Preseason is a go.
To get a sense of what the are looking at tonight, I linked up with Levi Damien from Silver & Black Pride, SB Nation's community for fans of the Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders and the Rams have the two worst combined regular season records of all NFL teams in the last 10 years. Levi, why do we keep doing this to ourselves?
Well, it makes for interesting fodder each offseason. Each of us can usually say there's a lot of room for improvement and hope springs eternal. I feel sorry for those poor sods who have to cover a team that wins the Super Bowl. All they can talk about is repeating (yawn).
We may not see a ton of him tonight, but what should I expect and what are you hoping for this year from QB Derek Carr?
From what I've seen, he has a lot more confidence in his throws this year. He made far too many back shoulder throws and short passes to tight ends in traffic. It became predictable for defenses. Having better receivers will help, but I was not in the camp that chose to blame all of his struggles on his receivers. He is throwing with greater anticipation and timing and leading his receivers much better on long passes than he was last season. He said in camp recently that he learned a lot as a rookie about not just opting for his safety valve all the time, which was to just throw a jump ball or a check down when his receivers didn't get open, but in the midst of an NFL season, it's hard to make those fixes. You can see he has been working on it and I expect we'll see some of that show up on the field this season.
More coverage of the Oakland Raiders
More coverage of the Oakland Raiders
Most NFL fans just haven't paid any attention overall to our franchises in recent years. For people that haven't seen much Raiders football, what should they know about the team that is (at least before any preseason action) different this year?
Two new starting receivers in Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper. That's the biggest change. Latavius Murray is the new feature back. He is a big, tall back who has deceptive lateral quickness and instincts. They added Rodney Hudson at center, making him the highest paid center in the NFL (for a month). The Raiders' 2014 draft class was tremendous, featuring Khalil Mack, who had a DROY caliber season last year and is one of the best DE/LB in the league, Derek Carr, Gabe Jackson, who has the makings of a Pro Bowl guard, Justin Ellis, who started all last season as a run stuffing nose tackle, and Keith McGill and T.J. Carrie who could be the team's top two cornerbacks this season.
I would think this might be a time where I'd get a biased answer, but what's your feeling on Jack Del Rio? Can he be the guy to turn things around? If not, can he be the guy to set up the next guy to turn things around?
Not sure why you'd think I'd be biased exactly, but I do think Del Rio is just what this team needs right now. They probably would have hired him three years ago, but both the Raiders and Del Rio knew this team was going to be dismantled and so they hired Dennis Allen to coach the team through those years. He put together a pretty good staff as well. There were maybe two good coaches on the previous staff and one of them was brought back (DB coach Marcus Robertson). The other was Tony Sparano.
Alright, the Los Angeles issue. What's your feeling on the Raiders' future? It sounds like Oakland is the city the least prepared to deliver a functional stadium proposal in all of this. It also sounds like Mark Davis and the rest of the franchise hierarchy are the most interested in keeping the team where they currently play. What the hell is goin on?
My feeling is Oakland is running out of time to keep the Raiders. You said it all in your question. That's exactly right. I would add that if Mark Davis were to receive a proposal like the ones the Rams and Chargers have gotten from their home cities, we'd be having a very different conversation. But what we have is a city that will not provide public funds for a stadium. Even with the cheapest proposed stadium ($900 mil) of all three teams, Mark Davis is not jumping at the chance to foot the bill without any public funding assistance.
Thanks to Levi for the time.