This year has been very interesting in Oakland.
On October 8, Al Davis passed away. The entire sports world focused on the life and accomplishments of Al Davis and the Raiders. The next day the Raiders responded with a win on the road against a quality opponent. Football fans everywhere will remember how the Raiders sealed the victory with only 10 defenders.
This week, the football world almost lost their minds when the Raiders pulled a Mike Ditka and gave up big time draft picks for one player, Carson Palmer. The trade showed Hue Jackson’s commitment to winning now. Good receivers rely on great quarterbacks to become great and once Palmer gets his legs under him, the sky is the limit for the Raiders young receiving corps.
Last week against the Browns, the Raider turned some heads when newly acquired Aaron Curry started after one practice. The Raiders then held Cleveland’s offense to 65 rushing yards and for the first time this season the Raiders defense held the opponent under 300 total yards. Gone was the Raiders linebacker problem. No doubt, Hue Jackson’s living on the edge mentality and play calling has rubbed off on defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan. Mixing up coverage packages and using exotic blitzes is exactly what the Raiders defense needed. When the secondary becomes healthy, the Raiders defense will be one of the league’s best.
For the first time since 2000, in the hay day of Tyrone Wheatley and Tim Brown, the Raiders have a good chance of boasting both a 1,000 yard rusher and a 1,000 yard receiver. A feat accomplished only seven times in the history of the Raiders. As it stands Darren McFadden leads the NFL in rushing with 610 yards, over a 100 yards per game average. Darrius Hayward-Bey has 345 yards a 57 yard per game average, but over the last three games DHB has 296 yards, nearly an 100 yard per game average. With a couple more 100 yard games, DHB will likely hit 1,000 yards. Hue Jackson is a varied and risky play caller so DHB and DMC have a great chance to make Raider history.
For years Al Davis made Oakland interesting. It may have been Davis’ infatuation with the vertical passing game, acquiring castoffs, resurrecting careers, benching star players, lawsuits, relocation, more lawsuits, intimidating opponents, cheating or simply winning superbowls. Even during times of irrelevancy, the Raiders remained interesting. For decades, the Oakland Raiders have been anything but boring.
In America’s favorite sport, there is no team quite like the Raiders. For decades NFL people around the nation, have said “The NFL is better when the Raiders are good.”