Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tales from Camp

Thanks to the distractions of work-related travel last week, I missed much of the hoopla surrounding the start of camp. It has taken me until now to catch up with all of the information posted on the CLOAK and associated links. And now I can't help it. I'm excited.

As John alluded to, this midsummer excitement is nothing new. But with the 19-wins-in-five-seasons statistic headlining every Raider article, is this optimism turning to stupidity? Even Unk, a loyal reader and the man responsible for my lifelong Raider obsession, insists that he is taking a "wait and see" approach in 2008 - for the first time in 40 years.

Here are just a few of the reasons why I'm excited:

The defensive backfield. This is my favorite part of any team, and the Raiders have invested here for 2008. Sure, the Hayes-Haynes comparisons are wildly premature, but not since Nike was hanging "No Passing" posters in the early '80's have the Raiders had four DBs who look so good on paper. Reports seem to indicate that Gibril Wilson is the real deal, while Michael Huff sounds reborn. No complaints about Hall, and Nnamdi...what can you say about Nnamdi? He just wants to win. Awesome. Even good ol' Coop is making his presence known at safety while keeping the one-liners coming.

Young offensive stars. Another major investment area for the Raiders. By all appearances JaMarcus has taken on his role as a leader and indeed can make all the throws. Jerry McDonald even invoked the name "Jeff George" to describe one JaMarcus practice throwing clinic. McFadden sounds as fast as we imagined but without the fumbles. And Zach Miller is picking up where he left off last year as a TE worthy of playing in the AFC West. I'm buying into this group.

Kiffin in command. After an offseason of drama, Kiffin is wearing Raider gear and even making the players eat whole wheat pasta. That's a hugely welcome sight.

For the counter-argument, we can always look to Tim Kawakami. Have we really not gotten around to giving him the Nancy Gay treatment yet?

1 comment:

John Sousa said...

Ooooh. That son of a bitch (Kawakami). Just wait.