Sunday, January 2, 2011

State of the Raider Nation

What can I say, 8-8 is one of the better Raiders season in the past 8 years. It was a season of could've should've would've, but it was a year of progress. The team was led by a good mix of veterans, rookies, and young solid stars on the rise. My biggest regret is I only caught 2 games this year, as I bought my season tickets before I moved out to Los Angeles. Despite missing the playoffs, I say this year was a success. It gives hope for the next season. Next year, the Raiders just need to beat times out of the AFC and NFC West. They need to win the close ones,  and they need to start strong, and finish strong. The Raiders need to stick with the run. Quarterback play needs to improve. The defense has a had a few lapses, but it stepped up this year. If the Chiefs can make the playoffs this year, the Raiders will be a great threat for the 2011 NFL season.

Here's my thoughts on the units, and some of the players, that brought back a sliver of hope to the Raider Nation.


I'm willing to give Jason Campbell another shot at the helm. He has bad decision making skills, but did decent.

Despite missing 3 games, and being injured in a few, Darren McFadden is the real deal. He showed why he's a high draft pick. He was a highlight machine, and he has to have the best stiff arm in the league.

Michael Bush was an awesome bruising compliment to McFadden. Hes a number 1 back on other teams. It's scary knowing he could be a free agent this year.

Injuries hampered Zach Miller this year, but he was very solid as usual. His numbers were a bit down this year, but hopefully he gets the ball rolling in 2011.

Biggest surprise: Jacoby Ford-Returning, receiving, and running. He has done it all. The rookie speedster, kind of reminds me of a young Tim Brown. He will be fun to watch.

He's not a Joe Thomas or Jake Long, but you gotta give credit to Jared Veldheer. As a rookie starting at left tackle, he was pretty decent. He could improve on some of his run blocking.

Langston Walker seemed to have a career resurgence. He was pretty solid in the run and pass games.

Robert Gallery was a failed tackle, but as a guard, he was the best lineman on the team.

Cooper Carlisle was a consistent guard as always. Two years ago I would've considered him the best on the unit, but now it seems like Gallery is living up to expectations. 

Mario Henderson was kind of a disappointment. After finishing 2008 on a high note, he just never built on it.

Samson Satele was a pretty effective center. I don't recall too many fumbled snaps, compared to the Jake Grove to Jamarcus years.

Khalif Barnes as a backup tackle/blocking tight end was a bonus. His one touchdown catch was comical, but the Raiders heavy formation with Barnes helped the ground game. I thought this was a very good formation for them.

Marcel Reece was robbed of the Pro Bowl. He only paved the way for a pair of stud running backs that had one of the best ground games this year. He also provided some highlights that fullbacks aren't suppose to do.

Darrius Heyward-Bey improved minimally, but he showed that he still has a lot to work on. He did better holding on to the ball. Route running will be his concern next year. 

I thought Louis Murphy was going to be the leader of the receivers, and he's shown great flashes this year, but he had an injury, and sometimes disappeared.

Chaz Schillenz had another wasted season, spending most of it on the injured list. He can be good if he can stay healthy. 

Rolando McClain will be a beast. He had a solid rookie season, and

McClain was successful because had good outside linebackers in Kameron Wimbley and Quentin Groves flanking him. They were a good physical group this year.

Nnamdi Asomugha is so good he's boring to watch. He doesn't have too many highlights because he pretty much takes away half the field.

Unfortunately Chris Johnson and Stanford Routt get the the short end of the stick because quarterbacks will continue picking on them. They've had their flashes of greatness, but aren't lockdown.

I wasn't a big Tommy Kelly fan until this year. He played very solid, and though he had a good arguement to make the Pro Bowl.

It's hard to beat out guys like Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu, but I think Michael Huff is Pro Bowl worthy. He improved greatly this year, and is beginning to have a nose for the football.

Tyvonn Branch continues being a good last line of defense. Like Huff he's developing a nose for the ball.

Mike Mitchell is beginning to live up to the hype of being a second round pick. He got more reps, and showed that he could lay the wood.

Matt Shaughnessy was pretty effective in the rotation. He's a second year guy and I think being around Richard Seymour has helped.

Richard Seymour has been a great addition to the Raiders since last year, and I guess he takes the Pro Bowl on behalf of a very effective defensive line unit.

Lamar Houston had a good rookie season. He was a really good second round pick, and has done a lot better than some of the first round defensive linemen from this years class. I like his meanstreak.


Jacoby Ford was robbed of the Pro Bowl.

Sebastian Janikowski may have cost the playoffs, but he was robbed of the Pro Bowl.

Hiram Eugene was a great gunner and robbed of the Pro Bowl.

Shane Lechler makes punting look cool.


Tom Cable has helped resurrect the Raiders. Despite off the field problems he did good.

Hugh Jackson was a godsend. He's the main reason for McFadden's rise, Ford's awesomeness, and why Cable me keep his job or might be replaced by Jackson.

John Marshall called pretty good games, but he did miss a few. He had a more aggressive defense this year.

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