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Mawae, Bulluck, & Sanjay Lal

Why haven’t the Raiders signed guys like Kevin Mawae or Keith Bulluck? Is Sanjay Lal qualified to be the receivers coach for the Raiders?

Kevin Mawae

In the Raiders specific case, there is no collusion going on to keep the NFLPA President from wearing silver and black.

Kevin Mawae’s skills have significantly degraded over the past few seasons.

Mawae is smart, he will make the correct line calls, but his physical tools have started to fail him.

While a still a decent pass protector, he wasn’t effective run blocking for the Titans. The Titans had a good run game in 2009, but if Mawae was pivotal to the Titans run game they would have re-signed him. ranks Mawae the league’s worst run blocking center.

Mawae also has never played in the zone blocking system, so he would be starting in a new system at an advanced age.

In short, the perceived value of Mawae is higher than his actual return.

Keith Bulluck

The lack of interest in Keith Bulluck can be attributed to several factors, but they may or may not be performance related.

He has had some trouble staying healthy and that is always a red flag when teams consider whether to sign a veteran player.

The biggest reason the Raiders haven’t expressed any interest of Bulluck to this point is likely the youth and depth of the outside linebackers currently on the roster.

Provided Bulluck is fully healthy, the Raiders may consider him if the young linebackers fail to improve their run defense early in camp.

The Raiders have been exceedingly happy with their outside linebackers to this point, so the chances of this may be remote, but possible.

Bulluck wants to start, so he is probably being fairly picky. At this point, no one knows how much or how little real interest there has been in the veteran.

Veteran player not being signed headed into training camp is a familiar site. Expect Bulluck to find a home by mid July.

Sanjay Lal

Is Sanjay Lal good enough to be coaching the receivers? Why haven’t the Raiders brought in someone more credible?

The Raiders had Fred Biletnikoff as the receivers coach until 2007. When he retired, Al Davis gave the job to Charles Coe, who had previously been a successful college head coach at Alabama State.

Coe was reassigned when the Raiders brought in James Lofton to coach the receivers in 2008.

While Lofton’s hands-on method was applauded by the local media, he wasn’t retained after one year on the job.

It seems the Raiders have gone back and forth between college coaches with good track records and Hall of Fame receivers.

Lal had very little experience compared to the other recent coaches, but unlike the previous two coaches will get a shot at a second year with a better quarterback.

Here is a breakdown of the Raiders receiving game from 2005 to present.

2009: Sanjay Lal (JaMarcus Russell, Bruce Gradkowski, Charlie Frye to Louis Murphy & Chaz Schilens)
Rec: 255 (30)
Avg: 11.3 (16) ß when passes reached their targets the Raiders were successful
TD: 10 (32)

2008: James Lofton (JaMarcus Russell to Johnnie Lee Higgins & Ronald Curry)
Rec: 222 (32)
Avg: 11.9 (9) ß when passes reached their targets the Raiders were successful
TD: 13 (28)

2007: Charles Coe (Daunte Culpepper, Josh McCown, JaMarcus Russell to Ronald Curry & Jerry Porter)
Rec: 260 (31)
Avg: 11.1 (20)
TD: 17 (24)

2006: Fred Biletnikoff (Andrew Walter to Ronald Curry & Randy Moss)
Rec: 263 (28)
Avg: 10.8 (23)
TD: 7 (32)

2005: Fred Biletnikoff (Kerry Collins to Jerry Porter & Randy Moss)
Rec: 316 (13)
Avg: 12.3 (5)
TD: 21 (12)

The bottom line is the Raiders haven’t had productive receivers since 2005. That was the last year the Raiders had a quality quarterback in Kerry Collins.

Give Lal time to develop the young receivers. It isn’t like a more qualified coach has done any better.

Chaz Schilens developed quickly as a seventh round pick and Louis Murphy was also a pleasant surprise his rookie year. While Darrius Heyward-Bey struggled, that isn’t too uncommon for a rookie receiver.

There simply isn’t a statistical indicator to point at Sanjay Lal being a weak link. All the evidence suggests the problem was the quarterback.


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