Oakland Raiders Training Camp: What Can We Expect From the Offense?
Eliott Howes – Aug 3, 2012
Firstly I am proud to announce that Kyle Boller has retired from the NFL. After playing two games for the Raiders last year, completing 15 of 28 passes for 161 yards and throwing three interceptions, he will not be missed in Oakland in 2012. Although I was disappointed to see him retire after signing a one-year deal with the San Diego Chargers. It would have been highly entertaining to watch him throw interceptions while wearing a Chargers jersey if he had to replace Phillip Rivers at some point during the season.
Anyway, we now enter camp with all of our draft picks signed and no major injury concerns or any distractions. I still wake up every morning, as I’m sure you all do, wondering what will happen today in the Raider Nation. There has been little drama so far in 2012 which is different from recent years and all players are entering camp knowing they need to impress the new regime with just a few names pencilled in on the depth chart.
Louis Murphy was traded from the Raiders to the Carolina Panthers for an undisclosed draft pick, which is likely to be a 7th round pick in the 2013 Draft, a trade which is win/win for both teams. This leaves the battle for WR an intriguing one, but one thing worries me! I can see three players who have the current ability to start in Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore with the two rookies Juron Criner and Rod Streater pushing them for starting spots later on in the season. Both Criner and Streater have impressed so far and big things are expected of them in Oakland, but maybe not immediately. Therefore with Jacoby Ford’s durability a question, a similar year to 2011 for him would leave us with a very thin WR core.
Did anyone say Terrell Owens? Surely not! A six-time pro bowler with nearly 16,000 receiving yards and 153 Touchdowns has made it clear that he would love to make the Oakland Raiders his 6th NFL team after working out with Carson Palmer and some of our wide outs during the off-season. Some say he can still be a weapon in 2012. but I am not alone in hoping that T.O stays well away from the Silver and Black and sticks to making reality TV shows. However, I do feel Plaxico Burress would upgrade our offense and I wouldn’t be one who would feel disappointed to see him arrive in Oakland.
Our running back situation has been the topic of conversation for many of us in recent months. With Darren McFadden the unquestioned starter, a backup to the injury plagued running back is most definitely necessary. With only Taiwan Jones and Mike Goodson there to back him up, it is possible we will sign a veteran RB in the coming weeks. Cedric Benson and Ryan Grant are available as free agents, this may be a route we go down if Jones and Goodson fail to impress at training camp.
The offensive line is looking strong and will prosper in Gregg Knapp’s West Coast offense which uses a zone blocking scheme in the run game. Carson Palmer will improve from last year and will be backed up by Matt Leinart who is relatively a solid backup QB, (Compared to Kyle Boller that is). With Terrelle Pryor likely to be our 3rd string QB, he is sure to have an interesting and exciting package in this offense.
Brandon Myers is likely to be the starting Tight End and there will be competition from David Ausberry and Richard Gordon, but I still feel we are very weak at the position. We will look to feature the position more in this new offense, but with Myers’ lack of speed and big play ability and Gordon being regarded as more as a blocker, this leaves Ausberry as the only real receiving threat. Ausberry ran a 4.48 40-yard dash at his pro day, so for a 6’4” guy who weighs 265 pounds, he has real potential. If we could sign a veteran TE and have Ausberry as backup, it would definitely upgrade this offense.
I am very confident for the upcoming year with the belief that we can make the playoffs and even make the AFC Championship Game. A bold statement, but with the weapons we have in this offense, with good health and some good luck we can achieve this. Executing plays and reducing penalties will be head coach Dennis Allen’s key priority on offense and if he is successful, he will be the first Head Coach to take the Raiders to the post-season since 2002.
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