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With a solid foundation in place, Raider Nation has high expectations for 2014/2015. Here’s what fans can expect.
The upcoming season will be exciting for the Oakland Raiders as they compete in an AFC West that produced three playoff teams and two of the NFL's top four passing attacks. The Raiders will counter those high-flying attacks with a defense that was the division's second best in 2013.
Quarterbacks Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Philip Rivers will face a beefed-up Raiders pass defense in 2014, thanks to a retooled defensive line. General manager Reggie McKenzie acquired veteran defensive linemen Antonio Smith, Justin Tuck, and LaMarr Woodley. They bring experience that has helped them compile 159 sacks. First-round draft pick Khalil Mack, an outside linebacker from the University of Buffalo, will join them. The NFL Network's Mike Mayock predicted Mack would be an All-Pro.
Cornerback Tarell Brown crosses the Golden Gate Bridge to bolster the Raiders' secondary after spending seven years with the San Francisco 49ers. Brown has 11 career interceptions and 57 passes defended.
A great offense needs a great offensive line. The Raiders upgraded theirs during the off-season by signing guard Kevin Boothe, right tackle Austin Howard, and left tackle Donald Penn. They bring 19 years of experience to the Raiders' trenches.
Boothe, Howard, and Penn will help protect new quarterback Matt Schaub as he tries to recapture the form that helped him pass for more than 4,000 yards and 20 touchdowns in three seasons and earn two invitations to the Pro Bowl. Schaub helps himself with his feet, too. He's carried the ball 172 times for 1,175 yards.
He'll get help from running back Darren McFaddden, who seeks to recapture the magic of 2009 when he gained more than 1,600 yards from scrimmage, and former Green Bay Packers wide receiver James Jones, a seven-year veteran who scored 14 touchdowns in 2012 and has more than 4,300 career receiving yards.
Second-round draft choice Derek Carr, a possible future starter, will watch and learn from Schaub in 2014.
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