You remember when you graduated high school and there were those quirky little awards for things like "Most likely to Succeed", "Class Clown", or "Cutest Couple"? Well, think of the Raiders like your graduating class for a moment and consider who wins those awards for this team.
Enforcer - Lamarr Houston
The toughest defender the Raiders have these days. Also the only player on the Raiders defense to get in a fight on the field and be ejected. He was also the only defensive player to win an award on this team - Defensive Player of the Month. One of the more impressive stats he had was finishing third in the NFL in solo tackles among defensive linemen. Teams will have to be accountable for his whereabouts at all times next season.
Brain - Carson Palmer, Philip Wheeler
This award is shared between Carson Palmer and Philip Wheeler. One is the brain of the offense and the other is the brain of the defense.
Palmer was changing plays at the line in an attempt to compensate for Greg Knapp's terrible play calling. He was also working in the West Coast offense which he hadn't been in since college and managed to put up over 4000 yards passing. If his formerly reliable target, Denarius Moore, could have been more adept and changing his route based on the defense, that combination could have been special too.
Wheeler took over for Rolando McClain as the brain of the defense after week four. He wore the green dot on his helmet and took the play calls from Jason Tarver from the outside linebacker position on every play. He led the team in tackles last season and his guidance helped Miles Burris have a solid rookie season.
Technician - Jared Veldheer
The former small school, third round pick has blossomed into a bona fide starting NFL left tackle. He came into the season as the only real sure thing on the Raiders' offensive line. Pro Football Focus recognized him as a standout on this team and one of the best left tackles in football.
Loose cannon - Mike Mitchell
No one on this team flies around with more reckless abandon than ‘Mitch'. He is one of those guys that was born to be a Raider with his swagger and attitude. And like the Raiders of old, he can let it get the best of him as well. He is that guy who keeps the locker room lively and fun and is rarely one to hold back his opinions.
Motivator - Pride
There is no Ray Lewis type guy on this team who raises the play of his teammates. The best motivator the Raiders have is their pride. The embarrassment of losing and the work it takes to ensure they don't have that feeling ever again. Anyone in that locker room who isn't motivated by pride should be shipped out because the one thing they need more than anything is take it as a personal affront to ever lose.
Prankster - Darren McFadden
Just last season, while McFadden was out of practice with his ankle sprain, the players were getting dressed when suddenly Lamarr Houston was heard yelling out "Aw, HELL no!". As we all peaked around to see what was the matter, he was pulling crushed boiled eggs from every pocket of his clothes and in his shoes. He immediately screamed "D-Mac!" because he knew exactly who would do something like that. Lamarr continued to find more and more crushed eggs in his clothes and scooped the mush out into the garbage with a crazy look in his eye. Soon McFadden strolled by the opening to the locker room with a big smile on his face as if to say "Who, me?". Lamarr vowed that payback is a bitch as D-Mac disappeared around the corner. Classic moment.
Muscle - Draft
This team must make muscle their top priority in the draft - namely in the trenches. They must control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Whether that be finding a defensive tackle, a defensive end, or an offensive tackle. Richard Seymour was the muscle on this team but that was before his knees were shot. Now he is gone and so likely is his linemate, Tommy Kelly. On the offensive side, they are switching back to power blocking so they will need to ensure they have the POWER to protect the quarterback and open run lanes. We don't yet know if those players are on this team so they must go get them.
Do you agree with these picks for these titles? Take the poll and let me know which one(s) you disagree with and let me know in the comment box who you think deserves the award.