As mentioned in the previous post, lots of fans are disappointed or annoyed at how the Raiders made out in free agency. As is the Reggie McKenzie way, the team took the path of getting players they felt would be reliable, solid contributors, as opposed to true game-changing players like Ndamukong Suh.
But Miami gave up a lot to get Suh, and while they might have an all-world defensive line now, that’s about all they got, besides TE Jordan Cameron. They lost their two best wide receivers by far, have a decent-but-not great RB in Lamar Miller, and little else. They’ll damage a few opposing QBs this coming season, but it’s hard to see playoffs. And for the kind of money they’re paying Suh, playoffs are a must.
Or how about the Eagles, dumping two of their best offensive weapons and dealing their best QB for Sam Bradford (who was out of commission all last season and missed 9 games the year before) and a couple of mid-round picks. It’s nice that University of Oklahoma teammates Bradford and DeMarco Murray will be reunited, but they really needed to upgrade defensively, and Byron Maxwell, Kiko Alonso, and Walter Thurmond will not be enough. Look for Chip Kelly to be run out of Philly on a rail if he misses the playoffs again. And he will.
Hell, just look across the bay and see how the 49ers have imploded, practically overnight. As miserable as their regular season went, their off-season has been even worse so far, with Harbaugh leaving, Patrick Willis retiring, rumors of them trying to trade Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore heading for Indy, more domestic violence problems, and on and on. They are now the worst team in a brutal division, and they are going to get creamed this year.
I know, we don’t want to compare with other teams. There are only two teams in the league — the Raiders, and everyone else. But still, it’s a good way to keep in perspective that while there were no game-breaking moves made, there also weren’t any catastrophic Javon Walker-type signings either. Again, the coaching upgrade alone will be worth at least a couple of games, and if they can just draft as well as they did last year, get a decent offensive weapon or two, the talent will start upgrading as well.
A renewed commitment to winning at home and in the division forms a solid team nucleus, and a couple of lucky breaks combined with being more competitive on the road will translate into 7-8 wins, maybe even a wild-card slot.