This year is huge for the Oakland Raiders organization; everybody knows that.
This will be the first full year that the Raiders will play without the most infamous member of the franchise overlooking each game. Al Davis has been the man in charge since 1972; not only does the front office look different this year, but the fans are hoping that the play on the field will too.
Since being drafted fourth overall in the 2008 draft by the Raiders out of Arkansas, the ex-Razorback and now the featured back at O.Co Coliseum has been Darren McFadden. However, his numbers have been less than stellar under Lane Kiffin, Tom Cable and Hugh Jackson. Perhaps the fourth time is the charm and Dennis Allen has something up his sleeve to ensure that McFadden gets the job done. The running back's production isn't the problem that has plagued the Raiders as he averages a solid 4.8 yards per carry so far in his career. Who is to know just how much larger those numbers would be if he could stay healthy and play an entire season.
Keeping McFadden healthy is going to be key for the Raiders if they want to make it to the playoffs, which they have a great chance of doing this year if all goes well. With Michael Bush gone, other players will be thrust into the limelight and called upon frequently. This will be a real test to see who can handle the pressure, and who crumbles under it. The Raiders have two great weapons in Mike Goodson and Taiwan Jones, both can relieve some of the pressure from McFadden.
The tools are there in Oakland, and in full supply. Will the coaching staff and the players all click and be on the same page once the season starts? The back field will have targets on their backs, none more so than D-Mac himself. This being said, he should be looking to go out and silence the critics; many of them have begun ti pile up in his short career thus far. I'm sure Mr. Davis himself will be cheering on his team from beyond and he'll be rooting for McFadden the most. Staying free from injury is essential, not only to the running backs in Oakland but the team as a whole. To see them put all the speed and talent they have to good use, will shock the world, if, and only if it can happen.
Bring on the season! I know I for one am extremely intrigued and excited. Just win baby!