The Raiders are undergoing a complete overhaul from its previous administration. And with few draft picks on which to begin building a foundation (six picks, none in rounds 1 or 2), new head coach Dennis Allen has quite the undertaking.
Hosting the Steelers in Week 3 doesn't make it any easier on him, or new offensive coordinator Greg Knapp or defensive coordinator Jason Tarver.
It's hard to list just one. Or any one. With a shaky (to put it mildly) secondary that didn't receive any help this offseason, the Raiders will trudge out the same unit that finished 2011 ranked 29th in points and yards allowed.
Offensively, they may see something of a boost with QB Carson Palmer in camp and unchallenged from the start of the offseason. Palmer looked rusty early in his comeback campaign last year, but showed flashes of mediocrity down the stretch. The emergence last season of WR Denarius Moore could give the Raiders an offensive weapon.
The biggest, though, will be the return of RB Darren McFadden after missing most of 2011 with a variety of injuries. When healthy, he's one of the best all-around runners in the league, and he's likely to carry a huge chunk of the offense.
OLB Kamerion Wimbley performed well for the Raiders the last two years after being traded from Cleveland before the 2010 season. He left via free agency and will play for the Titans this year. C Samson Satele is one of the better centers in the league, but he'll head off to play for Indianapolis.
A crowded Raiders backfield lost dependable back-up Michael Bush, as he and former starting QB Jason Campbell fled for Chicago. Kevin Boss, the tight end the Raiders signed in 2011, was let go as well, moving on to Kansas City.
This series will go through each of the Steelers games slated on the 2012 NFL Schedule, and we'll evaluate how they stand post-draft and pre-training camp. We'll revisit this again in August, but for now, we're comparing where each team is compared to where they were last year.