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"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."
Sir Winston Churchill


NFL Week 1

I am ready for some football!

As a Raiders fan, opening day is always a big question mark, no more so than that rare opening day where the Silver & Black face the hated Denver Donkos.

There are more questions than usual this time around:

1. Is JaMarcus Russell ready to play quarterback in the NFL?

He sat out most of last year in a contract dispute. The former top draft pick has a cannon for an arm, but can he play at this level?

2. Can the Raiders run?

One of the few bright spots in the 2007 season was the performance of Justin Fargas, a rare runner who gives his all every down. The draft of Darren McFadden could return the franchise to the Marcus Allen or even Bo Jackson glory days, or spiral back to the Tyrone Wheatley days of disappointment.

3. Will the line block?

Poor protection and plenty of penalties has been the standard performance of a woefully-underperforming O-line, typified by former 1st rounder Robert Gallery, who had to move to Guard last year after proving unable to play Tackle in the NFL.

4. Can Javon Walker still play the game?

A depleted Raiders receiver corps puts pressure on free agent acquisition Javon Walker, who toyed with retiring before the season began and who famously got mugged in Vegas. Is his head in the game?

5. How much leg do Shane Lechler and Sebastian Janikowski have left?

We've been blessed with strong-legged kickers to anchor special teams play, but Lechler's old and Janikowski's always been erratic.

6. Will the D show up?

Lots of turmoil due to head coach Lane Kiffin trying to get defensive coordinator Rob Ryan fired after a poor defensive performance in 2007. Al Davis stood by Ryan, causing Kiffin to consider tendering a resignation Davis would have been happy to accept. Will the D avoid the drama and play as a unit? Not likely---kumbaya isn't in the Raiders' vocabulary. Watch Derrick Burgess and Michael Huff---if either just puts in the plays, the D will be awful this year.

7. Is Lane Kiffin a dead man walking?

Al Davis doesn't brook dissent from head coaches, much less young ones who haven't made their NFL bones yet. If the offseason turmoil leads to a poor start, Kiffin may be going elsewhere to get Shanahan-esque revenge on Davis. Art Shell should probably stay close to the phone until November.

My prediction: Too much turmoil for a return to excellence----4-12 on the year, beginning with an L tomorrow night.



Blogger Kate P said...

I wish I'd had your advice before I made my pool picks! Oh well, being in a 14-way tie for third isn't too shabby for Week 1.

7:33 PM  

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