With training camp well underway in Napa it has become clear that these are not your Lane Kiffin Raiders. In fact, the 2010 version of the Silver and Black looks to be remarkably improved from the squad in ’09.
With Hue Jackson at the helm, there are actually signs of life in the Oakland offense. So much so that Michael Huff went as far as to say that the Raiders actually have a “legitimate” passing game.
“Before, the passing game hadn’t been up to par, so seven-on-sevens we’d go out there and dominate. We kind of, I won’t say got full of ourselves, but we’d think we were better than we were. You get to the games, it’s a lot different. So going through this during training camp, with them completing a lot of balls, will help us this season.”
In case you can’t read between the lines, Huff Daddy is implying that a certain hefty QB was weighing down the offense – dare I say the entire franchise – last season.
Jackson’s offense is giving the Raider secondary all they can handle with a multitude of different looks and personnel packages. Not only is Jackson putting the “O” back in Oakland he’s even helping the defense by giving them some legit comp in camp. Nnamdi Asomugha said as much with the following statement.
“When you’re giving us multiple looks every day that can only make us better when we actually do study teams.”
While the improved passing attack is a welcome addition, if Jackson really wants to give the Raiders a leg up he’ll pound the rock with Darren McFadden and Michael Bush on the defense. Despite facing JaFarce Russell in practice, the Oakland secondary still ranked among the NFL’s best last season. Blessed with the best corner in the league (don’t believe the Revis holdout hype), a young budding star in Tyvon Branch and a collection of speed rivaled only by the US Olympic 4X100 relay team, the Raiders aren’t hurting for improvement in defending the pass.
Now stopping the run, well, that’s an entirely different story. Hopefully Rolando McClain’s impressive play in camp will translate to the field on Sundays.
Either way, the addition of Jason Campbell combined with the mind of Hue Jackson has helped to lift the expectations in the East Bay. Dropping over 300-pounds by parting ways with a sizzurp guzzling quarterback is also a good way to improve the team as well.