Oakland Raiders Week 9: Pressures, Hurries and Knockdowns

Week 9 brings a three way tie at the top of the AFC West with the Raiders, Chiefs and Chargers all sitting with a 4-3 mark.

The Chargers have beat the Chiefs. The Chiefs have beaten the Raiders; the Raiders play the Chargers next Thursday.

In other words, yes there is a three-way tie for first but, no, nothing has been settled. Far from it.

The Raiders have made some serious and drastic roster changes in recent times, making the now famous King's Ransom trade for Carson Palmer, and then bringing in his best football friend, TJ Houshmandzadeh at receiver.

A lesser known signing that flew under the radar but that could have equal importance is the signing of former Pro Bowl cornerback Lito Sheppard. Sheppard had a lot of success with the Eagles throughout his career, but had slowed somewhat recently due to injury.

The Raiders had him in during training camp, but with Chimdi Chekwa, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Jeremy Ware, Sterling Moore and other young players who looked good on the roster, he was expendable.

Well Ware and Moore are no longer on the roster and Chekwa, Chris Johnson and DVD have been banged up more often than not this season. There is a serious lack of depth on the back end; and Sheppard addresses that.

But it's Palmer-Housh-Jackson that really needs this team to show well. Hue Jackson made it known he'd have his hands on all personnel decisions after Al passed; and he certainly has.

Palmer had a brutal debut, and then was torched for his explanation of why—which I personally didn't have a problem with— and he needs to show that he's close to his old self again this weekend.

Will Hue Jackson's moves pay off? Will Palmer face the enormous pressure he's under with savvy and grace? Will Darrius Heyward-Bey continue his excellent play? All that and more in the upcoming slides.

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