In my continuing segment, I had the pleasure of being contacted by Julio Echeverria, a Oakland Raiders fan living on the east coast. Julio is an IT Business Analyst in Florida. He was born and raised in the Los Angeles Area, and he has been a Oakland Raiders fan since the 1980’s. He grew up watching Marcus Allen, Bo Jackson, the culmination of the Black Hole, etc… He is a proud member of Raider Nation and he bleeds silver and black.
I asked Julio the following questions, and these were his responses:
1. Do you think the Oakland Raiders have progressed in 2013, and what type of success will they have this year?
-Answer: “Despite what the national media and “expert” analysts have said over the off-season, I feel we did progress on defense. I believe General Manager Reggie McKenzie and Head Coach Dennis Allen understand today’s game, especially in a division that features Peyton Manning, Phillip Rivers and now Alex Smith, which is why practically our entire secondary has been upgraded. Our linebackers are definitely better with Nick Roach in the middle. I’m excited to see Sio Moore and Kevin Burnett alongside Roach and Miles Burris. Our defensive line in theory didn’t get better, but I don’t think Richard Seymour had much left and Tommy Kelly, well, let’s just say I was never a fan. I think we have a good “don’t mess up” type of defensive line.”
“Offensively, it’s hard to say. I believe we will find our quarterback of the future out of our current roster. Matt Flynn, Terrelle Pryor, or Tyler Wilson, I’m not sure which one, but I do have a good feeling that we do have a star waiting to burst on to the scene. The power run scheme will benefit Run DMC (Darren McFadden) and he is entering a contract year, so I am expecting no less than 1,200 yards from Darren. If he can’t stay healthy or put up big numbers, it’ll be time to go. As far as receivers and tight ends, it’s open for who wants it the most. That’ll create huge competition amongst very talented players. That’s a win-win in my eyes.”
“All that said, I think we will be better than what everybody is forecasting. I am one of those that have a strange feeling that we will be closer to 8-8 or 9-7 than to 4-12 or 5-11. It’s an advantage to have the media write us off, because players watch ESPN, read SI, and they see the same “Raiders suck” articles we do. Come Sundays, many of them will be shocked.”
2. Who is your favorite Oakland Raider of all time and why?
-Answer: “Tom Flores. He’s the first Hispanic to do many things in the NFL and we are all grateful for what he did. But for me, watching Super Bowl XV and seeing a man who looks like me, talks like me, comes from a similar background as me succeed, showed me that the American dream was not a pipe dream, but it is an achievable goal if you worked hard enough. That image of him holding the Lombardi trophy has inspired me well in to adulthood.”
3. What is your most favorite Raider moment? Please explain.
-Answer: “Marcus Allen’s 74 yard run in Super bowl XVIII. I know, I know, but that was the very first Super Bowl I was fully aware of what football was, and the first time I was aware of what a running back did. Marcus Allen going left, reversing, cutting up field and turning on the jets still makes me get goose bumps, because I am still yelling go, go, GO!!.”
4. Should the Raiders renew Darren McFadden’s contract in 2014 or let him go, and why?
-Answer: “If Run DMC has a good year and stays healthy we should resign him. Anything less than that is going to be a no brainer. I love how he plays, but we’re in it to win and we can’t win with a RB that only plays 10 games if that.”
5. How many Raiders fans do you know on the east coast, and where do you watch the games?
-Answer: “I’m 1 of 2 Raiders fans I know out here. The other Raider is a buddy of mine that lives in the Bahamas. I watch Raiders games at home or at a local bar, wearing nothing but Silver and Black the entire day, drinking out of my Raiders mug and being loud as hell as a good Raiders fan should.”
Way to represent Raider Nation on the east coast Julio! I expect you’ll be voting for Tom Flores to make the Hall of Fame in 2014 along with the rest of Raider Nation.
I would like to extend my thanks to Julio Echeverria for taking the time to conduct this interview. Again, if any of Raider Nation would like a chance to answer a few questions themselves, please contact me via email. I will be continuing this segment through July 25th (The start of training camp).