Raiders let go to the all time worst NFL No. 1 overall pick in JaMarcus Russell. Since drafting Russell in 2007, the Raiders have nothing but set themselves up for failure. Things looked even worse when head coach Tom Cable was accused of punching and breaking the jaw of assistant coach Randy Hanson during 2009 training camp.
In a move that could be labeled as a blessing disguise, on November 19th Tom Cable had seen enough. He made the right move and benched JaMarcus Russell and named Bruce Gradkowski the starter and he led them to a win over the Cincinnati Bengals that week.
Oakland took notice they knew it was time to move forward. After drafting Russell in 2007 the Raiders drafted running back Darren McFadden in 2008 who made plenty of college highlights while at Arkansas. Through injuries and depth charts it wasn't long before critics started labeling McFadden as a bust, but he's still young and with less competition he should turn some heads this upcoming season.
Things didn't look much better in 2009 when Al Davis selected wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey instead of high profiled Michael Crabtree. DHB had one touchdown all season and Louis Murphy out of Florida seemed to be a better pick who was also taken in the 2009 draft in the fourth round had better numbers and came through for Oakland during his underrated rookie season.
Then in 2010 Al Davis surprised everyone when he selected linebacker Rolando McClain with the no. 8 overall pick after trading linebacker Kirk Morrison who led the team in tackles the past four years to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The best thing Al Davis did was a draft day trade in which he acquired quarterback Jason Campbell from the Washington Redskins and Davis eventually showed former No.1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell the door. That's it the bad times were over fans had enough, teammates had enough, the coaches have had enough. Now while there were no tears to JaMarcus' departure the team knew now is the time.
Most teams like to call it rebuilding, but the Raiders, who have spent first round picks in 2008,2009, and 2010 on skilled positions are ready to prove that their players are no bust and their team is no joke.
Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler have left Denver, Kansas City needs more help and San Diego is in a difficult situation after losing Ladainian Tomlinson and Antoino Cromartie to the Jets, the Chargers are also in a difficult situation with star wide receiver Vincent Jackson. The door has opened to Oakland.
With one of the best defensive players in Nnamdi Asomugha and newly acquired quarterback Jason Campbell the Raiders have two solid leaders, one on each side of the ball. Now it is up to the draft picks, the men who are counted on to bring the Raiders back atop the AFC West.
Anything can happen in the NFL and this would be no Cinderella story, the Raiders have players who can perform now all they need is a reason. Here's their reason, you have a chance. A chance to win the division and turn the heads of everyone in the NFL. The division is up for grabs now go get it Oakland.
Chris Berman of ESPN likes to call them The Raaaaaaaaaaidasssssssss which was how everyone said their name in their glory days, and now with recent moves, they can find those glory days back, very soon. All it takes is the will to win, come out and perform every Sunday, play to the final whistle and despite the result if the Raiders go hard for the whole game the league will notice, the NFL fans will notice and most of all the ever so loyal Black Hole will have some brightness, and that bright light?
It's coming from the faces of all the smiling Oakland Raider fans who know the top of their division is within reach.