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Comprehensive comparison Raiders 2012 vs 2013: Did this team improve?

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After going through each and every position individually, we put all comparisons together to see if the Raiders have improved since last season.


The consensus opinion around the league is that the Raiders are the worst team in the NFL. Some publication have said specifically that they have the worst roster in the NFL. They weren't the worst team in football last season -- that went to the Chiefs and Jaguars -- so with the way people are talking, it would seem they must have gotten worse since then.

To find out if this could be true, I went through each position to see if they had actually gotten worse since last season. Here is my round up of all those articles into one neat little package as we attempt to answer the question: Did this team improve?


2012 QB's: Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Terrelle Pryor

2013 QB's: Matt Flynn, Terrelle Pryor, Tyler Wilson, Matt McGloin

Breakdown: Proven NFL quarterback Carson Palmer is replaced by unproven Matt Flynn on his third team with just two NFL starts. Entire 2013 QB group has just three NFL starts among them.

Click here for the more indepth breakdown

Improvement? No

Running back

2012: Darren McFadden, Mike Goodson, Jeremy Stewart, Taiwan Jones

2013: Darren McFadden, Rashad Jennings, Latavius Murray, Jeremy Stewart, Deonte Williams

Breakdown: McFadden returns with much more durable backup plans in Rashad Jennings and Latavius Murray. There is no fullback comparison because there was no change in personnel.

Click here for the more indepth breakdown

Improvement? Yes

Wide receiver

2012: Darrius Heyward-Bey, Denarius Moore, Rod Streater, Derek Hagan, Juron Criner

2013: Denarius Moore, Rod Streater, Jacoby Ford, Josh Cribbs, Juron Criner, Brice Butler (And a host of other UDFA rookie and first year players trying to distinguish themselves)

Breakdown: The considerably overpaid and underperforming Darrius Heyward-Bey is gone. Jacoby Ford is healthy and Josh Cribbs and rookie Brice Butler are added to the mix.

Click here for the more indepth breakdown

Improvement? Yes

Tight end

2012: Brandon Myers, David Ausberry, Richard Gordon, Mickey Shuler

2013: David Ausberry, Richard Gordon, Nick Kasa, Mychal Rivera, Jeron Mastrud, Brian Leonhardt

Breakdown: Raiders leading receiver, Brandon Myers, is gone and no proven player or high draft pick was brought in to replace him. Another year of shifting the backup to starter with rookies as backups.

Click here for the more indepth breakdown

Improvement? No

Offensive Tackle

2012: Jared Veldheer, Khalif Barnes, Tony Bergstrom, Willie Smith

2013: Jared Veldheer, Khalif Barnes, Alex Barron, Menelik Watson, Willie Smith, John Wetzel

Breakdown: The starters remain the same. Their backups and competition improve. Most notably, second round pick, Menelik Watson at right tackle.

Click here for the more indepth breakdown

Improvement? Yes

Interior offensive line

2012: Stefen Wisniewski, Cooper Carlisle, Mike Brisiel, Alex Parsons, Tony Bergstrom, Lucas Nix

2013: Stefen Wisniewski, Tony Bergstrom, Mike Brisiel, Alex Parsons, Lucas Nix (hopefuls: Andrew Robiskie, Jason Foster, Lamar Mady)

Breakdown: The only change here is at left guard where Tony Bergstrom and Lucas Nix will battle for the job. Mike Brisiel was hampered all last season with an ankle injury and returns healthy.

Click here for the more indepth breakdown

Improvement? Yes

Defensive end

2012: Matt Shaughnessy, Lamarr Houston, Andre Carter, Dave Tollefson, Jack Crawford

2013: Lamarr Houston, Andre Carter, Jason Hunter, Jack Crawford, David Bass, Ryan Robinson

Breakdown: The starters are Lamarr Houston and Andre Carter who were a big part of last year's late season defensive resurgence. The options behind them couldn't be worse than the nothing they received last season.

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Improvement? Yes

Defensive tackle

2012: Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly, Desmond Bryant, Christo Bilukidi

2013: Vance Walker, Pat Sims, Christo Bilukidi, Stacy McGee, Johnny Jones, Brandon Bair, Kurt Taufa'asau

Breakdown: Longtime starters Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly are gone. Desmond Bryant was a big loss as he broke out replacing Seymour the last half of the season. They are replaced by two players who have never been full time starters in Vance Walker and Pat Sims.

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Improvement? No


2012: Rolando McClain, Philip Wheeler, Miles Burris, Omar Gaither, Keenan Clayton, Travis Goethel, Kaelin Burnett, Carl Ihenacho

2013: Nick Roach, Kevin Burnett, Sio Moore, Miles Burris, Kaluka Maiava, Keenan Clayton, Travis Goethel, Kaelin Burnett, Billy Boyko, Eric Harper

Breakdown: Rolando McClain is gone. What, you need any other reasons? Now, where there were two good starting options last season, there are five.

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Improvement? Yes


2012: Ron Bartell, Shawntae Spencer, Joselio Hanson, Michael Huff, Phillip Adams, Brandian Ross, Coye Francies, Chimdi Chekwa

2013: Tracy Porter, Mike Jenkins, D.J. Hayden, Joselio Hanson, Phillip Adams, Coye Francies, Chimdi Chekwa, Taiwan Jones, Mitchell White, Chance Casey

Breakdown: Both starters in 2012 were lost to injury by week 2. The ragtag bunch who replaced them was a disaster. Raiders now have at least five good options at cornerback.

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Improvement? Yes


2012: Tyvon Branch, Michael Huff, Matt Giordano, Mike Mitchell

2013: Tyvon Branch, Charles Woodson, Usama Young, Reggie Smith, Brandian Ross, Corey Nelms, Shelton Johnson

Breakdown: Branch returning is huge for this team. Huff played cornerback all but one game last season with Giordano stinking it up in his stead. Charles Woodson is back and has a nice option with solid depth in Usama Young.

Click here for the more indepth breakdown

Improvement? Yes


2012: (K) Sebastian Janikowski, (P) Shane Lechler, (LS) Jon Condo

2013: (K) Sebastian Janikowski, (P) Chris Kluwe, (LS) Jon Condo, (P) Marquette King

Breakdown: Best punter in the league is gone. Anyone else is a step down.

Click here for the more indepth breakdown

Improvement? No

Team improvement

Yes: 8 - RB, WR, OT, OG/C, DE, LB, CB, S

No: 4 - QB, TE, DT, SP

Improvement? Yes

Breakdown: Most improvements were slight but some were considerable. Linebacker in particular shows the greatest improvement which is important because it has been one of the team's biggest issues in recent years. An argument can be made that positions such as WR, OG/C, and DE are more lateral moves than improvements, but there is no way this roster can be seen as worse than the 4-12 team they fielded last season. Especially if you factor in coaching and how they will be utilized.