Will Rolando McClain be suspended, in jail or just outright released this season? Can Aaron Curry establish himself as a legit starting linebacker in the NFL? Is Philip Wheeler a temporary solution only? Did the Raiders truly find a “diamond in the rough” in Miles Burris? Does Travis Goethel have a breakout season coming?
We could keep this line of questioning going until Dwight Howard gets traded and odds are there would still be more concerns for Oakland’s linebackers. There isn’t another unit on the team with more uncertainty.
Of course these days just about every position has plenty of questions to be answered and the man playing Alex Trebek in this version of Raiders Jeopardy is Reggie McKenzie.
McKenzie inherited a roster that isn’t exactly tailored to his football philosophy on both talent evaluation and spending. Therefore everyone on the roster not named Darren McFadden or Tyvon Branch is pretty much playing on a one-year contract.
For the Raiders linebackers there’s no guarantee any of them will even make it though the first training camp of the Dennis Allen era never mind the firs year of the McKenzie regime. For all we know McKenzie could opt to simply part ways with McClain if his legal woes and potential suspension lead to a lost season. Curry is already down to his last chance to validate his starting job. McKenzie isn’t the type to keep freakish athletes on scholarship. And Wheeler has the look of a temporary fix for a problem without a long-term solution.
While there are plenty of positions that will create some heated camp battles perhaps nothing will rival the wars waged amongst the linebackers. With a limited budget and unwilling to trade future picks, McKenzie appears prepared to stay the course with his current crop. But beyond 2012 nothing is promised and there is a real possibility we’ll see an entirely new group of linebackers in silver and black one year from now.