Jun 11, 2013; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders cornerback Charles Woodson (2), long snapper Jon Condo (59) and linebacker Nick Roach (53) run at minicamp at the Raiders Practice Facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
After covering the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos, I almost stopped myself from going further after taking a look at the Oakland Raiders team roster. It doesn’t say much when your best player is a kicker (Sebastian Janikowski) and the only guy to watch for on offense (Darren McFadden) is made of glass and the only noteworthy guy on defense (Charles Woodson) is using a walker. Of the teams in the AFC West, Oakland takes the bottom of the barrel. Nevertheless, to be fair, let’s see what they’ve got and if this team is anything to be concerned about, which they aren’t!
The quarterback position will either go to Matt Flynn or Terrelle Pryor. Flynn had a handful of good games as a Green Bay Packer but wasn’t good enough to win out the job in Seattle. Pryor is no better and played sparingly in unimpressive fashion last season. Whoever the quarterback will be, his halfback will no doubt be Darren McFadden. The good news is the Raiders have a capable full back in Marcel Reece, the bad news is after McFadden there isn’t a clear second running back. It gets better though, there is no clear No.1 receiver and hardly a No.2. Darrius Heyward-Bey is gone and their leading receiver, tight end Brandon Myers (806 yards) is gone. They will have to trust in Denarius Moore and Rod Streater. The only tight ends returning are David Ausberry who had seven receptions for 92 yards and Richard Gordon who had two receptions for nine yards. The Raiders offensive line only gave up 27 sacks, tied for 5th best, which is not too shabby considering this is a division with Von Miller and Justin Houston in it.
On the defensive side of the ball, the line will have their ace Lamar Houston set for a breakout season along side Andre Carter. Vance Walker, Jason Hunter and Pat Sims were all picked up in the off-season to promote the line, but they won’t show flashes of superiority the Raiders had when Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly were around. The defensive line has obviously taken a step back and the linebackers aren’t any better, the only returning starter is Miles Burris after the departure of Rolando McClain and Philip Wheeler. The Raiders drafted Sio Moore and could relay on him to start immediately. Another draftee D.J. Hayden was selected 12th overall and will take over for one cornerback job, with newly signed Mike Jenkins on the other side, cornerback may have been their best upgrade. The teams’ strong safety, Tyvon Branch will get some much needed help with an aging Charles Woodson. The defensive backs might have gotten better but without pressure from the defensive front the back end can easily be exploited and taken advantage of.
The Chiefs and Broncos have loaded rosters and coaches which will be a challenge for the San Diego Chargers. Nothing like a good contender to make the victory all the more sweeter! The Oakland Raiders on the other hand are looking to stink for at least another year. Some experts and power rankings aren’t pitting the Chargers much higher than the Raiders, what’s causing these ranking to show unfavorable to the Bolts is the poor play by Philip Rivers. These experts are still assuming Rivers is done. We’ll more than likely beat out the Oakland Raiders two for two again this year just like last season. It’s a 16 game season and we’ll need the other 14 to prove these critics wrong. Ultimately, Rivers needs to come back to form.