Starting today for the next 32 days - leading into the start of Redskins training camp July 30, I’ll preview one NFL team, from the worst to the best. Today: The Raiders bring up the rear.
32. Oakland Raiders
Coach: Tom Cable (first full season)
Last year: 5-11 (fifth straight year with less than six wins).
NFL rankings: Offense (29th in yards), defense (27th in yards allowed).
Additions: QB Jeff Garcia, LT Khalif Barnes, C Samson Satele, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Substractions: WR Ronald Curry, S Gibril Wilson, C Jake Grove, WR Ashley Lelie, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.
Overview: Not good. Even in the rebuilding AFC West, the Raiders are way behind the pack. Oakland starts with three division games and could find itself in an early hole. CB Nnamdi Asomugha is one of the league’s best cover men so teams will simply not throw toward him. The Raiders do have depth at running back and TE Zach Miller is a solid receiver (56 catches). But the focus will be on Russell and rookie WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, who was selected seventh overall.
Fantasy pick: RB Darren McFadden will be productive in the rushing and receiving game.
Offense: QB JaMarcus Russell, FB Lorenzo Neal, RB Darren McFadden, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR Javon Walker, TE Zach Miller, LT Khalif Barnes, LG Robert Gallery, C Samson Satele, RG Cooper Carlisle, RT Mario Henderson.
Defense: LE Trevor Scott, DT Tommy Kelly, DT Gerard Warren, RE Jay Richardson, OLB Thomas Howard, MLB Kirk Morrison, OLB Ricky Brown, CB Nnamdi Asomugha, CB Chris Johnson, SS Michael Huff, FS Hiram Eugene.
Specialists: K Sebastian Janikowski, P Shane Lechler, KR Justin Miller, PR Johnnie Lee Higgins.
Projected record: 2-14. Now that it appears the Lions finally have a clue minus Matt Millen, Oakland is officially the most dysfunctional franchise in the NFL and perhaps all of U.S. professional sports (or just ahead of the Clippers). Oakland’s best chance to win games will be when Cable makes the tough decision to bench Russell and give Garcia a chance to lead the offense.