Oakland Raiders: Three Players on the Hot Seat


Coming off a disappointing 4-12 record last year, the Oakland Raiders look to restructure and come out with better results next season. The organization, particularly the new GM Reggie McKenzie, has made some spectacular moves this off season that will certainly benefit the team in many ways. However, there are a few players that have extremely high expectations, and they must not disappoint.

Before I get into some of the players that need to put on a solid performance next season, head coach Dennis Allen is currently sitting on lava. Allen was brought in last year to boost the organization and put guys in the best position to win football games. I understand that he entered Oakland in a time of disaster in virtually all areas, but he needs to show McKenzie and owner Mark Davis that he is capable of being a head coach in this league. McKenzie has brought in some terrific talent over the offseason span, and if Allen continues to lose football games, do not expect him around Oakland for too long.

Dec 22, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Tommy Kelly (93) and defensive end Lamarr Houston (99) react on the field in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The first player I want to talk about is Lamarr Houston. Houston is currently sitting on a relatively hot seat due to the fact that Oakland’s defensive line struggled terribly last season.

I say “relatively” because there are other guys on the defensive line who need to put more pressure on the quarterback, as one player is typically not the answer in football. Nevertheless, I chose Houston because he’s a great talent who without a question has the potential to become a top pass rusher. Veteran defensive lineman Tommy Kelly recently reached a two year agreement with the New England Patriots, and Richard Seymour is still available on the market and is very unlikely to return as a Raider – this is Houston’s chance to shine.

Expect Houston to have a breakout season next year and help improve the Raiders defensive line tremendously. If he fails to perform, there will be questions all over the place about whether he should remain an Oakland Raider.

Now, star running back Darren McFadden. All of McFadden’s chips are on the table this year as he enters a contract year and is sure to be stuck in a part time role for little guaranteed cash if he can’t play much of the year or is ineffective when he does play. The Raiders figure to lean on McFadden plenty while they have him. Staying healthy is the biggest problem in McFadden’s game as he’s never played more than 13 match-ups in a season. McFadden is an extremely talented running back who can beat you in so many different ways with his speed, quickness, agility, and power.

When healthy, McFadden is one of the top backs in the league, though he needs to prove that he is capable of remaining healthy throughout a course of a season, something he’s yet to prove. McFadden is on a very hot seat right now.

Lastly, I want to talk about the Raiders first pick in the draft, cornerback D.J. Hayden. Hayden is an incredible young talent who can potentially become a shut down corner in the NFL. Based on his success in college and his 4.33 performance at the 40-yard dash, Hayden can be the dynamic cover corner that this defense desperately needs.

I thought it was smart to draft such a talent, though he has a similar question as McFadden. The youngster had a life-threatening injury his last season playing football in college and many question whether he can make a comeback or not. The fact that he was cleared by the doctors and was selected as the 12th overall pick should bring some promise. If it all plays out in Oakland’s favor, expect Hayden to put on an outstanding performance.

Until then, he is also currently on the hot seat.