While it is true that my Buccaneers beat the Raiders on Sunday, I was impressed with what I saw from the team from Oakland. They scrapped and fought until the final gun and might have gotten a victory but their running backs were dropping like flies with injuries. They were also unlucky because the buzzsaw known as Doug Martin has gained lots of confidence and has realized that he can play at this level. But back to the Raiders.
Since 2003, the Raiders haven't been seen as a threat to many teams in the NFL. Al Davis was living off his success from the 60's, 70's, and 80's. The organization was under the iron thumb of Davis who at an advanced age still thought that he was the smartest guy in the room, never mind that people had learned what he was doing and had also incorporated other facets from successful GMs and coaches and had passed Al Davis by. I hope that Mr. Davis is living large up in Heaven. But his death brought a fresh start to the Raiders, albeit with the deposing of a tyrant in waiting, Hue Jackson.
Al's son, Mark, inherited the Raiders and brought in Reggie McKensie from the Green Bay Packers as GM. He had worked in the vaunted Packers player personnel division for over a decade. The first thing that he did after a confrontation with Hue Jackson was to ensure that Al Davis's last hiring mistake was gone and started to look for a new head coach. Dennis Allen was brought in from the Broncos.
This year isn't looking like the Raiders will make the playoffs, but you can start to see the improvement in the team. Carson Palmer wasn't worth a #1 and a #2, but he is a servicable QB at this stage in his career. A young backup is needed. Terrelle Pryor is not the answer and neither is Matt Leinert. Darrius Hayward-Bey and Darren McFadden are keepers. The backups to those two players are good as well. The Raiders need to fix the offensive line and the offense should be fine with a little bit more experience.
The defense is solid at the Defensive Tackle position. Seymour and Kelly are stout. The DE need seasoning and possibly an upgrade. The Linebacking corps is weak and the defensive backfield also needs upgrading, especially at CB. But overall, the defense is improving over the past couple of years. And it should continue to improve just because of the stability that will take hold in Oakland.
I can see the Raiders over the next 2 years as being the second best team in the AFC West. I'm not taking anything away from them, but the Broncos are the prohibitive favorite for the next couple of years just because of Peyton Manning. The Chiefs will clean house again after this year, Pioli and Crennel will be fired. The Chargers will be doing the same thing. AJ Smith and Norv Turner will finally be forced out about 3 years after the expiration date. So the stability that the Raiders will finally have at the Head Coach and GM positions will make them a better team.
In closing, I am betting on Reggie McKensie. I believe that he had the experience and the ability to become a Top 10 GM in the NFL. And the fact that Al Davis isn't there to change the way things go each year or every other year will allow the Riaders to have stability and start rebuilding so they can return to a "Commitment To Excellence". The rest of the NFL needs to start to see that and look at the Raiders as a team on the rise, not the doormats that they have been over the past decade.