200 Miles From the Citi

August 15, 2010 3:05 PM

Oakland Raiders: 2010 Preview


Disappointment after disappointment from the former number one overall draft pick at quarterback...then a drug charge after his release.

The possibility of charges for the head coach after he broke another coach's jaw in a fight.

Almost every story involving the Oakland Raiders in recent years - dating back even to the Barrett Robbins oddity on the eve of the Super Bowl in Oakland's last successful season - has been about the Raiders making news off the field.

It's about time the Raiders become known for what they do on the field - and the 2010 season may take them in that direction.

The biggest piece of news for Oakland this season is their new quarterback - former Redskins QB Jason Campbell.  Campbell takes over the position after the Raiders gave up on JaMarcus Russell.

The question I have is: Is Jason Campbell really all that better than Bruce Gradkowski?  Gradkowski has never entered a season as an outright starter, but during his time in Tampa Bay, Cleveland, and Oakland, he has proven himself a very capable backup, and has performed well enough when he has gotten opportunities to play.

You might say, if Gradkowski is so good, why hasn't he won a starting job in any of those spots? And I'll just say, what has Jason Campbell done?  I like Campbell - I root for him to do well, and I think he's too good for Oakland - I like rooting for Campbell but not the I won't be rooting for him anymore - but is the surrounding cast in Oakland any better than the cast in Washington that Campbell failed to win with?

I feel like the Raiders are on the verge of turning a corner, but their offense still has something to prove.  (The offensive coordinator is Hue Jackson, which amuses me.  This is not the same Hue Jackson who was a referee in the NBA in the 1990s, in case that occurred to you.)

On defense the Raiders are led by the best cornerback in the, the most respected cornerback in the league, at least, according to Darrelle Revis' logic, I guess, Nnamdi Asomugha.  Asomugha's presence helped the Raiders' defense to a number 7 ranking against the pass a year ago...but teams were able to run all over the Raiders.  That part of the defense needs some work as well before the Raiders are able to show much improvement from the 5-11 team they were a year ago.

They will, however, show their progress on the field with how little news they make off the field.  In Oakland, it's starting to be all about football.

2010 Prediction:  4-12, 4th place in AFC West

A Member Of