After the Raider's offseason makeover, many analysts are predicting that their offense will be one of the best in the NFL. This expectation is not based on any actual evidence, but rather on conjecture. It would be wise to see the Raiders play before making such a prediction. Last year, all the teams with good offenses had one thing in common: a good offensive line.
Look at the Packers, the Colts, or the Chiefs. Everything for those teams started not with the supposed "skill" positions, but with the offensive line. The Colts and Packers had one Pro Bowl lineman each last year, while the Chiefs had 3. The Raiders had no Pro Bowl lineman last year.
In addition, despite acquiring Randy Moss and Lamont Jordan, they made no attempt to remake their offensive line. True, they have Robert Gallery, who might be a Pro Bowler next year. But they were the worst rushing team in the NFL last year, which can partly be attributed to the line. It's true that their running backs last year were horrible, but Lamont Jordan might not be much better. He has never seen a full season of action, and he is an unknown at this point. He could be one of the best running backs in the league, or a colossal bust.
The Raiders took a huge risk in bringing him in. Unless the line can open holes for him, he will not be able to produce. Until this line proves its prowess, it's too early to anoint this offense as one of the NFL's best.
Another obstacle to the Raiders offense being great is Kerry Collins. All of the best offenses in the NFL last year had a great or at least good QB (See the Vikings, Colts, Packers, and Chiefs). Kerry Collins might be neither. Last year, he had a passer rating of 75.
Tony Banks has a career passer rating of 72.5. Kerry Collins also threw for 21 touchdowns and 20 interceptions in his first year in Oakland.
These are not numbers that a good quarterback would put up. Let's look at Joey Harrington, who is in danger of losing his job in Detroit to Jeff Garcia. Last year, he had a QB rating of 77.
5 and 19 touchdowns to 12 interceptions. They both had a completion percentage of 56%, while Collins threw for 3500 yards versus Harrington's 3000. With these numbers, I would rather have Joey Harrington as my starter, as bad as he is. Randy Moss, Oakland's biggest offseason acquisition, has always had good quarterbacks throwing to him, with Randall Cunningham and Daunte Culpepper. How will he fare with the strong-armed, but inconsistent Kerry Collins? Unless Collins steps up, I don't think this team will be able to step up.
And I'm not sure if he's capable to doing so. His career high in touchdowns is 22, his career high completion percentage is 61, and his career high passer rating is 85. Randy Moss alone had 14 touchdowns last year.
Collins just isn't a good quarterback. And without a good quarterback, it's hard to have a good offense, no matter how good your receivers are..Vikas Paruchuri is a sports columnist who writes on the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB. He maintains a website at http://www.
thehomefield.com with sports analysis and opinion columns.
By: Vikas Paruchuri