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Showing posts from April, 2010

Minicamp Highlights

How about some one-liners? - JaMarcus Russell looked good, who knows what that means going forward. - Russell looked noticeably thinner than last season, not 300 pounds (Shame on for reporting it) - Richard Seymour is working on a long-term contract with the Raiders - Oren O'Neal was waived - Veteran Michael Bennett is in for a tryout as was rookie DT Allen Smith from Stanford. - Bruce Campbell has a severe learning disability, which likely aided his fall in the draft. More on that as it becomes available. - Additions and subtractions to my undrafted rookie list. Add TE John Owens and DB Joey Thomas, remove WR Trent Guy (Panthers). - Russell hasn't taken a pay cut...yet. - The Raiders are still a 4-3 defense, despite much speculation. - Lamarr Houston is indeed playing left end. He will have a tough time earning a starting role there. - Russell's bling necklace inventory: #2 Jersey, The Chosen One, Russell Figure with a cape, a hand giving a middle

Minicamp: Magic or Misery?

There is an elephant in the room and every other sports writer on the planet is going to want to talk about him. I will attempt to write an entire blog post without mentioning He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Minicamp can be the start of a magical season or the start of yet another disaster. For the Raiders, a winning record and/or a playoff appearance would be a magical season. Seven years of losing takes a toll on any fan base. California's economy aided the Raiders step backwards in 2009 in regards to television blackouts. Can the Raiders climb out of the basement and back into respectability? It all starts today with a non-contact minicamp. Last season minicamp was plagued by injuries, dropped passes and work ethic question. Not a very good way to start of a season; a season in which the Raiders won five games. This season feels different. There is a positive vibe coming from the Raiders organization, the fans and the media. There is one black eye on the Raiders organization., but no

Tony Washington Deserves a Chance

I've advocated Abilene Christian offensive tackle Tony Washington via my blog and twitter. Washington is a registered sex offender and is required to register for life. He was convicted of having consensual sex with his 15-year-old sister, when he was 16. Seven years ago. This is no doubt a disgusting act, for which Washington pays a price. He will carry a stigma for the rest of his life. Below is an excerpt from the original report from SportsFanLive: "The fact that the offense was committed as a juvenile means the odds are in his favor. According to a report published by the National Center on Sexual Behavior of Youth, adolescent sex offenders have a 5 percent to 14 percent chance of sexual re-offenses. Dr. Fred Berlin, Associate Professor of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and founder of the Sexual Disorders Clinic, believes that unlike adult offenders, juveniles are “highly treatable” and “ra

Minicamp Preview

Now that minicamp has finally arrived, the Raiders will get a chance to take a look at its draft picks and free agent signings. Will JaMarcus Russell participate? Will he be cut? Questions only Al Davis can answer and not something worth speculation. Starting now, the Raiders coaches will begin to shape the depth chart. The coaches may evaluate undrafted rookies and decide to keep a few for the next minicamp and discard a few others after getting a closer look. One of the Raiders' goals was to have every draft pick make the team. The greatest risk will immediately be safety Stevie Brown, but that could end up being 100% wrong come August, there are always surprises. What positions should we keep our eye on? Along the offensive line there should be good competition at right guard and right tackle. Look for who is taking second string reps on the left side, as versatility as a backup is valued. Chris Morris is a prime example. The second position to watch is defensive tackle. Will La

Raiders Want a Redo: Russell Will Compete

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Russell will be allowed to report to minicamp and compete for the job. If Al Davis is intent on keeping Russell, this is the way to do it. Cutting Russell right now would be a favor, allowing him to potentially hitch a ride with another team. It also gives Russell time to learn the offense for that new team. Keeping Russell around allows him to compete for *a* job on the team. If the Raiders decide not to hold onto JaMarcus come cut down day, he will walk away with the $3 million and be hard-pressed to find another team. This type of maneuver gives the Raiders serious leverage in trying to force Russell to take a pay cut. If the report proves true, the Raiders are happy to keep JaMarcus around in a reserve roll or are intent on seeing how he responds to true competition. I'll call ESPN out for reporting this both ways. It is easy to float a rumor like this, the Raiders will never confirm the report and usually they don't even bother to den

Position To Watch: Left Tackle

There were approximately four major needs the Raiders wanted to address this offseason. 1 - The Quarterback 2 - The Run Defense 3 - The Offensive Line 4 - The Return Game Time will tell if the offseason moves will actually improve these areas, but the Raiders took significant steps to that end. The Raiders have done just about as much as they can do to address the quarterback, the run defense and the return game. The offensive line has some depth, but will Bruce Campbell and Jared Veldheer be immediate starters? Can either play left tackle? It would make sense at this point for both guys to compete for spots at right tackle and right guard. Tom Cable has made comments alluding to this kind of start for the Raiders young lineman. This leaves incumbent start Mario Henderson the lone man at left tackle, with very little competition to push him. The good news: - Both Bruce Campbell and Jared Veldheer have the potential to be a good left tackle - The line has depth - Khalif Barnes and Coope

Is Russell, Davis or the NFL to Blame?

Who is to blame for one of the biggest draft busts of all-time?   JaMarcus Russell? Is the 300 pound quarterback to blame for his career demise?   While it certainly is an easy case to make, many others have blamed the Raiders organization, mainly Al Davis for drafting Russell and giving him $30 million guaranteed. Is Al Davis to blame for JaMarcus Russell being a bust?   Or is the problem not the pawns, but the rules of the game? The NFL setup a system in which a rookie player without one snap of NFL experience is handed gobs of cash. Are they to blame?   Emotions run hot on this subject.   Russell was drafted first overall to a team which hadn't had a winning record in four seasons. He had a wealth of raw talent and he can throw a football 84 yards in the air.   We don't sympathize with Russell, he got $39 million for nothing, right? Why sympathize with a millionaire that didn't work hard for it?   Russell won the lottery and his plight isn&#

Rock Cartwright Signs One Year Deal

According to Chick Hernandez of Comcast Sports Net, RB/KR Rock Cartwright will sign a one-year deal with the Raiders. Cartwright is a kick return specialist and backup running back. He will probably play some fullback as well. He will be competition for the young players at both spots and quality depth. Cartwright is also a quality person and someone new QB Jason Campbell is comfortable with from his years in Washington.

and the Winner is...

Last week, I started a pre-draft contest to guess the Raiders first round draft pick. The six individuals who entered guessed correctly and deserve the bragging rights: Twitter Username: TDRaiders DonJuanG13 BuckRebel TerryLeeMBD AndersLevance2 Raidersblog (me) By random selection the winner of $25 Online Gift Certificate from the Raider Image is TerryLeeMBD To claim your prize please email to me with your contact details, include name, phone and address. You can find my contact information by clicking on contact at the top of the page. For the rest of you, better luck next time. The next contest will be held during the preseason.

10 Lingering Questions For The Raiders

The Raiders had a few basic goals this offseason: Improve the rush defense without sacrificing a pass rush, protect the QB, improve the return game, and acquire a better QB. I'm not sure even the Raiders believed they could address all these goals like they wanted to, but they did about as good as you could hope for them to do. There are still lingering questions the Raiders must answer before they play a regular season game in 2010. 1 - Can Rolando McClain play three downs and cover a running back or tight end? 2 - Will Lamarr Houston make an impact against the run in the base 4-3 and 3-4? 3 - How long will it take Jared Veldheer to catch up to the speed of the NFL game? 4 - Will Bruce Campbell put the effort in to improve his technique? 5 - Does Jacoby Ford have the ability and hands to go along with the speed that will make him a good return man and slot receiver? 6 - Will Quentin Groves develop into something more than he was for two seasons in Jacksonville? 7 - Will Jason Camp

Undrafted Free Agent Signees

Manase Tonga, FB, BYU - Scouting Report Alex Daniels, DE, Cincinnati - Scouting Report Trent Guy, WR, Louisville Brashton Satele, LB, Hawaii Alex Parsons, RG, USC - Scouting Report Andre Anderson, RB, Tulane - Scouting Report  - Video Chane Moline, FB, UCLA Kellen Heard, OT/DT, Memphis *All Unconfirmed

Raiders Draft Recap

The Oakland Raiders 2010 draft is over and Raider Nation should be happy. The Raiders selected productive football players early and saved projects with potential for the later rounds. Round 1 (8) - Rolando McClain, LB, 6-3, 254, Alabama Round 2 (49) - Lemarr Houston, DE, 6-2, 305, Texas Round 3 (69) - Jared Veldheer, OT, 6-8, 321, Hillsdale Round 3 (85) - Traded to Cleveland for Kamerion Wimbley Round 4 (106) – Bruce Campbell, OT, 6-5, 310, Maryland Round 4 (108) – Jacoby Ford, WR, 5-9, 181, Clemson (Acquired by trade for Kirk Morrison & a 5th) Round 5 (138) – Walter McFadden, DB, 5-11, 175, Auburn Round 5 (153) - Traded to Jacksonville for Quentin Groves Round 6 (190) – Travis Goethel, LB, 6-2, 240, Arizona Round 7 (215) – Jeremy Ware, CB, 5-10, 180, Michigan State Round 7 (251) – Stevie Brown, S, 6-0, 211, Michigan 2012 Round 4 pick - Traded for Jason Campbell The top undrafted free agents that should be on the Raiders radar: Tony Washington, OT, 6-6, 311, Abilene Christian LaGa

Campbell An Amazing Value

It isn't often you can get a starting QB via trade. It is even more rare when you can get a starting QB for a fourth round pick two years into the future. The Raiders have added a year to Campbell's deal making him a Raider through 2011. Jason Campbell's deal in oakland will pay him $3.14 million this season and $4.5 million in 2011 according to Adam Schefter. What does this mean for JaMarcus Russell and Bruce Gradkowski? Give the reigns to Campbell or a true competition? Time will tell. So who is Jason Campbell? Some scrub that couldn't win in Washington? Not exactly. Cambpbell has improved every year of his NFL career and each year has had a new offensive coordinator. He already gives the Raiders what they want, a 60% completion percentage and 3,000 yard passer. Clearly a great draft for the Raiders. Al Davis reportedly called Kirk Morrison to thank him for his service. Classy move by the old man, Kirk was a fan favorite.

The Defensive Scheme Mystery

Tom Cable said in his day two press conferenc e that Lamaar Houston would play "end" in the Raiders scheme. What? A 305 pound end? Bigger than Desmond Bryant, Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly, While it would be easy to pinpoint this as a clear 3-4 indicator, the Raiders would still be lacking the much needed Nose Tackle (Cam Thomas?) to run the 3-4 defense effectively. That isn't to say they may not play the 3-4, but Cable's unwillingness to commit to even playing the 3-4 at all is the real twist. Cable wants the media and fans to wait until mini-camp. Why he wants us to wait until then is a mystery. Is it like this year's version of the wildcat, but on defense? Why tip your hand so early if that is the case? I remember Rich Gannon specifically mentioning how much "single high safety" the Raiders were playing in a game last year and I didn't think much about it until now. Gannon went on to talk about how rare that was for the NFL. Single high safety i

Raiders Acquire Quentin Groves

According to Quentin Groves Twitter account he has been traded from the Jags to the Raiders. Compensation isn't yet known. Expect it to be a 4th or 5th round pick. Update: ESPN's Chris Mortensen confirms that it is for a 5th round pick.

Raiders 2010 Schedule With Analysis

The 2010 Raiders schedule: - Features no primetime games: Consider it a blessing. Raiders haven't fared well on National TV of late. It is always nice to have one, but the Raiders must earn one this season. - The Raiders will play division opponents in weeks 5, 7, 9, 13, 15, 17. Evenly spaced games a departure from 2009's back-to-back-to-back - One or two cold weather games: at Kansas City in early January and a Nov 21 matchup in Pittsburgh having cold weather potential. - Bye week comes late in week 10. Usually a pretty favorable time to get a bye is late in the season as guys get dinged up. - Two big time running backs will test the Raiders rush defense in the first two weeks. Chris Johnson and Steven Jackson - If the Raiders somehow challenge for a playoff spot, weeks 15, 16 and 17 could be pivotal. They could play tough or easy depending on scenario and flexible scheduling may allow yet for a primetime game IF the Raiders improve. Week 1 - Sun, Sept. 12 - at Tennessee Titan

Draft Contest, Win $50!

How to Enter: 1) Guess the Raiders first round draft selection correctly. AND one or more of the following: 2) Post your guess on Twitter, Followed by @Raidersblog and this hashtag: #raidersblogdraftcontest Example: “Trent Williams #raidersblogdraftcontest @Raidersblog” 3) Become a fan on Facebook and post your guess on the fan wall. 4) Post your guess as a comment on this blog post. Prize: 1) Up to $50 in Raider Image or NFL Shop Gift Cards 2) Bragging Rights 3) Al Davis’ Respect (Not really) Rules and Details: 1) You may have up to three entries, but no more than one on Twitter, Facebook or the Blog. 2) Contest closes at the start of the NFL Draft Thursday, April 22 at 7:30 PM Eastern Time (4:30 PM Pacific). All entries occurring after this time will not be eligible to win. 3) Winning: Because there may be multiple entries with the same guess, all entries with the same guess will go into a prize lottery. The winner will be selected at random. If no one correctly guesses eve

Analysis of Tom Cable's Press Conference

Below are exceprts of Tom Cable’s press conference that jumped out at me. Q : How would you classify needs heading into this? Coach Cable : We have some line of scrimmage issues on both sides of the ball. You know, I think those are some areas of concern. Making sure we have the right people at linebacker, make sure we have the right people in the secondary. Analysis: Read outside the lines. The Raiders needs are DT & OT. MLB and CB second. Don’t be surprised if those positions are the top 4 drafted.   Q : All kinds of things can take place up until the draft actually starts, in the end what will be successful for you and your coaching staff, as a successful draft in the end? Coach Cable : We have eight picks as of right now; if we can get eight guys that can make this football team, then that was a successful draft. As an organization, the most important thing to us is that we draft specifically where we feel a need for our football team. That’s a good thing, before

Gradkowski Tears Pectoral

As first reported by Bruce Gradkoski tore his pectoral muscle during the bench press on Wednesday. Gradkowski's agent, Ralph Cindrich, confirmed the injury is to his left pectoral muscle. He will have surgery on Friday and hopes to be ready for camp. How does his injury alter the Raiders plan? Can he still compete for the job with Russell?

Prep For Cable Presser: 69% Deception in 2009

I selected portions of Tom Cable’s 2009 Draft Talk with Media and compared what Cable said, to what happened. How much can we trust what he says this time of year? See below for details. Q: Being at 7, there will be guys projected to go high like Crabtree, Raji, who had things that, their stock has dropped or there are some red flags, does that help that top three talent could be available to you? Cable: You know, it might. A lot of that, though, is really speculation, none of those things are really real other than maybe the injury to Crabtree, so some of those other things, you know, they are what they are, but when you really dig down and look at it, they’re probably OK. They’re probably OK in the way that they’re evaluated and the way everybody sees them. Actual: “ Probably OK” = We aren’t drafting them. -1 Q: Has what you done in free agency altered your thinking? Cable: It has altered it, because we did some things on purpose. We did the trade for Satele, the sig

Morrison Will Sign Tender

According to a source, Kirk Morrison will sign his restricted free agent tender. This keeps him in Silver & Black unless the Raiders decide to trade him. The tender will earn him about $2.5 million in 2010. Morrison failed to generate enough interest for a team to give up a third round draft pick as a restricted free agent. The deadline was looming for Morrison to sign with another team and he opted to sign the tender over holding out until June 1. The source tells me Morrison isn't likely to show up for voluntary team workouts. Signing the tender allows the Raiders to retain him or trade him. In the end, Morrison and his agent knew holding out wouldn't allow the Raiders to explore trading him at the draft. It isn't known if the Raiders will explore a trade, but it is likely, as there would have been no other reason to place the low third-round tender on Morrison. Expect the Raiders to dangle Morrison for as low as a fourth round pick.

Marshall Trade: Bittersweet

In the widely speculated trade of Brandon Marshall, the Broncos traded him this morning for a second round pick in 2010 and 2011 to the Miami Dolphins. The initial impluse is to be glad Marshall is out of the division, but this is a bad trade for the AFC West. What should be the reaction is: How did Denver managed to get two second round picks for Marshall? Santonio Holmes was recently traded for a fifth round pick. Career stats: 4 seasons 60 games 235 receptions (3.92 per game avg) 3835 yards (63.92 per game avg) 20 TD (.33 per game avg) Roy Williams traded a year ago for first, third, and a sixth/seventh swap Career stats: 6 seasons 85 games 319 receptions (3.75 avg) 4678 yards (55.04) 37 TD (.44) Brandon Marshall traded for two second round picks. Career stats 4 seasons 61 games 327 receptions (5.36 avg) 4019 yards (65.89) 25 TD (.41) Marshall’s worth over Holmes: 1.49 receptions per game (~3 receptions over a 2 game span) 1.97 yards per game 0.08 TDs per game (1 TD more eve

The Sam Williams Scholarship

It would be easy to be disappointed with the re-signing of Sam Williams, the poster boy for Al Davis’ scholarship program. Sam Williams, now in his eighth season as a Raider, was supposed to be the answer as the SAM linebacker. He never panned out. Williams career started off rocky. He only played 10 games in his first three NFL seasons. Many teams would have cut Williams loose then, but Al Davis kept him on “scholarship.” Healthy for the first time in 2006, Williams never developed into a starting caliber strong-side linebacker. He recorded 38 tackles and 1 sack while starting in 13 games and playing in 15. After that, the Raiders realized Sam Williams was not the answer at outside linebacker and he started just 4 games in 2007 and had 16 tackles while beginning his special teams career. In 2008 and 2009, Williams started 2 games, but became a core special teamer. He was only forced into two starts at linebacker due to injury. Keeping Williams around after three injury plagued seasons

Predicting the Unpredictable

Al Davis has been called many things. Predictable isn’t one of them.   You might be able to predict his draft picks will be height, weight, speed guys, but can you predict which guy? Is also isn’t 100% of the time , demonstrated by Zach Miller selection in the second round.   There is a better chance of having a perfect NCAA Tournament Bracket than predicting Al Davis draft picks round one to seven.   With that said, I am going to highlight a few players that could be on the radar for the Raiders in the first round. In classic Al Davis style, he probably will not pick a single player on my list.   Bruce Campbell, OT FOR: He has the height, weight, speed that Al Davis looks for in a player. His combine performance was very good across the board. AGAINST: Al Davis hasn’t cared about speed out of offensive lineman in the past. Speed seems to matter more only from running backs, receivers and corners. Campbell is a third round prospect on tape by most accounts. CONCLUSION: Al

Gil Brandt Clarifies Tebow Remarks

Per Eddie Borsilli , Producer, Sirius NFL Radio, “(Gil Brandt) said (The Raiders) are not taking Tebow. He just impressed the coaches at combine when they put him on the board. Nothing more.”   This should clear up any lingering rumors about the Raiders potentially drafting Tim Tebow, especially in the first round.      

Mock Draft 2.0

1 St. Louis Rams - Sam Bradford, QB 2 Detroit Lions - Ndamukong Suh, DT 3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Gerald McCoy, DT 4 Washington Redskins - Russell Okung, OT 5 Kansas City Chiefs – Eric Berry, S 6 Seattle Seahawks – Bryan Bulaga, OT 7 Cleveland Browns – Joe Haden, CB 8 Oakland Raiders – Trent Williams, OT 9 Buffalo Bills – Jimmy Clausen, QB 10 Jacksonville Jaguars – Jason Pierre-Paul, DE 11 Denver Broncos (from Chicago) – Rolando McClain, ILB 12 Miami Dolphins – Dez Bryant, WR 13 San Francisco 49ers – CJ Spiller, RB 14 Seattle Seahawks (from Denver) – Taylor Mays, S 15 New York Giants – Mike Iupati, OG 16 Tennessee Titans – Sean Weatherspoon, OLB 17 San Francisco 49ers (from Carolina) – Devin McCourty, CB 18 Pittsburgh Steelers – Maurkice Pouncey, C/OG 19 Atlanta Falcons – Derrick Morgan, DE 20 Houston Texans – Earl Thomas, S 21 Cincinnati Bengals – Sergio Kindle, DE/OLB 22 New England Patriots – Jared Odrick, DT 23 Green Bay Packers – Anthony Davis, OT 24 Philade

Kryptonite at Quarterback: Jason Campbell The Answer?

Al Davis’ Raiders have successfully developed only one young quarterback in its history.   Daryle Lamonica had played in four seasons prior to joining the Raiders. He developed into “the Mad Bomber” in Oakland, but he wasn’t too bad of a backup prior to joining the Raiders.   Jim Plunkett developed later in his career and after sitting on the bench for several seasons. Rich Gannon was hardly a spring chicken and inherited a talented offense.   Todd Marinovich, JaMarcus Russell, Andrew Walter and Marc Wilson are good examples of the Raiders failure to develop a young quarterback.   Al Davis won three Super Bowls, but the one thing that has eluded him was the ability to develop a young quarterback. Sure he had one, Ken Stabler, but he was the exception, not the rule.   One thing Davis has been pretty good at doing is recognizing quarterbacks with the right skill set that might just need a change of scenery. The afformentioned Plunkett, Lamonica and Gannon.   He did the same