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Showing posts from June, 2010

Bush, McFadden Compete For Carries

Darren McFadden finds himself in a difficult position. He is on the brink of being a bust. He still possesses extreme talent, but will be competing for the lead back roll with Michael Bush.

While McFadden’s sidekick at Arkansas, Felix Jones, is finding success in Dallas, McFadden has struggled staying healthy and with effectiveness.

The concern about McFadden coming out was that his legs went dead on contact and fumbling, and he has done little to change that in his two seasons with the Raiders.

Far more concerning is McFadden looks for contact. With durability concerns, tremendous speed, trouble with ball security and legs that go dead on contact, he should probably attempt to avoid some of the pounding and attempt to outrun linebackers to the corner.

Michael Bush has a different problem to overcome. When given consistent work, he has proven he can carry the load averaging 4.6 yards per carry. The problem has been consistent work.

However, consistent work isn’t the fault of coaches unwill…

Mawae, Bulluck, & Sanjay Lal

Why haven’t the Raiders signed guys like Kevin Mawae or Keith Bulluck? Is Sanjay Lal qualified to be the receivers coach for the Raiders?

Kevin Mawae

In the Raiders specific case, there is no collusion going on to keep the NFLPA President from wearing silver and black.

Kevin Mawae’s skills have significantly degraded over the past few seasons.

Mawae is smart, he will make the correct line calls, but his physical tools have started to fail him.

While a still a decent pass protector, he wasn’t effective run blocking for the Titans. The Titans had a good run game in 2009, but if Mawae was pivotal to the Titans run game they would have re-signed him. ranks Mawae the league’s worst run blocking center.

Mawae also has never played in the zone blocking system, so he would be starting in a new system at an advanced age.

In short, the perceived value of Mawae is higher than his actual return.

Keith Bulluck

The lack of interest in Keith Bulluck can be attributed to several factors, b…

Who's On The Bubble?

Al Davis and the coaching staff face harder cuts this offseason as they attempt to improve the 53-man roster.

Below is a projection of the roster locks and bubble players:

Comment here, on Twitter or on Facebook.

QUARTERBACKS (4, will keep 3)
Locks: Jason Campbell, Bruce Gradkowski
Bubble:Kyle Boller, Charlie Frye

RUNNING BACKS (8, will keep 5 or 6)
Locks: Darren McFadden, Michael Bush
Bubble: Marcel Reece, Rock Cartwright, Michael Bennett, Luke Lawton, Manase Tonga, Chane Moline

WIDE RECEIVERS (12, will keep 5 or 6)
Locks: Darrius Heyward-Bey, Louis Murphy, Chaz Schilens, Jacoby Ford
Bubble: Johnnie Lee Higgins, Todd Watkins, Jonathan Holland, Nick Miller, Yamon Figurs, Shaun Bodiford, Paul Hubbard, Damola Adeniji

TIGHT ENDS (4, will keep 3)
Locks: Zach Miller, Brandon Meyers
Bubble: Tony Stewart, John Owens

OFFENSIVE LINE (15 will keep between 9 or 10)
Locks: Mario Henderson, Langston Walker, Khalif Barnes, Bruce Campbell, Jared Veldheer, Robert Gallery, Samson Satele, Chris Morris
Bubble: Cooper Ca…

Offseason Momentum?

There is no media access until training camp, but by NFL standards, the Raiders have had a good offseason. By recent Raiders standards it was a great offseason.

If you had to guess what items were on Tom Cable’s checklist going into the offseason, it might look something like this:

1) Cut JaMarcus Russell - Check
2) Find a quality QB – Check (Jason Campbell)
3) Improve the run defense – Check, Check, Check (Rolando McClain, Lamarr Houston, John Henderson)
4) Fix the return game – Check (Jacoby Ford, Yamon Figurs, anyone not named Gary Russell)
5) Improve the offensive line – Check minus (Veldheer, Campbell, etc)

Grading this checklist today, Cable gets 90 percent and an A-.

Grading this checklist after training camp, it might look a little different.

Grading this checklist after eight games, it might look very different.

Grading this checklist after the season, it might look extremely different.

It is understandable that the fans are excited. Fans that have had so little to cheer for the past se…

Raiders Sign John Henderson

According to Adam Schefter, the Raiders have signed former Jaguars defensive tackle John Henderson.

Henderson is likely to be in the rotation, but don't be surprised if he plays behind Desmond Bryant.

Good veteran defensive tackles are very underrated commodities. Keeping those big guys fresh is probably the most important thing for a football team.

Henderson is likely to play the 1-technique spot.

If you are confused as to what that means here is a good breakdown of the defensive line positions.

zero technique - would mean a nose tackle aligned nose-to-nose with a center.
1 technique - lined up in the middle of the A gap.
2 technique - nose-to-nose with the offensive guard.
3 technique - lined up in the middle of the B gap or outside shade of the guard. He is responsible for maintaining outside leverage and not letting himself get hook or reached blocked by the offense.
4 technique - lined up nose-to-nose with the offensive tackle.
5 technique - the defensive lineman had his nose on the ou…

Stripped! Raiders Lose Two OTA's

The Raiders were stripped of two days (12 hours, four on-field) of organized team activities (OTA’s) for violating off-season workout rules.

No reason was given for the forfeiture of the days by the NFL or NFLPA.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement outlines these rules for OTA’s.

- Max 14 days
- No weekends
- Totally Voluntary (can’t threaten to cut a player for not showing up).
- Max 4 days a week
- No live contact (bump and run, tackling, pass rushing drills)
- No offensive vs. defensive line drills
- Six total hours per day max
- Two hours on-field work max
- “The intensity and tempo of the drills should be at a level conducive to learning, with player safety as the highest priority, and not as a level where one player is in a physical contest with another player.”

There are also rules governing workouts that are not a part of OTA’s. It is doubtful these were the rules violated that resulted in the penalty, but they may be applicable.

- Four total hours a day max
- 90 minutes max on-field
- 2 hou…

The Raiders' Ferocious Front Four

If football games are won in the trenches, it only seems appropriate to take a closer look at the Raiders’ defensive line.

The Raiders released Gerard Warren this winter and drafted Lamarr Houston from the University of Texas to solidify the defensive line.

Warren was inconsistent, showing flashes the past couple seasons. The former first-round selection has never played to his talent level. The Raiders were the third team to give up on him. Of course, he was also due a sizable salary in 2010 and that money can be put to better use.

The Raiders have surprising decided to put Houston at defensive end, instead of his college position of defensive tackle. What on the surface seems like an odd move is actually a very logical one.

Houston’s talents would be wasted playing the one-technique tackle position and the three-technique tackle position is still being occupied by Tommy Kelly.

Kelly has been much criticized due to the large contract he received in 2007. While Kelly may never live up to t…

Sixth Annual Fred Biletnikoff Hall of Fame Golf Classic / Raiders Tournament

The Sixth Annual Fred Biletnikoff Hall of Fame Golf Classic / Raiders Tournament will be held this Monday at the Catta Verdera Country Club in Lincoln, CA.

For the first time, the tournament will be video tapped and edited into an hour long show to be broadcast on Comcast Sports Net Bay Area of June 27, 2010.

Confirmed guests are:

Fred Biletnikoff, Hall of Fame (HOF), MVP Super Bowl XI, Raider Legend
*Jim Otto, HOF Raider Legend
Willie Brown, HOF Raider Legend
James Lofton, HOF Raider Legend
Dave Wilcox, HOF 49ers Legend
Bobby Bell, HOF Kansas City Chiefs Legend
Deacon Jones, HOF Rams Legend
Tom Flores, Raider legend Player and Coach
James Caan, Actor
Carl Weathers, Actor & Raider Legend
Peter Dante, Actor
MarkvDavis, Oakland Raider
*Amy Trask, CEO Oakland Raiders
*Marc Badain, CFO Oakland Raiders
Daryle Lamonica, Raider Legend
Lincoln Kennedy, Raider Legend
Ben Davidson,Raider Legend
Mervyn Fernandez, Raider Legend
Andre "Bad Moon" Rison, (Spiderman) Raider Legend
Rod Martin, Raider Legend

Who's Better, Nnamdi Asomugha or Darrelle Revis?

Who's the best cornerback in the NFL?

Some fans think New York Jets star Darrelle Revis, while others say it's Oakland Raiders veteran Nnamdi Asomugha. It is an argument that simply cannot be won.

The Revis side will throw out his 23 passes defensed and how quarterbacks completed just 36.9 percent of their passes towards Revis last season.

Asomugha supporters will point out that only 28 passes came his way all of last season, so one can contend that he did his job better since no one is throwing at him.

So, is there a way to come up with a ranking system that would avoid as much bias and subjectivity as possible?

Stats with the least amount of subjectivity for cornerbacks are snaps, TA, Receptions Against, Catch Percentage, Interceptions, and Pass Deflections.

The challenge is to figure out a way to compare players that did not have equal opportunities. There is a yards per carry average for running backs that does just that, but for cornerbacks there is no such statistic.

My ranking…

"Return" To Excellence

One of the major problems with the 2009 Raiders was the struggle in the return game.

Fullback Gary Russell became the primary kick returner when Nick Miller was injured for the season.

Johnnie Lee Higgins was the primary punt returner, but showed little of the promise in 2009 that he did in 2007 and 2008.

The Raiders ranked 32nd in the league in kick return average in 2009 with just 18.2 yards per return and 29th in the league in punt return average with just 4.9 yards per return.

There are three phases of the game: offense, defense and special teams. The Raiders have two of the best legs in the game to kick and punt, but in 2009 the worst return game.

A lot more goes into the return game in the form of blocking than we can cover here and the personnel are so fluid at this point it isn’t worth the effort.

One way the Raiders can improve drastically is to give the return duties to a new player.

Gary Russell’s lack of speed and agility really hurt the return game. Warren Sapp at one point co…