A Look at the Oakland Raiders
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
By Brett Grassmuck
After finishing at the bottom of the barrel in 2006, The Oakland Raiders enter 2007 looking to turn things around on all fronts and began by firing coach Art Shell in January after just two seasons. The team turned to University of Southern California offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin to take his shot at turning the Raiders around.
The Raiders were first on the clock in April with the first overall pick in the NFL Draft and selected quarterback JaMarcus Russell out of Louisiana State. Russell turned heads with his play in college, but it may be a while before anyone sees him in the NFL. He has yet to sign a contract and has missed the whole of the Raiders 2007 camp. When a deal gets done, Russell will be way behind the learning curve and will be playing catch-up to their newest addition at quarterback, Daunte Culpepper.
Culpepper takes the reigns of his third team in three seasons after a dismal 2006 with the Miami Dolphins, playing in only four games and passing for less than 1,000 yards. Prior to the signing of Culpepper, the Raiders traded for Detroit Lions quarterback Josh McCown to add depth at the position. Rams fans will remember McCown from his days with the Arizona Cardinals, when he was splitting time with former Ram Kurt Warner.
The Raiders offense received a boost in their run game with the addition of Dominic Rhodes from Indianapolis. Rhodes, coming of a championship run with the Colts, will give the Raiders a second option at running back as he will share time with LaMont Jordan.
Wide receiver Jerry Porter looks for a fresh start in 2007 after various off-the-field troubles kept him off the field until late October of last year. Combined with fellow wide receiver Ron Curry, who was the team’s leading receiver and one of few bright spots in 2006, the pair could make some noise in 2007 if they are catching passes from a healthy Culpepper or a signed Russell.
The Raiders offensive line was less than stellar last season as they allowed an NFL-high 72 sacks on quarterback Aaron Brooks. Pro-Bowl center Jeremy Newberry will add experience to the line as he comes to the Raiders from their “battle of the bay” rival, the San Francisco *****.
On the opposite side of the ball, the Raiders showed some promise on defense. Anchored by outspoken tackle Warren Sapp, the Raiders defensive line has the ability to clog running lanes and make life tough for opposing running backs.
The Oakland secondary is solid despite the loss of free-agent cornerback Charles Woodson to Green Bay in the offseason. Nnamdi Asomugha is a shutdown corner who will be able to account for the loss of Woodson and become a defensive leader on the team. 2006 first-rounder Michael Huff will step into the starting strong safety role opposite four-year veteran free safety Stuart Schweigert.
Rams fans will see a few familiar faces at linebacker in Oakland as former Rams Isaiah Kacyvenski and Robert Thomas take the field for the Raiders. Thomas was a first-round pick by the Rams in 2002 and played with the team through the 2004 season. Kacyvenski was a reserve linebacker and special teams player for the Rams last season.
Re: A Look at the Oakland Raiders
Culpepper, Rhodes & company don't worry me at all. The Raiders had a good defense last season and a swinging gate for an offense line. I doubt Culpepper will last the entire season.
Re: A Look at the Oakland Raiders
Does anyone know if the Raiders did anything to shore up their offensive line in the offseason?