http://www.realfootball365.com/nfl/articles/2007/05/raiders-dee-fense300507.html Even the Oakland Raiders fan with the single largest persecution complex out there may have a legitimate gripe with the preseason buzz thus far. To wit: Why are the silver and black already written off heading into the 2007 season? Jeez, opposing offenses should be terrified. Seriously, has anyone looked at the numbers from last season? Last year's Raiders, 2-14 record and all: • ranked third in yards allowed (4,557 cumulative or 284.8 per game); • were tops in the NFL against the pass at just 150.8 yards per game, 8.5 yards better than the No. 2 Indianapolis Colts ; and • allowed just under three TDs per game at 20.8, right about average for the league. Of course, football is a game that evades telling statistical measurement, and these numbers can't be taken too seriously; on the other hand, the fact that the Oakland 'O' tossed as many interceptions (23) as the defense managed in total turnovers speaks volumes. Combined with an eyebrow-raising 20 fumbles committed and an eyeball-popping 72 sacks allowed, you can begin shifting nearly all the blame the offense's way. So, what have the Raiders done with this excellent 'D' in the post-postseason? Kept their corps mostly together, which is obviously a good thing. From the top-notch secondary, 11 of 14 currently listed on the roster are returning from last year's gang. (Why were these guys so unbelievably underrated in 2006?) With the exception of nine-year man Duane Starks, all are under 30. The loss of safety Derrick Gibson won't hurt -- he was Raider Nation's whipping boy on defense for six years. The rookie to keep an eye on in Oakland is the dude with the Madden-generated name, third-rounder DE Quentin Moses. With the Georgia Bulldogs, Moses went from redshirt in 2002 to starter in 2005, displaying the concomitant learning curve. And in 2006, Moses changed emphasis in his game to stopping the run, an area Oakland can use assistance in. As for the offense with which this potentially dominant defense is melded? Well, the moves have been plentiful. Along with reshaping the depth chart at QB with JaMarcus Russell and Josh McCown, the Raiders drafted across the backfield, at receiver, at tight end...oh, and you may have heard they ditched bad boy Randy Moss. (For the sake of argument here, let's pretend that's a plus.) Oakland unfortunately poorly addressed the woes of the offensive line, excepting perhaps 91st overall draft pick Mario Henderson, who should look scary in Raider black at 6-foot-7, 300-plus pounds and will certainly be starting before too long (say, halftime, Week 1). But hey, Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither has an NFL success. These Raiders look like the Dallas Cowboys of about three years ago, with a young, no-name defense weaving itself into a tight-knit, playoff-bound corps. This Oakland 'D' flew under the radar last season and may yet do so in 2007, but not for long. You read it here first: By the end of this decade, the Raiders will once again become known for the single most punishing defensive unit out there.