Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Oakland Raiders 2012 Preview
RB: Darren McFadden is a premier running back, but the only question is if he can remain healthy for an entire season. If so the Raiders should be good to go, even with the loss of backup running back Michael Bush. Filling Bush's hole at the #2 running back is former Panthers RB Mike Goodson, he showed some flashes in his few starts for them in 2010 but again, like McFadden, the key question is can he remain healthy. Another exciting addition to me is FB and Wisconsin native Owen Schmitt, which the Raiders plan to use him as the Green Bay Packers use John Kuhn.
TE: With the departure of Kevin Boss, the Raiders really don't have star power at the tight end spot. They have 4 TEs in grooming with Brandon Myers, David Ausberry, Richard Gordon, and Kyle Efaw. With all of these young guys, expect a tight end by committee.
WR: I feel the Raiders are filled with mediocrity at the wide out position. Heyward-Bey has yet to prove to be worth the 8th overall pick back in 2009, but seems to be improving every year and with Carson Palmer throwing the rock for all of 2012 season I don't expect this year to be any different. Ford may not be the tallest receiver, but his speed makes up for it. Moore seemed to be a steal in the 4th round last season, he is a deep threat and long ball receiver and might quickly mover up the depth chart.
OL: Looks like the offensive line will be another group that is inconsistent. Wisniewski, one of the solid members of the line, will move from guard to center this season.
DL: When healthy the defensive line is one of the strongest part of the Oakland Raiders roster. Shaughnessy and Seymour missed some time back in 2011 which hurt the team, so if their starters can remain healthy I don't see why this line can be one of the best in the AFC West.
LB: The Raiders have been weak at LB for many years. They struggled against the run in 2011, With McClain and Curry ,who don't seem to be 3 down linebackers, anchoring the group, I don't see much improvement this season but look for this group changing in the years to come.
DB: The only thing that is worse for the Raiders than LB is their secondary. It was a joke last season, and with their only solid CB from last year, Routt, lost in free agency it's another position I don't expect improvements in 2012. As far as the safety slots go they do have decent starters in Branch and Huff, but don't have a lot of depth there. I can only hope that the offense scores enough points to make up for the lack of a run and pass defense.
ST: Lechler and Janikowski are two of the best at their respective positions, it's seems that punting and kicking are the few things that are consistent for the Raiders year in and year out. Jacoby Ford will more than likely be returning kicks again in 2012 and he has enough speed to be solid as well.
Overall I feel this won't be the Raiders year of making it into the playoffs, with an early prediction of 7-9. Don't look down Raiders fans I expect new GM Reggie McKenzie to get this team fully turned around in a very short period of time!