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NFL Oakland Raiders

Oakland Raiders’ 2014 Expectations Still Uncertain Midway Through Preseason

2014 Oakland Raiders Regular Season Expectations

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

This last game against the Detroit Lions shed some light on how bright the future has potential to be.  It also shed some light on how dark the path to get there may prove.

It’s the halfway point of the preseason, folks, and for an organization like the Oakland Raiders that has dealt with struggles for some time now, a win is always a good feeling. Yes, even a preseason one. A win means positive takeaways.

However, with all the positive insight floating around, it would be nice to revisit the all too familiar topic of realistic expectation.

First and foremost, a solid NFL team thrives off a solid quarterback. With the ongoing process of new-rule implementation and player safety, the league has become a predominantly quarterback friendly, passing game.  The running back position is still completely relevant, however, coaching staffs recognize that in today’s NFL the passing game is where the battle begins and ends. It’s where your organization’s wins and losses are determined. And, most importantly, it decides where the direction of your franchise is headed.

Let’s be real for a second, okay?  Matt Schaub is Matt Schaub. He’s a viable option at QB. His ceiling is not the highest, but it’s not the lowest. For the most part, he performed relatively well with the Houston Texans. Granted, a championship never came to fruition. But heck, the guy made due with what he had. Yes, he had Andre Johnson and Arian Foster, arguably two of the most dynamic professionals at their respective positions. They’re also debatably the most injury-prone at their positions as well. Regardless, Schaub was as Schaub is.

What does that mean?

He’s average. He’s a middle of the road guy who’s not going to win you a ring, but he’ll compete and so will your team.

Alas, he boards the Raiders’ ship. He’s a subpar, swashbuckling journeyman who tends to (as we saw time and time again last year) force balls into places they don’t belong. It happened two nights ago against the Lions, and it will happen in future nights against other teams. I’m about to use a classic cop-out line here, but it is what it is.

Derek Carr is the future — at least, that’s the hope. For a young guy with still much to learn, he looks sound. Be sure not to disregard the important words there though: “a young guy with still much to learn”.

The first lesson is defensive guys in the NFL hit real hard. Carr learned that the hard way the other night. He’s a work in progress, but the future looks bright. Time is on Oakland’s side or should I say, San Antonio/Los Angeles/London/TBD.

For now, despite some key offseason acquisitions, the outlook on this season still seems to be in a bit of a haze. After two preseason games, the smoke looks like it’s starting to clear, but let’s be realistic—there’s a lot of smoke.

John Leahy is a writer for rantsports.com.  Follow him on Twitter and Google+.