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MOtorboat
01-06-2008, 09:57 AM
DAAAA Raiders still need a lot of help. Letís face it, they have been pathetic since going to the Super Bowl in 2002. The franchise has a vaunting 19-60. Ouch. Thatís not good.

Of course, as Broncos fans, we love to hate the Raiders, but letís take a Ė fairly Ė unbiased look at Oakland.

The Raiders are set at quarterback, at least until they can figure out if No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell is the future of the Raiders or not. Duante Culpepper clearly isnít the answer at quarterback for the Raiders and any McCown Ė I donít care which one Ė should ever be an organizationís solution to the quarterback position.

After the 2005 season, the Raiders thought they had found their feature back in LaMont Jordan, who rushed for over 1,000 yards in just 14 games for Oakland. But injury and a bad attitude has hurt his performance the last two seasons, forcing them to bring in Dominic Rhodes before 2006. Both were hindered by injuries and neither performed up to what the Raiders expected. In stepped Justin Fargas who rushed for over 1,000 yards before being put on injured reserve.

However, Fargas is an unrestricted free agent, and the Raiders already have money wrapped up in Jordan and Rhodes. I wouldnít expect to see Fargas back with the Raiders, and Jordan and Rhodes will have to carry the load next season. The question is, is rookie Michael Bush ready to come off the physically unable to perform list? If he is, that could be a viable option for the Raiders at running back if Jordan and Rhodes arenít healthy.

Justin Griffith is one of the best fullbacks in football. Remember, he was on the Falcons team that led the league in rushing several years ago, and now he was part of a team that finished sixth in rushing in Oakland. Heíll be back with the Raiders next year, and that will help a team with two running backs coming back from injury.

Jerry Porter has wanted out for a long time, if you listen to him, so heís getting his chance to get a contract somewhere else. If that happens, that leaves Ronald Curry as their top receiving option and it leaves a massive hole in a team that struggled through the air this season. If Porter leaves, donít be surprised if they try to get a high-profile wide receiver, like Patrick Crayton (dudeís gonna get a lot of money Ė have you seen all the teams desperate for a top receiver). The Raiders also really need to find a third wide receiver so that they can stretch the field a little bit. Tim Dwight is nothing but a return man and rookie Johnnie Lee Higgins, a third round pick out of UTEP, only caught six passes, while playing in all 16 games, and even starting in two. Donít be too surprised if the Raiders take another wide receiver in the third or fourth round, as they did this past year with Higgins. There are some lesser-name wide receiver free agents the Raiders could look at as well, like Antonio Chatman or D.J. Hackett.

Tight end Zach Miller was a pleasant surprise for the Raiders coming in as a second-round pick out of Arizona State. Miller caught 44 passes for 444 yards and three touchdowns for the Raiders, which was third amongst all rookie receivers. Look for him to be one of Russellís favorite targets.

Run-blocking obviously was not a problem for the Raiders this past season, as the team finished sixth overall in yards in the NFL. However, they did give up 41 sacks as the Raiders struggled to move the ball through the air, finishing 31st in the NFL. Only San Francisco was worse.

It might be time to finally cut ties with Robert Gallery, the teamís first round selection in 2004, though the Raiders are likely to hold on to him for one more year. Gallery, who entered the NFL as a tackle, definitely has the size at 6-7, 325, but just never was the answer at right tackle and the Raiders finally moved him to guard this past season, where he was a little better, especially against the run. One reason for the increased production in the run game this season is at right guard with Cooper Carlisle, who came over from the Broncos and started all 16 games for the Raiders. But, as was the problem in Denver, he struggled against bigger defensive tackles in the pass game.

Jeremy Newberry is a bit of a stop-gap for the Raiders at center. He came over from San Francisco after nine seasons with the 49ers. Though he could be serviceable for the Raiders, he is entering his 11th season, and it may be time to see if 2006 seventh-round pick Chris Morris can be the center of the future for the Raiders.

At tackle, Barry Sims will be entering his 10th NFL season at left tackle for the Raiders, the undrafted free agent has been a good tackle for the Raiders, but with the number of sacks given up by this team in the last two years, you have to wonder about his ability to continue to play left tackle. Paul McQuistan a third-round pick in 2006 is a serviceable right tackle, and may even get a shot to play left tackle somewhere down the road at 6-6, 315.

Despite having a tough year against the pass, the Raiders donít have a lot of holes along the offensive line, and any draft picks or free agent pick ups are only going to be for depth reasons, or to challenge Gallery or McQuistan, but there has to be improvement in the pass-blocking next year, or this line could get blown up.

Defensively, at least statistically, the Raiders have looked pretty good. Their defense kept them in a lot of games that they didnít deserve to be in. However, the Raiders did struggle against the run somewhat this year, and they allowed more than 24 points per game, which is the stat that really matters. Lane Kiffin and Rob Ryan clearly didnít get along so out is Ryan and the rumors continue to swirl about Monte Kiffin joining his son to help turn this defense into the monster defense Kiffin has overseen in Tampa for years.

Gone is Warren Sapp, who retired, which is going to be a big blow for the Raiders along the front line. Terdell Sands is a behemoth inside at 6-7, 335, but his play has been inconsistent as he enters his sixth season with the Raiders. He will only be 29 next season and will probably get a chance to start. Tyler Brayton could be asked to step in at the other defensive tackle position in place of Sapp. Brayton, who started his first two seasons in a Raider uniform has mostly been a backup the past three seasons. But, with the Raiders picking inside the top 5, both Glenn Dorsey and Sedrick Ellis could be available. Both are big, talented defensive tackles that could immediately start for the Raiders.

Fifth round selection Jay Richardson will probably get a shot to win the starting job at one defensive end position, while Derrick Burgess should still be at the other defensive end position. I donít expect a lot of change at defensive end, but they could bring in a rookie to try and bolster the position and get more production out of it, as well. With the emergence of Richardson, the mistake of drafting Quentin Moses can be overlooked a little bit.

Kirk Morrison, Robert Thomas and Thomas Howard are pretty good group of young linebackers. Morrison had 120 tackles this season and looks to be the middle linebacker for at least the next few years for the Raiders. He will be 26 next year and the four-year veteran who was a third-round pick in 2005 has been a pleasant surprise for the Raiders.

Thomas Howard will be entering his third season, also his third year as a starter for the Raiders. The second round pick out of UTEP has been incredible for the Raiders in the passing game, knocking down 11 passes and picking off six. He also took two of those six picks back for touchdowns. With 95 tackles to go with it, thatís a pretty productive linebacker, and opens up some possibilities with hard-hitting safety Michael Huff.

Robert Thomas is the veteran of the group, but he will still only be 29 next season, his third with the Raiders, and seventh in the league. Of the three linebackers, heís been the least productive statistically. This could leave the door open for a training camp battle with third-year linebacker Isaiah Ekejiuba (good thing this is written and not spoken). The undrafted linebacker is big, 6-4, 240, and could get his shot for more playing time next season. I also wouldnít be surprised if the Raiders pick up a linebacker in rounds 3 or 4, just to bolster this group.

The Raiders secondary is young, and they gave up some big plays this year, but they are also very talented. Nnamdi Asomugha is the veteran of the group, as he will be entering his sixth season. Asomugha only had one interception this season, after grabbing eight in 2006, but heís a good cornerback for the Raiders, and the veteran in a group of young secondary players. Opposite him is Stanford Routt and Fabian Washington. Both young players who gambled this season and got beat doing so, but both have talent. Washington, a first-round pick in 2005, and Routt a second-round pick in the same draft will battle for the starting cornerback position opposite of Asomugha. Routt picked off three passes this season and defended seven, while as the nickel back, Washington picked off one and deflected eight.

At Safety, Michael Huff can be a playmaker. He showed signs of that, with 85 tackles, one interception and 11 pass deflections, but he needs to be more consistent, especially with how much the Raiders have riding on him. Remember, Al Davis selected Huff at No. 7, and let two franchise quarterbacks go. Both Stuart Schweigert and Hiram Eugene saw time at the other safety position, and will most likely battle for the starting job in camp. Bottom line is, the Raiders have a good young secondary, but they may need to take less risks and be more consistent.

Sebastian Janikowski and Shane Lechler are both good special teams players for the Raiders and thereís certainly no reason to fix something that isnít broken. The Raiders have a lot of holes on offense and really need to focus on those positions before worrying about anything else. The Raiders also have a decent amount of possible returnmen with Dwight, Higgins, Rhodes and even Washington.

claymore
01-06-2008, 10:17 AM
Speaking on Draft picks alone Miller was there best one in recent years. I loved the Huff pick because I was sure they would take Linehart, or Cutler. I was uneasy about the Bush pick, because if healthy I think they great value. But the Miller, I knew this was a good one and was actually PO'ed at the time.

I wonder if Gallery can work in another situation. I know all the talk about his short arms, I guess him and Dumerville had a weird cosmic accident that intertwines them forever. But Gallery has been rotated every year he has been in the league. I believe the only position he hasn't played is Center.

With all the complaining we receive with our draft day selections, I think it is consoling to look across the division and see Oakland's draft day miscues.

Good read MB keep it up.

Love, XXOO
Clay

MOtorboat
01-06-2008, 10:19 AM
Speaking on Draft picks alone Miller was there best one in recent years. I loved the Huff pick because I was sure they would take Linehart, or Cutler. I was uneasy about the Bush pick, because if healthy I think they great value. But the Miller, I knew this was a good one and was actually PO'ed at the time.

I wonder if Gallery can work in another situation. I know all the talk about his short arms, I guess him and Dumerville had a weird cosmic accident that intertwines them forever. But Gallery has been rotated every year he has been in the league. I believe the only position he hasn't played is Center.

With all the complaining we receive with our draft day selections, I think it is consoling to look across the division and see Oakland's draft day miscues.

Good read MB keep it up.

Love, XXOO
Clay

I wrote most of this yesterday, and finished up the proofing and the secondary work this morning. I just kept writing and writing and writing on this one, and didn't realize it. 1800 words on the Raiders. That's a lot of friggin' words on the Raiders...

claymore
01-06-2008, 10:24 AM
I wrote most of this yesterday, and finished up the proofing and the secondary work this morning. I just kept writing and writing and writing on this one, and didn't realize it. 1800 words on the Raiders. That's a lot of friggin' words on the Raiders...
As I was reading it I was like Geebus, when he gets to the Broncos and the true passion and knowledge of the Broncos comes out, this might be a whole page! Your gonna have to post that one at 5 AM just so you don't get comments/breaks in between the posting!

MOtorboat
01-06-2008, 10:26 AM
As I was reading it I was like Geebus, when he gets to the Broncos and the true passion and knowledge of the Broncos comes out, this might be a whole page! Your gonna have to post that one at 5 AM just so you don't get comments/breaks in between the posting!

I might skip the Broncos so I can focus on each position individually after I've done all the other teams, or something like that...I'm also going to work on a mock draft type article, too...I don't know yet. There's still a lot of work getting all these Offseason Primers done. I knew it was going to be, but I'm also enjoying it. Only 26 more to go.

P.S. You might see a couple of them today...

Dreadnought
01-07-2008, 08:25 AM
You have produced some very high quality work, and well written. Thank You.

MOtorboat
01-07-2008, 08:26 AM
I might skip the Broncos so I can focus on each position individually after I've done all the other teams, or something like that...I'm also going to work on a mock draft type article, too...I don't know yet. There's still a lot of work getting all these Offseason Primers done. I knew it was going to be, but I'm also enjoying it. Only 26 more to go.

P.S. You might see a couple of them today...

Damn couch.

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