2015 NFL Preview: Oakland Raiders

2015 NFL Preview: Oakland Raiders

The last time the Oakland Raiders played in a postseason game was in Super Bowl XXXVII when they were thrashed by the Buccaneers 48-21. That was 12½ years ago. Since then they have won more than five games only twice, and not once have they finished with a record over .500. They pretty much define NFL futility. How awful were they in 2014? Well, the offense ranked 31st, and the defense ranked 32nd. When a team can’t score or stop anyone from scoring, bad things have a tendency to happen. Derek Carr is the most recent quarterback burdened with the herculean task of turning the franchise in an upward direction. And Jack Del Rio becomes the ninth head coach since 2003 assigned to extract the organization from the abyss. It’s always better to think positively in sports, but even the most optimistic of Silver and Black backer has to wonder if this sinking ship will ever be rescued. Here’s a preview of the 2015 Oakland Raiders.

Outlook: The good news is nobody expects them to do anything. Perhaps Carr will start to show some of those traits associated with legit franchise quarterbacks. The skill positions don’t inspire awe, but at least the front office attempted to bolster the wide receiving corps and running back stable. Khalil Mack started slow as a rookie, but as the season progressed he found his groove and began to assert himself as a disruptive force in the front seven. However, the rest of the defense is old and just not very talented. It will take years to repair the damage inflicted over the last decade, so another double-digit loss seasons seems inevitable.

Later, dude: After seven frustrating and injury-plagued seasons, the man formerly known as RUN DMc was let go. Darren McFadden had 485 carries from 2012-14. The guy he’s “replacing” in Dallas, DeMarco Murray, toted the ball 436 times in 2014 alone. Center Stefen Wisniewski started 61 games in four years, but a free agent upgrade made him expendable. Antonio Smith and Pat Sims offered little in the way of help a season ago, so both were kicked to the curb. Wideout Denarius Moore showed flashes of big time playmaking ability in four years, but consistency and health issues overshadowed his potential. Matt Schaub threw two interceptions in ten attempts in 2014; he’s now backing up Joe Flacco in Baltimore. James Jones averaged 9.1 yards per catch during his one season in the Black Hole, which explains why he’s still a free agent.

Welcome aboard: Michael Crabtree has one good season on his six-year resume; he might be an upgrade, or he might be a $3 million mistake. Rodney Hudson was solid in four seasons with the Chiefs, but making him the highest paid center in the league is dubious. Linebacker Curtis Lofton is a tackling machine, but $10 million in guaranteed money over three years is a bit much. Safety Nate Allen was a big reason why the Eagles secondary was atrocious in 2013 and 2014, and yet the front office still handed him a 4-year, $23 million with $11.8 guaranteed deal. Huh? Roy Helu could end up being a free agent steal if he gets enough carries. Rookie Amari Cooper has a similar skill-set to Crabtree, but is a better overall athlete. If Carr improves, Cooper will have a lot to do with it. Second-round pick Mario Edwards, Jr. lacks passion and work ethic, two things that are necessary to succeed in the NFL. Oh, Trent Richardson is a Raider… LOL!

Over/Under wins – 5.5: It’s highly unlikely they will be favored in any game this season. An 0-8 start is possible.

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