I'm not sure if anyone has comprised any of these before but thought this might be pretty interesting to bring up. While many here are wishing Al had gone back to his old gambling ways and put in a play for Mike Vick I never really thought that would solve our bigger problems. This isn't a post about settling for mediocrity due to years of futility either especially after the debacle that was Jamarcus. This is a list of the past ten Super Bowl winners and the main relevant points all had in common. Many on the list did not have a franchise QB but the majority were in the top six in possibly the most important defensive stat there is, points per game. The list consists of the Super Bowl winners' rankings in defensive points per game allowed and their winning quarterbacks' QB rating ranking as well.
2001 BAL (1) 10.3 PPG 165 POINTS Trent Dilfer (20) 12 TDS 11 INTS 76.6 QB RATING
2002 NE (6) 17 PPG 272 POINTS Tom Brady (6) 18 TDS 12 INTS 86.5 QB RATING
2003 TB (1) 12.2 PPG 196 POINTS Brad Johnson (3) 22 TDS 6 INTS 92.9 QB RATING
2004 NE (1) 14.9 PPG 238 POINTS Tom Brady (10) 23 TDS 12 INTS 85.9 QB RATING
2005 NE (2) 16.2 PPG 260 POINTS Tom Brady (9) 28 TDS 14 INTS 92.6 QB RATING
2006 PIT (3) 16.1 PPG 258 POINTS Ben Roethlisberger (3) 17 TDS 9INTS 98.6 QB RATING
2007 IND (23) 22.5 PPG 360 POINTS Peyton Manning (1) 31 TDS 9 INTS 101 QB RATING
2008 NYG (17) 21.9 PPG 351 POINTS Eli Manning (25) 23 TDS 20 INTS 73.9 QB RATING
2009 PIT (1) 13.9 PPG 223 POINTS Ben Roethlisberger (24) 17 TDS 15 INTS 80.1 QB RATING
2010 NO (20) 21.3 PPG 341 POINTS Drew Brees (1) 34 TDS 11 INTS 109.6 QB RATING
As for the ranking defensively for the Colts, they were ranked second overall the year prior at 15.4 PPG before winning it all in 2007 with many of the same key pieces established at their positions. While Peyton and Brees were the exceptions to the rule, there were three instances where Rich Gannon was light years ahead of the Super Bowl winning QB in the QB rating department. Also in the 2008 regular season, Big Ben was in Jamarcus territory with his QB rating only being two spots ahead of he who shall not be named but because he had a great defense to take the load off, he can make risky throws and ended up with 15 interceptions that season. While the Saints ranked in the bottom half, they did average the highest point differential per game and many can argue if not for the coaching staff's ballsy play-calling in all three phases of the game; Peyton may have walked out of the Super Bowl 2-0. So how does Oakland make the distinction that this is what they need to do to compete for a championship? Well I'll get into it as well.
Offensively, we have the pieces in place but are far from perfect. This may be the fewest question marks we have heading into the off-season we've had in over seven years. Here are the steps to what it might take to be a legitimate playoff contender this year.
1. Hire a new defensive coordinator. I know we've all heard this one before but since Al won't fire himself this is all we can hope for. We need a new scheme that doesn't put the empasis on man to man and connect the dot blitzes that an upper-echelon QB can just check off. We also need a coach that will emphasize gap discipline or else we will be stuck in the bottom ten of the run defense rankings as usual because of long runs. A list of candidates would be any of Mike Pettine's staff, Mike Singletary, John Fox or Dom Capers. I know, wishful thinking.
2. Hire a new wide receivers coach. Ray Sherman from Dallas would be the perfect choice as we all see the development of Miles Austin from late round draft pick into one of the top wide outs in the league and Dez Bryant's great rookie season but honestly anyone over Sanjay Lal would be deemed an upgrade.
3. Trade or sign a legit second corner such as Champ Bailey or Jonathan Joseph. Both may be available and while Routt had a much-improved season most likely Al will still be stressing man to man coverage and it's best to go another route than Routt this off-season. Pun intended he he.
4. The Draft. Our first two draft choices should be big in determining if we have understood Oakland has found it's QB of the future so they must protect him while continuing to make the team's strength even stronger. We need to understand when this team is nasty it can beat anybody. Both of our first picks should be center and tackle. While Wisniewski may or may not be available in the mid 2nd round we can go after the highest graded player available at either of the need positions such as Demarcus Love at RT or Kris O'Dowd at center. The kid from USC is a better center prospect than Satele and if you've watched ESPN he has a big heart and we need more good guys on this team. In the 4th round the answer at OLB may be found with UCONN OLB Lawrence Wilson. He may be undersized but he makes plays all over the field and consistently led the team in tackles.
5. Sign a big time free agent at a need position. No more flashy signings based on names but someone that will contribute to the team such as an OJ Atogwe at FS, a Matt Light at LT, Abreyu Franklin at NT or Lance Moore at WR. I'm actually not scared off by Haynesworth if the team continues to run a 4-3 and he comes in wanting to be here.
I don't think I am the only one here that knows if we had a run defense that was even middle of the pack, we might have already clinched the division by now. If we just get solid efficient QB play that doesn't have to throw for over 300 yards and a stifling defense that might just be what it takes to put this Raider team over the top where they're supposed to be.