Skip to main content

Seconday Shakeup?

Nnamdi Asomugha is a lock to start when healthy. No surprise there, but what about the rest of the secondary?

Chris Johnson is penciled in as the starter opposite Asomugha, but he was picked on last year. Quarterbacks completed 64% of passes thrown at Johnson. He was burned for six touchdowns and quarterbacks had a staggering 101.2 rating throwing at Johnson. Johnson did defense 12 passes and intercept 3 others, but it is clear Johnson takes a lot of risks.

Is the risk worth the reward?

The Raiders only other options at cornerback are rookies and Stanford Routt.

Routt was actually worse than Johnson in limited snaps. Quarterbacks had rating of 123.0 while completing 29 passes out of 41. That is 70.7% completion percentage! He also gave up two touchdowns.

The Raiders have one good option: move Michael Huff to cornerback.

Huff was a corner prospect coming out of college. Many teams thought he was best suited in coverage to cover up his inability to tackle. Raiders forced a square peg into a round hole the first few years, with Huff playing strong safety.

Finally, Huff was moved to free safety, but he hasn’t really developed into a good safety either. He has his moments and many people forget that he had a great start to the 2009 season, but was less than spectacular the rest of the way. His saving grace is his coverage skills. His run support has improved, but is still well below average.

Why not put Huff’s coverage skills to good use and move him to cornerback? After all, quarterbacks only completed 45.7% of passes thrown at Huff with no touchdowns for a rating of 34.2. Huff picked off three passes in his first two games and that was it, but he continued to be effective in coverage with 11 passes defended.

With Huff out of the picture at free safety, it opens up the free safety position for Tyvon Branch.

Branch had a very good year in both run coverage and pass coverage. He would need to take a developmental leap from defending tight ends to the slot receiver, but he is more than capable with his speed.

2009 second round selection Michael Mitchell was actually very good in limited snaps in 2009 and could be primed to see significantly more snaps at strong safety. To accomplish this, the logical move would be for Branch to slide over to free safety.

It is expected for a second round selection to be a starter by year two and it looks like Mitchell could be ready.

Mitchell wasn’t forced into coverage much during his rookie season, which makes this area of his game a bit of an unknown. He was thrown at just six times.

This recommendation probably comes a year early. Logically, Mitchell will probably be used more as a hybrid linebacker with the coaching staff easing him into coverage responsibilities slowly against the tight end. They would do the same with Branch, having him slowly start to cover more slot receivers as the 2010 season goes on.

This is something to monitor during camp. Expect Branch and Mitchell get a lot of work in coverage and watch closely for Branch defending slot receivers or lining up as the free safety on the weak side.

*Special thanks to for the great stats.


- Check out the links section for a video link to ESPN’s 30 for 30 Straight Outta L.A. directed by Ice Cube.


  1. I can't want to see what Mike Mitchell will do. I know he will be a hard hitter and have people scared to come across that middle.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Oakland Raiders Swing for the Fences in 2016 NFL Draft

[embed align="center"][/embed] These aren't your daddy's Oakland Raiders or even your younger self's Raiders. If anything, these are your newborn's Raiders or your puppy's Raiders. These are the Raiders we've never seen before. Indicative of the freshness of the franchise was their 2016 NFL Draft. No longer slave to a high draft pick and desperate needs, the theme of the draft for the Raiders was upside. It's as if general manager Reggie McKenzie got so used to hitting his draft picks out of the park that he started swinging for the fences. We'll have to wait a couple of years before we know if he struck out or if he'll continue his Ruthian ways. First, McKenzie boldly went with a safety at No. 14 overall. Kyle Joseph is coming off a torn ACL and fills a major need, but safety isn't a premium position. Only a handful of safeties have been drafted in the first 14 picks in the last 15 years and include names like Ea

The Raiders aren't who we thought they were....they're better

The Oakland Raiders are tired of being the team that will be good in a year or two. The team expects to win now and it is winning now. We thought the Raiders needed more talent. We thought that being in the playoff hunt was a year away for this team, but we were wrong. This isn't the team we thought they were, they're better. On Sunday, they moved to 3-3 on Sunday with a 37-29 win over the San Diego Chargers that wasn't close until the final minute. It was also the Raiders second road win of the season. The last time the Raiders had two road wins by their sixth game was 2011. Before that, a five-year streak from 1998-2002. The Raiders went 8-8 in 1998, 1999 and 2011 and narrowly missed the playoffs each year.  They made the playoffs in 2000, 2001 and 2002. They didn't have a losing record in any of those seasons because teams that can win on the road are usually pretty good. As the season matures, there is more and more evidence that some of the "best-case scenario

Looking Forward: Raiders 2012 Free Agents

Khalif Barnes - Weakest link on the offensive line with youth behind him. Raiders will look for for other options. It's not as if there aren't a dozen Khalif's on the street each year. Darryl Blackstock - Was a Chuck Bresnahan guy, but found a home on special teams. Would have to make the team as a reserve LB and special teams guy next training camp. Wouldn't be surprised to see him back as a camp body or gone entirely. Kyle Boller - Hue didn't have enough confidence to turn to Boller. Expect the Raiders to look elsewhere for a backup to Carson Palmer. Jerome Boyd - Was nothing more than a reserve and special teams player. Some good moments and some very bad ones. Camp body again and fate will depend on the defensive coordinator. Tyvon Branch - About the only consistent producer in the secondary. Raiders will want to bring him back. Desmond Bryant - He's been great in limited action and can play inside and out. Key reserve. Michael Bush - He'll find a home a