I do not know, these "days", just who is in more of a "daze" about the Raiders...Raider Nation...Or Hater Nation.
No team has undergone as much change in one year as the Raiders have from 06-07.
Nearly everyone is gone from the coaching staff. Our staring QB and #1 receiver are as far away from Oakland as they can get. Moss will play in -20 this year, 3,000 miles from here and I doubt that Aaron Brooks wants to see a pass rush for a VERY long time.
You'd think that with such an overhaul the Raiders may win even less games than they did last year. This makes the "Hater Nation" pound their chests.
Then you look at the promise that Lane Kiffin and the draft have brought this team and those losses seem minor. "Raider Nation" begins to beat their collective chests.
I am in a Raider Daze on July 12th and I cannot wait for Camp to REALLY OPEN!!!! That is when the questions will begin to be answered.
Camp will tell us IF Josh McCown is the man that some think he may be.
I can see McCown running this team VERY well this year and letting JaMarcus break into the NFL softly, ala Brees and Rivers in San Diego. I can see McCown showing the NFL what he can do here before he signs somewhere else next year and the reigns are handed over to JaMarcus Russell.
That is my hope...Yet, there is also the secret desire and hope of every Raider fan that JaMarcus will step up like "Big Ben" and lead us to the promised land this year.
Training Camp will give us the first glimpse of these situations.
The Health Issues:
Michael Bush - How strong is his leg? Is he afraid to plant on it? Has he lost any speed?
Donovin Darius - Can he plant on his ankle? Has he lost a step?
LaMont Jordan - Has our 1,000/500 guy turned into a softy cone? We know he can run straight up, but can he plant and cut?
Ronald Curry - Will he stay healthy?
Jeremy Newberry - Can he regain his All-Pro form? Can he be the leader of the O-Line?
The Improved Players:
Thomas Howard: TH is my pick to really bust onto the scene this year. His reads can improve and WHEN they do I expect him to be a Pro-Bowler. He has the strength, speed, quickness, leaping and tackling ability to be dominant.
Robert Gallery: Will working under Cable finally be the answer to the enigma that IS Robert Gallery? What position will he even be playing?
Mike Williams: Is he ready, at 23, to step up and be a star in this league? He has the ability to have JR be his QB for the next 10 years.
The Starting Issues:
Is it JaMarcus or McCown?
The only similarity between these two is the fact that they have interesting Cap-Lower-Cap breaks in their names.
Their games are vastly different.
McCown moves on his feet to set a pocket and JaMarcus is a pocket that can move.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that McCown is going to be replaced by Russell at some point. The question is at what point?
Camp? Week 1? After the bye week? Second half? Next year?
This promises to be the best battle of camp, although the battle in the offensive backfield does not stop there.
Bush - vs - Jordan - vs - Rhodes
You think that Dominic Rhodes had a tough time getting the ball with a rookie named, Joseph Adai, around, just wait until you see what happens IF Michael Bush is healthy and LaMont is doing his thing out of the backfield. Dominic may find himself fighting with Fargas for some third down plays when he gets back from suspension.
There are so many questions to ask and battles to be watched that writing this blog does get me in a daze at times!?!?
Raider Nation, we are all in a daze. We stand here at a point that may be the defining point of our greatness for the next 10 years of and also may be disaster in Cap Hell for 6 years.
We have no answers, only questions that can only be answered when mini-camp opens.
Actually I take that back. We do know something. What we all do know is that WE ARE GONNA WIN AN AFC WEST GAME THIS YEAR!!! And, that's a start!!!