My thoughts on what the Raiders need to do going forward will be highly scrutinized, much maligned, torn apart and thought of by some to be a complete cluster you-know-what. However, that's partly why I'm writing it, to stir the pot and create hopefully heated discussion, so hit me with your best shot. The other half I say would be to voice what I truly feel is the best for my beloved silver and black as we attempt to rebuild a once proud franchise.
Rebuild, is the key word here. There will be tough decisions to be made. Long tenured veterans and locker room champions may be shown the door to make room for the young. The salary cap has to be taken into consideration. What free agents will be available? What will be the draft strategy? Who will be added to the coaching staff? It's a lot to think about, Reggie's job is not easy. He stands to face a great deal of unkind words and pressure from the faithful who will happily cast him into the abyss of the black hole if he fails. Yet, I press on attempting to wear his hat for the course of this fanpost, at least in some respects.
PART ONE: THE OFFENSE
The Offensive Line
It doesn't matter who's at WR, QB, TE or RB if the line is in bad shape. Everything starts upfront, so that's where I'll begin. I think there are only two true keepers, Veldheer and Wiz. Our guards have been out over matched and overpowered. My hope would be that Nix and Bergstrom will be ready to take over. We'll see about bringing in a draft pick and rookie free agents for competition and debt. Brisiel and Carlisle gone from the squad. Barnes although serviceable must be challenged for his spot. I want to get younger and more talented at RT.
This is tough. Is DMC slowing down or was it all Knapp? Or both? I keep DMC and Goodson. I bring in what the team is missing and that's a true head buster - a Mike Alstott type, we need a powerhouse, short yardage and goal line guy who can compliment our speed guys. Jones may get caught in the numbers game, it's a shame DA didn't put him on the field, we still don't truly know what he can do. I'll bring in some young guys to look at and include Stewart in that process.
What do we do here? We must have better play at this position. I really like a lot of things DHB does, but in four years his hands are still horrible. He does not react and get up in the air for jump balls. He may not make it out of camp if he comes back at all. Too much money for the amount of production. Moore has been inconsistent, but had some injury issues and has shown flashes. I'll keep him. My hope is that Streater gets with Jerry Rice in the off-season and comes back a beast. Criner? Jury is still out for the most part, has good hands. Ford is needed badly for our return game especially. Will he be healthy? New blood is badly needed and the truth is I hope the new blood can beat everyone out hands down aside from Streater. I'd look for a 6'4" guy who can really get up and catch fades in the back of the end-zone, something the team is lacking.
Here's where many of us will part company. We are a rebuilding team. You rebuild with young players. Leinart is gone, replaced with a rookie to be molded - obvious. The negative. Palmer has four wins in each of the last four seasons, makes some bad decisions and throws game losing interceptions. Inconsistency. He's had a few games where he never showed up to play throwing balls all over the place except to the wide-outs. His rating is just below average. He's thrown an interception in nine consecutive games, the most by any QB ever - turnovers lose football games. Drive after drive has stalled and we don't get into the endzone. We're rebuilding the offensive line and Carson ain't mobile. We're rebuilding and we need to get the young QB game experience. The Positive: Leadership. When he plays well, he almost resembles the Carson of old. I start Pryor. We're rebuilding and it will be more than likely a few years before we can seriously contend. Carson only has a few years left so he is not the long term solution. We MUST prepare for the long term. Every snap he takes stalls the development of someone who may be the possible long term solution who will need those snaps for experience. That experience will prepare the young QB and by the time the rest of the team is ready so will he.
I talk to everyone! Anyone and everyone who makes a ton of money will be asked to restructure for the sake of the team.