NFL  > Oakland Raiders  > Season Preview : Oakland Raiders
August 18, 2013, 02:14 AM
The Oakland Raiders enter the 2013-14 with a cautious sense of optimism.

General Manager Reggie McKenzie has been on the job for about a year and spent this offseason clearing dead weight off the books after they finished 4-12, but it was transition year under new head coach Dennis Allen.

The house cleaning was needed as the Raiders had no real franchise players on a team that was 26th in offense (18.1 points per game) and 28th on defense (27.7ppg allowed).

Some of the names that will be noticeably absent are QB Carson Palmer (overpaid at 13 million if he stayed with the team), WR Darrius Heyward-Bey and TE Brandon Myers on offense and safety Michael Huff, Linebacker Philip Wheeler (who was productive with 109 tackles, 6 passes defended and 3 sacks), problem child Rolando McClain who couldn???t stay out of trouble off the field, defensive tackles Desmond Bryant, Tommy Kelly (6.5 million salary owed after 45 tackles and just 1.5 sacks), and Richard Seymour, and longtime punter Shane Lechler.

Clearing a lot of overpaid players who weren???t leading to much success leaves them with close to 69 million in salary cap space in 2014. They will have money to sign free agents for the first time in many years.

The offense.Terrelle Pryor

Oakland traded Palmer for pennies on the dollar (they traded a 1st and 2nd rounder to acquire him when Hugh Jackson was the HC) by shipping him to Arizona for a 6th round pick (they exchanged 6th rounders with the Cardinals) and a conditional pick in 2014.

They followed this up by trading for Seattle???s Matt Flynn and he is expected to start the season at QB for the Raiders. Flynn is 28, but he has just 2 career starts after backing up Aaron Rodgers for 4 seasons and Russell Wilson last year with the Seahawks. Terrelle Pryor is getting reps, but he will most likely be a change of pace short yardage and goal line specialist. Tyler Wilson was drafted in the 4th round and was a steal that late in the draft, but he???s a project at this point.

The offensive line allowed just 27 sacks last year (excellent considering Palmer isn???t the NFL???s most mobile QB) and they should be even better this season.

The Raiders running game will be bolstered by new offensive coordinator Greg Olsen. His power running offensive made marginal talent LeGarrette Blount a 1,000 yard runner in 2011 when they were both with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Darren McFadden struggled last year in Greg Knapp???s zone running scheme, he had just 707 yards in 12 games. His 3.3 yards per carry was a career low and his 2 TD???s were the 2nd lowest of his career.

The Raiders added Latavius Murray in the 6th round when they drafted him. The 6 foot 3, 230 pound running played college ball at Central Florida and he gives the Raiders a big and physical RB who should be able to give McFadden a rest or fill in for him if he gets hurt. They also picked up Rashad Jennings (he played for Jacksonville last year) and he is a capable backup.

Fullback Marcel Reece returns and is a big physical player who has surprising quickness for a player that is 255 pounds. He had several games last year where he made key plays for Oakland.

The wide receiver corps are filled with players who are young and raw in Denarius Moore, Rod Streater and Juron Criner as well as players who are injury prone in Jacoby Ford, newly signed Josh Cribbs and Moore.
August 18, 2013  01:01 PM ET

The offensive line allowed just 27 sacks last year (excellent considering Palmer isn???t the NFL???s most mobile QB) and they should be even better this season.

This needs to be updated. The Raiders lost their LT and their offensive line played horrible vs the Saints last Friday. Next week is Chicago and Flynn will be lucky to leave that game alive.


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