All I keep reading around the web is how the Raiders defense is going to be awful while adjusting to the new coaches and new scheme. The secondary we have is going to be the worst in the league, no depth, no linebackers, etc, etc. With that being the general theory of our team it seams most people have written us off before the season ever begins. What bothers me about their theory is not that they could be correct, its that they are completely ignoring our offense with their predictions.
Until proven otherwise it is very tough to argue against their predictions about our defense. I do think that we will be better, but I always think we will be better. I am more often than not guilty of homerism, which I am trying to overcome. I need to start looking at our team as a non-fan a little more often, but the Silver and Black runs so thick within my veins that it is very hard to overcome at times.
For the defense they are just giving way too little respect to proven, although recently injured, corners in Shawntae Spencer and Ron Bartell. There are many positions where at 30 you are too old, but not corner. There is plenty left in the tank if your talented enough and both Spencer and Bartell have had solid careers. It seems pretty strange to just assume that they are going to be awful. They passed their physicals and they know how to play their positions so why assume that they can't anymore?
The thing is though, even if we have the worst defense in the league (Which I seriously doubt we will) we have one of the best offenses in the league. The Packers and the Patriots last year both had awful stats on their defenses but their offenses were spectacular. Every year there is a team that proves that if your offense is good enough you can still be a contender. You do need to have your defense show up in the playoffs to get very far, but you can have a winning season with an awful defense if your offense plays well enough.
Its not just about one aspect or the other though, its about the team and their chemistry first and foremost. The team that we are building is about that chemistry and character. We are trying to create a real team, not just talented players on the field at the same time. The work ethic on our team right now is better than most teams in the entire league, but it is going unnoticed by many. I really have trouble believing that a team with as much talent as we have and that is working as hard as we are will be a failure.
If our offense stays healthy (Big IF) we are extremely dangerous. We have a QB that can make all the throws, one of the most dangerous running backs in the league, and our receivers are easily top 5 for depth and talent. We were already a top 10 offense without DMC and without our full arsenal of receivers. IF everybody can stay on the field consistently we have an offense that can play with anybody in the league.
Our defense might not be stellar, but it isn't going to be so bad that we are unable to overcome the deficiencies at all. At least I sure hope not. I really am trying to look at our team realistically instead of through my usual rose colored glasses. When I look at our team I really do see one that can compete. This offense has the ability to be really special IF they can stay healthy.
I also can't believe we will have as bad of injury luck as we did last year. Knock on wood for that obviously, but seriously the last couple years the injuries have been really awful. I have to think the training staff had lost its touch the last few years so it will be interesting to see what a new staff might bring. We need something to give here, and I sure hope it doesn't continue to be our players legs.
The fact of the matter is we will always fly under the radar until we bust out in a big way. Hopefully that will help our team, which I imagine less intention does help. You do have to figure that a new coaching staff will have ups and downs, but maybe we can strike gold like those damn Bay Area rivals did with Jim Harbaugh.
There are few people that are talking positive about us and that will remain that way until we give them no choice but to pay attention. I am fine with that, after all that it is how it has always been. I truly think that our offense is going to make them take notice this season though. It will be awfully hard not to take notice of an offense that will be as dominant as we have the chance to be. Even if we only have a mediocre defense we have a team that can be successful.