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Showing posts from January, 2012

Overrated Oakland Raiders 2011

As seen on Bleacher Report:

As with any fan base, the Raider Nation is not immune to overrating players. Every offseason coaches and front office personnel across the league lock themselves in the film room to study their own roster. It's not uncommon for a player to lose snaps the following season after the team had time to evaluate their play relative to other players in the league.

There are a few players on the roster vulnerable to a loss of snaps or even a loss of a job after the Raiders new general manager Reggie McKenzie and new head coach Dennis Allen have time to evaluate them.

Who?

Matt Giordano

Giordano lead the Raiders in interceptions in 2011 with five and it has many fans thinking he is the solution at free safety and Michael Huff should be released or move to cornerback.

It's important to remember Giordano only served as a nickel free safety and injury replacement for Huff in 2011, starting more than four games for the first time in his career. Dennis Allen coached Gi…

A Defensive Scheme Mystery

There is always going to be a good debate between fans on how the Raiders should scheme on defense. It really doesn't matter what side you are on, because there are good arguments for both sides. There has been speculation on what Reggie McKenzie prefers as his defense and he was asked in his introductory press conference if he preferred the 3-4 to the 4-3 defense and he indicated that he did not have a preference, although he later said "3-4 is what I know." McKenzie has made it clear many times to the public that he intends to let the head coach hire his own staff and that the coaching staff has the freedom to run what ever scheme they feel gives the team the best chance to win.

We know that McKenzie comes over from Green Bay where they ran a 3-4 defense and won a Super Bowl while running the 3-4 defense. However, the Packers didn't always run that style of defense. In fact, they just recently made the transition to the 3-4 defense in 2009.

What this means:

1) McKenzi…

This Search is Different

Unlike in the past, the Raiders are not just looking to plug-in a new head coach to lead the team after the last one was fired. This time the Raiders are looking to rebuild from top to bottom. Starting with the hire of Reggie McKenzie as the new general manager, there are and will be a lot of things different in Oakland this time around.

Reggie McKenzie isn't looking to hire a coach based on who has the best scheme or who has the most experience. While those things do matter, and will factor in on the final equation, they are not the only selling point. Reggie is looking for someone he can work closely with on a day-to-day basis. He wants someone who he can trust, who has the right mindset, and shares the same philosophies as he does. That is why he is making sure that the man he decides to hire as the next head coach of the Oakland Raiders is the "right guy".

McKenzie comes over from Green Bay where Mike McCarthy has been the head coach since 2006. He is a guy who wants t…

McKenzie's Shortlist

Pete Carmichael Jr.
Status: Interviewed 1/13, no longer under consideration
Age: 40
Specialty: Offense/Quarterbacks
Current Position: Offensive Coordinator, New Orleans Saints
Head Coaching Experience: None
McKenzie link: unknown

Notes: Carmichael has been Sean Payton's offensive coordinator for many years. He's relatively young and took a greater role in playcalling this season when Sean Payton was injured. If the Raiders decide to go with an offensive mind, they could do much worse.

Todd Bowles
Status: Interviewed 1/14
Age: 48
Specialty: Defensive Backs
Previous Position: Defensive Backs Coach & Interim Head Coach, Miami Dolphins
Head Coaching Experience: 2-1 (2011 Dolphins)
McKenzie link: unknown

Notes: Bowles seems to be a rising star, but he's never been a coordinator at the NFL level. If hired, Bowles will need to bring in strong offensive and defensive coordinator. He's got a long history with the Bill Parcells coaching and front office tree. Has potential to stay in Miami…

What Really Lead To Hue Jackson's Firing?

Allow me for a moment to walk the Raider Nation through a timeline of Hue Jackson's tenure with the Raiders.

2010

Al Davis hires Hue Jackson to revamp an offense that hadn't been good in many years. With the aide of competent quarterback play and a healthy Darren McFadden, Jackson is wildly successful in his first year.

2011

Tom Cable is fired for an 8-8 season and Hue Jackson is promoted to Head Coach.

Situation

He is working with a roster constructed by Al Davis and defensive coaches hired by Al Davis.

October 8, 2011

Al Davis dies and Hue Jackson is forced to take a more active role in managing player personnel because-although unqualified-he is the most qualified person in the building. Mark Davis begins to gather his advisory team or John Madden, Ron Wolf and Ken Herock.

Problem 1

Hue Jackson loses his starting quarterback to injury for the season. Jackson knows with the passing of Al Davis that a new front office would be coming in and in all likelihood he would be fired if he did…

McKenzie Hired To Make Tough Decisions

Hue Jackson had been with the Raiders for two years. One as the offensive coordinator and one as the head coach. Both seasons ended with a record of 8-8 and no postseason play. The offense has improved since Hue has gotten to town, which I think is why most want to see him stay at least for the short-term. Maybe that's why Hue be kept around for at least one more year to see if he can build on what he started. A new head coach should be given three seasons to prove his worth in the NFL and it is difficult to evaluate a coach based on a team that someone else put together.

Even though Jackson may deserve another year to prove himself, you have to ask why does a franchise hire a general manager? Many Raider fans have been lobbying for a GM for years and they finally got one, and a very good one at that. Now, fans are upset because Hue Jackson was let go by Reggie McKenzie. The reason you hire a GM is because you feel they know what is best for the team and you TRUST that they will ma…

2011 Bold Predictions Revisited

Prediction 1: Matt Shaughnessy will have 10 sacks or more.

Result: Shaughnessy played in three games registering 1 sack. There is no way of knowing is Shaughnessy would have made it to 10 sacks and the three games was too small of a sample to project out a full season. 0 for 1.

Prediction 2:  Taiwan Jones will have at least two touchdowns longer than 70 yards.

Result: Jones also had an injury that derailed what could have been a promising start to his young career. No dice. 0 for 2.

Prediction 3: Darren McFadden will have 2000 total yards from scrimmage.

Result: Yet again injury hurts he possibility of the bold prediction coming true. McFadden had 768 total yards from scrimmage in seven games. Projecting McFadden's season over 16 games means he falls short at 1751 total yards. 0 for 3.

Prediction 4: Darrius Heyward-Bey will catch twice as many passes as he did last year.

Result: Twice as many? That wasn't enough for DHB who caught more than twice as many passes and it was actually cl…

3-4 Fits & Non-Fits

When you look at the Raiders current 4-3 defense, it appears the problem is very easy to solve. The Raiders have run a strict man-to-man defense for years. At certain times and with the right personnel it was successful. However, when creative offensive minds are scheming against it, the holes in it become clear.

Another big problem is the linebackers are trying to cover slot receivers, tight ends and running backs out of the backfield. A lot of the big plays that Oakland surrenders are the result of players playing outside of their “comfort zone” or natural ability. Using the last game against the Chargers as an example, when the Raiders needed a key stop San Diego would run a “rub” route or get Gates matched up with Kamerion Wimbley, Aaron Curry, or even LaMarr Houston (on at least one occasion) and make a big play. Those guys have little to no shot at covering Gates. Using a 3-4 defense would allow Oakland to disguise their defense more, integrate more zone coverage, and keep player…

Reggie McKenzie to be Raiders GM

Green Bay Packers director of football operations Reggie McKenzie will be the Raiders next general manager according to an ESPN report. The Raiders general manager had been owner Al Davis since 1963. Thus a new era of Raiders football begins behind a man for which there is little negative to be said.



McKenzie is an ex-Raiders linebacker, drafted by Al Davis with the assistance of then front office executive Ron Wolf. Wolf hired McKenzie again in Green Bay in 1994 as a scout and he's spent the past 18 years working his way up in the Green Bay front office.

It has been speculated that McKenzie would attempt to bring Eliot Wolf (pictured above left) who is Ron Wolf's son to Oakland with a promotion. The Packers would have the ability to block the Raiders as to avoid their entire front office from being raided in one offseason.

Mark Davis and Amy Trask are not football people, but have been consulting with Ron Wolf, John Madden and Ken Herock.  Herock's son - Shaun Herock also wo…

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 as a s…

Preview Week 17: Must Win

When the Raiders exit the field Sunday, there are three possible scenarios for the Raiders: Division Champs, Wildcard winners, or out of the playoffs.

The Raiders could be division champions with a win and the Chiefs can beat the Broncos, the Raiders could be wild card winner with a win, Bengals loss and either a Jets win or Titans loss. The last scenario is one no Raider fan wants to think about, the Raiders lose or the Broncos and Bengals both win.

It's been a very up and down season and the Raiders must win and get a little help to get into the playoffs for the first time since 2002. Perhaps it is fitting that the Raiders would let the possibility of a playoff berth come down to the final game. The Raiders have seemingly given opponent after opponent the opportunity to win the game, if only a few took advantage of the opportunity. The primary issue has been a porous defense, but the Raiders defense played one of their best games of the season in San Diego a few short weeks ago an…