There have been so many changes taking place within the Oakland Raiders following the end of the 2011 season, those who weren’t paying close attention might have a hard time keeping track of who has left and who has joined the team in addition to many of the other significant events during the 2012 offseason.
Just hours before the new general manager, Reggie McKenzie, was introduced in a Raiders’ press conference on January 10, Hue Jackson was fired from his position as head coach. I really liked Jackson. I appreciated his positive attitude and obvious enthusiasm. It was apparent when the man sank to his knees and cried after the Raiders narrowly defeated the Houston Texans in the game they weren’t even supposed to be able to win. It was just a day after their iconic owner, Al Davis, passed away.
Looking back, I can see why Jackson was let go, and wish him all the best in his new home with the Cincinnati Bengals, although I will miss seeing him out on the field. A little more than two weeks later, the Raiders hired Dennis Allen, the Denver Broncos’ former defensive coordinator, as the new head coach. Despite the fact that Allen is the youngest head coach in the league, he comes with high praise and has a lot of experience behind him. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the man as a person, and as a coach.
In the last two months there have been a number of Oakland players that we’ve had to say goodbye to. Offensive tackle Bruce Campbell headed to the Carolina Panthers in a trade for running back Mike Goodson last month, and defensive end and Kamerion Wimbley signed a five-year deal with the Tennessee Titans. Quarterback Jason Campbell and running back Michael Bush are now both playing for the Chicago Bears. Running back and stand-out special teams player Rock Cartwright became a San Francisco 49er while cornerback Stanford Routt and tight end Kevin Boss will play for the AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs. Center Samson Satele headed to the Indianapolis Colts and defensive end Trevor Scott is now a New England Patriot.
The Silver and Black have signed a few players who might be a big help the team in 2012, including linebacker Philip Wheeler who was a member of the Indianapolis Colts for four seasons. He could have stayed on with the Colts or signed with the Miami Dolphins in addition to a few other teams that had interest, but he chose the Raiders because of the team’s “legendary reputation,” and because of the fans. Wheeler told NFL writer Jerry McDonald that many fans throughout the Raider Nation sent supportive messages through Twitter, and remarked, “It was cool man, because that kind of helped me in my decision because it showed me how big of a football city this is and how much they paid attention to football instead of going somewhere else. Indianapolis, it was pretty good football city, but the fans, they didn’t’ get more involved in media, and just showing us how much they care about the game. I always wanted to play in a big football for a legendary team, something like that and that kind of helped me choose Oakland.”
Other players added to the Raiders’ roster include guard Mike Brisiel, running back Mike Goodson, and defensive back Pat Lee. The Raiders were also awarded three compensatory picks, a third, a fourth, and a fifth-rounder, along with the fifth and sixth-rounders the team already held. McKenzie was all smiles when he heard the good news. It will make things just a little bit easier as he puts the pieces of the puzzle back together before the start of the 2012 season.
For those who haven’t been following everything that’s gone on, it appears that McKenzie is an excellent decision maker and we all have a lot to look forward to this year. This is a new era for the franchise, and there is a bright future ahead.
K.C. Dermody grew up in the Bay Area of California, and has been an Oakland Raiders fan for her entire life. She has continued her loyalty to the team through its many ups and downs over the decades, and has been privileged to meet several of her favorite players, including famed quarterback, Jim Plunkett. Follow her on Twitter @kcdermody, Facebook at www.facebook.com/kcdermodywriter or www.kcdermodywriter.com
More from this contributor:
’76 Oakland Raiders Named Greatest Team of All Time Proves Strength of Raider Nation: Fan Take
Oakland Raiders’ Three Compensatory Picks Another Good Sign for 2012: Fan Reaction
Oakland Raiders’ Legendary Quarterback Jim Plunkett: Thoughts on the Past and the Team’s Future
Oakland Raiders’ Fan’s Look: Quarterback Carson Palmer Makes Sacrifices