I was beginning to think something was wrong with the national football media. Lately there has been a lot of praise for the team and little in the way of criticism. Well, aside from Peter King ranking them second to last in his offseason power rankings.
Anyway, NFL.com has been putting together their list of weakest position groups. Scrolling through the offense, the Raiders were not named the weakest at any position. Scrolling through the defense, I was beginning to think they would be left off altogether. Then low and behold, Chris Wesseling came through in the clutch.
With the final position group mentioned - 4-3 defensive lines - the Raiders were named the weakest in the league. Here is what he had to say:
Who carries this group when the best player is a past-his-prime Justin Tuck? Free-agent pickup Dan Williams has been a run-stuffing nose tackle. Will he be tasked with penetrating opposing offensive lines as a 4-3 defensive tackle in Oakland? A lot will be asked of second-round defensive end Mario Edwards Jr., whose motor was questioned coming out of Florida State.
This front is ostensibly set up to play smashmouth, smothering run defense. How will they manufacture heat on opposing quarterbacks?
Far be it from me to compare the Raiders to the rest of the league to see who is most deserving of being named the weakest.
These are honest questions Wesseling raises which face the Raiders defensive line. They came into the offseason desperate for pass rush along the defensive line and haven't done much to change things.
Oh, and the Raiders were technically mentioned previously in these position groups. They were 'Honorable mention' among safeties (along with the New York Giants, Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers, and New York Jets) and cornerbacks (along with Washington, Miami, San Francisco, and Pittsburgh). The weakest safety group was the Buccaneers and the weakest cornerbacks were the Patriots.
Wesseling said of the Raiders safeties; "Nate Allen's contract with the Raiders was one of the biggest head-scratchers of free agency" and of the cornerbacks; "D.J. Hayden and T.J. Carrie have shown flashes of promise, but consistency remains elusive."
The Raiders also got an 'Honorable mention' in the offensive weakest position groups too. Greg Rosenthal mentions the Raiders quarterbacks, saying "Derek Carr still has a lot to prove, and the Raiders backup is now Christian Ponder."