Thursday, July 25, 2013

Take Five: Camp Fever Edition

1. I love it when camp begins in Napa Valley. At Redwood Middle School, no less. It's not quite the El Rancho Tropicana in Santa Rosa, where camp was held during the rowdy heyday of the 1970s, but it's still a quirky place to hold an NFL training camp, very NorCal, and very Raiders.

2. I don't know what to think of "number gate," with Tracy Porter complaining about his number 24 being "taken" and given to Charles Woodson. A courtesy heads-up was probably in order. Then again, Porter hasn't played an official snap with the Raiders, so he shouldn't be bitching about it on social media. Here's my advice to Porter: Get to work.

3. Keep an eye on Rod Streater. We need a breakout receiver. He could be the one.

4. One of these quarterbacks needs to step up. Now, big time. We can't afford a shitshow at quarterback. We need Matt Flynn to have a Matt Schaub-like impact, not a Derek Anderson/Kevin Kolb-like meltdown. And if not him, then Pryor or Wilson. Someone, anyone.

5. The newly signed D.J. Hayden makes me nervous. We can't be whiffing on first-round picks right now. He not only needs to stay healthy after a life threatening injury, followed by post-draft abdominal surgery; he needs to become a shutdown corner. It's a tall order. I hope he can fill it.

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. 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?