Oakland Raiders have improved in 2015, but still climbing

8 of 8

October 11, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders fullback Marcel Reece (45) celebrates after scoring a touchdown with tight end Lee Smith (86) and tight end Clive Walford (88) during the second quarter against the Denver Broncos at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Bottom line

This Raiders coaching staff has already fixed some things and made me believe more is coming. While being the top pass-protecting unit in the NFL, they’re fixing the offensive line’s run-blocking. The passing game will improve too as Carr will have Walford to add to Cooper, Crabtree and Reece.

On defense, Smith has played his way into football shape and will get after opposing quarterbacks with Mack. They will also turn outside running plays back into the middle the Raiders will continue to stop the run. Ball has taken his role with the Raiders now and opposing tight ends will no longer dominate the Raiders.

Malcolm Smith is also good in pass coverage so he’ll cover any other pass-catching backs or tight ends. And of course, you have the great one, Woodson, leading the league in interceptions, at one safety. The Raiders have some winnable games until Allen gets back to form one of the best safety tandems in the NFL.

Above all that will help the Raiders against the pass because Carrie will get to move back to corner with Amerson. They both have star corner potential and with Hayden covering the slot, the secondary will be formidable. I’m not promising playoffs for the Raiders but those teams fighting for playoff spots won’t want to play the Raiders down the stretch of this season. The Raiders are built for the future and could be ready to be in the playoff mix soon even if two tough losses to swallow may have already pushed their estimated return date for contending to 2016.