Oakland has stunk for years. There is a lot of reasons for this but I’m gonna coin the term “The Gruden Curse” as the biggest reason. In 2001 coach Jon Gruden was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two first round picks and money. That’s right, a coach traded, and after a 12-4 season followed by a 10-6 season. Why? Is any one’s guess. Legendary owner or not, (RIP) Al Davis was kind of crazy, and the trading of Gruden is still baffling to Raider Nation. The 2002 season (one after the trade), the Raiders went to the Super Bowl and played none other then Jon Gruden‘s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Gruden and the Buc’s hammered the Raiders 48-21. Oakland has not had a winning record since.
This team needed to improve vastly on both sides of the ball after back to back 4-12 campaigns. No surprise they were the biggest free agent signers this offseason as 11 new faces join the team. Big name new offensive signings included; QB Matt Schab, WR James Jones, and RB Maurice Jones-Drew. Schaub was awful for the Texans and was eventually benched last season. Jones was the Packers 2nd leading receiver but Schaub isn’t even close to the caliber of Aaron Rodgers. I do like the signing of MJD though. Darren McFadden is a good back, but cannot stay healthy. Jones-Drew was the best part of the Jacksonville Jaguars team for 8 years. If McFadden somehow stays healthy (not likely) it’s a damn good running back combo.
Oakland’s big defensive free agents signings were defensive ends, Justin Tuck from the Giants (a sack machine) and LaMarr Woodley from the Steelers. They could improve a Raider defense that was 29th in the league in points given up, but then again it’s the Raiders so probably not.
A revamped new team might be better but I’d be surprised if they won more than 7 games.
Click on the logo below to see the final team in Hawk’s 2014 NFL Preview: AFC West Edition: the San Diego Chargers: