I know Oakland Raiders fans, for the most part are "Geeked" about this offseason because of the moves the team has made. In a recent poll, 41 percent of 975 voters said the release of JaMarcus Russell was the team's best move this year. In addition, fans and players alike are stoked about the addition of Hue Jackson and the energy he brings to the table.But now, it's time to get critical. Raider Nation has been here before; excited about the upcoming season. Overlooking obvious deficiencies in the team; forgoing the facts with a look of shock and preponderance tattooed on their faces when the team gets off to an awful start at the beginning of the year.
Last year, I made ten bold predictions before the start of the NFL regular season for the Raiders, they were:
- Nnamdi, if healthy, will make a return appearance in the Pro-Bowl at the end of the season
- JaMarcus Russell will hand the ball off at least 350 times this year
- Justin Miller and Johnny Lee Higgins will combine for at least five return game touchdowns
- Lorenzo Neal will have a huge impact on the field and off the field for these young Raiders.
- One of the Raiders' receivers, Schilens, Johnny Lee Higgins, DHB, Walker, Murphy, I really don't care who it is, will have more than 22 catches this year
- The Offensive Line will give up less than 30 sacks
- Split the series with San Diego
- JaMarcus Russell's stats: 3100 yards, around 58% completion, 25 TD's and 12 INT's
- Top 10 defense
- Coach Cable will be coach in 2010- The 2009 Oakland Raiders will be at least 9-7
As you can see, some of the predictions were spot on (Nnamdi's Pro Bowl), and others weren't even in the same ballpark as correct (Russell's stats, top ten defense). It's easy to get caught up in the perception of a team improving; most fans want to believe that there is improvement with their team in any given offseason. Trouble is, most of the time, a lot of teams can have a "good" offseason and still come out and make the fans and bloggers look bad.
That said, I decided that I wanted to know what other fans thought about the Oakland offseason this year. Maybe I could find some solace if somebody who was not a fan gave their opinion on the matter. We all know how much Chargers and Broncos fans love to impose their will upon the Raider Nation.
Here's what Broncos4life303 had to say about it on 6/4/2010 at 3:46 PM
"McClain is a stud!! That was my wish for the Broncos in the Draft...like usual...there are the Raiders when the Broncos least expect it...and they screw us. I would bet if McClain was available @ # 11 the Broncos would have taken him and the whole draft for us would have been different. I am not unhappy with our draft but I really like McClain and I think he is going to be a great player in the league and a thorn in the side of AFC West teams for years to come. Hopefully for the Raiders, when he dawns the Silver and Black for the first time, he doesn't transform into a gang sign throwing toothbrush sharpening gangster like most of the people you see walking around rocking Raiders gear. Unfortunately for the rest of the AFC West team, the Raiders got one hell of a linebacker in this guy!!
As far as [Jason] Campbell goes; [Kyle] Orton > Campbell...so I wouldn't get your hopes up too high. He is average at best just like K.O."
Talk about straight out of the horse's mouth. Not only did the Raiders selection of McClain as the eighth overall pick foil the Bronco's plans in the draft, it also becomes a thorn in the side for the entire AFC West division in the NFL. I didn't say it, but I'll nod in agreement I guess. How about something from a Chargers fan next?
SoCalBoltFan had this to say on June 4, 2010 @ 11:56 AM PDT:
"I could see [Rolando McClain] getting more than 2 sacks but there's no way McClain has 133 tackles this season. There's nothing to say he won't be better than Morrison eventually, but he actually has to go out and prove it on the field which will not be easy. I think it's way too early to say he will make a bigger impact than Morrison at any aspect of the game, so at this time my vote is ‘He will not be better than Morrison'."
Okay, that is fair, Kirk Morrison did do some great things in a Raiders uniform, but I'm not sure he has the field general potential of Rolando McClain. I watched McClain gets so in touch with his teammates at Alabama that he could just move his hand quickly, without even looking out of the opponent's backfield and it was a signal to the secondary of what type of coverage they should play. McClain has fire in his eyes, and Morrison is now a Jaguar. Oakland had to do what it had to do. How about a Chiefs fan; yeah I got the whole AFC West in here.
Raider Hater from Kansas City, Kansas said this:
"Being a lifelong Chiefs fan, it is fun watching the Raiders shoot themselves in the foot. The ultimate draft bust is both Russell and the Raiders fault. Now they are trying to recoup money. This shows how far the franchise has fallen. They have also fired coaches and not paid them. Al Davis can't take responsibility for his decisions which is why the franchise has fallen and it can't get up."
Hey, I got news for you Chiefs' fan; nobody on the team or in the stands cares if they get their money back or not. It's all about sending a message which I believe to be this: Al Davis has more money than JaMarcus and he will either settle out of court, or go through court until Russell is halfway towards broke. I think it also sends a message to the NFLPA that the team owners are tired of these massive rookie contracts to guys who go belly up when they get a little taste of the greenbacks.
Now, everybody knows about the old battles in the 1970's between the Raiders, Dolphins, and Steelers. It just so happens that I have an opinion from an old time fish fan as well.
S. Ambrose posted this on Bill Williamson's AFC West blog:
"As a Dolphin, I have no love for the Raiders. We would have three-peated. Even so, as an old famous franchise, the league was worse when they sucked, (post-Gannon). Therefore, it is good to see them headed in the right direction. I thought their draft was full of studs and it looks as though they have a plan. Campbell was a steal. Rock on gents, you jumped to at least 2nd [in the division] just in the off season. McClain, shoot, my Dolphins never would have dropped down with the Chaaagas if he were there. We all laughed for years and now you know why. The Raiders with smart personnel moves and coaches have ALWAYS been scary."
This Fin's fan has "no love for the Raiders", yet can look past his hatred for the team of the decades and see how impressive Oakland has been. Let's bring in ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. But first, a flashback, remember when Kiper said this: "The fifteenth-best player on the board, and you take him at this particular (No. 8 overall) spot?" Kiper went off when the Raiders picked Rolando McClain. "The Raiders have reached before, and I think they do it again."
Kiper said the following more recently:
"I may have undersold what Oakland did in the draft; I'm honestly starting to think I really underrated [Lamarr Houston]. I look at the measurables and in terms of combine tests, he's better almost across the board than (No. 3 overall pick)Gerald McCoy. If this guy becomes a big impact player early in his career I'll no longer be surprised."
So Kiper is high on the defensive end out of Texas. Not sure if he realizes that the Raiders will be playing Houston at defensive end, but never the less, if Mel Kiper spoke well of the Raiders for a change, then it certainly deserves to be written about here on TFDS.
Okay, so most of the criticism is at least constructive for Oakland. Most other people who are not fans think they are at least putting a foot in the door of success. This is good to see. I'm not sure what the vibe was last year from fans of other teams, but I know Kiper was not sold on Darrius Heyward-Bey or Mike Mitchell. One more for the road, I'm not sure who this person is a fan of but here is what they had to say.
Jdk080200 posted this on June 4th, 2010 @ 4:07 PM:
"I'm not a Raiders fan and think Al Davis of recent vintage has been a complete moron in running this team. But, I love what Oakland did this off season all around and see them as a legit Wild Card contender this year. I gotta believe that somewhere behind the scenes they wrestled some control away from Al Davis regarding personnel decisions, whatever they did seemed to work. We'll find out in September I guess!"
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