Oakland Raiders: Don’t Count Them Out in the AFC West This Season

Every year, all the teams start square.  All 32 teams in first place; and have unlimited potential to make it all the way to the Super Bowl.  Each team has the potential to become great, or fall by the wayside and hope they can find a good high draft pick the next year. 

This season, the AFC West is no exception.  The Broncos and Chargers have been dominating it for the past few years, but a new team could be heading for the top of the division: the Oakland Raiders.

Oakland has not always been a bad team.  They made the Super Bowl in 2002 (Although it seems like an eternity to Raider fans) but since then, they have been lucky to win more than 5 games. 

However, with losing a lot of games, there comes lots of high draft picks.  The talent (well, some of it) is finally starting to pay off, and they can ride that talent throughout the season.

The Offense

This is where the Raiders are looking very different this season.  The biggest draft bust since Ryan Leaf, JaMarcus Russell, is finally gone.  He never really panned out and was a terrible for the team on and off the field. 

With him gone, the Raiders can finally bring in a legitimate quarterback in Jason Campbell.  He was pretty good last season with the Washington Redskins, and was able to utilize his quick wide receivers and pass catching tight end to put up top 15 quarterback numbers. 

Campbell will have the same basic resources in Oakland, with a fast wide receiver in Darrius Heyward-Bey and a pass catching tight end in Zach Miller.  After learning the playbook, he should feel comfortable and be able to run the passing game with ease.

While the passing game is improving, the running game is also going to pick up this season.  The workload now falls squarely on Darren McFadden, and he has shown why.  He has not really been able to shine so far...

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