Oakland Raiders Playoff Run Starts Now: Draft Smart and Sign Plaxico Burress

Yusuf HassanCorrespondent IFebruary 14, 2011

The first step to a Super Bowl is winning your division. The Raiders dominated their division in 2010.

The second step to Super Bowl? A defense that can dominate.

Unfortunately the Raiders can't stop the run. Green Bay, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, New York (AFC), nor New England—the contenders—give up 140 rushing per game. Until the Raider's defense dominates, 'Super Bowl thinking' is wishful thinking at best.

In addition, when your fullback, Marcel Reese is the No. 2 best receiver on the team, your receivers are nothing special.

The Colts, Pats, Steelers, and probably Baltimore have No. 3 receivers who, arguably, are better than the Raiders No. 1 and No. 2 receivers.

Drafting a big wide receiver in 2011 draft is a must. But the Raiders would be wise to pick up a solid veteran receiver, say Plaxico Burress, who will not break the bank.

6'5 Burress, before his incarceration, dominated smaller and large defensive backs, so much that he was always double teamed, which helped the Giants running game.

Though rusty and aging, Burress has not withstood the wear and tear that other receivers his age have had to withstand. In addition, Burrress should be available at a bargain considering many NFL executives see him as a possible liability.

"If you look at our team before, when Plaxico was in," Osi Umenyiora, explained, "if you look after he's gone, even though we have had some success and even though we have played pretty well, it just hasn't been the same without him."

Many of the same executives are kicking themselves for disregarding Michael Vick upon his release.

In addition, the Raider's offensive line, in pass protection, is as solid as a matador's cape.

Teams with a serious, 'grade A' pass-rush like Pittsburgh jam the run and blitz, leaving quarterbacks on their backs, and leaving offenses inept—which happened in 2010 to the Raider's offense in Pittsburgh.

The Colts Offensive-line was miserable this year—and Peyton looked very average. When Campbell has protection and has time in the pocket, he is one of the sharpest QBs in the league.

But the problem that Campbell had in Washington was pass protection as well as did his successor Donavon McNabb in 2010—still Campbell played better than McNabb.

Check the stats—Campbell's 2009 stats: (86.4 quarterback rating) 20 TDs 15 Ints—were better than McNabb's 2010 stats: (77.1 quarterback rating) 14 TDs 15 Ints in Washington.

In addition Campbell also outplayed McNabb's successor, Kevin Kolb, who registered a measly 76.1 quarterback rating, seven TDs and seven Ints in 2010.

Kansas City Chiefs' quarterback Matt Cassel proved that it takes time to learn and adjust to a new offense. In his first year with the Chiefs in 2009, Cassel registered a 69.9 quarterback rating, 16 TDs and 16 Ints.

But the Chiefs stuck with their quarterback and Cassel led them to the playoffs in 2010, improving his touchdown to interception ration, and making the Pro-Bowl.

Patience and support have been the trademark of successful NFL franchises. And reactionary decisions mark the beast of the NFL cellar dwellers, like the Redskins, who cater to the newest shiny toy on the shelf.

With the success of the 2010 season, the Oakland Raiders have a core that are primed to challenge for a playoff spot in 2011.

But the Raiders true test will come in the off-season. Will the Raiders have patience or will the Raiders go back to their reactionary ways.


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