The Raider Ramble sits down with Wild West Football’s Jake Hamilton to discuss all things Silver and Black.
RaiderRamble.com recently had the opportunity to share some words with one of the brightest up-and-coming minds in covering the Raiders, Jake Hamilton.
Hello! I just wanted to take a quick minute to thank The Raider Ramble for taking the time to ask me some questions. I’ve been a huge fan of their site since the start up and have known their founder, Mario, for quite some time!
So tell our readers a little about yourself and how you got into writing and talking about the Raiders?
Well, last December, I took a trip to Kansas City from New York to see the Raiders play the Chiefs on TNF. It was about a 17-hour car ride and I went with a couple of my best friends. On the journey, there was obviously a lot of smack talk, which led to some ideas. We then came up with the concept of starting the podcast “Wild West Football in the AFC” which would focus on our favorite division. My friend John is a longtime Chief fan and Brett also works on our audio; the podcast has been an absolute joy so far and has led me to meet some pretty cool people.
The podcast has been an absolute joy so far and has led me to meet some pretty cool people. I ‘ve spoken with Raider’s columnist, Maurice Moton, of Bleacher Report on some advice for someone new to the industry. He suggested that I start to write and that it would complement the podcast nicely; he was spot on.
As I began writing, it eventually opened up a lot of doors for me; I was writing Raiders content for Just Blog Baby, which is a part of the Fansided Network. This then led me into a four month long internship with the Buffalo Bills where I was their “New Media Intern”. I was honored to work with them and write content for their blog. It opened my eyes to a lot of new things and I learned so much in such little time.
I’m currently writing for three blogs – Black Hole Banter, Gridiron Expert, and Madden School. With all of that, I am still working on the podcast with our great team. Along the way, we have even added a new member, Brendan McGlynn, to the squad where he represents the Chargers.
Currently with the podcast, we are hosting a fantasy football league called “Podcast For The People” in which we are challenging fans to play with us! The best part is that it is a charity league. The entry fee is quite hefty with $150 per team but this will hopefully allow us to raise over $2,000 for charities. The details are on our league’s twitter page @WildWestAFC.
Well speaking of the AFC West, how do you see the division shaping up this year? Which team do you think will give the Raiders the most problems?
I’d say that the AFC West is probably the most challenging division in all of football. Realistically, I think any of the teams have the talent to make the playoffs – Yes, even the Chargers when healthy. With that, it’s quite a challenge to predict a winner. But, if I had to give my honest opinion, I could see the Raiders coming in first at 10-6, Chiefs second at 9-7, Chargers third at 8-8 and then the Broncos fourth at 7-9. It’s going to be a dogfight.
My thoughts with the Broncos regressing are just the fact that they don’t have that quarterback yet; we’ve seen small samples of Siemian and Lynch, but I can’t envision a situation in which they lead them to winning this division. While the defense remains mostly intact, they did lose Elvis Dumervil, and as another season goes by, players get older.
If the Chargers can remain healthy, they’re as good as anyone. In fact, their rookie last year, Joey Bosa showed signs of pure dominance. It’s a scary thought to add another pass rusher in this loaded division. Having Jason Verrett and Keenan Allen come back healthy will only help them. They weren’t an “easy” win for anyone last year. They can fight, but with coaching change comes some question marks.
For the Raiders, I don’t have any real “worries” regarding the defense, but it seems like the Chiefs have been their kryptonite for a couple of years. I’m not sure whether it is purely being outplayed or outcoached, but they have not been able to get the job done. Having drafted Obi Melifonwu in the second round, I hope that will give them the physicality to cover elite tight ends like Kelce. I’m confident that the Raiders roster is better rounded than the Chiefs.
Now individually speaking, which player on the roster has the most to prove this season?
We all remember the play when Brandin Cooks toasted Sean Smith for that 99-yard deep play in the first week of 2016. Well, I think Smith has the most to prove; it was an up and down year, to say the least. We’ve seen his skill set with his years in Kansas City and I think he underperformed last season as a whole. Given the additions we made in the offseason – adding Conley, Melifonwu and hopefully being able to generate more of a pass rush – I think Sean Smith can make a vast improvement. Hopefully, some pressure will be taken off his shoulders. The Raiders could have an excellent cornerback group with Sean Smith, David Amerson, and Gareon Conley.
I want to personally thank Jake for taking to time to talk some Raiders football and as you can see, he’s a very busy guy so make sure to check out all of his content and the charity he does, and check out his Twitter profile so you can be directed to all of his work!