2014 NFL Season Preview- Oakland Raiders
The Raiders finished the season with another 4-12 season. Expectations were higher in head coach Dennis Allen's second season considering the moves they made in the draft and free agency.
The team picked up quarterback Matt Flynn's contract from the Seattle Seahawks after he lost the starting job to Russell Wilson. Just like in Seattle, Flynn failed to take the starting job and lost the quarterback competition to Terrelle Pryor. Pryor had some bright moments during the seasons, including breaking the NFL record for the longest rushing touchdown by a quarterback, but he proved to be inconsistent throwing the football. Flynn was eventually traded back to the Packers and undrafted rookie quarterback Matt McGloin saw a lot of action as the year went on.
Fullback Marcel Reece was the team's only Pro Bowl selection when the season ended. The team was set to be rebuilt with 17 players heading for free agency.
Raiders 2013 Rankings
Opponent Passing Yards
Opponent Rushing Yards
208.8 yards per game
125 yards per game
255.8 yards per game
107.9 yards per game
333.8 yards per game
363.7 yards per game
NFL Rank- 25th
NFL Rank- 12th
NFL Rank- 28th
NFL Rank- 13th
NFL Rank- 23rd
NFL Rank- 22nd
The offseason started with the decision of whether or not to fire head coach Dennis Allen. After siting down with Raiders owner Mark Davis and general manager Reggie McKenzie. Since there was no reasonable successor to the job and to avoid paying the rest of his guaranteed contract, Dennis Allen ultimately kept his job.
Coming off a year where the team had its most draft picks in years, the 2013 class only produced one starter in linebacker Sio Moore. So the team decided to build the core of this seasons team through free agency.
Notable additions- QB Matt Schaub, RB Maurice Jones-Drew, WR James Jones, T Donald Penn, LB LaMarr Woodley, DE Justin Tuck
Notable departures- QB Terrelle Pryor, RB Rashad Jennings, CB Mike Jenkins, CB Tracy Porter
Terrelle Pryor Highlights
2014 NFL Draft
The Raiders held the fifth pick in the draft and were looking to fill a void at quarterback. Unfortunately for them, three of the four teams picking ahead of them also needed a quarterback. With this in mind, the team set their sights on Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr.
Carr is the brother of NFL quarterback and former first overall pick in 2002 David Carr. As a starter he broke several school records for passing yards in a season in 2013. He was praised for his arm strength and deep throw accuracy. One of the knocks on Carr was the fact that he was the product of shotgun system and rarely took snaps under center. Also playing in the WAC, he didn't play against the greatest competition. Teams are also aware of his brother's failure to live up to expectations and feared he might end up the same way.
When draft day came along, the only quarterback that was drafted before pick five was UCF's Blake Bortles. Instead of taking a quarterback, Oakland decided to take Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack with the fifth pick. Mack was considered to be the safest pick in the draft due to his versatility rushing the passer and dropping into coverage. In the second round, they were able to get Derek Carr.
Khalil Mack Highlight
What to Expect
Matt Schaub will be the team's starting quarterback for now. I will have to see how Derek Carr performs in preseason to see whether or not he can handle the pressure and take the job away from Schaub who is coming off his worst season as a pro.
By adding running back Maurice Jones-Drew, the Raiders have a runner who can stay consistent and healthy. It would also change the role for current starter Darren McFadden to that of a change of a 1sr and 2nd down back while Jones-Drew would be the change of pace, breakaway back. With the addition of Pro Bowl tackle Donald Penn, the offensive line will be better pass protectors and run blockers.
By adding receiver James Jones, they have a good number one receiver to open space for Denarius Moore and Rod Streater.
With adding pass rushers like Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley, the team has an improved pass rush which reduce the amount of time the secondary needs to cover receivers down field.
The issue I have with this team is that Dennis Allen is still the head coach. He did nothing to show that he deserves to be an NFL head coach during his first two seasons. The reason for keeping him is a complete business decision in order to save money on a deal for a new coach. It will be hard for players to accept Allen as a coach when he has shown no improvement in the way he runs the team.
That being said the win total should be greater than that of previous seasons due solely on the fact of the high price talent they acquired in free agency.
Best record they can hope for- 6-10