May 16, Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack (52) at rookie minicamp at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
With just 7 days to go before the Oakland Raiders report to their Training Camp Facility in Napa, CA, I find myself scouring the Internet, Radio Stations (SiriusXM NFL Radio), and Sports News Stations for every ounce of discussion about football. SiriusXM NFL Radio brought up a good discussion on the show “Late Hits,” which asked the listeners to describe their team’s upcoming season in one word. I stewed over that question for hours, even after I’d turned it off.
What word best describes the Oakland Raiders to me? That one word, the one solitary word that holds the entire season in the balance for me? Then, it came to me like the rush of a flash flood sweeping across the desert, Poised. The word itself is an adjective that has several meanings, but the best definitions that fit the word for me are self-assured, composed, balanced, grounded, and ready for action.
The Oakland Raiders are poised to make a comeback in 2014. Once you get past all the slanderous negativity that the media seems to feed off of regarding the Raiders, there is nothing left but the talent of football players. The veteran players added to the Raiders roster are ready to prove that they still have what it takes to be Pro-Bowl caliber players (i.e., Justin Tuck, LaMarr Woodley, Donald Penn, Matt Schaub, Maurice Jones-Drew, James Jones, Carlos Rogers, and Antonio Smith). The younger pool of talent are ready to make their mark on the NFL and quiet the naysayers (i.e., Rod Streater, Khalil Mack, Sio Moore, Mychal Rivera, Justin Ellis, Nick Roach, Pat Sims, Miles Burris, D.J. Hayden, Tyvon Branch, Tarell Brown, Gabe Jackson, Menelik Watson, Andre Holmes, etc…). While others not listed want their chance as well.
The biggest reason that the Raiders are poised to make their comeback in 2014 is due in large part to the fact that there is a ton of talented depth at each position. As a matter of fact, Bill Polian (NFL GM/Analyst) said that the biggest reason that the Seattle Seahawks were able to win so quickly in Pete Carrol’s time with the team was due to the depth they had at each position. When one of their star players was off the field, there was another talented and hungry player right behind him.
The more I look at the Raiders 90-man roster, the tougher it gets to decide who will be on the 53-man roster. Depth is the key to managing the health and readiness of an NFL team, and it is also the key to maintaining a lead through the 4th quarter. Too many times in the past the Oakland Raiders have lost their lead, and the game, in the 4th quarter. Players were just too tired, and the other teams had more fresh players on the field. Now, the Raiders will have the same opportunity. No more excuses.
Furthermore, and due to the talented depth, the Raiders will be poised to forge ahead through the latter part of an NFL Season. By this part of the season, the whole world will know what Raider Nation is anticipating right now, a winning season for the Oakland Raiders. A return to excellence and glory. Don’t believe me, then look no further than the Raiders roster. Check out each individual player who you think will start, then look directly behind them. What you’ll notice is for every #1 player, the #2 player is just as good, if not better.
For example, the LB corps is stout. Nick Roach, then Khalil Mack, Sio Moore, Miles Burris, Kevin Burnett, and, as one of my reader’s pointed out to me, a very talented undrafted free agent in Carlos Fields. The same can be said of the WR’s, FB’s, DE’s, DT’s, OL, DB’s, RB’s, and TE’s. The QB position is no longer an issue with Matt Schaub at the helm. His backup is Derek Carr, who should be the future of the franchise. The stout OL will keep Schaub upright, which will allow him to make the right decisions throughout the season.
This team is ready for Training Camp. It is composed and balanced. The players will be ready for action in the Pre-Season, and the Oakland Raiders are poised to make a comeback in the 2014 NFL Season. One word, one simple word to describe the readiness of the Raiders. Mine is poised. In the comments below, let me know the one word you would use to describe the Raiders. I look forward to your responses Raider Nation. Go Raiders!