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Showing posts from May, 2010

Yahoo! Sports: Raiders File Grievance Against Russell

The Raiders have filed a grievance against JaMarcus Russell according to Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports, who cited two unnamed sources. The Raiders apparently seek to recover $9.55 million of advances on salary the team gave Russell for the 2010, 2011 and 2012 seasons. Apparently Russell’s contract was changed at some point in the last three years as a basis for the grievance. The NFL Players Association will represent Russell in the grievance.

A Look At The Raiders Revamped Core of Linebackers

Did the Raiders fix the run defense with the revamping of the linebackers? It is one of the biggest questions the Raiders will need to answer this offseason. If so, can the linebackers Trevor Scott, Rolando McClain, and Kamerion Wimbley also cover running backs out of the backfield and tight ends on passing downs? The Raiders started 2009 with Thomas Howard, Kirk Morrison, and Ricky Brown as the starters. By the end of the year Scott had supplanted Howard on the weak-side and Howard had moved to the strong-side for the injured Ricky Brown. When Sam Williams and a rookie fifth-round draft pick get meaningful snaps, it is time for an overhaul. So the Raiders started the overhaul, traded for Wimbley, drafted McClain, and finally traded for Quentin Groves and shipped out Kirk Morrison. Trevor Scott Scott developed into a nice linebacker last season, but wasn’t asked to drop into coverage very often. In five games as a linebacker, Scott dropped into pass coverage 65 times. This amounted to

A Reason To Be Excited

So the Raiders didn’t get Donovan McNabb. A lot of Raiders fans, including myself, were on the edge of their seats hoping and praying for a chance to finally get a real quarterback this off-season. When the McNabb rumors started swirling I was glued to the computer screen and TV. I even opened a twitter account just to follow Adam Schefter’s updates. When the trade didn’t happen, I feared the worst. Russell would be behind center, on the ground and in media every week while the Raiders limped to another 11 loss season. Why not let Bruce Gradkowski start? Charlie Frye? Kyle Boller? Anybody, just not Russell. While I love Gradkowski, he is just a backup. A great backup. Draft day came upon us, we all expected Bruce Campbell (in the first round,) Cam Thomas, or another reach or classic speedster. Maybe, just maybe, the Raiders would draft a QB in the later rounds that could unseat Russell by season’s end. Then the unthinkable happened. The Raiders executed a clever draft plan that bolster

Guest Blog Week May 24 - May 28

Do you have something to say about this year's Raiders team? Here is your chance to write a guest blog. Guidelines and rules. 1) Do your research, provide stats and style matters 2) No profanity personal attacks, etc. 3) I may edit the posts for grammar, punctuation, etc. 4) Include your name for credit (this is required) 5) At least 350 words. By emailing your writing, you agree to be published, but there is no guarantee it will be. Make it good! Plan is to publish the best five Monday through Friday, but that depends on the quality and quantity I receive. How to submit? Simply  email  it.

Friday Fun Day! Known Celebrity Raiders Fans

Tom Hanks - Actor Larry King - TV Host Santana - Musician James Garner - Actor Ice Cube - Musician Too Short - Musician George Lopez – Actor/Comedian James Hetfield (Metallica) - Musician Axl Rose (Guns ‘N Roses) - Musician Kerry King & Jeff Hanneman (Slayer) - Musician Jessica Alba - Actress Jorge Cantu - MLB Jeff Gordon - NASCAR Gabrielle Union - Actress Tiger Woods - PGA Natalie Coughlin - Olympic Swimmer Mick Thomson (Slipknot) - Musician Magic Johnson - NBA C.C. Sabathia - MLB Joe Morgan - MLB Dontrelle Willis - MLB Do you know more? Post them in the comments with a link or send them to me on twitter

Raiders Working on Key Areas

According to most reports, the Raiders worked primarily on blitz pickup and red zone passing during practice on Wednesday. The Raiders ranked 29th in the league in red zone scoring in 2009 and scored on just 41.4% of their red zone possessions. Red zone scoring is often time a predictor of playoff teams and four of the top five teams in red zone scoring qualified for the playoffs in 2009. The top five teams in 2009 were Arizona, Miami, Indianapolis, Minnesota and New Orleans. The passing game behind JaMarcus Russell was especially weak in 2009, but the team only managed to put up 0.6 passing touchdowns per game, good (or not good) for last in the league. Again, four of the top five teams in passing touchdowns per game were playoff teams, New Orleans, Minnesota, Indianapolis, Green Bay and Houston. Another factor to consider as a key to winning is the all important third down conversion percentage. It is also well known that blitzes are often used on third down. Getting first downs

First Day of OTAs: Watch the Passing Game

The first of 12 organized team activities begins today. Media access will be Wednesday. Fans and media are left to speculate on what the Raiders might be doing behind closed doors. A large tweak of the defense this offseason might be enough to headline offseason coverage on most teams, but the biggest question will continue to be the development of the offense. If starting positions or roster spots aren’t won during OTAs, then what is the point to following them? The truth is that this time can be important for team development. The coaching staff is installation new offensive and defensive plays and the coaching staff is sizing up a rough depth chart to use for training camp. Players will be on the roster bubble. One rookie didn’t make it to camp last season, so these times are definitely important for players on the backend of the roster. Starters may not be decided, but there will be evaluation at positions with significant competition. Some positions are probably easier than others

Terrell Owens: Help or Hurt?

ESPN’s John Clayton reports that the Raiders have discussed internally the possibility of signing enigmatic receiver Terrell Owens. Leave it to ESPN to create news out of nothing. What team HASN’T discussed Owens? If the Raiders hadn’t discussed Owens, we could effectively assume the organization isn’t even in existence. I’m reporting the Kansas City Chiefs have discussed internally the possibility of signing Owens. Groundbreaking news coverage! I respect John Clayton, but ESPN needs to stop creating news. It is getting old. Owens might be able to help the Raiders win. He is probably still capable of catching 50-60 passes for 800 yards and a hand full of touchdowns. What isn’t known is if Owens is too much of a problem child in the locker room or if the Raiders would take snaps away from the young receiver group. Perhaps an incentive laden deal in which the Raiders could cut ties with Owens at the first sign of trouble would be worthwhile. Would Owens take such a contract?

2010 Pivotal For Raiders Franchise

Where will the Raiders fit into the NFL hierarchy when the NFL and NFLPA agree upon a new Collective Bargaining Agreement? What kinds of changes could impact the Raiders going forward? We just don't know how a new CBA is going to change the game of football. First owners must agree on the structure of the revenue split. Once the owners make up their mind, they can fight more vigorously with the NFLPA on how to share the pot of gold. This isn’t just players versus owners. Small market owners have long been battling with the large market owners like Jerry Jones and Dan Synder. The NFL and NFLPA have already started wrangling in court and in the media, but how much wrangling are the owners doing behind closed doors? The NFL is obviously trying to present a unified front, but the owners are hardly in unanimous agreement. What is clear is that parity may be on the way out. Rumors are swirling that an NFL team can avoid local blackouts by paying the opposing team’s portion of unsold tick

Seconday Shakeup?

Nnamdi Asomugha is a lock to start when healthy. No surprise there, but what about the rest of the secondary? Chris Johnson is penciled in as the starter opposite Asomugha, but he was picked on last year. Quarterbacks completed 64% of passes thrown at Johnson. He was burned for six touchdowns and quarterbacks had a staggering 101.2 rating throwing at Johnson. Johnson did defense 12 passes and intercept 3 others, but it is clear Johnson takes a lot of risks. Is the risk worth the reward? The Raiders only other options at cornerback are rookies and Stanford Routt. Routt was actually worse than Johnson in limited snaps. Quarterbacks had rating of 123.0 while completing 29 passes out of 41. That is 70.7% completion percentage! He also gave up two touchdowns. The Raiders have one good option: move Michael Huff to cornerback. Huff was a corner prospect coming out of college. Many teams thought he was best suited in coverage to cover up his inability to tackle. Raiders forced a square p

Jason Campbell Stat Breakdown

The doldrums of the NFL offseason are upon us. There isn’t much to keep football fans going this time of year, besides the drama that seems to be created and spewed from the ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol. In a time of relative calm, what is there for football fans and the Raider Nation to cling to? ESPN’s Ice Cube documentary, "Straight Outta L.A." airs tonight at 5 PM pacific. In the mean time, focus should be and will be on the Raiders starting quarterback Jason Campbell. Did Campbell really improve every year of his pro career? What can we expect in 2010, realistically? Warning, as the following content is statistic heavy. + is improvement, - is regression for the following 2006 7 games 76.5 QB Rating 10 TD at 4.8% 6 INT at 2.9 % 1297 yds or 185.3 yds/gm 53.1% Comp 0 Fumbles Lost/1 total 2007 13 games 77.6 QB Rat --- (+1.1 vs 2006) 12 TD at 2.9% --- (-1.9% vs 2006) 11 INT at 2.6% --- (-0.3% vs 2006) 2700 yds or 207.7 yds/gm --- (+22.4 vs 2006) 60.0% comp --- (+6.9% vs 20

Offense Rebuild Incomplete

People will be talking about JaMarcus Russell for weeks to come. Who was responsible for him being so terrible? Who will give him a second chance? JaMarcus Russell is a “big” bust in every sense. He has struggled with weight and he will be in the conversation as the biggest draft bust in NFL history, even if he doesn’t take the title. As the NFL moves to a rookie wage scale, smack in the middle of the history books will be the $39 million that Russell pocketed over the course of three seasons. You will have people come out on Russell’s side, as his high school coach already has. Various Raiders players will support Russell in the days to come, while many others will give a no comment or simply refuse to comment. I’ve said before that Russell was not a bad guy, but a raw football player that didn’t have the work ethic to become a good football player. Maybe he was coming along and the Raiders would have liked to keep Russell provided he didn’t cost $9 million to have on the roster. No o

JaMarcus Russell Officially Released

Raiders Senior Execute John Herrera has confirmed the release of JaMarcus Russell. Herrera said, "we wish him well." Fans that have hoped for Russell's departure can now celebrate. The team and fans can now heal from the wounds of seven straight losing seasons. Russell arrived three seasons ago with promise to end the seasons recent struggles, but instead, compounded them. Al Davis has admitted his draft mistake, even if he will never publicly state that the selection was a mistake. A draft bust as big as JaMarcus Russell would be hard for any GM or owner to accept, but ultimately, Davis is a business man and $9 million was too great a figure to pay a third string quarterback with questionable work habits. More thoughts later...

Tyvon Branch Interview Part 2

Part two of my interview with the Oakland Raiders Strong Safety Tyvon Branch. Follow him on  Twitter and  Facebook [powerpress]  

Tyvon Branch Interview Part 1

Part one of my interview with the Oakland Raiders Strong Safety Tyvon Branch. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook   [powerpress]    

20 Early Predictions

I'm about as steadfast in these predictions as a politician is in a campaign promise. Read. Laugh. Enjoy. 1. The quarterback depth chart will be Jason Campbell, Bruce Gradkowski, JaMarcus Russell barring injury. 2. The Raiders will win nine games or more. 3. Darren McFadden will have 1500 all-purpose yards 4. The offensive line will continue to be Achilles Heel of the team. 5. The Raiders will have a top ten defense. 6. The Raiders will have a top 15 run defense. 7. The Raiders will have a top ten running game. 8. Jason Campbell will improve on his 2009 season statistically. 9. Rolando McClain will be the defensive rookie of the year. 10. Tyvon Branch will be a Pro Bowl alternate. 11. Stanford Routt will be a starting corner by season's end. 12. Bruce Campbell will be a beast on special teams, but won't see the field as an offensive lineman very much. 13. Nnamdi Asomugha will be thrown at him this season. 14. Richard Seymour will register more than six sacks. 15. Jared Veld

Bruce Campbell is Learning Disabled

Reported earlier this week by Newsday writer Bob Glauber , Bruce Campbell has a severe learning disability. Apparently the disability was severe enough for teams to drop Campbell on draft boards, contributing to Campbell's fall from a potential late first, early second round prospect to being selected 106th overall. It isn't clear exactly how a severe learning disability will effect his play and if Campbell will be able to learn and apply complicated gameplans and line calls. Perhaps this is why Tom Cable specifically asked Bruce Campbell if he was willing to work hard when the Raiders called Campbell before just before they selected him in April's draft. Campbell may or may not be able to learn the things he needs to depending on the type of learning disability and how the Raiders coach him. Of the possible major types of learning disabilities are reading, writing, and math, which probably wouldn't directly apply to being an offensive lineman in the NFL. There is also

Minicamp Day 2: Morning Session

Unfortunately, I'm not at the minicamp today. I've contacted Raiders PR man Mike Taylor and we should get it worked out soon enough. - From the reports I've seen, the Raiders passing game looks better than last year at this time, but the receivers are still dropping too many passes. - Rolando McClain is going to struggle in coverage. - JaMarcus Russell wasn't as sharp today, but still looks much improved. - Jason Campbell was much more comfortable today. - Not easy to judge running backs in non-contact drills - Darrius Heyward-Bey was matching up with Nnamdi Asomugha.