The Dallas Cowboys are soon headed to start their preseason against the Raiders, and to get us ready for the first game of 2009, we've put together a quick Q&A with Silver and Black Forever. It's what we like to call our Weekly Roundup!
1. Do you have a preseason prediction on how the Raiders season will end up?
My general sense is that the Raiders will improve upon last seasons' 5 win total and field a much more competitive team overall than in 2008. Although the Raiders have a very difficult schedule facing off against such playoff caliber teams like the Chargers, Steelers, Ravens, Eagles, Cowboys, and Giants, I predict the Raiders will end the season at 8-8, 2nd place in the AFC West, and out of the playoffs.
I am hopeful that the Raiders win more than 8 games this year but the core players on offense are still in the developmental stage of their careers and Head Coach Cable is still trying to gain traction. The difference between a small incremental gain in victories and a big leap will be the improvement of JaMarcus Russell, the run defense, and passing attack.
2. Is it true that Al Davis sleeps in a casket?
Very funny Cowboy Nation! No, it is categorically false although Davis is known for being a late night person or nocturnal owl.
Unfortunately Darren McFadden suffered a severe turf toe injury in the 2nd game of last season vs. KC and was never completely 100% healthy or able to get into a rhythm for the vast majority of the season. My projections for McFadden this year are 1,800 yards total from scrimmage (run + reception yardage) and 10 TDs. And no, you didn't get the best RB from Arkansas last year. McFadden is on the cusp of super stardom.
4. Darrius Heyward-Bey? Really??? What the heck happened there?
The Raiders drafted the best available WR that fit their system. As you probably know, the Raiders put a premium on speed and the ability to stretch the field with the vertical offense. DHB was the fastest player at the combine and came from a pro style offense at Maryland. WRs that came from a spread offense like (Crabtree or Maclin or Harvin) were not looked upon as a good fit for the Raiders offense. My personal preference for our #7 pick would have been LT Monroe or DT Raji.
5. Do Raiders fans have something to look forward too this year, or is this season going to be a struggle?
I'm quite certain that this season will have it's peaks and valleys. The Raider fans have a lot to look forward to in 2009. There is a sense in Raider Nation that Tom Cable is the right guy, at the right time to work in harmony with Al Davis. Stability at Head Coach and a core of very exciting, talented young players such as Russell, McFadden, Bush, Schillens beings hope. In addition, the way that the Raiders concluded their 2008 campaign on a positive note with wins vs. Houston and Tampa Bay showed the promise of a better future.
We want to extend our thanks to Silver and Black Forever for participating in this week's edition of Weekly Roundup, and wish them luck as they face off against a much better team!