The main issue for the Raiders is how they will make themselves contenders for the 2013 season. This will not be an easy task. It is said that the Raiders have the 4th easiest schedule for 13-14’. Does that really matter?
The Raiders have been plagued with problems. They are coming off another dismal season of 4-12. Everyone knows things have to change. Ho
w does this happen? Change the offense? Change the defense? Change the lines? Change the strategy? Perhaps the solution lies with a little of all of the above.
Offensively, the Raiders never made anything happen in 2012. A major dysfunction of the offense was the former offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, who thankfully was released and replaced by long time coaching assistant Greg Olsen. Olsen has already stated that he intends to change the offense dramatically. He plans to use Darren McFadden. His entire motif will turn to a focus on where his players excel in strength rather than just running a basic-set offense. This ability to adapt and change brings hope of greater life in next year’s offense. This was something Knapp failed to do last season. In spite of Knapp, the Raiders offense did not play awful. They certainly could have played better.
On another positive note, the Raiders do have a solid receiver in Rob Streater. Coming off his rookie season, he looks promising for next year. He managed 39 receptions, totaled 584 yards and three touchdowns. If the Raiders can find key roles for him and run a hopefully injury free McFadden, the offense could surprise some teams. Olsen’s goal of focusing on strengths should allow players like McFadden and Streater to achieve their highest performance level next year.
The defense: The Raiders defense was awful last year. This MUST be the biggest focus for 2013. The defense is without a doubt the Raiders biggest problem. Last season, GM McKenzie hired a new defensive coordinator in Jason Tarver. Surprisingly, after a dreadful defensive performance, Tarver is still employed. (At least for now). Statistically, the Raiders gave up an average of 27.7 points per game. This made it virtually impossible for the Raider offense to move the Raiders forward to winning. Every time the Raiders scored the defense would seem come out and give up a score. Momentum never happened for the offense, as they were always playing catch up.
GM Reggie McKenzie said that he intends to fill the positions that need to be filled. He will replace players who couldn’t tackle with those that can. He wants Tarver to focus on getting to the opposing quarterbacks and he wants his defense to be a strong force for the team. This change in defense will be the key factor if the Raiders are going to be contenders in 13’.
With the above changes in both offense and defense and the actual willingness to adapt and change, the doors of possibility open up for the Raiders to improve. Whether or not they have a great season remains to be seen. Improvement does look to be on the horizon as the Raiders strive to their “Commitment to excellence”.