By Saint, Silver and Black Pride.
Many in the Raider Nation are feeling much better about the 2010 NFL season because the team looks to have made the significant changes that were necessary to compete in every game and maybe even until the final game of the regular season against the Kansas City Chiefs.
There is an energy and a feeling around this team and brewing in their fans that this year will be different than the past seven.
Significant Offseason Additions/Subtractions
Added: Kamerion Wimbley OLB, Quentin Groves DE, John Henderson DT, Jason Campbell QB, Hue Jackson OC, Rolando McClain MLB, LaMarr Houston DE
Subtracted: JaMarcus Russell QB, Gerard Warren DT, Kirk Morrison MLB, Cornell Green RG
The offseason moves look to have addressed the most significant problems that have plagued the Raiders during their recent skid, run defense and quarterback play.
Look for new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson to use Darren McFadden and Michael Bush in a two back system in an offense that passes off of the run. Also look for Darius Heyward-Bey to be a deep threat when the safeties cheat up.
With the way that the offense performed under Gradkowski last season it looks like the Raiders think that they are only a quarterback away from being a good offense. Time will tell.
This team will live or die off of their run defense. In the NFL, if you can't stop the run, you cannot have sustained success. For too many years in a row teams have been controlling the clock on the Raiders, running the ball down their throats and slowly bleeding them out of most games.
If Rolando McClain, John Henderson and LaMarr Houston are the Oakland Raiders answer to this plague, then the defensive backfield, led by Nnamdi Asomugha should have more opportunities to make plays.
Shane Lechler and Sebastian Janokowski have the ability to completely change the field position outcome of any game.
Unfortunately for the rest of the special teams, they took a huge step backward last year. Jacoby Ford and Rock Cartwright were brought in to return kicks and the Raiders drafted some special teams types late in the draft with hopes of returning to the top form they were in in 2009.
The jury is still out on Tom Cable. Cable was a very popular line coach and he has shown to be a leader of men. The question is, can he allow Hue Jackson to call the shots on offense? If he can, I'd expect him to go down as a great Raider coach.
With that being said, Hue Jackson has already made quite an impression on his new team and has taken a leadership role in training camp, so I expect him to run the offense.
Conclusion/Prediction for 2010
Scheduling has been kind to Oakland this year. They get to play the NFC West, which is by far the weakest division in the NFL.
The team has also addressed every need that, we, at Silver and Black Pride pointed out. As a Raider fan I have to say that less than eight wins will be a disappointment and while some of us are just rooting for a win over the Chargers, I am thinking about making a run for the playoffs.
I think that this team COULD be around in December for the first time since 2002.