Season Preview: Oakland Raiders

Sports Mole previews the Oakland Raiders ahead of the 2013 NFL season.

The Oakland Raiders enter the 2013 NFL season with no-one quite sure how they will do. On the up side, there is the hope that a new quarterback brings, having brought in Matt Flynn from Seattle Seahawks. However, they are now paying out more money to players no longer on their roster than any other team in the NFL.

On the offensive side, coordinator Greg Knapp has left the franchise, with many believing that he was to blame for the lack of points scored last season. In his place has come Greg Olson, which should mean that the Raiders once more look to run the ball through running back Darren McFadden.

Despite being drafted in, Flynn is not guaranteed to start. It largely depends on which QB - Flynn or Terrelle Pryor - suits the running game more. With the new setup, however, the Raiders should manage to better their poor 2012 performance.

Head Coach: Dennis Allen

Last season: 4-12

Review: The Raiders were at home to divisional rivals the San Diego Chargers in week one and their offensive woes were evident right from the start as they were beaten 22-14. It took them until week three to register their first win, with narrow victory coming against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Again the offense failed miserably the following week with the Raiders scoring just two field goals on their way to a 37-6 defeat at the Denver Broncos. They looked to have turned it around in weeks seven and eight with wins over Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs but they were soon back to losing ways and quickly out of playoff contention.

The disappointing Raiders season, which included a huge 55-20 loss to Baltimore Ravens, meant that they ended with their 10th consecutive losing season and their 10th consecutive year without an appearance in the playoffs.

Notable ins

Matt Flynn: A new offensive coordinator often brings with him fresh ideas. In those cases it is usually better to have a new quarterback at the club who can fully take these on. In Flynn, the Raiders have a QB who was previously a backup but has been waiting for his chance. This could be it, but he will have stiff competition from Pryor.

Mike Jenkins: There has been plenty of movement in the off-season with in Raiders' defense, with the addition of the experienced Mike Jenkins perhaps the key arrival. Prior to last season Jenkins was a starter for the Dallas Cowboys and bringing him in could prove a shrewd move by the Raiders.

Notable Outs

Desmond Bryant: Desmond Bryant has been an important member of the Oakland defense in the last few years. In 2012 he started half of the club's games, but his departure has been to bring in fresh faces in the shape of Tracey Porter, Charles Woodson and first-round Draft pick DJ Hayden.

Carson Palmer: Last year's starting QB Carson Palmer was traded to the Arizona Cardinals to make space for Flynn. With Palmer, the Raiders offense just did not fire in 2012 and his departure signals a new intent to hit the ground running, quite literally.

Key Player Offense: Darren McFadden

Key Player Defense: Tyvon Branch

Rookie to watch: DJ Hayden

Pre-season form: 1-3

Prediction: 5-11. Although pre-season has not gone all too well for the Raiders, they have enough talent that they should improve on last season, even if said improvement is likely to be minor. They might have one eye on second position in the AFC West, but the likelihood is that they will be looking over their shoulders instead. The playoffs look set to be without the Raiders for another year at least.

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Terrelle Pryor #2 of the Oakland Raiders drops back to pass in the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Coliseum on August 23, 2013
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