This will be a weekly segment in which I provide my opinion on the state of the Oakland Raiders. I encourage each, and every reader of this blog to comment or ask questions, whether you agree or disagree with the opinion I provide.
Frankly, I just laugh nowadays when I watch certain sports shows that discuss the state of the AFC West or the Oakland Raiders. They’re all so far up Peyton Manning’s rear end. The last time I checked, he lost the Super Bowl. Didn’t he? Oh well, I guess they all just think it was a fluke or a freak happening.
The way I see it, the Seattle Seahawks provided all of the NFL with a blueprint on how to defeat the Denver Donkeys, I mean Broncos, no, I mean Donkeys. Rush the quarterback, get to him, and force him into a decision. Let’s face it, when Manning is given time in the pocket he is one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game of football. However, when Manning is forced into a quick decision, like in the Super Bowl, he falters and makes bad throws. Just ask Tracy Porter when the New Orleans Saints defeated Manning and his Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.
If you recall, Manning and his Colts were the top AFC Seed, just like this past Super Bowl. He lost to the Saints in 2010 as a top seed, and he lost to the Seahawks in 2013 as a top seed. I don’t know about you, but, the way I see it, the Seahawks pulled tape from the 2010 Super Bowl and found out Manning’s weaknesses. They exploited them, and the Seahawks were given their first Super Bowl victory.
What does this mean for the Raiders? Well, one of the most detrimental areas on the team that the Raiders needed to bolster was the defensive line. So what did General Manager Reggie McKenzie do, he picked up DE Justin Tuck, Hybrid LB/DE LaMarr Woodley, DL Antonio Smith, DE C.J. Wilson, and re-signed DT Pat Sims. This to go along with DE Jack Crawford, DE Ryan Robinson, DE Chris McCoy, DT David Carter, DT Ricky Lumpkin, DT Stacy McGee, and DT Torell Troup.
Between DE’s, DT’s, and DL’s, that’s and average of 292 pounds each player. That’s a lot of weight that the opposing offensive linemen are going to have to face in 2014. Then, we can factor in the other Hybrid type players, i.e., Kaluka Maiava, Sio Moore, Kevin Burnett, and Miles Burris, and this defense has a lot of potential. Let’s put it this way, the pundits cans scoff at the moves being made by the Raiders all they want, they are very good moves. Not to mention that fact that these are incentive based contract players who need to prove their worth in order to make money.
As far as re-signing our own players goes (Green Bay Packers/New England Patriots based models that the NFL pundits believe everyone should follow), none of the major players who were released were McKenzie’s picks. Jared Veldheer and Lamarr Houston were picked before McKenzie arrived. Basically, anybody picked in the 2012 NFL Draft and beyond will be considered McKenie’s guys. Raider Nation doesn’t have to agree with the moves, but there is truth where confusion is found.
The way I see it, the Raiders are building toward a new era featuring a more steady and solid cast of players who actually want to put the time and effort into winning for their team. A very good cast of characters who will provide a balanced and positive locker room environment for the younger players. Winners who bring a winning attitude to the table, players with something to prove, and under-dogs who want to show the world they can do the job.
Yes, there are a bunch of pieces missing still, but it’s no longer in complete disarray. 2014 will be a season in which the Raiders regain the confidence and trust from their fans, and they will show the world that the Raiders are back to compete in a division that is being hailed as the toughest in the NFL. The way I see it, Raider Nation may just bring the O.co Coliseum down with all the cheers from the wins the Raiders have this year. Maybe it will help with the stadium situation?
Now, I didn’t touch upon the offensive line, defensive backs, wide receivers, tight ends, running backs, or the quarterback situation just yet. I will offer an opinion to those in the coming segments. This was just a kick-start in the right direction. “Just Win Baby” and a “Commitment to Excellence” have always been the Raiders motto, and I believe we, the Raider Nation, will see this happen in 2014. You may not agree with everything that I say, but this is the way I see it.