Yesterday, my source within the Oakland Raiders contacted me to give me an update on the team. I can guarantee that this will be the most relaxed he’ll be this year… his vacation is almost over and camp is coming up fast. I asked him about the Raiders and what their season would look like after 16 games. He felt that they would beat some good teams and be a lot more competitive than last year. In fact, he stated that they will beat Denver week 1 because they’ll be a lot stronger at home this year. We spent a lot of time breaking down the 3 teams (offense, defense, specials), coaches and individual players. Here are the 3 biggest questions facing the Oakland Raiders.
1. Is JaMarcus Russell ready? I asked my source about the rumors of him being overweight and slow to pick up the offense. He assured me that he was in great shape and has been working hard. He agreed that his lack of experience is still a factor, but the organization believes he is (will be) the guy. I also asked about his maturity off the field and who is he surrounding himself with. My souce stated that they are pleased with that aspect thus far.
2. Will Darren McFadden be an impact player? As analyst Kenny Smith (TNT) would say it, this kid has the “goods.” There is no doubt that McFadden has star potential pixie dust all over him. My Raider insider told me that they cannot wait to give this kid touches on Sundays. He’s explosive and a major play maker that will open up play action for Russell. They see him having the same impact as Adrian Peterson had in Minnesota in ’07. Wow! I told him to slow down… Peterson aka “All Day” is off the charts. Will McFaddens success transfer to the NFL (see Reggie Bush) and if so, how quickly? Also, when you study his physical makeup he’s a stud from the waist up… from the waist down, he has Manute Bol’s legs.
3. Will the team respect and respond to Head Coach Lane Kiffin? You have to give Kiffin credit for hanging in there for 2-years with this organization. Lesser coaches would not have made it one way or another. Here’s the deal… Owner Al Davis tried to force him out, hired an assistant coach without consulting him and event drafted a letter of resignation for Kiffin to sign. Al is still letting Raider Nation know that if he ain’t happy, nobody in that organization is going to be happy. But that stuff always works itself out, the important communication is in the lockeroom/field between players and coach. Last year, future Hall-of-Fame tackle Warren Saap made life hell for the HC. Our source shared that there is a much more positive attitude since Saap is no longer there. He continued that Saap turned players against the HC and was a verbal malcontent that stained player/coach relationships. He had negative comments for defensive and offensive coaches. They are all happy with his exit. Now we’ll see if they can win ballgames with a greater PMA (Positive Mental Attitude).