Skip to main content

Kelly Trims Down

In 2008, the Raiders gave Tommy Kelly a monster contract in the form of $18.125 million in guarantees with $25.125 million total in the first three years.

It is worth noting, Kelly stands to make about $4.5 million in 2010, having already collected all but $300,000 in bonus money. He will also now be bound to the Raiders until 2014 with only base salaries. He could be easily cut in future seasons.

The Raiders get much for those millions they paid Kelly as he recorded just 5.5 sacks in the two years since signing the deal.

All of this adds up to Tommy Kelly being a lightning rod for criticism. Some of the criticism merited and some not.

Instead of waste away as another member of Al Davis’ 2008 spending spree, Kelly has remained a professional. After playing the season at nearly 350 pounds, Kelly has trimmed down to 315.

Kelly looked quick and punishing as a 295 pound defensive end. Moving him inside to the pass rushing three-technique tackle position was logical, but after two seasons the Raiders are pulling the plug.

Kelly will move to the nose tackle position vacated by the release of Gerard Warren. Warren was much like Kelly in that he was much better rushing the passer than stopping the run.

Desmond Bryant, who played nose tackle last season, will see time as the backup at the three-technique to Richard Seymour and newly acquired John Henderson will backup Kelly at the nose.

Typically the nose tackle position is played by players upwards of 330 pounds. Henderson fits that mold perfectly, yet it is Kelly getting first team reps.

What is clear, the defensive tackle spots will be an ongoing rotation of players in 2010. Perhaps keeping the lineman fresh is just what the doctor ordered for the Raiders sickly run defense.

Despite a change in role, Kelly put in the work to trim down and has taken the position change in stride saying, “I’m strong enough and tough enough to play the nose, so I’m not even worried about it.’’

Fans were immediately excited when Lamarr Houston was drafted and when John Henderson signed, hoping that the moves would put an end to Tommy Kelly starting. Yet Kelly remains, trimmer and leaner starting along-side Richard Seymour and the young defensive end Matt Shaughnessy.

If the Raiders are more successful stopping the run in 2010, much of the success will be given to first-round draft selection Rolando McClain. If it is unimproved or worse, all that blame will be placed upon Tommy Kelly. Neither characterizations are accurate.

An improved run defense should be attributed to the entirely new front seven. Kelly and Seymour remain, but playing different positions. Shaughnessy and Trevor Scott ascended up the depth charts last season to end the year as starters. The remaining four were additions.

Don’t forget Kelly when distributing credit when the Raiders run defense is improved. Although he may never justify the contract, he might just turn a few critics into believers in 2010.


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