Last week in this space, we discussed The C Word. Today, we are back with yet another word-which-shall-not-be-spoken, at least not until we polish off the Eagles this Sunday. A word that was not supposed to be associated with the Raiders at all this year, even in the event of the best-case scenario unfolding. Seriously, I can't even say it. TELL 'EM WHAT WE TALKIN' 'BOUT JIM!
In an introduction to the perils of being a high-profile NFL writer, whoever does the Yahoo! power rankings noted the Raiders' upcoming schedule and threw out a "hmmmm" hours before I did the same on Tuesday. He, also, shied away from The P Word. All us experts know it's still premature. But with a win this weekend the Raiders would be 4-4 and on a roll. When you're at .500 halfway through the season and improving every week, with your promising young first-string tackles slated to finally take the field for the first time all season within the next month, what else should an NFL team be thinking of? Certainly not next year's draft.
Rookie second-round pick Menelik "Space Cadillac" Watson is set to be active for the first time this week after battling a series of various leg ailments. Drafted as a RT, Watson has been prepped to play the other side as well after Jared Veldheer tore his triceps. Because like you and I, Watson is a better football player than backup tackle Khalif Barnes. Barnes has filled in admirably enough that the Raiders will reportedly not start Watson, but will instead leave him as the lone reserve tackle coming off the bench with Tony Pashos still being injured.
Veldheer got cleared to ramp up football-related activities this week, and is considered on schedule with his recovery and likely to make his return in a few weeks. Starting C Stefan Wisniewski returned from injury to the lineup last week, and his pass protection calls were likely the difference between winning and losing against Pittsburgh. LB Miles Burris is also returning this week or next, but I believe he is projected to be a backup after starting and playing well enough last year. Sorry dude, but our defense just doesn't suck anymore.
The Eagles are a mess. I was hoping they would start Matt Barkley at QB this week, because he has no arm and our veteran secondary would eat him alive. But no, we get Nick Foles. I'm OK with that too. Mostly because he deserves a good beating for fucking all of us who thought he was a "safe" fantasy football play two weeks ago. I started him over Aaron Rodgers in two of my leagues. If I were a rich man, I would have gotten word to Sio Moore that all his potential fines this week would be on me. Does Nick Foles deserve decapitation for my stupidity? Probably not. But that won't prevent me from pumping my fist in vengeance if and when it happens.
Big shout out to my favorite Iggles fan The Admiral. Were we still roommates, or within a reasonable drive of each other, we would watch this game together in complete camaraderie regardless of the outcome. As much as it sounds like that's a testament to The Admiral, and it most certainly is, I'm pretty sure I would not feel the same way if he were a Chiefs or Broncos fan though. Those people can all go straight to hell. Go Raiders.