Key acquisitions: Amari Cooper (WR), Michael Crabtree (WR), Jack Del Rio (Coach), Rodney Hudson (C) , Curtis Lofton (LB),
Key losses: most of the 2014 schedule … Carlos Rodgers? They didn’t really lose anybody important.
Record in 2014: 3-13, last in the AFC West
It’s hard to look at the Raiders offseason and think they haven’t improved. Of course, it’s easy to improve when you start so low, but at the same time, the Raiders have been putting something together in the past couple of years while nobody’s watched. It just hasn’t all come together yet, and this season might be the point when it does.
The Raiders have spent most of the past decade wallowing in misery. They’ve reached no playoffs, their legendary crypt-keeper owner passed, and went most of the season last year before winning a game (A game in which they were so eager to celebrate winning that they almost lost it). The Raiders have been a sad-sack team for so long it’s tough to remember that they were the most recent AFC team to reach the Super Bowl not named the Patriots, Steelers, Colts, Broncos, or Ravens.
Then, among all of the team’s struggles, there is of course the L.A. drama. The Raiders are one of three teams that might move to L.A. and that means all the Bay Area fans will either have to settle for their hated rivals, the foofy rich-boy 49ers, or continue to support a team that has abandoned them twice.
However, despite the struggles and the drama, there is optimism in Oakland. They have the best young linebacker in the game in Kalil Mack. They have a new coach who was the last coach in Jacksonville to actually get the team to the playoffs. They picked the best wide receiver in the draft, and he’s had a stunning training camp. Their Bay Area rivals have imploded. Lastly, and most importantly, they have found a franchise quarterback in Derek Carr. While none of this means anything yet, the fans are feeling genuinely positive for the first time in years. But don’t take my word for it, here’s a genuine Raiders fan take.