After a busy offseason, the Raiders open the regular season Sunday in Indianapolis against the Colts. Overall, are they better or worse than the team that won four games a season ago?
How the Raiders are improved
The Raiders overhauled their roster, especially on defense. They have nine new starters on that side of the ball, and have improved at several spots. The secondary is the Raiders strongest position group, with veterans Mike Jenkins and Tracy Porter and first-round pick D.J. Hayden.
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The Raiders also have an offensive scheme that fits their talent, especially running back Darren McFadden. New Coordinator Greg Olson has tailored the scheme to McFadden, and has generated a package for Terrelle Pryor that will add a new dynamic to the offense.
How the Raiders have regressed
The Raiders were in desperate need of an established pass rusher, and they didn’t get one. The team doesn’t have anyone outside Lamarr Houston who can get after the quarterback, which will force coordinator Jason Tarver to blitz more often and therefore expose the Raiders in coverage.
The Raiders are incredibly thin along the offensive line after failing to upgrade at any position. The Raiders have struggled to protect the quarterback all preseason long and haven’t gotten any better, which makes it hard to execute Olson’s new offense. If you can’t protect, you can’t do much of anything on offense.