As the 2013 NFL season approaches, the Oakland Raiders are a franchise in transition and a team without an identity. The 2012 season was a disaster from start to finish and the early outlook for this season doesn’t look much better.
In 2011, the Raiders traded a 2012 first round pick and what ended up being a 2nd round pick in 2013 to the Bengals for quarterback Carson Palmer. This might have been a good trade in 2005, but all Palmer was able to do was lead the Raiders to a 4-12 record in 2012 before being traded to the Arizona Cardinals. Thanks for stopping by Carson!!!
With a little more than a week to go before their season opener at Indianapolis, Oakland still hasn’t decided on who will start at quarterback. Right now it is a toss up between Matt Flynn, who made more money off of playing one good game than any other player in the history of sports, and Terrelle Pryor. I’m sure fans of the Silver and Black will be thrilled with either guy that coach Dennis Allen chooses.
Running back Darren McFadden has shown flashes of being a good player but he is apparently unable to get out of bed in the morning without injuring himself. I have the same problem but I am not a football player getting paid to, you know, play football. When he gets turf toe or something in week three or four his backup will most likely be for Jacksonville Jaguar Rashad Jennings, who averaged a whopping 2.8 yards-per-carry last season. If you’re follish enough to take McFadden in your fantasy football draft you should plan accordingly and get Jennings too. This 1-2 punch should bolster the Raiders running game that averaged 88 yards per game in 2012.
Left tackle Alex Barron, LG Lucas Nix, C Stefan Wisniewski, RG Mike Brisiel and RT Khalif Barnes will block for whoever is throwing/running the ball and I’m sure they’ll do one hell of a job.
Wide receiver’s Denarius Moore (51 receptions, 741 yards, 7 TD’s) and Rod Streater (39 rec, 584 yds, 3 TD’s) both showed promise last season but, again, they’ll have Flynn or Pryor throwing them the ball this season…so best of luck to them. And in true Raider fashion, they let their most reliable pass catcher, tight end Brandon Myers (79 rec-806 yds-4 TD’s), walk in free agency and will opt to start Richard Gordon who has three career receptions. Outstanding front office work.
Defensively, the Raiders allowed 28 points-per-game last season (28th in the NFL) but were a middle-of-the-pack 18th in yards allowed. Oakland generated pretty much no pass rush (25 sacks) and forced just 19 turnovers. These are good things…if you don’t care about playing defense or winning football games. The good news is the future Hall of Famer Charles Woodson decided to come back finish his career where it started. Why he decided to do this is beyond me.
Oakland will have six new starters in their front seven, including rookie linebacker Sio Moore. To be honest, I had never heard of any of these guys before. What I can tell you is that the three new starters on the defensive line (Jason Hunter, Pat Sims and Vance Walker) have 15 combined seasons and a total of 21 sacks between them. So they should definitely help improve the pass rush.New cornerback Tracy Porter played six games for the Broncos and has never played an entire season in five years. He and free agent acquisition Mike Jenkins (8 interceptions in 5 seasons) should be able to lock down absolutely no one. Charles Woodson and veteran Tyvon Branch, who is actually pretty good (no joke), could form a good combination at safety.
The Raiders still have kicker Sebastian Janikowski who will have a really good shot at setting a record for 50+ yard field goals attempted and made this season. The Raiders did, however, let punter Shane Lechler go so it will either be Chris Kluwe or Marquette King that gets the honor of punting the ball 100+ times this season.
If this team manages to win three games I say it’s a miracle.