Team Name: Oakland Raiders
Division: AFC West
Stadium: O.co Coliseum (Oakland, CA)
2013 Record: 4-12
2014 Record: 3-13
Head Coach: Dennis Allen (2012 – Week 4 of 2014), Tony Sparano (Interim coach week 5 of 2014 – present)
Quarterback: Derek Carr (2014), second-round draft pick of 2014 and younger brother of QB David Carr, who played in the NFL from 2002 – 2012
3 Offensive Players You Should Know:
– Darren McFadden, Running Back (20) – When he’s not injured, he’s a pretty good running back. The 2014 season was the first time McFadden played in all 16 regular-season games since he was drafted by the Raiders in 2008.
– Latavius Murray, Running Back (28) – Drafted in 2013, he spent his rookie year on IR (injured reserve). He was hidden on the depth chart this year until he had one breakout game against the Chiefs.
– Mychal Rivera, Tight End (81) – He’s mostly known for being the brother of Naya Rivera, who plays Santana Lopez on Glee. Drafted in 2013, he’s a work in progress as part of the challenged Raiders offense.
3 Defensive Players You Should Know:
– Justin Tuck, Defensive End (91) – After spending nine seasons as a New York Giant, Tuck signed a two-year deal with the Raiders after he was unable to come to an agreement with the Giants.
– Charles Woodson, Free Safety (24) – Woodson was drafted by the Raiders in 1998, then spent 2006-2012 with Green Bay. When the Packers didn’t resign Woodson, fans pushed to bring him back to Oakland for the 2013 season. He was injured last year, but has had a pretty decent season this year considering his age (38!).
– Khalil Mack , Outside Linebacker (52) – Mack was the 5th overall pick in the 2014 draft and the team is lucky that he fell to that spot because he’s a beast. He holds the NCAA record for forced fumbles and is tied for career tackles for a loss. His name has been rightfully included in conversations for 2014 defensive rookie of the year, but he might get overlooked because he’s on the Raiders and the Raiders kinda sucked this year.
What Happened This Offseason:
– The Raiders traded for QB Matt Schaub, who had just spent the last 7 years as the starting quarterback for the Texans. He lost the starting job to rookie Derek Carr.
– The team signed a lot of “old guys” (players in their 30s, which is not old at all in the real world). Running back Maurice Jones Drew from the Jaguars and defensive end Justin Tuck from the New York Giants made their way to O-Town this year.
– The Raiders first-round pick of 2013, cornerback D.J. Hayden, was more or less a bust. He struggled in 2013 and wasn’t able to make a major impact in 2014, partially due to injury. Check out this article or the clip below about his near-death experience on the football field in college.
Why You Should Cheer for Them: Ah, the Raiders. The poor, poor Raiders. You should feel sorry for them because they’ve been losing for a long time. QB Derek Carr has a lot of potential.
2014 Theme Song: On To The Next One (Jay-Z w/ Swizz Beatz) – The Raiders are ready to put another sub-par year behind them. On to the next year, on to the next coach, and possibly (in a year or two) on to the next stadium. Additionally, this sick Jay-Z video is all black and white and looks like the Raiders.
The Last Word: The team announced a one-year extension of their lease with O.co Coliseum this year, so they will be staying put for the 2015 season. Look for a new coach announcement in the next few weeks.
– Michelle and Val