If they can run the ball the way they’re built to, the Raiders could have an outside chance at competing for the division.
If they do, jaws may drop. But if they don’t, and the past repeats itself, jaws could be struck.
Take a look at five things that will have to be decided in order for that to happen.
He showed glimpses of his past potential in his first season with Denver, but was slowed by nagging knee issues in his second year.
After signing a huge contract with the Raiders, Walker has yet to put forth any type of production worthy of even being called mediocre.
Still, Walker is as healthy as he’s been in years, and still has a shot at one of the starting positions.
He will be in heated competition with rookie Darrius Heyward-Bey and veteran Chaz Schilens, as well as return specialist, Johnnie Lee Higgins.
If Walker is fully healthy, the rest rides on the arm of JaMarcus Russell.
Things didn’t work out between Al Davis and Lane Kiffin, and while Cable is almost certainly not Davis’ first choice to run his team, at least Cable takes direction and does as he’s told.
However, to be successful and get Oakland back to a competitive level, Cable will have to go against the grain and surprise some people with some truly exceptional coaching.
While that is still a possibility, something tells me Davis is simply biding his time until he finds the right guy to coach his team past 2010.
Write it down. Cable’s days are numbered.
Yeah, it goes the other way, too.
After dropping from Super Bowl contenders back in the days of Rich Gannon, the Raiders have finally gotten to a point where the talent on the defensive side of the ball is good enough for playoff contention.
They’re young, fast, and physical, and praying for an offense.
The Raiders have grown into a running team that is ineffective in the passing game, leaving the defense to fend for itself with countless “three and outs” to kill momentum.
With another year under Tom Cable, and a potentially improved pass attack, this could be the year that the Raiders defense is able to wreak havoc with a decent supporting offense.
Then again, it is the Raiders.
His speed and acceleration were destined to take the league by storm.
But that didn’t happen.
No, McFadden and former college teammate Felix Jones were actually outdone by their former fullback at Arkansas, Peyton Hillis.
However, with McFadden getting most of the snaps and Hillis back at fullback in Denver, McFadden could finally be poised to break out.
That is, if Michael Bush doesn’t get in the way.
The early word has McFadden as the favorite to start, with Bush entering as the short yardage and goal-line runner.
This also means a complete demotion for last year’s starter, Justin Fargas.
After starting his first offseason with nagging injuries and a case of the dropsies, Heyward-Bey has reportedly come around a bit, and had a practice recently where he caught “everything in sight”.
While there are certainly growing pains to be expected, Heyward-Bey still has the talent and athleticism to succeed, and he’ll have every opportunity to do just that.
Posted by Kevin Roberts Date: Sunday, September 6, 2009
Tags: Al Davis, Darren McFadden, Darrius Heyward-Bey, jamarcus russell, Javon Walker, jeff garcia, Louis Murphy, Michael Bush, NFL Team Preview, oakland raiders, Raiders Defense, Raiders Offense, Tom Cable
It’s the first day of June, which means all of those premature NFL power rankings and fantasy football rankings are no longer, well, quite as premature.
While everyone (including myself) is discussing LeBron James and his handshake phobia, the Magic and the Lakers, or Bruno’s fall into Eminem’s lap, I’ve decided to take that free fall dive into the loving arms of fantasy football.
And yes, the fantasy realm loves me back.
However, let’s pace ourselves. After all, it is in fact the first month of summer (first day, no less), and we don’t want to generate pre-football heart attacks.
I mean, Brett Favre hasn’t even made up his mind yet, so why should the rest of us be getting antsy?
Regardless, here is a team-by-team look at all 32 starting quarterbacks, their weapons, offenses, and how they may destroy or enhance your team.
Still worried about Favre’s final decision, camp battles, or injuries? I’ll do my best to fill you in, allowing you an early look at which quarterbacks may be the best bets, which could be potential sleepers, and which ones you should stay away from.
Tom Brady—New England Patriots
Matt Cassel is in Kansas City, and Brady is back in camp, meaning two things.
You have nothing to worry about, and you have nothing to worry about.
Brady has looked sharp in limited practice, and still has the same awesome weapons he had in 2007 during his 50-touchdown season. This list isn’t a ranking, but if it were, I’d have Brady at the top.
Verdict: If you can get him in the second round, you’re already winning.
Proj: 4,090 yards, 35 TD, 13 INT
Mark Sanchez—New York Jets
Don’t buy the Kellen Clemens hype (not that there actually is any).
For better or worse, Sanchez will begin the new Joe Namath era.
It won’t be as sexy or productive as either of Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco’s seasons last year, but I wouldn’t be shocked if the Jets reached the playoffs.
Verdict: Not yet an option for FF
Proj: 2,400 yards, 16 TD, 17 INT
Trent Edwards—Buffalo Bills
I like the addition of Owens, but not the loss of Marshawn Lynch to start the season.
Edwards isn’t as bad as people think, and now he has a sound offense around him. He’s a borderline top-15 quarterback, and depending on how he looks in pre-season, could crack that barrier quite easily.
Proj: 3,555 yards, 26 TD, 14 INT
Chad Pennington—Miami Dolphins
This is probably Pennington’s last hurrah with Miami, and something tells me the exciting juice that this offense had last season has all but dried up.
Pennington still doesn’t have enticing options, and he’s got two quarterbacks breathing down his neck.
He’ll be serviceable to start the season, but you won’t claim your league’s championship if he’s your starter.
Verdict: He’s a stop-gap
Proj: 3,100 yards, 17 TD, 14 INT
Ben Roethlisberger—Pittsburgh Steelers
If he endures a Super Bowl hang-over, we could see some bad numbers.
Because, as we’ve learned, the less Big Ben throws, the better he is.
He’s still a fantasy quarterback with solid weapons around him, so don’t be afraid to snatch him up.
Proj: 3,470 yards, 23 TD, 18 INT
Brady Quinn—Cleveland Browns
Personally, I think Derek Anderson has the better arm and size, but Braylon Edwards favors Quinn, and the organization is more likely to run with the young, more familiar face.
Quinn is actually a good, young quarterback, and I’m not sure why Eric Mangini isn’t higher on him.
Regardless, aside from Braylon “Mr. Drop” Edwards, Quinn has no weapons.
Verdict: Things could get ugly
Proj: 2,899 yards, 20 TD, 20 INT
Carson Palmer—Cincinnati Bengals
He was awful last season, going 0-4 before bowing out with an arm injury.
However, his weapons are still potentially elite, and if he can return to form, could easily put up numbers that will have you kicking yourself for passing him up in the fourth round.
Verdict: Possibly ends the season as a top-5 passer
Proj: 3,884 yards, 27 TD, 17 INT
Joe Flacco—Baltimore Ravens
Flacco proved to be a capable game-manager, and has reportedly looked good over the offseason.
However, the Ravens are likely to base their offense around the run, and Flacco doesn’t have superstar options surrounding him.
Verdict: See Chad Pennington
Proj: 3,335 yards, 18 TD, 16 INT
Vince Young—Tennessee Titans
Call me crazy, but I don’t see Kerry Collins finishing the first half of the season as the starter.
He’s up there in age, which makes a regression or an injury extremely likely, and if things aren’t going well, he’ll be benched rather quickly.
Young may not have a cloudless head on his shoulders, but he still can make things happen with his feet.
Verdict: Young might surprise some people
Proj: 2,467 yards, 15 TD, 13 INT, 430 r yards, 4 TD
Peyton Manning—Indianapolis Colts
Manning loses Marvin Harrison, Tony Dungy, and two other important assistant coaches.
That doesn’t mean he’ll suddenly lose his touch, but there’s only so much Anthony Gonzales and Austin Collie can make up for.
Verdict: Draft him below Tom Brady, for sure this time
Proj: 4,300 yards, 33 TD, 19 INT
David Garrard—Jacksonville Jaguars
He lost Matt Jones, but gained Torry Holt.
Something tells me Garrard won’t really notice.
Jacksonville’s offense is all about grinding it out, but they were forced to put the ball in the air more last year because of an atrocious offensive line.
Verdict: A better line means Garrard is good again
Proj: 3,090 yards, 20 TD, 12 INT, 260 r yards, 3 TD
Matt Schaub—Houston Texans
Schaub has too many weapons to fail. The only problem is, he needs to stay on the field.
If he can play even 13 games, he’ll put up huge numbers, while leaving everyone guessing, yet again, what he’d do if he played a full season.
Still, with Andre Johnson, Kevin Walter, Steve Slaton, and Owen Daniels, the future looks good for Schaub.
Verdict: He can lead your team to a title
Proj: 3,800 yards, 25 TD, 16 INT
Philip Rivers—San Diego Chargers
If Rivers’ defense can back him up, unlike in 2008, he could easily approach last year’s numbers, and possibly even surpass them.
With a healthy Antonio Gates and LT, Rivers is more confident than ever.
Verdict: Draft him like he’s Tom Brady
Proj: 4,270 yards, 30 TD, 16 INT
Jeff Garcia—Oakland Raiders
I just don’t see the JaMarcus Russell experiment lasting more than three or four losses in 2009, and wouldn’t be shocked to see him benched in the pre-season.
As long as Garcia wins a few games, Al Davis will let him start. After all, he brought him in for a reason.
Verdict: Nobody in Oakland is worth your while
Proj: 2,300 yards, 15 TD, 9 INT
Matt Cassel—Kansas City Chiefs
Cassel is in a new place with a huge drop-off as far as offensive weapons. He still has good experience from last season, combined with his solid arm and good athleticism.
However, we’ll all be left wondering what could have been, had Tony Gonzalez not been traded to Atlanta.
Verdict: Stay away in year one
Proj: 3,700 yards, 22 TD, 23 INT
Kyle Orton—Denver Broncos
Orton was putting together a solid season in Chicago before hurting his ankle. Once he came back, he played admirably through injury, and didn’t have the best options out there.
In Denver, he’ll have a friendlier offensive line and system, as well as excellent receiving options.
Verdict: Orton could make the leap to elite
Proj: 3,600 yards, 24 TD, 16 INT
The NFC Edition will be made available, depending on the reads/comments for this article. Thanks for reading, and for those basketball enthusiasts, check out my NBA blog: www.robertsroundballreport.com
Posted by Kevin Roberts Date: Monday, June 1, 2009
Categories: Fantasy Football
Tags: andre johnson, anthony gonzalez, antonio gates, austin collie, ben roethlisberger, brady quinn, braylon edwards, brett favre, bruno, buffalo bills, carson palmer, chad pennington, cincinnati bengals, cleveland browns, david garrard, denver broncos, derek anderson, eminem, eric mangini, houston texans, indianapolis colts, jacksonville jaguars, jamarcus russell, jeff garcia, joe flacco, kansas city chiefs, kellen clemens, kerry collins, kevin walter, kyle orton, l.a. lakers, lebron james, mark sanchez, marshawn lynch, marvin harrison, matt cassel, matt jones, matt ryan, matt schaub, miami dolphins, new england patriots, new york jets, oakland raiders, orlando magic, owen daniels, peyton manning, philip rivers, pittsburgh steelers, san diego chargers, steve slaton, tennessee titans, terrell owens, tom brady, tony dungy, tony gonzalez, torry holt, trent edwards, vince young