In light of all the recent change in Oakland since the lock out ended, I thought it necessary to weigh on these matters. So Nnamdi is gone to the Eagles. Even though I wanted us to retain him, I knew that he was bound for "greener" pastures when it was made public that his contract voided. If anyone has ever paid attention to the off season interviews that he's done over the past 2 years and certainly his Eagles Press Conference, you would see that he was tired of not having the stats to back up his Pro-Bowl appearances and he also wanted a real chance to win a Super Bowl. Of course no one can look at a team on paper and predict that they will go to the Super Bowl, much less win, but you have to agree that the Eagles were in a better position last year than the Raiders and this year, even much more so. I'm not too mad about Nnamdi going to Philly as much as I would have been if he went to the 49ers, Jets and certainly the Cowboys. I would have even been cool if he went to the Texans. I will always like him as a player and I wish him the best of luck.
If I am not mistaken, his replacement, Stanford Routt, did an interview this summer where he remarked that every time a corner back leaves, another one steps up. He was referring to when Charles Woodson went to Green Bay, Nnamdi stepped in. In addition, he has made some BOLD statements during the off season and I quote,
"I don’t think there is any corner in this league that’s better than me flat out. I think there’s corners more experienced and that get more recognition, but I don’t think there are any that are better than me. I don’t think I’m the best corner in the game just yet, but I don’t think there’s anyone that’s better than me. I would never bet against myself. That’s probably the best way I’d put it."
I totally get that no football player will admit that he is inferior to another but with his remarks and his three-year, $31.5 million deal with guaranteed $20 million over the first two years......he'd better have one HELL OF A YEAR!
Zach Miller leaving, was a BIG shock and a BIG loss. I truly was not expecting that. Zach stated in an interview that it wasn't about the money, but getting a 5yr deal for $34 Mil with $17 Mil guaranteed had to help. I don't know what the Raiders were offering but, I don't think it was close to that. He has been our most productive & consistent pass catcher for the past few years but I'm glad that we didn't break the bank for him seeing as how we still need O-line help and to resign Micheal Bush. I will say that the Raiders front office dropped the ball by not signing him before the lock-out though. BIG mistake! I sincerely hope that the Raiders can find a solid answer at Tight End in rookies David Ausberry, Richard Gordon, Brandon Myers or a free agent. Kevin Boss has recently mentioned that he is interested in coming to Oakland. That might be a pretty decent fit. Here's a quick comparison.
Zach Miller: 4 years 62 games 226 receptions 2,712 yards 43.7 yards/game 12 TD's
Kevin Boss: 4 years 58 games 119 receptions 1,600 yards 27.6 yards/game 18 TD's
Boss isn't exactly a replacement but if we could get him fairly inexpensively, I would definitely give him a closer look. In his defense though, Boss played on a Giants team last year that had better wide receiver talent (or at least better production) than we did so he wasn't needed to be as much of a pass catcher as Miller was. See below.
Hakeem Nicks: 79 receptions 1,052 yards 11TD's
Mario Manningham: 60 receptions 944 yards 9 TD's
Steve Smith: 48 receptions 529 yards 3 TD's
Kevin Boss: 35 receptions 531 yards 5 TD's
Last year, Zach Miller didn't have the season that he did in 2009 but he did manage to still be our #1 receiver with, 60 receptions, 685 yards and 5 TD's. As you see, his production as our #1 pass catcher would have made him the 3rd best receiver for New York. With his production and desire to be a Raider, I think Kevin Boss would be a good fit and good veteran addition to our young receiver group. As far as our receivers go, I don't understand why we haven't been trying to sign any free agent wide receivers like Malcom Floyd, Braylon Edwards or Steve Smith (NY). FYI...Floyd torched us last year in our first meeting with the Chargers with 8 receptions for 213 yards. We still won....but OUCH!
Before the Tom Cable and Company swiped Zach away, I predicted the Raiders to win the AFC west with a division record of 4-2 and overall record of 10-6 but now I am predicting another 8-8 season at best with a 3-3 division record. Why? Well, the AFC West has gotten better during the off season, particularly the Chiefs. Yes we swept the division last year but, that won't happen again in 2011. The Chiefs may have lost Charlie Wiess as their offensive coordinator but Todd Haley is OC turned HC. He knows what to do. Now that he's added Steve Breaston from the Cardinals, our secondary will have fits covering Breaston + Bowe + McCluster + the sensational rookie Jonathan Baldwin, not to mention TE - Tony Moeaki. (Did I mention that Nnamdi is gone?)
The Chargers will have their #1 WR Vincent Jackson back for the entire season. He didn't play against the Raiders at all last year. We may find it a bit more difficult to beat them with him on the field. (Did I mention that Nnamdi is gone?) I'm not too concerned about the Bronco's this year. I still believe that we willsweep them. This is how I see it shaking out this year:
Week 1 @ Denver: Win
Week 2 @ Buffalo: Win
Week 3 w/ Jets: Lose
Week 4 w/ Patriots: Lose
Week 5 @ Texans: Lose (WIN - if we get all the pieces we need)
Week 6 w/ Browns: Win
Week 7 w/ Chiefs: Lose
Week 8 BYE
Week 9 w/ Broncos: Win
Week 10 @ Chargers: Lose
Week 11 @ Vikings: Win
Week 12 w/ Bears: Win
Week 13 @ Dolphins: Win
Week 14 @ Packers: Lose
Week 15 w/ Detroit: Lose
Week 16 @ Chiefs: Lose (WIN if we get all the pieces we need)
Week 17 w/ Chargers: Win
I sincerely hope that I am wrong. If the Raiders resign Bush, Pick up Kevin Boss, a solid FA Wide Out and Solid Veteran Corner Back, I will be much more optimistic about our chances.
You can catch me on twitter @tsugoldie.
What are your thoughts Raider Nation?
So it looks like one of my wishes (as well as many others of the Raider Nation) has come true. With the signing of Kevin Boss to solidify our starting TE position, we can all rest a little easier. I can scratch that off the list from "optimistic wish list" above. I'm pretty sure that we will be re-signing Michael Bush pretty soon so that will 2 down. According to Ezra Ruiz on twitter, "Oakland is mulling offering Houshmandzadeh a contract." That's a good idea. If they are able to find a veteran cover corner who can make plays, I will be willing to predict a 10-6 season and 4-2 in the division this year.
One of the question marks on offense though, is who will be our unquestionable #1 receiver? We needed Kevin Boss but we DON'T need him to be a primary receiver the way Zach Miller was. Its time for our wide-outs to stand out. I hear that Chaz Schilens and Louis Murphy are looking pretty good but the story out of training camp so far is 6' - 1" rookie Denarius Moore from the University of Tennessee. The word on twitter from multiple sources is that he was "putting on a clinic against Stanford Routt." and making tough catches in double coverage against some rookie corner-backs. That sounds very promising.
How will the Raiders fair in 2011?
Super Bowl Apperance (9 votes)
Win AFC West - Playoff Bound - No SB Appearance (93 votes)
.500 Season (38 votes)
Valiant effort but losing season (19 votes)
159 total votes