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Monday, July 31, 2006

Light at the End of the Tunnel

The tunnel I'm referring to is training camp and the light at the end is the potential that our beloved Raider's team has this year. Everyone is hopeful this time of the year but, contrary to common belief, Raiders fans across the world should be more optimistic than most. We are one of the most talented teams in the league that didn't make the playoffs last year. Let's take a peek at some of the key offseason moves and changes that give us reason to hope for a bright season.

1) Hiring Art Shell as our new Head Coach
This is probably the biggest move we made this offseason. Shell has had a tremendous impact on the attitude of the team and has worked the players harder than they've been worked since the days of Jon Gruden. Art Shell also gives us more hope for our offensive line. As a Hall of Fame left tackle, he knows what it takes to create a dominant line and he has us well on our way to achieving that goal.

2) Cutting Kerry Collins
Getting rid of Collins was probably more important of a move than the signing of Aaron Brooks. Collins played well at times but he lost games because of poor decision making. Aaron Brooks also has questionable decision making skills but he is in a better situation because he won't have Norv Turner making poor play calling decisions on the sideline. His mobility will also help him to buy time while our young offensive line is gelling.

3) Three Possible Rookie Starters
For now, it is looking like we might have three rookies starting this season. Michael Huff should be no suprise but second round pick Thomas Howard and third round pick Paul McQuistan are also getting the opertunity to earn a starting spot. The overall youth of our team is something to be excited about. They will have some growing pains but it gives us hope that once these young players have gotten to know each other and the system, they will become a dominant force in the league for years.

There are also a couple of other potential bright spots for our team that aren't mentioned above. One that excited me the most is the possible emergence of Justin Fargas. The backup running back position has a lot of fans worried. Lamont Jordan took the brunt of our running attack on his shoulders last season and many are worried what will happen if he sustains an injury. If Fargas can become the runner he was at USC, we should have nothing to worry about. Our coaching staff is pretty high on his potential and if they aren't worried, why should we be? Let's give Huggy Bear Jr. one more chance to suceed and prove himself to us.

I know everyone is worried about the Jerry Porter situation but there is no reason to be. Porter has lost 20 lbs this offseason and seems ready to take that step that we've been waiting for him to take for the last three years. He will play and Art will let him play because he has too much talent to not be on the field. If he still feels the same way next season, we can trade him then with less of a cap hit and for more value.


Blogger Ayman said...

Even though you guys cut Collins Aaron Brooks better show up to play or Randy will be pissed off all season long.

7/31/2006 7:44 AM  
Blogger The Analyzer said...

If Brooks does fail to show up we can always go with Walter. I think he will show up this season though. He just needs to use the whole Saints situation as fuel for his fire.

7/31/2006 8:27 AM  
Blogger Ayman said...

That and he will be surrounded with better talent then what the Saints have.

7/31/2006 8:30 AM  
Blogger The Analyzer said...

That is very true. The offensive line should be better and having Moss, Porter, Gabriel and Curry will leave him with no excuses. He has to get it done this year.

7/31/2006 8:46 AM  
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