What exactly are the Oakland Raiders’ biggest concerns for the 2013-2014 season?
Well, just about everything. With a current ranking of 32nd out of 32 teams, there is nowhere but up for the team.
The first key question of concern is who will be in at quarterback? Carson Palmer is gone to the Cardinals. Matt Flynn enters in as the likely starter and certainly has the most experience with a “solid” total two career starts. This puts him in direct competition with rookie Tyler Wilson with no starts but who could theoretically still get the job.
Flynn has been in the NFL for six seasons. He has thrown the ball a total of 141 times with 87 completions. This gives him a 61.7% completion average and a total 1,083 yards.
Whatever the case with the quarterback question, asking either one to lead the offense is going to be a tremendous challenge for the team and a new offense. The experience at this key component of the offensive doesn’t exist
Will the Raiders be able to adapt to a new offense? On the positive side, Greg Olsen replaces Greg Knapp as offense coordinator. This will generate a significant offensive change that just might help a dismal offense from last year. Olsen believes in using players where they have strength rather than just running the zone attack of Knapp.
This change will be a challenge for the veterans remaining, but hopefully will bring a welcome solution for Darren McFadden. This holds especially true if Olsen commits to the power-run offense where McFadden has excelled. Last year, McFadden averaged just 3.3 yards per carry and faces a mediocre offensive line again this year. Can McFadden even play a full season? This is yet another challenging question.
Another potential positive on the offense, is fullback Marcel Reece. Reece was the only pro-bowl select from a season ago. He has the potential and has been a good pass catcher who could step in as a tailback. If either quarterback can get him the ball, there is hope for movement here. Additionally, both he and McFadden are contracted and baring injuries, etc. will lead this years offense.
The Raiders “let go” All-Pro punter Shane Lechler and will no doubt feel that loss if something doesn’t give way on offense. They gave up safety Michael Huff, tight end Brandon Myers, cornerback Shawntae Spencer, defensive linemen Dave Tollefson and Desmond Bryant, linebacker Rolando McCkain and linebacker Philip Wheeler. Cuts all around will further challenge the Raiders in adaptation and re-grouping for what they hope is the season of re-building.
Defensively, the Raiders are either aging or inexperienced. If they can somehow find a way to match age with inexperience then perhaps they can be a force. The bottom line really is patience. With just about everything untested and a challenge for the Raiders next season, the question is can the players, coaches, owners, and fans sit back for a bumpy, but sure-to-be interesting re-building ride.