The Oakland Raiders are a storied franchise much like the New York Knicks, in that once upon a time they sported a glamorous supermodel feel, but have since sprouted hairy nipples and stopped working out. It’s really a shame, though it’s equally fun to point and laugh. Enjoy.
2011 Record — 8-8, amazingly good enough for a first place tie. However, no playoffs. Again.
Who’s the Head Coach This Season? — The Raiders change head coaches more often than Norm Macdonald tweets about golf. The immortal Tom Cable once seemed like the perfect character to “lead” the Raiders, with the best example being that he was thoughtful enough to break his assistant’s jaw. Ornery, violent and overweight should really be the top three requirements for this gig. Sadly, Cable was replaced by Hue Jackson, who has since been replaced by Dennis Allen. Allen looks a lot more like a lawyer seeking to send Raider fans directly to jail more than he does a head football coach. But here we are. Another football season, another new face to lead the Raiders toward yet another penalty record. Other than their divine uniforms — the lone bright spot — this franchise always seems to be a confusing mess regardless of how much talent resides on the roster. Should be a fun one.
Meet the Son of Al Davis, Mark Davis — Will the sight of this ginger goblin ever not be a harrowing experience? I feel like his head should floating around some haunted castle. Davis has miraculously managed to combine the Lloyd Christmas bowl cut to go along with a commanding mullet. That’s a ballsier move than going for it on 4th and 10 from your own five. Give this man a thunderous round of applause. And a hat.
Notable Additions — First and foremost, quarterback Matt Leinart. Is it helpful that he and Palmer have been reunited? Honestly, I feel like they see each other and instantly find themselves more depressed. It’s like looking into a mirror while sporting a scorching hangover. On the positive side, this signing should prove to provide at least a few laughs throughout the course of the season. The Raiders also added G Mike Brisiel, DE Dave Tollefson, RB Mike Goodson, LB Philip Wheeler and CB Ron Bartell. Quite an offseason haul for Oakland.
Tragic Losses — Everyone fled Oakland, starting with tight end Kevin Boss, quarterback Jason Campbell, running back Michael Bush, and receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Let’s make this easier, who was dumb enough to stay? According to my chart, Palmer and Darren McFadden.
Good News — The presence of McFadden, who remains a wonderfully talented running back. I just can’t imagine he’ll stay healthy for a full season, though the longer he remains on the field, the less opportunity there will be for Carson Palmer to senselessly throw into triple-coverage. All I ask is that you don’t discuss the affect McFadden’s inevitable injury will have on your fantasy football league. Not sure how many times we have to tell you this, but no one gives a shit, not even your mom. Additional good news is the rave reviews given by pretty much everyone on how much the organization’s culture has changed over the last year. Who knows if that translates to anything on the field, but as long as Darth Raider is happy, I’m happy.
Bad News — The Raiders haven’t finished over .500 in almost a decade and the last time they made the playoffs was 2002, where they were trounced in Super Bowl XXXVII by a score of 49-21. The aforementioned McFadden missed nine games last season with a Lisfranc foot sprain. If you’re betting on him playing all 16 games, you probably have the same approach to time travel as Jose Canseco. Having said that, McFadden’s backup is Taiwan Jones. An outstanding name coupled with 7.3 yards per carry thus far, so there’s that.
Reminder of the QB Depth Chart — Palmer, Leinart, and Terrelle Pryor. Enticing trio. Coach Allen should just say screw it and throw Pryor in there while McFadden is still healthy and see what happens. The other two scenarios have already been written. No one wants to read those stories again.
Al Davis (July 4, 1329 – October 8, 2011) — Al made the No Fun League more enjoyable, plain and simple. His captivating presence will continue to be missed, but we’ll always have the Al Davis Face Attack to keep us warm on cold winter nights.
Outlook — Sensing more of the same. Some promising ups offset by some predictable downs. A record of 9-7 feels like Oakland’s ceiling.
The 2012 Oakland Raiders Anthem — Fake Plastic Trees by Radiohead, because the same old Oakland story is wearing everyone out.
2012 NFL Previews: Tampa Bay Bucs | Indianapolis Colts | New England Patriots | Seattle Seahawks |Minnesota Vikings | St. Louis Rams |Cleveland Browns | Arizona Cardinals | San Diego Chargers | Atlanta Falcons | Chicago Bears