Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The current state of things part II

Like the Revolution, the Richmond Raiders had an extremely busy offseason, and while things were pretty good, they were not perfect.  Once the season ended in 2010, Head Coach Charles Gunning was relieved of his duties and moved back to Fayetteville, NC.  In his place the Fraizer's hired Coach Chris Simpson.  Coach Simpson is most recently known for his perfect season in Baltimore with the Mariners in 2010, of the now defunct AIFA.  Having spoken to Simpson, I was honestly excited to see what he could do for this franchise, after all, he IS a proven winner.  Unfortunately Simpson won't be on the sidelines on 3/11/11 at the preseason home opener, as he moved to TX with his wife so she could take a better job.  Now, I understand in tough economic times people do things that make the most sense for their own family, but I was disappointed to hear he moved on.  Simpson was a guy that would have done great things for this franchise.  The following day the Raiders announced the signing of former Philadelphia Eagle, James Fuller as head coach of the Raiders.  Honestly I do not know enough about him to give a prediction (other than his resume posted on the Raiders website), but the Criswells are still on staff and they will work to win this season.

My biggest gripe about the Raiders is double edged actually.  Of the members of the team from 2010 there are only two returners to the 2011 roster, HB/FB Craig Mangrum and DB Rece Thorne.  I would have loved to have seen a larger percentage of returners just for continuity sake and fan morale, but then I remind myself that with last year's roster the team went 6 - 8.  And of those six wins, four were against the now defunct NJ Revolution and the Fayetteville Guard.  When the team played quality opponents they got beat. They could not finish out a game.  So while I will miss Schubert, Little, Brown and Jackson, we only beat bad teams with them on the roster. 

And for the record, Schubert was my hands down favorite player on the roster last year.  He worked his ass off. I am convinced if he was 6 inches taller, he would be in the NFL.

My final verdict: The Raiders made some huge steps in the right direction this offseason, but I'm not sold on them being a championship caliber team in the SIFL.

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