5 Players Facing Make-or-Break Seasons for Oakland Raiders in 2013
Oakland Raiders: 5 Players Facing Make-or-Break Seasons in 2013
This offseason proved that no player is safe in the silver-and-black. Second year general manager Reggie McKenzie makes all personnel decisions with the cap room and future in mind. McKenzie cleaned house this offseason by getting rid of Brandon Myers, Carson Palmer, Michael Huff, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly, and Rolando McClain. Every player on the Oakland Raiders better take notice because McKenzie proved that no job is safe coming into this year.
For the first time in recent memory, the Raiders have a bright future to look forward to in the upcoming seasons. The Raiders will have up to $70 million in cap room next year and will have their top pick in hand. While the Raiders do have some good young talent they do not have any untouchable players on the team.
On offense, the Raiders have three unproven players; Matt Flynn, Terrelle Pryor, and Tyler Wilson vying to become the starting quarterback. The Raiders most talented player is the oft-injured Darren McFadden who will become a free agent after the season. Probably the weakest position on the Raiders is tight end where all four players on the roster will be battling to become the starter.
When the Raiders start the season their defense will be totally revamped from last year. The only recognizable faces will be Lamarr Houston and Tyvon Branch who have been the Raiders' best defensive players over the last few seasons. Pretty much every player on the defense will be facing make-or-break seasons because they are all on one or two year contracts. McKenzie smartly picked up a plethora of players who are looking to raise their value this year in the silver-and-black. If these defensive players play well, the Raiders have plenty of cap room to sign them to extensions. If the players fail, the Raiders can let them walk after the season.
No one really knows how the new look Raiders will play this season, but one thing is clear; every player will be fighting for their future this season.
Although it is unlikely that Pryor will become the starting quarterback this season, it is important for him to show that he can become an NFL caliber quarterback. During OTAs rookie Tyler Wilson looked more polished than Pryor. We will soon find out if Pryor can become the second quarterback or if he should change positions.
Tracy Porter was once a Super Bowl hero for the New Orleans Saints, but his career took a downturn last year with the Denver Broncos. Porter started off well but could not finish the season because of complications from a seizure. He is familiar with Dennis Allen because of Allen's time as defensive backs coach for the Saints. Reggie McKenzie signed him to a one year contract so Porter must play well to raise his stock.
The converted wide receiver Ausberry is the favorite to become the starting tight end for the Raiders this season. While he would automatically become a receiving threat for new quarterback Matt Flynn, his lack of run blocking skills can keep him off the field. It is of utmost importance that Ausberry prove he can block during training camp or he could find himself on the bench or even out of a job come September.
Matt Flynn will have every opportunity to have a long career for the Raiders. The Raider nation is hoping that Flynn could have the same type of career as former MVP Rich Gannon. However, Flynn is not guaranteed to start this year as a player with his least favorite surname is vying to become the starter this year (Tyler Wilson).
When healthy Darren McFadden is one of the most explosive players in the NFL. The Raiders offense has been explosive with a healthy McFadden, and now that the Raiders are going back to a power run blocking scheme he can put up huge numbers. After the season McFadden will become a free agent so he must stay healthy and put up big numbers to get a contract offer from the Raiders.