The Raiders Are Just Better Than the Rest of the AFC West
Elias Trejo – Jul 29, 2016
First off, I just want to say that it feels great to be back from my hiatus. I've been sitting in the rafters watching and waiting like Sting did back in the WCW. It's finally time for me to come down and lay the bat down. All of these positive articles about the Raiders making the playoffs, winning the division, and maybe making a deep run into the playoffs are making me feel like I am reading the Raider Nation Times. It may be the first time everyone agrees on something. The Raiders are just the better team in the AFC West. Here's why.
Donald Trump Wishes He Could Build a Wall This Good
There isn't an offensive line in the AFC West that is built like the Raiders O Line. Opposing defensive lines will know what Conor McGregor felt like in the 2nd round against Nate Diaz. This line is built to dominate and manhandle grown men. This line is so good that Donald Trump tried calling Reggie McKenzie for tips on how to build a wall. The inside of this offensive line could end up being the biggest reason the Raiders make the playoffs in 2016. The addition of Kelechi Osemele solidified this offensive line as one of the best in the league, but more importantly one of the best in the division.
Right tackle may be the only spot that doesn't have a starter yet, but either Austin Howard or Menelik Watson will surely be above average at right tackle. Could this be the year that Watson solidifies his 2nd round pick status? The AFC West better hope it's not, because this line is already going to be a force blocking for the best quarterback in the division.
The New Sheriff is in Town
I have no problem saying that Derek Carr is the best quarterback in the AFC West. Old Man Rivers is now past his prime and he doesn't have the weapons around him anymore. Let's not forget that Rivers had a pretty decent season in 2015 and that led to four wins. Meanwhile, the Chiefs still have Alex Smith. That pretty much needs no other arguements. With Peyton Manning and Brock "Mack's my Daddy" Osweiler gone, the Broncos now have Mark Sanchez and Paxton Lynch at quarterback. That's the reality of the situation for the former champs and you have to be a mile high to think they can win the division with those two as their main throwers of the football.
Carr, meanwhile, is entering his 3rd season as a pro. The 25 year old quarterback has the best offensive line in the division protecting him and an arsenal of reliable weapons all around him. With two full seasons under his belt Carr is about to enter his prime for the next 6-8 years and right now it doesn't seem like anyone in the division has a quarterback like the Raiders do. This is the year that Carr will be mentioned as one of the elite quarterbacks in the league.
Return of the Mack
The Raiders will have the most disruptive player in the NFL in 2016. Khalil Mack is more unblockable than a Magic Johnson sky hook. Doesn't matter how many guys you put in front of him Mack is going to have his way with them and force your offense to make mistakes. Not only is he capable of leading the league in sacks, but he's very capable of being the league MVP. A player like Mack doesn't just show up every year, he is a generational player and the world is about to find out why.
I get that the AFC West has other elite defenders, but none of them have what Mack has. The combination of speed and power is rare and the only two people I have seen possess that kind of combination are The Hulk and Thor and I really don't think you can call those two people. Mack is a scary individual and quarterbacks will not be comfortable when playing against this Raiders defense. Look for Mack to be the favorite to win defensive player of the year in 2016.
3 and Ouch
The Raiders defense isn't just about Khalil Mack. The Silver and Black defense is full of Dawgs. In just two years Reggie McKenzie and the coaching staff has brought in some of the games' best players and put them together with some young drafted talent. Guys like Dan Williams, Malcolm Smith, Bruce Irvin, Sean Smith, David Amerson and Reggie Nelson are playing along side Mack, Mario Edwards, Karl Joseph and Ben Heeney. This defense is built to be agressive and built to bring the pain.
The Raiders don't really play an elite offense in 2016 unless you count the Falcons and Saints as elite. Oakland's secondary could be the most improved unit on the team as three new starters have been added. The front seven should be able to apply pressure to the quarterback and stop the run, so there will be plenty of opportunities for the secondary to create some turnovers. Anytime you have an elite pass rusher like Mack and you surround him with talent, you're only setting up your defense for success. Expect this defense to generate plenty of turnovers and plenty of three and outs.
The Rebuild is Complete
For the last 3-4 years I have been trying to explain what Reggie McKenzie is doing. While many in the national media and frustrated fans have been wanting him fired, Mckenzie has stuck to his plan and has completely changed the culture and future of the Oakland Raiders. The rebuild is finally complete as the Raiders have found their franchise quarterback and have surrounded him with an elite offensive line and some exciting weapons. The formula to success on offense has been found and now it's time to show it on the field. The defense now has an All-Pro defender that is also surrounded by talent. This team is well balanced with young draft picks and talented veterans that have joined via free agency.
The coaching staff is also talented and ready to take this team to the next level. Remember, this is only the 2nd year for this coaching staff and it's full of veteran coaches and former players. The Raiders have most of their starting positions filled with quality players and their reserves are young promising players. Things haven't been perfect getting to this place and it took a few steps back to move forward, but this is the NFL and even the best teams don't bat 1.000. The wait is over Raider Nation. This is the team we've been waiting for. The rest of the world has taken notice, but it's up to the players and coaches to put it on tape and show what they can do. With camp about to start, the talk is over. It's time. It's our time.
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