Oct 16, 2011; Oakland, CA, USA; General view of Oakland Raiders helmets with a decal in the memory of owner Al Davis (not pictured) and the NFL pink breast cancer awareness ribbon logo on the field during the game against the Cleveland Browns at the O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Too Much Cool-Aid?

 

With training camp a week away, all the experts have weighed in on their opinions of where the Raiders will end up this year.  To many Raiders fans dismay, our team has managed to be pegged in the number 32 spot on several rankings. Whether it be our team as a whole or our positions like quarterbacks, linebackers and receivers, we just can’t catch a break or get respect. These ranking and predictions really don’t mean anything when you consider that it’s the offseason and there isn’t much to talk about outside of the many arrests that have plagued the league so far.

Despite the lack of football stories, the low rankings persist throughout the web. This has led me to think, is Raider Nation drunk from the punch that they have been given in the offseason? Are we too loyal and naïve to be realistic about our teams status? For me, it’s hard to say because we have so many question marks heading into the season.

Our biggest dilemma will be the QB position. With Flynn the presumed starter, Pryor at the backup and Tyler Wilson in the third spot, it’s hard to say if it will stay like that once the games mean something. Many fans are divided on who they would like to see under center. Some fans may be hesitant with Flynn because of his lack of starts and losing his position in Seattle to Russell Wilson. Some feel that Pryor should start based on last years start against San Diego in the teams final game.  Fans of Pryor also point out that he has the same athleticism that we see in other QB’s around the league and think…why not us? Still others think Wilson will come in a supplant both of them and become the starter based on his OTA performance a couple of months ago. Based on that alone, it’s hard to say at this point. I think the one who gets the start against Indy on game one, would have out right earned it. This will definitely be one of the most looked at camp battles in the league in the coming weeks.

Another glaring spot on our team is the overhaul that the defense has undergone.  If the team were to play this week, there would only be two starters from last years roster that would take the field. The other players have been additions through the draft or free agency. Some of these players include Charles Woodson, Nick Roach, Tracy Porter, DJ Hayden, and Sio Moore.  When several free agents signed with the team, all of them pointed out to wanting to be a part of something good, setting a foundation for years to come, a change in culture and how things seem to be different.  That could all be media speak for “I’m just glad to get a paycheck”. However, I tend to believe it when it comes from Charles Woodson, someone who actually has been part of the organization in the past and has something to compare it to.

Throw into the mix the questionable durability of Darren McFadden, the lack of a true number one in the receiving corps, the departure of Shane Lechler  on special teams and you would think that the team was destined to get the number one pick next year. Oh yeah, don’t forget that some of  the coaching staff is also new and they are reverting back to a power blocking scheme for a coach and a GM in their second year.

May 11, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders cornerback D.J. Hayden (25) takes a drink during rookie minicamp at the Raiders team headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Wow! That is a lot for a team to endure in one offseason. But starting fresh is not always a bad thing. We have seen many teams projected to be losers in the beginning; it happened to Indianapolis last year and they made the playoffs. Will that happen to our Raiders? I can’t say that for sure but I can and will say that the team will be better than last year. I guess I’ll keep drinking the cool-aid, but definitely not purple drank.

Raider Nation, how many games will the Raiders win in 2014

  • 5-8 (Improving and building for next year) (54%, 298 Votes)
  • 9-12 (Back to relevancy and possible playoffs) (29%, 157 Votes)
  • 0-4 (Number one pick in 2014) (10%, 56 Votes)
  • 13-16 (Shock the world!) (7%, 38 Votes)

Total Voters: 549

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