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Showing posts from July, 2010

'Learning Intensive' Practices Delay Assessment

The Raider Nation must wait until Monday to begin assessing the team behind the leadership of new starter Jason Campbell. Thanks to Tom Cable’s ‘learning intensive’ practices, the Raiders will not put on pads until Monday.

The offense could put the defense to shame in non-contact drills, and with little risk of getting hit or tackled, the offensive players have an advantage. Equally, a poor offensive performance in non-contact drills doesn’t mean much. The coaches could be testing things out and the players are adjusting timing.

Enjoy the weekend for what it is, a non-contact, buzz generating walk-through. Sad to say, the Raiders have deprived the fans the opportunity to assess their favorite team for the first four days of camp.

Hopefully Cable is right and the learning intensive practices make for fewer mistakes and fewer soft tissue injuries for the rest of camp.

Monday is when the assessment can truly begin and questions can be answered.

1) Can the linebackers cover? – This can be gaug…

McClain Receives $23 Million Guaranteed

Raiders first-round draft pick Rolando McClain signed a five-year $40 million contract with about $23 million in guarantees.

McClain should arrive in time to participate in camp activities today.

Al Davis has a long history of getting his picks signed on time. The only rare exception is JaMarcus Russell, a deal Davis didn't negotiate until the final week of the holdout.

The deal is just $500,000 less in guaranteed money than last year's selection, Darrius Heyward-Bey.




Step Up Your Game: Richard Seymour

Fourth in a series analyzing players that need to step up their game in 2010 for the Raiders to be a playoff team.

Franchise Player

Richard Seymour is the Raiders’ Exclusive Franchise Player. No long-term contract was agreed upon before the deadline last Thursday, so Seymour will play this season under the franchise tag.





(Photo Credit: Keith Allison)

The Raiders gave up a 2011 first-round draft selection for Seymour last year. In his first full season with the Raiders, he recorded 47 tackles and four sacks.

Seymour needs to take a more active leadership role and improve upon his four sack performance in 2010.

Now over 30, Seymour needs to prove he can still be effective or the Raiders may be less inclined to give Seymour the lucrative long-term extension he covets next season.

Increased production from Seymour will not only lead to more money in his pocket, but potentially more success for a Raiders team craving it for seven seasons.

The last thing the Raiders can afford from Seymour is any d…

Raiders Announce Campbell As Starter

Removing any notion of a competition between Jason Campbell and Bruce Gradkowski, the Raiders sent a mass email announcing Campbell starting quarterback.

Look for Campbell to receive all of the first team reps during training camp.

More to come...


Houston Signs, McClain Deal Immenent

The Raiders have announced the signing of Lamarr Houston.

I reported earlier today on Twitter that the deal would likely be done today.

McClain's deal should be signed in time for him to take the field when the Raiders start camp on Thursday.

Al Davis has a long track record of having his picks signed in time for camp. In some cases even paying a little extra to do so.

People forget that Al Davis wasn't negotiating JaMarcus Russell's deal originally. When Al Davis did take over, the deal was done within a week.

Update: Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times reports the deal for Lamarr Houston is a four-year deal worth up to $4.33 million and $2.505 million guaranteed.



Step Up Your Game: Thomas Howard

Third in a series analyzing players on the 2010 Raiders that need to step up their game for the Raiders to become a playoff team.

Who Will Cover?

The strength of the starting linebackers in 2009 was certainly their ability to play the pass. Thomas Howard, Kirk Morrison and Ricky Brown were all more adept at playing the pass than they were at playing the run.






(Photo Credit: Jeffrey Beall)


Flash-forward to 2010 and the starting linebackers are Trevor Scott, Rolando McClain and Kamerion Wimbley. Three new linebackers, two pass rushers and one rookie.

The drastic change comes on the heels of yet another poor year stopping the run. While some of that can certainly be placed upon the interior line play, the one constant had been Morrison and Howard. Morrison was shipped out of town, but Howard remains with an uncertain roll.

The Raiders have a totally different question surrounding the linebackers in 2010. Can they cover?

Scott, a converted defensive end, was effective rushing the passer and …

Step Up Your Game: Samson Satele

Second in a series analyzing players on the 2010 Raiders that need to step up their game for the Raiders to become a playoff team.

Anchoring the Line

There has been much talk about Mario Henderson’s spot at left tackle. There is no doubt Henderson needs to do a better job protecting the quarterback’s blind side. Left tackle is the glamour position on the offensive line, but the center is the hinge that enables the door to slam in the face of the defensive line.

The center doesn’t have to be the best run blocker, pass blocker or the most physical. Those things are helpful, but what the center must do is be in position and keep the other lineman in the correct position. To extend the analogy, the center is the hinge that keeps the door swinging and moving within a door frame. A bad hinge prevents the door from shutting properly and allows objects to pass through it.

Samson Satele enters 2010 as an uncontested starter along with Robert Gallery and Henderson. The improvement of which will be …

Stevie Brown Signed, Two To Go

The Raiders announced the signing of seventh-round S/LB Stevie Brown.

The only unsigned draft picks are now first-round pick Rolando McClain and second-round pick Lamarr Houston.

No first-round picks are signed and just a couple second-rounders have signed their rookie deals.

This should be an interesting couple of weeks.



Announcing Raiders-Blog.com!

Welcome to Raiders-Blog.com!

The new domain is up and running. There may be a few quirks here and there while I make all the necessary updates.

http://raidersblog.tk and http://raidernationstation.blogspot.com will still work if you prefer to use them.

I'm also beginning the migration from http://feeds.feedburner.com/raidernationstation to http://feeds.feedburner.com/Raiders-Blog

Ford Signs, Eats Wing Stop

The Raiders announced the signing of fourth-round pick Jacoby Ford.

The reported base value of the deal is $2.3 million.

Ford tweeted he was about to eat Wing Stop.

Wing Stop has some of the best fries on the planet and Ford can now afford to buy the large.

Remaining Unsigned Picks
Rolando McClain
Lamarr Houston
Stevie Brown


Step Up Your Game: Chris Johnson

The first in a series of blogs highlighting key players that need to step up their game in 2010, starting with training camp.

The Island and Swiss Cheese

With Nnamdi Asomugha locking down one side of the field, there is tremendous pressure placed upon the cornerback on the opposite side.

Chris Johnson has been tasked with holding down that side for the last season and a half. Once DeAngelo Hall was discarded half-way into the 2008 season, Johnson stepped in and played well enough to be the undisputed starter in 2009.

In 2009, Johnson was thrown at 100 times. Only nine players were thrown at more. Johnson was the most thrown at cornerback when weighted based on the percentage of snaps he was on the field.

The Raiders spent two draft picks on the position and tendered Stanford Routt at the highest level as a clear indication that the team wasn't happy with the group of cornerbacks.

While Chris Johnson may still be the odds on favorite to win the job again in 2010, his job is hardly secur…

Jeremy Ware Signs Four-Year Deal

The Raiders have agreed to terms with seventh-round defensive back Jeremy Ware.

Citing league sources, Aaron Wilson says the deal is $1.85 million over four years with a signing bonus slightly over $62,000.

Wilson also had signing bonus figures for Bruce Campbell and Jared Veldheer. Veldheer received a signing bonus of $895,000 and Campbell $522,000.

Remaining Unsigned Draft Picks:
Rolando McClain
Lamarr Houston
Jacoby Ford
Stevie Brown

Raiders Ink Walter McFadden

Rookie cornerback Walter McFadden signed a contract today, according to Raiders.com.




Walter is the younger brother of Steelers cornerback Bryant McFadden.

Drafted in the fifth-round, McFadden should initially figure into the depth chart as a nickel or dime cornerback.

Remaining Unsigned Rookies:
Rolando McClain
Lamarr Houston
Jacoby Ford
Travis Goethel
Jeremy Ware
Stevie Brown

Offensive Style Will Benefit Jason Campbell

The Washington Redskins parted ways with Jason Campbell after five seasons, trading him to the Oakland Raiders for a fourth-round pick in the 2012 NFL draft.

The Redskins along with new General Manager Bruce Allen and Head Coach Mike Shannahan decided Campbell wasn't going to lead the team to the promised land and traded for veteran Donovan McNabb.

The Eagles traded McNabb within the division opting to go with young quarterback Kevin Kolb, who was drafted the same year as JaMarcus Russell.

Comparing Quarterbacks 2009 Stats (as starters)

Bruce Gradkowski - 4 starts
65 Comp
118 Att
55.1% Comp
844 yards
210 YPG (injured in 4th)
6 TD
1 INT
2 Fumbles Lost (4 Total)
91.2 Rating

Donovan McNabb - 14 starts
267 Comp
443 Att
60.3% Comp
3553 Yards
254 YPG
22 TD
10 INT
3 Fumbles Lost (13 Total)
92.9 Rating

Jason Campbell - 16 starts
327 Comp
507 Att
64.5% Comp
3618 Yards
226 YPG
20 TD
15 INT
3 Fumbles Lost (13 total)
86.4 rating

Kevin Kolb - 2 starts
55 Comp
85 Att
64.7% Comp
718 yards
359 YPG
4 TD
3 INT
0 Fumbles Lost (0 Total)
92.2 …

Raiders Sign Veldheer and Campbell

The Raiders announced via Twitter the signing of offensive lineman Jared Veldheer and Bruce Campbell.Compensation was not disclosed, but Veldheer is believed to have signed a four-year deal according to Aaron Wilson. Veldheer was the Raiders third-round draft selection and Campbell a fourth-round selection.Unsigned:
1. Rolando McClain
2. Lamarr Houston
4. Jacoby Ford
5. Walter McFadden
6. Travis Goethel
7. Jeremy Ware
7. Stevie Brown

Raiders Pare Special Teams Costs

The Raiders waived special teams ace Isaiah Ekejiuba today, he announced on his twitter page.

Ekejiuba was given a contract last season worth and was paid almost $2.5 million in 2009. He was set to make $1.45 million in 2010.

For a special teams only player, this cost ended up being too great.

The Raiders are already spending $5.6 million in 2010 on Shane Lechler, Seabatian Janikowski and long-snapper Jon Condo.

The only reasonable assumption is the Raiders determined the cost to be too great to retain Ekejiuba.

There are two logical scenarios that likely took place. The Raiders asked Ekejiuba to take a pay reduction, and he refused, so the team decided to put him on waivers. Or, the Raiders decided they no longer needed or wanted Ekejiuba.

If he clears waivers he will be free to negotiate contracts with other teams. In this case, Ekejiuba only returns to the Raiders if he can’t find a better offer. The Raiders probably would only consider him back for the veteran minimum, if at all.



Trimming the Roster to 80

The Raiders must trim the roster to 80 players once all the drafted rookies are signed.

This should happen as the days draw closer to training camp.

The roster sits at 84 players, meaning four players will need to be cut if the Raiders intend to bring all the drafted rookies to camp.

It is seemingly impossible to accurately predict the last five roster spots on the 53-man roster, so predicting who makes the camp roster of 80 is even harder.

Still, there are potential candidates to be cut and cases can be made for and against each player.


DT Chris Cooper
For: Veteran, journeyman, could be quality depth at defensive tackle
Against: The Raiders brought in John Henderson and re-signed William Joseph to go along with Tommy Kelly, Desmond Bryant. Lamarr Houston and Seymour should spend time at defensive tackle also.

DT Kellen Heard
For: Good size and upside if the Raiders play the 3-4.
Against: Henderson can anchor the 3-4 and Heard had off-the-field issues in college. Undrafted rookie is expendable.

Michael Huff Wants To Play Cornerback

Raiders' safety Michael Huff wants to play cornerback, according to his recent Twitter post.

In the messages directed towards Raiders safety Tyvon Branch. Huff went on to say he wants to play corner because he has good "feet" and that he was going to setup a meeting with "the man."

It is entirely possible Huff was joking or the coaches could easily squelch the idea unless "The Man" Al Davis forces the issue.

This could be something that has legs, considering the Raiders would probably like to get second-round pick Michael Mitchell on the field more this season.

Stay tuned...