Oakland Raiders: Are Consistent Playoff Appearances In the Future?


The Oakland Raiders have undergone drastic changes following the death of the legendary Al Davis. While Al is regarded as a saint amongst the Raider faithful, he did leave the franchise in disrepair. Following two years of cap hell, the Raiders are finally in a meadow populated by spring. The opportunity to break out from the basement of the NFL has never been more realistic.

In the 10 seasons since the Super Bowl year, the Raider roster has never looked more abound with talent. The additions from the latest draft have significantly upgraded the talent on the roster. If the drafted players live up to their talents, the Silver and Black outfit will compete well in the league. While the playoffs may yet elude the Raiders this season, the possibility of making it next season may increase as the young talent on the back end gains experience.

I have to say I appreciate the way general manager Reggie McKenzie has built this team since the start of Free Agency. Signing proven veterans to escapable contracts while filling the roster with smart and talented young players was a good plan and executed to perfection. While the loss of Jared Veldheer and Lamar Houston hurts, it is time to move on and get excited for the new team this regime has assembled. In this age of Free Agency it isn’t possible for any team to keep all their prized players if they want to compete for a championship year in year out.

The team has filled out nicely and there is a sense of depth on the roster unlike the previous two years. The salary cap situation is looking up unlike the 2010 and 2011 teams that went 8-8, but were highly leveraged and therefore compromised through future cap dollars. The position with the least depth is probably mike backer, but even that should be better with Kevin Burnett and Miles Burris possibly filling in for Nick Roach. The other question marks are at running back, quarterback and safety.

With improved quarterback play, the Oakland Raiders could finally break out. Too many fans unjustly vilify Matt Schaub who has been a top 15 quarterback (maybe even a top 10) in the last 7 years except for last season. Rookie Derek Carr should be redshirted for a year and allowed to hold a clipboard and learn behind a seasoned veteran.  The back field remains a question as the two leading players have injury concerns. The third spot behind them remains open to competition and my guess would be second year pro Latavius Murray wins that spot. At safety, Charles Woodson is a little long in the tooth and there is always a chance of niggling injuries.

The coaching staff got 4 wins out of a very talent deficient team playing in a division that sent three teams to the playoffs. I understand there are tons of fans who are still not sold on Head Coach Dennis Allen, but I would like to give him a fair chance with talented players and a manageable salary cap situation. The end of last season saw some uncertainty with the coaching staff with the owners persistence in extending coaches for only one year, but that too passed.

The only dark cloud hanging over the organization as I see it is the stadium situation. It remains to be seen whether the Oakland Raiders will be able to keep their Raiders the second time around. At the recent owners meetings in Atlanta, Mark Davis expressed his frustration with the city and revealed that the franchise has $400 million to put towards the stadium. I don’t see any way the Davis family is able to build a new stadium without selling off the controlling interest in the team.

With all that, it’s not difficult to see the upward trending future of this storied franchise. The autumn wind will be behind the mighty Raiders once again in the future. It’s time to believe.