Oakland Raiders  

 

Offseason spotlight: Finding success in Oakland

  • By NFL.com
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Associated Press
JaMarcus Russell's development at quarterback could hinge on coach Tom Cable's plans for the running game.


As part of NFL Network's 32 teams in 32 days series, airing daily on Total Access, NFL.com takes a look at a key question facing each NFL team.

NFL Network analysts Rod Woodson and Solomon Wilcots discuss the Oakland Raiders. What needs to happen for the Raiders to be successful in 2009?

Read their takes and then enter the discussion below.


Woodson: Raiders have the talent


First of all, JaMarcus Russell needs to improve. He needs to show that he's a starting quarterback in the NFL. That's the first thing. The ability to have a power running game with Justin Fargas, Darren McFadden and Michael Bush, like they did last year, is the second thing. The third factor is defensive coordinator John Marshall bringing that defense together and getting it to play to its capability.

If the Raiders can do those things, they can definitely turn it around and get some wins.

I think they have the talent to get it done. Now we have to see if they can gel together and do it.

Head coach Tom Cable has put the Raiders into the mindset of being team players under a tough-minded coach. Normally the team emulates the head coach. If you're a tough-minded coach, the team will be tough-minded. If you're soft and crying every day, your team is going to be soft and crying every day.

I think the Raiders are headed in the right direction. I think Cable will be a blue-collar guy and bring his lunchpail to work every day and so will his players.


 

Wilcots: It starts with the run


The Raiders have to run the ball. It starts there. Coach Cable, a former offensive line coach, prides himself on being very physical and running the football.

The offensive line has performed much better since Cable took over. In my mind, they have to be able to run the ball. Last year they had the 10th-best rushing attack, but they didn't get a lot of rushing TDs -- only nine -- to show for that type of ability.

But look at the way they finished the season. Michael Bush had 177 yards in the season finale; I think he's going to be a star. He's going to break out. Then you throw Darren McFadden and Justin Fargas into the mix and you have three backs with a dominant offensive line, which can maybe mask some of the inabilities of JaMarcus Russell, who isn't fully grown in the passing game.

The Raiders have to run the ball. I think they will be able to. They have home-run hitters -- three runners who can go the distance from anywhere on the field. I have to believe they'll use that to their advantage, and it will go a long way into helping the passing game. It will give Russell a fair chance to develop and improve their overall situation. The running game is key to their improvement.


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