Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Ranking The Raiders

As noted in the comments in the previous take, ProFootballTalk recently ranked the Oakland Raiders as the 32nd best team in the NFL this year, which is a nice way of saying they're the worst team in the NFL.

ProFootballTalk isn't alone. NFL.com has the Raiders ranked 32nd as well. ESPN has them ranked 29th.

These rankings assume that there will be no improvement in Oakland this year, and most likely regression in the overall performance.

And if the Raiders are really that bad this year, then the are automatically destined to finish last in the AFC West.

Well, call me crazy, but I think they will finish 3rd in the AFC West, and if they can get some legit quarterback play, I'd say that second place is within reach.

The Chargers and Chiefs won, respectively, seven and two games last year. The Raiders won four. Who's to say the Chargers won't continue to slide, or that the Chiefs will suddenly become respectable? Who's to say the Raiders wont' start clicking?

I will say this: If we flail around at quarterback, I'm afraid the aforementioned prognosticators will be right. We need to establish QB clarity in training camp, and to have a clear-cut effective starter ready to roll in September. I'm all for a QB battle in camp, but someone needs to step up and really seize the role. I don't care if it's Flynn, Pryor or even Wilson. All I know is that someone needs to shine. 

If that happens, if we can get some credible play at quarterback (I'm not asking for All Pro...just no clown play) then I think we can have a building block year in the range of six to eight wins.

According to the experts, I'm way out on a limb here. But what have I got to lose? I can't face a new season expecting the worst, and neither can the Raiders. Just win, baby!

So, how would you rank the Raiders?


Blogger Calico Jack said...

Totally agree 100% about the critical importance of good QB play.

The question is whether or not we have a true #1 QB or three #2 QBs.

My gut tells me that Flynn will seize the moment (and learn from his Seattle disappointment). My hope is that he is a smart, efficient leader of men who rises to the occasion.

6:42 PM  
Anonymous JONES said...

Defense is going to be much improved, last year was a fire drill with players used to a laxed and simple system of man to man. They were introduced to a new system and almost none of them lasted.

TALENT is higher, coaching now has a system in place...a decent Defense can win games.

McFadden needs to be explosive (contract year) or the Offense will be a lower ranked one. Better coaching overall, better Defense overall and the Offense SHOULD be improved over last years disaster.

Overall stability should be improved big from last year...I think they will win more than 4 and if the O can pull it's weight, it could be an enjoyable season.

Also, anyone else heard the rumors of P. Manning having neck problems? If so, bring it on, he is a great player, but it's the DONKIES, so if he is hurt for a good period of time, the AFC WEST will be up for grabs.


11:19 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

QB is clearly a wildcard and, IMO, drives the rankings posted by the media. For example, Palmer has the media predicting great things for Arizona because of his presence there.

Also, whoever plays QB for the Raiders can only be as good as the play calling. We witnessed that last year when Palmer, despite having a career year, only managed four wins.

All the above is compounded by the fact the Raiders are in the initial stages of rebuilding which has been crippled by previous mismanagement.

As I said before, I think the ranking is fair. Nobody really knows how good (or bad) the Raiders will be this year... apparently more so than any other team in the league.

4:36 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

Here are some of my thoughts about the recent past and future.

Palmer didn't have a running game with McFadden during his 1 1/2 season stint with us. Remember, McFadden was injured when he initially arrived; and add the fact the Raiders went away from power blocking to ZBS last season which took away from the strength of McFadden's game. Palmer made those numbers without a legitimate running game. Had we stuck with the Power Block last season, we would have won more than 4 games.

I think Palmer is not to blame for only 4 wins last season, the whole offensive scheme under take a Knapp was more horrific than the first time around. Not too mention the defense was schizophrenic as well.

The Raiders shot themselves in the foot last season by a "let's see what we got" approach. I don't blame them for the approach because they came to the game quite late. At the same time, this approach was necessary, and it will help them out in the long run. In fact, we've seen an immediate difference this season, and I believe the differences will be seen and felt immediately. I will take one season over multiple. Even if we do flail this year, this will not be another decade long suffering.

Tyler Wilson is going to be our QB of the future, if not this season, then next. Here is something to chew on. Do you know why some of the best QBs in the NFL come from small Division 1 & 2 schools? Because they don't have all the 5 star talent around them like Bama, USC, Oklahoma, UT, Florida, LSU, etc. They are forced to play consistently. The smaller school QBs are taught to be consistent from day one, and they are forced to put in the work. If I'm a scout for an NFL team, I stay away from the hype of the big school QB (Johnny Manziel anyone?), and look for the consistent QB in the college ranks.

There is always an exception to this rule. Cam Newton being one of them. But look at the starting QBs in the league, and how many starters played in the Big Championship caliber colleges? Mark Sanchez (USC), Palmer (USC), Sam Bradford (Oklahoma), Andrew Luck (Stanford), Cam Newton (Auburn), and I'll even entertain Matthew Stafford (Georgia)and Aaron Rodgers (Cal) even though I don't think Georgia or Cal are powerhouses.

So look at the successful QBs, and they have come from the smaller schools where they need to be consistent and work hard in college, and were successful; and have carried that over to the League. Kapernick (Nevada), Brees (Purdue), Alex Smith (Utah), Eli Manning (Ole Miss), Peyton Manning (Tennessee), Tom Brady (even though he played at Notre Dame, he didn't start, and they had no talent), Ben Rothlesberger (Miami OH), Joe Flacco (Delaware).

So look at the Raiders' QBs. Matt Flynn played at LSU. In fact, he was back up to....That's right, JaMarcus Russell. Terrell Pryor played at the Ohio State. Both Flynn and Pryor had everything at both schools. Flynn is the better of the 2, but I think there is a reason he lost out to Wilson last year (and to JaMarcus at LSU). Which brings me to Tyler Wilson. Arkansas was suppose to do what A&M did last season, but because they fired their coach before the season started (after spring ball too), Tyler's game wasn't there, and neither was Arkansas. But the 3 previous years, Tyler was very consistent. I think we may have found a gem in this guy, and I think he will supplant Flynn. Again, if not this season, definitely next.

7:24 AM  
Anonymous sactown raider said...

Although QB is key to a playoff/championship level team, all we need this year is a solid game manager as was already pointed out. I think Flynn or Wilson can fill this role for this year, I think either of them is a least equal to Jason Campbell in skills, who was the game management type of QB. Next season (2014) I would expect the starting QB, whether Wilson or Flynn, to reach a level of comfort with the coaches, offense, teammates and NFL play, to be able to take the team into the playoffs.

The current ranking of last in the NFL shows the main problem with the dictum "past performance is the best predictor of future performance". So while the pundits can justify the #32 spot by reference to the previous years of futility and lack of RECOGNIZED talent, there has been so much change on the team that it is a complete unknown. Having said that, I believe the changes have been so positive in so many areas that the Raiders have the potential to reach the midlevel rankings by season's end. Lots of UNRECOGNIZED talent on this team, from Reggie, DA, the other coaches, to the free agent veterans, to the draft picks and undrafted rookies, plus the holdovers who were held back by being on overall bad teams.

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

I think the media and the rest of the League are trying to hide their fear of the Raiders' potential. The team everyone (but it's fans) love to hate, and they will always kick them when they are down just to keep their morale low.
Yes, you can look at the recent past, but this isn't the same Raiders of the recent past. The Autumn Wind of change has come, and it is developing into a fierce storm. The plunder is ours for the taking, and we may as well punch the pundits in the face while doing so.

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Derick from Section 344 said...


-The Raiders shock Indy in week 1 (Book it!)

- RGIII will NOT be on the field for the week 4 matchup at the Coliseum (While the raiders win that game and improve to 3-1 sending Raider nation into an absolute FRENZY)

-The Raiders will, once again, beat the Steelers at home. (Because that's what they do.)

-The Raiders will struggle on the Road this year, with their only road wins coming in Indy & KC.

-Matt Flynn will be the clear cut starter out of camp and he will play well, but at some point be forced to miss a start, during which time Tyler Wilson will play and show just enough to get Raider fans TRULY STOKED about the future.

-Darren McFadden will rush for over 1100 yards (but still miss 2 games.)

- The Raiders will make it 3 out of the last 4 seasons and finish 8-8

- The playoff drought lasts another year, but the Raiders WILL make the playoffs in 2014 with Tyler Wilson as their starting quarterback.

Allright, now everyone can go to Vegas.

You're Welcome.


5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn, this place is dead these days. Guess that is what ten non winning football seasons in a row will do to you.

6:00 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

With training camp right around the corner, I expect the "chatter" to pick. Should be some very interesting camp battles for starting positions.

10:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


7:51 AM  
Blogger TheFreakingPope said...

There is one thing I like about the "32 of 32" ranking: I can sit back and truly enjoy the season. If we finish at "32", who can fault us? After all, it WAS the prediction. Every spot of above 32 means we outperformed expectation and one more team under performed. After the last 10 years, I plan to enjoy the leagues expectations!

1:14 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Don't power rankings change weekly during the season? 32 is based on current perception before the Raiders hit camp. In other words, it's how we look on paper.

3:42 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Camp take is up!

9:06 PM  

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