After wading through all the chest high piles of greed and knee high stacks of pointless media speculation, we the fans have emerged as the true victors in the NFL lockout debacle.
Our proud nation finally has its Sunday distractions in the fall back and I couldn’t be happier.
Go tell it on the mountain…the NFL Lockout is over!
Having seen Hue Jackson revitalize an offense that resembled a zombie in a Romero flick was inspiring. Though I didn’t agree with the timing of Tom Cable’s dismissal, I do love Jackson at the helm. With a young defense anchored by vets like Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly, there is no reason why 2011 can’t be the year Oakland rises back to the top of the AFC West.
Damn it’s great to talk football again!
So without further adieu, here are five things the Raiders must do right now in order to keep last season’s momentum going.
1. Get on the horn with Zach Miller – Whatever it takes, Miller must remain a Raider. The running game is what drives the offense but unless there is a reliable target like Miller in the passing game defenses can just load up in the box. Without Zach Oakland’s offense just isn’t the same. While Al Davis might have cap concerns he’s also got a knack for pulling off impossible scenarios (see Nnamdi Asomugha and Shane Lechler in ’09).
2. Make an effort to re-sign Nnamdi Asomugha – By most accounts Aso is as good as Robert Gallery – gone. Mr. Davis caught a break when Nnamdi’s easy-to-reach incentives weren’t so easily accomplished. A $17-million salary came off the books and Davis had a spending spree just before the lockout began. Once Asomugha’s contract was voided the league began licking its chops. There is just no way to replace a true shutdown corner. Davis clearly is unwilling to give Nnamdi another phat contract but he owes it to himself, his franchise and Raider Nation to at least attempt to bring back his best player.
3. Get help for the offensive line – Al might love him some Bruce Campbell but the dude didn’t play a down as a rookie. Stefen Wisniewski could be great for all we know but he’s going to have to make a quick adjustment to the NFL. Jared Veldheer has to prove he can continue to improve after an impressive rookie campaign. Overall there are just far too many questions along the O-line. Davis can’t afford to stand pat wit what’s on his roster. If the Raiders are going anywhere it will be on the strength of the offensive and defensive lines. There are no concerns with the defensive front four so all eyes are on the O-line.
4. Rod Woodson has to get his young DBs up to speed in a hurry – The lockout did all rookies a great disservice. Young players need time to adjust to the NFL and it begins in off-season OTAs. Without much time to get a grasp on his pupils, Woodson’s Hall of Fame experience is going to have to carry over to the likes of DeMarcus Van Dyke, Chimdi Chekwa, Jeremy Ware and Walter McFadden. In addition, Mike Mitchell needs to breakout this year. Hiram Eugene somehow got a 4-year deal out of Al Davis but I’d be willing to bet anything he won’t make it through year two of that contract. If Asomugha walks there is reason to believe Oakland’s greatest asset – the secondary – will become its greatest liability.
5. Acquire a better backup for Jason Campbell – There is no doubt Campbell has the intangibles you need from a quarterback. He’s a leader, displays great composure, handles adversity well and is accountable. However he’s still not yet proven he can be a signal caller capable of carrying a team to the Promised Land. Aside from his inconsistent play, JC is behind an O-line that is going to be learning to gel. As of now Kyle Boller is behind Campbell which is a little like having Tila Tequila as a vice president – you’re one mishap away from total disaster. Besides, this could be Campbell’s last year to prove himself as a starter in this league. If not now the Raiders might need to start thinking about their long term prospects at QB. Plus the fact a little camp competition will be good to get those competitive juices flowing again.
Tags: Al Davis, Oakland Raiders, Raider Nation, Fans, Popular, Featured Bruce Campbell Chimdi Chekwa DeMarcus Van Dyke Hiram Eugene Hue Jackson Jared Veldheer Jeremy Ware Kyle Boller Michael Mitchell Nnamdi Asomugha Richard Seymour Robert Gallery Rod Woodson Shane Lechler Stefen Wisniewski Tila Tequila Tom Cable Tommy Kelly Walter McFadden Zach Miller