A playoff team vs. a team that needs a lot of work.

Its no secret which one the Raiders fall into. The past two games have put a weight on my head. Even when the pats won my frustration at each of these Raider losses were greater still.

For the past couple weeks, I told myself we should win at least 1 of these games (of course that would have been obviously miami), but the team is letting us down in more ways than not. My sanity is starting to grow, and I am unsure of the choices and direction we are taking to achieve a title. But I am not insane yet. I'm going to look at this practically.

First thing everyone will jump on is the price we payed for Palmer. Palmer has stunk the last two games, and thats really it unless you want to count his second half performance with less than a week of camp. I think we all agree that the price to get him was horrible, but at the same time I can see Palmer being the perfect QB for us. Lets all look back at Campbell's first year with us, which was an okay year, with a healthy mcfadden and a more consistent defense. This year, Campbell looked better in terms of pocket presence and decision making, but still lacked the big arm.

Palmer, while he had a horrible past two games, I can still see us perform a lot better with him when down the road. Unfortunately, and this IS something we have to take into account, that Palmer like any QB, performs better when his two starting WRs are healthy. I would also point out McFadden, since teams already are starting to adjust to Bush in terms of scheming it seems. McFadden DOES provide breakaway speed and that second dimension to our offense. It also helps that he can also catch the ball and provide a checkdown option. As for the WRs, DHB is not as good as Ford, and everyone else is not as good as Moore. Them two are very important for our vertical offense, and McFadden, Boss, and our 3rd WR (if used) provide underneath options. As well as Reece.

So in other words, our offense has took a hit from loosing just those 3 guys.

BUT, there are two things that will keep us from being a legit team (besides injuries):

  1. Inconsistent Defense.
  2. Penalties

1. Our front 4 is best at pass rushing, but seems to have lost much of what made them amazing at it like last year. Maybe Shaugnessy is largely part of that, but I digress. Our LBs are average in all facets, and are even inconsistent in that. McClain I am led to believe actually did something later in the game (last time I checked's play by play, he led the team in tackles and got a sack), but he was more of a liability early on. Wimbley is a great pass rusher when asked to pass rush. Unfortunately he cannot cover that well, and he is below average against the run. Curry is good against the run, but everything else he is below average at. Secondary? Branch and Routt are my favorite guys, but we need improvement. Hopefully Huff gets back to being healthy, and DVD/Checkwa can emerge next year, or CJ can stay healthy as well.

We know about the weaknesses and strength of our team, and we know they can potentially be very good. But inconsistencies and lack of focus means that it will take a season or two more before we really see them get anywhere. And that's assuming they actually fix their mental mistakes.

2. This is not a surprise. Great teams do not commit as much penalties as ours. Its so great a problem, that all a team defense needs to do is wait for our offense commit a false start, or holding call, and our offensive drive is done. That is very troubling. When you commit the most penalties in the NFL, and we all know that penalties can kill pretty much any team's drive, then this perhaps is our biggest problem that we must overcome.

And don't get me wrong, the offense needs work too, but we know that when healthy our offense can score points.

If we are to become a playoff team, we need a better coaching staff to help our players reduce the number of penalties we receive. We need to get a playmaker on defense. Anywhere is fine, but our DL is fine without one. I can only hope our defense will get better through more experience and synergy, but I am not confident that it will sooner more than later.

Chuck needs to go as well. Way too inconsistent in playcalling.

As for Hue..... for some reason Hue is reminding me of Rex Ryan. He feeds the players off of his bravado. He is an okay gameplanner and play caller. It's all bravado. If there is a problem, it seems like his answer would be along the lines of "We were not playing like bullies." Bully Bully Bully. I don't watch press conferences, so I most likely would be wrong there, but it seems like his idea of the ideal Bully was a fine thought at first, but when your coach runs off more on bravado, especially on a team that is inconsistent, the players and fans will start turning on him. I know he has passion too though, and I like that. But he needs to get better and call better plays. In Hue I trust, but that trust is wearing thin. I hope next year is a different result, but my faith in Hue is fading.

Here are some Free Agent LBs that I think we could have a chance at that are good:

London Fletcher (WAS) - Even at 36 years old, Fletcher is still playing strong football in the middle of the Redskins' revitalized defense. Unless his play falls off, he'll have a spot on Washington's roster available next season if he wants to be back.

E.J. Henderson (MIN) - Henderson had become one of the most underrated backers in the league over the duration of his last contract. Now on the wrong side of 30 with Chad Greenway breaking bank last offseason, the Vikings and Henderson will look to work out a deal that keeps a core piece of the defense in Minnesota.

Anthony Spencer (DAL) - Spencer hasn't emerged as he was poised to do two seasons ago, but is about as good a left outside linebacker as the league has to offer. He's a strong run defender and capable of putting some pressure on the quarterback. Though he benefits from playing opposite the league's best outside linebacker, Spencer should have a small niche market pursuing his services this offseason.

And familiar face Kirk Morrison will be a free agent next offseason too.

These are all copy pasted from here is the link to the LB page:

Feel free to look at other free agents on there. Hopefully we can snag some good guys.

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