In NFL history there are a few team’s that I refer to as “staples” of the NFL. One of those team’s is the (for now) Oakland Raiders. The Raiders history is well documented led by the powerful Al Davis until his death, The Raiders have a moxy unlike any other team the signature iconic phrases like ” Just Win Baby” and ” Commitment to Excellence” are still draped over the shared Oakland Coliseum. But if you looked at the Raiders since their last Superbowl appearance in 2002 they had been more known for losing than winning.

In Al Davis’ later year’s the Raiders were often laughed at with their musical chairs game of head coaches that walked in and out the door, overpriced free agent contracts like Javon Walker, and last but not least the gaffe of drafting Jamarcus Russell first overall in the 2007 NFL Draft. A draft that produced Calvin Johnson, Adrian Peterson, and Marshawn Lynch. Obviously with the draft no team has a crystal ball but when then head coach Lane Kiffin wanted to draft Calvin Johnson, Davis said no. That decision alone set them back.

The Raiders

As Al Davis’ heath began to fail a plan was put in place for who would be next in line to take over the Raiders. Enter Mark Davis the son of Al Davis. What has taken place since can be credited to General Manager Reggie McKenzie and Mark Davis. I would say both. In the game of professional football I believe it is great to have a collective effort between the GM and the Owner, with the GM drafting or acquiring the right players that fit the scheme of the head coach with the hands on owners approval of course. But with the last three years there has been a great collective effort between Owner, General Manager, and Head Coach. Jack Del Rio hopping on board last season leading the team to a 7-9 record– but for those that think the Raiders will be the same old 4-12,6-10,7-9, or even 8-8 team they are wrong. I don’t think there is one team that piece by piece has but together a solid foundation better than the Raiders long-term.

You can talk about the 2016 Jacksonville Jaguars draft that netted them Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack in the first two rounds. Those were two franchise changing picks of course on paper. But with the Oakland Raiders we have seen the results of quarterback Derek Carr, receiver Amari Cooper, and linebacker Khalil Mack, add in 2016 first round pick Safety Karl Joseph those are four solid draft choices, with Mack going in the first and Carr going in the 2nd round of the 2014 draft, Cooper the number one wide receiver of the 2015 draft class, and Karl Joseph a guy that can flatten you out.

For the 2016 season the Raiders have a real shot at winning the AFC West. Take into account the division itself. The Broncos lost both Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler and replaced them with Mark Sanchez and Paxton Lynch. Lynch might not be a year one guy and even if he is, there will be year one growing pains. Sanchez on the other hand…where do I start? If the Broncos think he can play the “game manager” role. They are dead wrong. Kansas City poses a threat with the fundamentally sound style that head coach Andy Reid brings but with the Raiders defensive reinforcements in Will Allen (former Chief) and Bruce Irvin, I think those two players make a big difference on a defense that is already regarded as an up-and-coming squad. San Diego was 4-12 last season and has proven little to me that they will finish better than 8-8.

This could be the year the Raiders make that comeback Raider Nation has been waiting for and I must say Al Davis would be proud of his son and Reggie McKenzie. Both have done an awesome job building a foundation that the Raiders have needed for 10 years and they can build on that for the next 10 years. Now off the field the million dollar question. Will the Raiders move to Las Vegas? Only time will tell. But if history is any inclination, if Oakland can’t fund a new stadium, Mark Davis will walk knowing that there are more than half a million people waiting to welcome him with open arms. If any team should/could move to Vegas it would be the Raiders. Not only will it provide the Raiders with a stable home but the move will add big revenue to the National Football League. A win-win for everybody except the people of Oakland. But if the city is not willing to meet Mark Davis’ hardball demands then he will do what his father did and move the team. The Las Vegas Raiders does have a nice ring to it. ThomasAFC WestNFLOakland RaidersRecent PostsNFL,Oakland Raiders,the raidersIn NFL history there are a few team's that I refer to as 'staples' of the NFL. One of those team's is the (for now) Oakland Raiders. The Raiders history is well documented led by the powerful Al Davis until his death, The Raiders have a moxy unlike any other...