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Showing posts from July, 2011

Huff Returns, Miller Next

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Michael Huff agreed to terms with the Raiders. Was Tyvon Branch not a fit at free safety or was it Michael Mitchell not ready to be the starter on the strong side? The Raiders 2010 secondary remains intact less Nnamdi Asomugha. The Raiders went 1-1 without Asomugha in 2010. The secondary should continue to be strong in 2011 with the additions of rookies Demarcus Van Dyke and Chimdi Chekwa at cornerback. Huff's versatility is perhaps his best trait as he can also help out at cornerback when needed. Next up, Zach Miller, but he must wait for Kamerion Wimbley to sign his long-term extension.

Hurry Up and Wait

The Raiders took the field for the first time in 2011. Missing were key free agents Nnamdi Asomugha, Zach Miller and Michael Huff and restricted free agents Michael Bush and Marcel Reece. Missing also were the slow tempo learning-intensive practices deployed by Hue Jackson's predecessor Tom Cable. Training Camp Report Hue Jackson is taking a different approach. Jackson's practice was high tempo and he wants it even faster. With practices shortened an an abbreviated offseason, Jackson must install the playbook in significantly less time. Higher tempo means more learning in less amount of time. It's simple, the Raiders should have high tempo practices to get as much done as possible before the season. Stefen Wisniewski probably had the most interesting media session when he mentioned the new playbook. He mentioned how the Raiders are going to use a lot of misdirection and motion to utilize the Raiders excellent offensive speed. It's something worth keeping your eye on. -

The Gaither Gamble

Raiders have other needs, but repairing the offensive line is by far the biggest. Jared Gaither comes with considerable risk/reward. Gaither spent time with Hue Jackson and Al Saunders. The two coaches know what kind of player Gaither is when he is healthy. He just hasn't been healthy. There are basically three qualities every free agent will be judged upon: age, skill level, and injury risk/history. When it comes free agents, most come with deficiencies in one area. Even Nnamdi Asomugha could be said to have one. Teams will compare these deficiencies against their peers and needs and determine their value as a free agent. For the most part you can break down all but the top free agents like this: 1. Young, good, injury prone 2. Young, average, healthy 3. Old, good, injury prone 4. Old, average, healthy 5. All players less than average. That's about all that is available when it comes to players in free agency. Sure, there are exceptions. The top free agents usually don't f

Raiders Going After Gaither & Goldson

The Raiders are in contract negotiations with offensive tackle Jared Gaither according to Jason La Canfora. According to Adam Schefter, the Raiders are fighting with the 49ers for the services of free safety Dashon Goldson. The two players are the biggest free agents tied to the Raiders thus far. In the case of Gaither, he would fill a huge need along the offensive line. Goldson would replace Michael Huff and is a clear sign the Raiders are content to move on without him.

Getting Busy: Raiders Free Agent Signings

Undrafted Free Agents Signed: Mason Brodine, DE - Nebraska-Kearney Chris Francis, ILB - Baylor Ben Iamaak, C - Iowa State Derrick Jones, WR - California (PA) Ben Gbadyu, OLB, Penn State Alan Pelc, OG, North Carolina Sterling Moore, CB - Southern Methodist Eddie McGee, WR/QB - Illinois James McCluskey, FB - Boston College Lou Eliades, OL - Penn State Zac Etheridge, S - Auburn Jordan La Secla, QB - San Jose State Steven Goulet. WR - Ohio Jamie Cumbie, DT - Clemson Veteran Free Agents Signed: Jarvis Moss, DE/LB Jon Condo, LS Draft picks signed: Taiwan Jones - Signing Bonus $405,000 DeMarcus Van Dyke David Ausberry - Signing Bonus $45,900 Denarius Moore - Signing Bonus $190,500

Labor Fight Over: What's Next For The Raiders?

The NFL and NFLPA agreed to a labor deal today, meaning there will be football in 2011 and no regular or preseason games will be missed. Training camp will begin Wednesday. Camp and free agency will be simultaneous and abbreviated. Zach Miller will be the Raiders top priority in free agency. With the Raiders sitting roughly $5 million over the proposed new salary cap this could be harder than previously believed. Based on the new rules, teams would be able to use a one-time veteran exemption up to $3 million and can also borrower $3 million against the 2012 salary cap. The details aren't fully known on how this all works yet. Any cap savings that can be saved by releasing players would likely happen on the first day of the new league year to clear room for Miller and hopefully a veteran offensive guard. That could be as early as this afternoon. The Raiders manage the cap in such a way that they never have a problem landing a big free agent. However, the Raiders often find themselve

RIP Dr. Death: Skip Thomas Dies

Alonzo "Skip" Thomas known best by his nickname Doctor Death passed away from a heart attack today. He was 61. Thomas had back-to-back six interception seasons in 1974 and 1975 and his fierce tackling earned him his nickname. He had 17 career interceptions and his career was entirely with the Oakland Raiders. My prayers go out to his family and friends. Skip Thomas Video Tribute

Bruce Campbell Switching Back to Tackle

Bruce Campbell was recently on Jay Richardson's Radio show and confirmed he would be moving back to tackle in 2011. This is surprising considering the drafting of Joseph Barksdale and the pending release of Cooper Carlisle and begs the question if Mario Henderson and Langston Walker will be retained. It will also be very interesting if Campbell and rookie Joseph Barksdale battle for the starting job at right tackle. The other possibility is the Raiders are sticking Campbell behind Veldheer at left tackle and his opportunity for snaps will decrease even further. It could also be a sign that the Raiders have targeted a guard in free agency and are shuffling the line around to accommodate him.

Hit the Reset Button on Player Expectations

It's natural for fans to get excited about football players . The fan DNA is encoded to cheer and root for athletes we could only dream of being. It can be dangerous when fans get carried away and before we know it a rookie receiver becomes a savior. It's not negative to point out what players are having unrealistic expectations placed on them. This list isn't to say the player is not good or to thrash on them. Rather it is like hitting the reset button because you have been playing Madden on rookie for too long. The coaching staff is also having to work with a short training camp and no mini-camp. It wouldn't be surprising to see many young players have their professional growth stunted by the abbreviated offseason. So what players are overrated?   Nnamdi Asomugha He isn't likely to be a Raider in 2011, but this might be the last opportunity to point out the fans that the Raiders will not be significantly worse in the secondary without Asomugha. Even the best corne

Free Agency Primer 2011: Part 1

With the end of the lockout in view and free agency on the horizon it is time to review what the Raiders need to do once the NFL opens for business. We start with what the Raiders need to do with their own free agents. The biggest free agent on the market may be Nnamdi Asomugha. While it is unlikely the Raiders can afford to keep Asomugha, it's not totally impossible. Chances the Raiders re-sign Nnamdi Asomugha: <20% The Raiders face the real possiblity of losing two pieces of their defensive secondary, with Michael Huff poised to also become a free agent. Raiders will wait and see what the market is, but chances are a safety needy team like the Jaguars will bite hard. Chances the Raiders re-sign Michael Huff: <20% Charlie Frye as the thrid quarterback. It's a thankless position and job. Fans would rather have a developmental player, but the coaches like Frye and he will get a chance to be the third quarterback. Chances Raiders re-sign Charlie Frye: >85% The Raiders dr