2006 Season Preview: #25 Oakland Raiders
Commitment to Excellence my ass. The Raiders are perhaps the most aimless franchise in the NFL. After years of trying to reload with veteran talent, it appears that they now are trying to get younger. And if the entire world wasn't confused before, the Raiders went and signed defunct QB Jeff George on August 28; however, leaving only a scarce window of opportunity for Joe Theisman to assert that George should be the Raiders’ starting QB, his ass was cut five days later. Nice move, Raiders. The Raiders brought back Art Shell as head coach after being jilted by Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Wisenhunt. Sadly, Shell's 1990-style baseball cap did not make the return. Randy Moss’s inaugural season in Oakland was a huge disappointment, and NFL fans are starting to forget that Moss was perhaps the best player in the NFL only two seasons ago. A lot will depend on Moss’s relationship with Aaron Brooks, the quarterback who has been the subject of ridicule amongst fans who thought that he was on the verge of greatness only a year ago. Former Arizona State QB Andrew Walter waits in the wings for Brooks to be benched. Jerry Porter got off on the wrong foot with Shell during the off-season, but the Raiders traded away Doug Gabriel, their only other option to start opposite Randy Moss, so it appears that Porter has made amends with the team. In the running department, Oakland’s dysfunctional offense prevented LaMont Jordan from reaching his potential in 2005 - the same could be true of 2006. Last year the Raiders had the 27th ranked defense, but they did little to improve it, except for selecting Longhorns safety Michael Huff in the first round of the NFL Draft. Don’t expect great things from the silver and black this year, folks. In the AFC West the Raiders are going to stick out like a sore thumb.