Posted by ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson
Power Rankings: Preseason: 30. This week: 27.
Where they stand: The Raiders are 2-6 and are in the midst of another disappointing season. The Raiders opened the season with some hope. They played three-time defending AFC West champion San Diego tough on opening night before losing in the final seconds. The Raiders have been a disaster since. They have not played hard in the majority of their games and have been beaten by 20-plus points in four of their six losses. Fans are staying away from home games and the Raiders have struggled on both sides of the ball. They are playing mostly uncompetitive football for the seventh straight season.
Disappointments: It has to start with quarterback JaMarcus Russell. He has been one of the worst players in the NFL this season. He has been inaccurate and has no command of the offense. He was benched for more than a half in Oakland’s seventh game, but he has regained his starting job. Still, Russell is not Oakland’s only problem. The team’s receivers are dropping too many balls and the offensive line has struggled and hurt the run game. Defensively, Oakland has been blown out often and has been bad against the run.
Surprises: The Raiders have some decent young players. Rookie Louis Murphy has dropped several passes, but he looks like he has a good future. He was a good value pick for a fourth-round pick. Two other draft picks -- tight end Brandon Myers and defensive lineman Matt Shaughnessy -- have played decently. Kicker Sebastian Janikowski is 12-for-12 on field goals attempts. Janikowski has been a solid kicker, but his accuracy has been special.
Outlook: If Oakland can find away to play with passion on a consistent bias, it could show improvement. The Raiders should be getting back receiver Chaz Schilens, running back Darren McFadden and guard Robert Gallery soon. They’ve all missed extensive time with injuries. Finding consistency is Oakland’s biggest challenge as it tries to avoid becoming the first team in NFL history to lose at least 11 games in seven straight seasons.