2009 Oakland Raiders: Season Preview
By Wilson of Predictem.com
2008 Record: 5-11 (2nd place AFC West) ATS 7-9, O/U 6-9
Stadium: Oakland Coliseum
Head Coach: Tom Cable
Superbowl Odds: 75 to 1
Training Camp Site: Napa Valley, California
Training Camp Dates: July 29 August 12
Raider Nation will once again be looking for the return of the old school hard-nosed Oak-town football that is so dearly missed. Lets face it, the Oakland Raiders have been searching for identity for a few years now and maybe, just maybe, Tom Cable will solidify the team and make the Raiders a contender.
Cable took over the team last season and led them to a 4-8 record under his watch. After winning their last two games of the 2008 campaign the Raiders head into training camp with a glimmer of hope and a spark of life behind there new leader who was asked to stay by team owner Al Davis.
Raider fans have got to appreciate Cables optimism as he has declared that the Raiders will soon be a playoff team again. Oakland fans should anticipate a more successful season in 2009.
Whos New? QB Jeff Garcia, WR Darius Heyward-Bay (Maryland)
Whos Gone? WR Ronald Curry
Offense: Tom Cable will also double up his duties as the Raiders offensive coordinator with some help from pass-coordinator Ted Tollner and QB coach Paul Hackett. Cables main objective will be developing QB JaMarcus Russell. Russell did show some growth towards the latter part of last season but he still needs much improvement. He has a strong arm and is not afraid to let it fly but his decision making skills are not dialed in like they should be and it usually results in a turnover or missed opportunity.
If Russell cant prove to the coaching staff that hes the man for the job then backup QB Jeff Garcia may step in and take over the starting position. Garcia is quite mobile and accurate, and he can lead the offense if needed.
The Raiders are a ground attack first team but if they get their QB situation figured out they could be very deadly with the pass as well. With veteran running back Justin Vargas, and upcoming talented backs, Darren McFadden and Michael Bush, the Raiders will have a solid run game as usual. Oakland also added veteran FB Lorenzo ONeal to be the lead blocker for the trio of running backs.
Tight end Zach Miller is the current favorite target and most dependable for the Raiders. However, the addition of two super-fast receivers from this years draft will certainly help the air attack for Oakland. Darius Heyward-Bay is expected to be the long-bomb big play receiver who can beat almost any defender with his speed and moves. Louis Murphy, out of Florida is the other WR that should make an impact but he will need to adapt to running full routes as he was in a spread offense with the Gators.
The O-line for the Raiders will be an area of concern this season as they have some open competition in a couple of spots. Mario Henderson, Khalif Barnes and Cornell Green will all go after the OT positions to insure that QB JaMarcus Russell stays protected. The key for this line will be added quickness and enthusiasm.
Defense: The Raiders will likely run a 4-3 defense and are led by defensive coordinator John Marshall. They dont put a lot of blitzing in their packages as they count on the front four D-line to apply pressure on the QB. Oakland usually plays man to man defense which holds each defensive player accountable to hold up their end of the rope.
DE Derrick Burgess will lead the Raider linemen as long as he is healthy. Burgess is a serious rush threat and will continue that mentality. The linebackers are led by MLB Kirk Morrison who is an excellent athlete who has a niche for sniffing out plays. Thomas Howard is the weak side LB who can also be effective with his speed and ability to find the ball.
Nnamdi Asomugha is the Raiders best corner if not the best in the entire league. He usually earns the respect of other teams as they rarely throw in his direction. Asomugha can afford to stray his man at times due to the respect but sometimes he gets burned.
Special Teams: Oakland has the good fortune of retaining one of the best kickers in the game in Sebastian Janikowski. Janikowskis only drawback is his FG making as he has trouble with consistency. However, his leg strength is incredible and he normally boots the ball deep into the endzone.
Johnny Lee Higgins will assume the punt returner and kickoff returner spot; he is quick and can break out for big yardage.
2009 Oakland Raiders Schedule:
September 14San Diego Chargers
September 20at Kansas City Chiefs
September 27 Denver Broncos
October 4at Houston Texans
October 11at New York Giants
October 18Philadelphia Eagles
October 25New York Jets
November 1 at San Diego Chargers
November 8 BYE
November 15 Kansas City Chiefs
November 22 Cincinnati Bengals
November 26 at Dallas Cowboys
December 6 at Pittsburgh Steelers
December 13 Washington Redskins
December 20 at Denver Broncos
December 27at Cleveland Browns
January 3 Baltimore Ravens
Betting Odds and Projections:
Oakland has not been a team that can finish in the last few years because of so many coaching changes, player issues, injuriesyou name it and Oakland has probably been through it!
Tom Cable is apparently up for the challenge of developing QB Russell, and bringing the Raiders back to the days of old: playoffs runs and superbowl appearances. The outlook is better but they are still projected to win only 5 games, so only time will tell if they can turn it around.
Most Las Vegas Sportsbooks and offshore casinos are giving 75 to 1 odds of the Raiders winning the 2010 Super Bowl game, which is fair considering their recent struggles. With an ATS of 7-9 and an O/U 6-9 in 2008 the Raiders may cover more games this season and produce more points if the QB situation improves. Luck to ya.