Looking at why Raiders could surprise

We found out on Wednesday that Raiders owner Al Davis expects big things from his team, and his quarterback, in 2010.

Davis certainly isn’t alone in his optimism, which has been running high for the Raiders. So where do these suddenly upstart Raiders stack up in the AFC West?

“The Raiders can be a surprise team,” Marshall Faulk said. “If you look at the teams in the AFC West, the top two teams from last year — the Chargers and Broncos — are both in a state of flux. They have injuries. Looking at the Chargers, we don’t know who the left tackle is going to be. We don’t know when Vincent Jackson is going to come back. We have no idea when Shawne Merriman is going to come back. Antonio Cromartie is gone. You lose Jamal Williams. There are a lot of changes going on, not to mention there’s no LaDainian Tomlinson.

“I look for the Raiders and the Chiefs to maybe move up. The Raiders could surprise some people. I like how they played football late in the season last year after they got JaMarcus Russell out of the starting quarterback position.”

Resident Raider Warren Sapp offered a more simple solution for the Raiders’ improvement, saying Davis has to let the coaching staff do their job.

“Unless Al Davis takes his hand out of the cooking in the kitchen, the Raiders are in for a long season,” said Sapp. “Nothing goes on in Raiderland without Al putting his finger on it and saying, ‘OK, that’s OK for you to do that.'”

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