Every year we enter a new NFL season without the knowledge of what is about to come. We make our predictions, and set our expectations, but in the end the future is not ours to know, but simply to guess.
In 2008 we all made our predictions of who would walk away with a Superbowl ring, and who would be their biggest competition. New England, Indianapolis, San Diego, New York Giants, Dallas, Minnesota, and New Orleans, were placed atop most of our leader boards. While teams like Miami and Atlanta were all but given no chance at success. These thoughts were studied, inspected, disected, and held the highest level of probibility.
New England, Dallas and New Orleans missed the playoffs, Tom Brady was gone for the entire season, Miami won the AFC East, Atlanta made the playoffs, and Pittsburgh beat Arizona in the Superbowl.
To say the least, most of us were way off on our predictions.
So even though we can speculate all we want about what is to come in 2009, all we really know is that there are going to be 32 teams to start the year, and only one will finish it with a Superbowl win.
So why should we even try to speculate on what is to come for 2009?
well……because it gives us something football related to talk about, while we patiently wait for the season to arrive.
So lets take a look at the Oakland Raiders, and what we can expect from the team from the Black Hole!
As early predictions go, most believe that the success of this team will sit directly on the shoulders of number 2. JaMarcus Russell is said to be the key factor in what we are to expect from our Raiders. And why not? He is our starting QB. He is supposed to be the face of the franchise, and he is expected to become the leader of the pack.
Yet, in my humble opinion, our success will rest on far more factors then what we will get from JaMarcus Russell.
Key factor #1
Can JaMarcus Russell prove to be the face of this franchise? Can he lead this team, and grow into a solid quarterback in the NFL?
Key factor #2
How well can we utilyse our running talent? Will Darren McFadden become the superstar we believe he can become? Is Michael Bush as good as we thought he was before his broken knee during his senior year of college? Will Coach Cable be able to call the right plays to gain the best success?
Key factor #3
How good can the offensive line be? Did we make the right transactions, and add the right players to the fold, in order to give our offensive playmakers the time they need?
Key factor #4
Will we be able to stop the run? By not selecting any defensive tackles, and relying on who we have, do we still have what we need to limit the running game of the opposing teams?
Key factor #5
Is Coach Cable as good a coach as we within the Raider Nation hope he is?
Cable is a very likable guy, who has already earned the respect of this team. I truly believe that the only reason that the Raiders didn't have to use the franchise tag on Asomugha is because Asomugha likes Cable. Whether Cable can turn this franchise around or not is left to be seen.
Personally, I really like Tom Cable, and I am glad that he is being given the chance to lead this team. I believe that he has the right mentality, and football knowledge to succeed. Plus, I believe that he has a very solid idea of what he wants to do with this team.
The problem is that we do not have too many players that we can truly say for sure what we will get from them. Aside from Kirk Morrison, Nnamdi Asomugha, Shane Lechler, Zach Miller, and Robert Gallery, we really don't know what to expect from anybody.
When you look at any team in the league, it is not too often that you can only be sure of the prospect of only 5 players.
We are unsure of what to expect from our QB, WR's, RB's, OL, DT and DB's, so to think that we know what is to come for 2009 is impossible.
What makes this season even more interesting, and perhaps harder to guage, is that we don't know what to expect from the rest of the division.
Denver is a mess to figure out, Kansas City is still rebuilding, and San Diego has all of the talent in the world, but a very bad head coach. So, needless to say, the division is up for grabs, and thinking that a team can win the division at 8-8 again, is not out of the question.
So what do I predict?
Well…. I have been hoping and expecting a winning season for the past three years, but this time all I hope for is improvement. 6 wins or more, and I will be ok with it, but I will be hoping for 500 or better.
I still believe that JaMarcus Russell, Darren McFadden, the receiving core, and the defensive line can get it done, and I truly believe that we can win this division. Finishing with a 9-11 win season is not out of the question in my mind, even though it would be a stretch in most others.
I will however say that I don't put much stock in the Raiders winning the Superbowl, and being a true playoff contender is still far fetched, but our division is weak, and our chances of a playoff game is real.
The main issue is just trying to regain our swager, and not having to listen to anyone make fun of the Raiders anymore.
We have a very good core of talent on this team, and if we can get the most out of them, then we will begin to instill fear into the opposition once again.
Just win baby!!!
About the Author
Written by Lee Tremblay