2007 Oakland Raiders Preview

2007 Oakland Raiders preview from Maddux Sports. Looking for a winning season? NFL football picks from our handicappers will stuff your wallet if you are betting against NFL spreads this season.

Same Ol' Black Hole
By Adam Barone

Though they've made some major changes in the offseason, the Raiders figure to be the same silver and black they've been the past few seasons. Oakland brought in an offensive head coach, Lane Kiffin, to try to improve the side of the ball they've had more difficulty with recently. One of the first orders of business was to get rid of Randy Moss and his “play when I want to” attitude. The offense was the worst in the entire NFL in 2006, and the hope is to not only improve the talent on that side of the ball, but also to improve attitude and enthusiasm. Kiffin, son of Buccaneers defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, is 31 years old - the youngest head coach in NFL history and is expected to bring the energy that the team has been missing.

It's hard to say what type of weapons the Raiders now have on offense. They used the first overall pick in the draft to select LSU QB JaMarcus Russell, but Russell's one weakness in college was his decision - making ability. At this point, it's likely that Andrew Walter will be the starter early on while JaMarcus learns the offense. At the skill positions the Raiders do have talent, but no real top tier playmakers. LaMont Jordan is the tailback, though he only played in 9 games last season, accumulating 434 yards. The team has always been high on RB Justin Fargas, who played in all 16 games in '06, but averaged just 3.7 yards per carry, seeing pay dirt just once. Because of the uncertainty in the backfield, an important area with a rookie quarterback, Oakland signed former Colt RB Dominic Rhodes. Rhodes is small, but is an above average receiver out of the backfield, which should take pressure off either Andrew Walter or JaMarcus Russell. Taking a chance on an extremely talented but seriously concerning player, the Raiders selected RB Michael Bush out of Louisville in the fourth round. Bush broke his leg early in 2006 and is not expected to have a significant impact until the second half of '07 or maybe even '08.

Now that Moss is gone, there is a rather limited amount of talent at wide receiver. The best remaining receiver is clearly Jerry Porter, but it's anyone's guess if Porter will ever just grow up, stop complaining and just play. If Kiffin and his staff can get Porter to focus on football and play to his ability, he has the potential to be one of the best in the league. The rest of the receiving corps includes mediocre talents such as Ronald Curry, Doug Gabriel and the newly acquired Mike Williams.

The biggest names on defense are Derrick Burgess and Warren Sapp; but even though the unit doesn't have many marquis players, they still managed to rank 3rd overall, first against the pass last season. Burgess accumulated 11 sacks, with Sapp racking up 10 of his own. Young members of the secondary had quality seasons as well, with CB Nnamdi Asomugha grabbing 8 interceptions and FS Stewart Schweigert making 107 tackles, while MLB Kirk Morrison made a name for himself with 127 tackles, 2 picks, and a sack. Even if the defense is able to produce the same type of results in the coming season, it will be difficult for the team to win games if they can't score any points.

2007 Oakland Raiders Predictions

Odds are great that the Raiders will still be well below average this upcoming NFL season, with the most they can really hope for at the moment being a likelihood for improvement. They're basically young, other than Sapp, but have very few players that will excite anyone. NFL pick handicappers may want to take a look at the Raiders a few games into the season, simply because the offense couldn't get any worse and the NFL lines will reflect that. Any type of chemistry that develops at all will bring improvement and the possibility that they could cover the large spreads that they're almost certainly destined for.

If you enjoyed reading the Oakland Raiders preview read up on the rest of AFC West clubs like the Chiefs, Chargers, and Broncos team breakdowns from Maddux Sports.

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2007 NFL Team Previews

As usual Maddux presents its anual 2007 NFL preview sorted by divisions. From each division you can find our predictions as well an individual team report of each National League Football Team. Click here to return to the main NFL season preview page.

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