Playoffs are the goal. Wildcard would be sweet, winning the division would be even sweeter. But how can they make the playoffs?
A top running attack is pretty much the Raider's only hope at making the playoffs. Without a franchise QB pounding the rock will be the only way to move the chains while keeping the pressure off the QB. Whether it's Schaub or Carr both will need plenty of help.
The raiders franchise player on offense is probably the center Wiz. Not exactly the recipe for success in the modern nfl pass first league. One thing the raiders did do this offseason was surround Wiz with beef. Howard, Jackson, and Barnes are significantly bigger then last years inside depth of Bergstrom Nix and Brisel. Watson and McCants also have another year experience and a combo of Sparano and a familiar Olson just might be the recipe that could get Penn back in form.
The OLINE looks good on paper especially since they are all healthy. But who's going to be the ball carrier behind this new beefy line? My money is on MJD. The hope is he regains some speed after a full year recovery from a foot injury that slowed him down last year ( that and Woodson;)
DMC will not be able to stay healthy so even if he wins the job out of camp it will only be a matter of time until MJD gets his shot. Murray and Sheets are both question marks at this point and Jeremy Stewart has been more of a special teams body. When they switched Taiwan Jones back to RB when Jennings and DMC were injured you have to think they don't have much confidence in Stewart. If Murray and Sheets showed potential and ability to play special teams one would for sure take Stewarts spot and possibly even McFaddens. Especially since Reece could most likely hold down whatever carries DMC would leave uncounted for.
.MJD hasn't really had a chance to play in a good offense since Fred Taylor and David Garrard were helping him out. This might very well be the best OLINE he's played with for a while as Jacksonville wasn't giving him any favors by trading Eugene Monroe last year not to mention Gabbert was the starter when healthy. Even so MJD finished strong last year and the trend could continue behind this new beefy line. I fully expect Olson to use a committee of backs but expect MJD to be the lead.
MJD was the number 1 back in pass protecting last year. He told Jennings he would fight him if he hurt the raiders. His grandma is finally coming to his games. Plus he has a huge chip on his shoulder from Jacksonville and the rest of the league not wanting to pay him. Lookout for MJD to prove everyone wrong this year and with the help of a solid defense and smart QB play, playoffs could very well be in reach boys.