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Monday, August 23, 2010

2010 Preview Oakland Raiders

Commitment to Excellence... The Silver and Black Attack... The Black Hole... My Raiders Ehh... The Oakland / Los Angeles / Oakland Raiders... The Diabolical Al Davis...

These are all terms that describe a team, an owner, dammit a way of life when you are an Oakland Raiders fan. The Raiders have one of the most storied franchises in sports history. I think they are the epitome of what a fan looks for when choosing a team to support. You have an owner that runs the team his way, either you love what he does or you want to kick him in his throat until he decides to step down. You get players, for the most part, that play hard and leave everything they have on the field (with notable exceptions...). The team has transcended into pop culture with the fad of starter jackets and the era of real gangster rap. Their fans or ride or die, literally. You bet not say nothing bad about the Raiders in Oakland or in certain parts of LA, it could get ugly real quick (I know you 49er supporters, losmarcus, don't want to hear that). So what's in store this season for a franchise that is trying to get back to the glory days, hell, or at least the playoffs...

Now that one of the biggest draft busts in history is gone in JaMarcus Russell, the Raiders look to veteran Jason Campbell to lead the way at QB. This is a good move, as Campbell is a leader who can potentially give you fantasy owners a minimum 3,000 yard season and hover around the 20 TD mark. The addition of Campbell improves the team by 3 wins alone, and he has a good supporting cast on paper.

At running back there is the dual threat of Darren McFadden and Michael Bush. Both are underrated backs, but they haven't exactly lived up to their full potential due to the injury bug. McFadden has the versatility and the 4.33 speed to be a game breaker whenever he touches the ball. Bush, on the other hand, has the power to go along with elusive speed to give the Raiders a RB they need to keep defenses honest. I look for one of them, more than likely Bush, to have a breakout season.

Speed is the theme at WR, especially with almost draft bust Darius Heyward-Bay. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say Heyward-Bay will improve on the 9 rec, 124 yrds and 1 TD performance from last year. Louis Murphy emerged late in the season as a WR who can make tough catches and run well after. I noticed a trend last season of when Murphy scores no one else can; hopefully that changes this season. At tight end, Zack Miller is one of the leagues best. Fantasy owners should definitely pay attention to him, I think he will get a lot of red zone looks.

On paper the Raiders have a solid defense, but somehow it didn't translate to the field last season. My thoughts are fatigue played a big factor, since Mr Russell would habitually get the offense off the field. This season hopes to be different as one of the best (top 3) cover corners, and Skip Bayless debater extraordinaire, Nnamdi Asomugha leads this group into battle. Asomugha had an outstanding campaign last season with 34 tackles and 1 INT. Numbers consistent of opposing offenses not wanting to throw to that right side of the field. Buzz out of camp says Asomugha will stay with the opposing teams best WR, even if they try and move him around. At tackle, notable veteran Richard Seymour will look to lead and teach his group on how to play the position effectively. Hopefully that will translate to better QB pressure and effective run stopping for this group. The linebacker core will feature rookie Rolando McClain. He is looking a little confused in pre-season so far, but I'm sure the natural talent and instinct will take over. All in all, the goal for this group would be to translate how good they look on to the field.

Special Teams
Normally I would not comment on ST play, but Sebastian Janikowski has a boot. A fantasy pick because it doesn't take much to get into his range. I believe Jason Campbell can lead the offense into Janikowski range.

The Oakland Raiders will improve on a 5-11 record from last season. I am going to stick with my comment from earlier and give them a +3 in the win column just due to Jason Campell being better than JaMarcus Russell.

- @lostherod

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