The Raiders. Jesus Christ, the Raiders. Is it even possible at this point for a Raider fan to talk about the Raiders without a furrowed brow and their palms starting to sweat? Now in year 11 of the rebuilding process, and the search for a replacement for Rich Gannon continues. It's Terrelle Pryor's turn in the Raiders' revolving quarterback door, and at the very least he should be fun to watch. His throwing style is pretty goddamn ugly, but it's not any worse-looking that Colin Kaepernick's. Kaepernick just has the benefit of more athleticism, the best coach in the NFL, and the best all-around team in the league surrounding him, that's all.
The O-Line can most generously be called a work-in-progress. Pryor may have to run a lot just to keep from getting killed. Hopefully he'll have a healthy Darren McFadden for at least 12 games to hand the ball off to. Well, maybe 10 games--let's not get too pie-in-the-sky here. Raider receivers dropped a shitload of passes last year, and the best of the bunch is now catching passes from the greatest mediocre quarterback of all time, Eli Manning, in New Jersey. Darius Heyward-Bey took his speed to Indianapolis and has hitched his wagon to the Colts' Amish wunderkind Andrew Luck. That leaves us with...who exactly?
Well, Rod Streater and Denarius Moore are still there. As is Jacoby Ford. Excuse me while I wait for my boner to go away. David Ausberry, the less shitty of the two options at tight end, is already hurt and out for the Indy game. That leaves us with Richard Gordon, who has 3 catches for 11 yards in his Raider career. Fuck, how can you even catch a pass for less than 4 yards?!
The defense is kind of a mystery. They really sucked last year, but Reggie McKenzie kind of cleaned house and brought in a bunch of new names. They're still probably gonna suck, but the secondary looks a bit better with the addition of Porter, Jenkins and the return of Charles Woodson. Obviously the more pressing concern is whether or not they can stop the run. They gave up 39,000 yards on the ground last year...or at least it felt that way. I'm not all that fearful of Ahmad Bradshaw in week 1, but facing Jamal Charles this year is gonna be a bitch.
Week one against the Colts, I'm surprisingly optimistic--in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. The Colts eleven wins last year still strikes me as fluke-y, and I'm still not sold on Andrew Luck yet. I think he'll be a good quarterback, but 23 passing TDs to 18 INTs isn't all that intimidating. And weird shit happens in week one, he could have an off game. McFadden could poke holes in Indy's porous defensive line. Woodson could turn back the clock and return an interception for a touchdown. Pryor could hail Mary with a couple of shitty Tebow-esque passes, and run for even more yardage. Who knows. If nothing else, a game against a godawful Jags team is just a week away.