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I'm not sure the NFL Network and ESPN have been sufficiently thorough in covering the Randy Moss trade. We've heard Kerry Collins' thoughts about it. We've heard from Lamont Jordon. We've heard from the Raiders' long snapper and third string tight end. Would it be too much to ask for them to dig a little deeper and find out how some of the practice squad players feel about it?
Obviously, I'm being facetious. There are only so many times we can listen to the phrase "open up the offense," even if it is stated by a different Raider each telecast. But if nothing else, the testimonials have restored my faith in Norv Turner's ability to say the word "flexibility," when describing his offense.
Interviews aside, here's the problem. Everyone is acting like the Raiders just ransacked and plundered a village, giving up nothing in return. They had to surrender the seventh pick in the draft (who could very well be Mike Williams), and a former first round pick in Napoleon Harris. If Mike Williams does become a perennial 1,200 yard receiver, it will be the Vikings who made out like bandits by ridding themselves of a headache and getting six years younger at the position.
Furthermore, everyone seems to think that the Raiders offense is just going to explode out of the Black Hole and into another galaxy like Darth Vader on steroids. There's no question they'll be good, but spectacular? Let's not kid ourselves. Kerry Collins is one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the league. Lamont Jordan looks decent, but has never had more than 479 rushing yards in a season. Piece for piece, this offense is not as good as the Vikings were last year.
As for the Raiders contending for a playoff spot, forget it. Maybe in the NFC, but in the AFC, good teams, like the Ravens, don't even make it. The Raiders will do no better than 7-9, and considering the defense, even that seems optimistic. Woodson and Sapp are shadows of what they think they are. The entire unit is characterized by past-their-prime investments.
The purpose of this article is not to convince the Raiders to move back to Los Angeles, although they should. The purpose is to let 49ers fans know that in spite of all the noise the Raiders generate on their side of the Bay, the 49ers are still the superior franchise. It is the 49ers who stand poised to grab Braylon Edwards with the first pick, and possibly the third best quarterback in the draft in the second round. It is the 49ers who have the bright, hungry, innovative coach who can inspire and connect with his players, not a sideline equivalent of three yards and a cloud of dust.
Within the next several years, the 49ers will have a new stadium, fiscal sanity, and a mature nucleus of home-grown, hard-working veterans. By contrast, the Raiders will still be signing the castaways of other franchises to more than they're worth. The Raiders should enjoy the limelight while they can. Pretty soon no one will care where Moss is growing.