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Posted on: August 25, 2011 4:22 am
 

Terrelle Pryor in Silver n' Black

By drafting Terrelle Pryor in the third round of this year's NFL Supplemental Draft, the Raiders have finally signaled that they are ready to try and groom their own quarterback again.  At this point no one can definitively state how this will end, but despite whatever controversy or results may ensue, this was a good move by the Raiders.  Clearly some fans have already begun to rehash conflicting reports about his accuracy or attitude, but in the end, there is little doubt that Terrelle Pryor seems to have the all the physical tools necessary to be successful in the NFL, so the Raiders were wise to take him in the third round. 

Typically, teams do not trade franchise quarterbacks.  Consequently then, if the Raiders ever hope to have their own franchise quarterback anytime soon, it will more likely result from the draft, rather than from a trade.  So why not take a chance on an obviously skilled athlete with their third round pick?  Some may ask, why draft an athlete over a quarterback?  However, have not similar questions been raised about Michael Vick or Randall Cunningham?  There was a reason the Philadelphia Eagles chose to keep their athletic quarterback, while trading their outwardly otherwise capable quarterback; athleticism, in the end, is a good thing.  Of course, this is not to state that athleticism is the only thing, merely that athleticism is a positive, not a negative.  Moreover, Terrelle Pryor seems, at least at this point, willing to work to improve. 

The Raiders, by drafting Pryor in the third round, as opposed to drafting another quarterback in the first or second round, have lessened the pressure on Pryor; as higher round pick, the expectations and cap cost would have perhaps forced the Raiders to try and start him sooner, rather than later.  As it stands, Pryor, as a third round pick will have more time to develop.  Yes, undoubtedly there will be media pressure, however that is a lot less pressure than there would have been as a highly paid first round pick.  Therefore, drafting Pryor in the third round simultaneously works in both Pryor's and the Raiders favor.

At the end of the day, regardless of how this turns out, the Raiders were wise to take a chance on Terrelle Pryor in the third round. However, in the spirit of disclosure, I must state that I have not followed Pryor's football career in Ohio and do not generally have the time, at this point, to follow a lot of college football - except for, on occasion, UCLA Football - so, I am relying on various scouting reports in assessing Pryor. Nevertheless, the points enumerated above focus on the decision rather than on the player and to that end, the decision to draft a player of Pryor's caliber was a sagacious one. Moreover, the decision to keep him at quarterback may pay huge dividends for the Raiders in the long run, for if the Raiders succeed with Pryor at quarterback, they will undoubtedly become a very dangerous team to defend against and for Terrelle Pryor personally, the quarterback position seems to be where his heart is.

Posted on: August 25, 2011 4:17 am
 

Terrelle Pryor in Silver n' Black

By drafting Terrelle Pryor in the third round of this year's NFL Supplemental Draft, the Raiders have finally signaled that they are ready to try and groom their own quarterback again.  At this point no one can definitively state how this will end, but despite whatever controversy or results may ensue, this was a good move by the Raiders.  Clearly some fans have already begun to rehash conflicting reports about his accuracy or attitude, but in the end, there is little doubt that Terrelle Pryor seems to have the all the physical tools necessary to be successful in the NFL, so the Raiders were wise to take him in the third round. 

Typically, teams do not trade franchise quarterbacks.  Consequently then, if the Raiders ever hope to have their own franchise quarterback anytime soon, it will more likely result from the draft, rather than from a trade.  So why not take a chance on an obviously skilled athlete with their third round pick?  Some may ask, why draft an athlete over a quarterback?  However, have not similar questions been raised about Michael Vick or Randall Cunningham?  There was a reason the Philadelphia Eagles chose to keep their athletic quarterback, while trading their outwardly otherwise capable quarterback; athleticism, in the end, is a good thing.  Of course, this is not to state that athleticism is the only thing, merely that athleticism is a positive, not a negative.  Moreover, Terrelle Pryor seems, at least at this point, willing to work to improve. 

The Raiders, by drafting Pryor in the third round, as opposed to drafting another quarterback in the first or second round, have lessened the pressure on Pryor; as higher round pick, the expectations and cap cost would have perhaps forced the Raiders to try an start him sooner, rather than later.  As it stands, Pryor, as a third round pick will have more time to develop.  Yes, undoubtedly there will be media pressure, however that is a lot less pressure than there would have been as a highly paid first round pick.  Therefore, drafting Pryor in the third round simultaneously works in both Pryor's and the Raiders favor.

At the end of the day, regardless of how this turns out, the Raiders were wise to take a chance on Terrelle Pryor in the third round. However, in the spirit of disclosure, I must state that I have not followed Pryor's football career in Ohio and do not generally have the time, at this point, to follow a lot of college football - except for, on occasion, UCLA Football - so, I am relying on various scouting reports in assessing Pryor. Nevertheless, the points enumerated above focus on the decision rather than on the player and to that end, the decision to draft a player of Pryor's caliber was a sagacious one. Moreover, the decision to keep him at quarterback may pay huge dividends for the Raiders in the long run, for if the Raiders succeed with Pryor at quarterback, they will undoubtedly become a very dangerous team to defend against and for Terrelle Pryor personally, the quarterback position seems to be where his heart is.

Posted on: August 12, 2011 11:58 pm
 

Post Game Notes [Pre-Season Edition]:

Arizona Cardinals v. Oakland Raiders:

The Raiders receivers definitely showed signs of life against the Arizona Cardinals in their first pre-season game of the year.  Not too surprisingly, for many following the Raiders' training camp, Denarius Moore led the Silver n' Black receivers with 3 receptions, but newly signed Derek Hagan, from the New York Giants, had the longest reception with 42 yards.  Notably, Shaun Bodiford, Kevin Brock, Louis Rankin, Nick Miller, and Brandon Myers each had two receptions.  For what it is worth, Darrius Heyward-Bey had only one reception, but interestingly, it showed that he can catch the ball with his hands as opposed to using his body - which has been a glaring criticism of his.

Overall, the offensive line had a few hiccups, including a fumble on an exchange between Stefen Wisniewski and Trent Edwards, but clearly the Achilles heel of the line was the play of Khalif Barnes, who was called for about three penalties.  If the Raiders are serious about reducing penalties, then they need address this.  Nevertheless, the Raiders rushed for a total of 95 yards and passed for 234 yards.  In conclusion, the offensive line is a work in progress, but ostensibly could use at least a player or two in order to solidify it.

Unfortunately, this game also proved what many already suspected, the Raiders secondary is extremely thin.  If Stanford Routt or Chris Johnson do not step up this season or get injured, the Raiders will likely be in serious trouble.  Walter McFadden had an especially rough game and DeMarcus Van Dyke showed that he is not ready.  Conversely, Sterling Moore, showed some solid gamesmanship, but that was late in the game - can he step up against starters?  Who can say, but he was a bright spot in a relatively dark position for the Silver n' Black.

The Raiders defensive line, on the other hand, looked to pick up where they were last year - they looked solid.  In fact, the Raiders' second defensive line impressively held strong against the Arizona Cardinals starting offense, and Kevin Kolb, on an goal line stance early in the game.  In regards to the coaching, some have criticized Coach Hue Jackson as showcasing a plain vanilla offense, but that is exactly what he should be running in a pre-season game.  So, this is not a big issue right now.  In respect to Jason Campbell, even though he did not play that long, it seems that there is some room for improvement with his timing; too often, his passes seemed underthrown.  However, again, this does not seem as serious a problem as the Raiders have with their secondary, and timing issues will likely improve as the season progresses.

Posted on: August 11, 2011 9:27 pm
Edited on: August 11, 2011 9:28 pm
 

Pre-Game Notes [Pre-Season Edition]:

Cardinals v. Raiders

Since Darren McFadden is injured and Michael Bush's roster spot is already secured, expect to see substantial work, in the running game, to be done by Lois Rankin with Taiwan Jones (barring any injury), and perhaps Manase Tonga or Rock Cartwright/Kelly Bryson.  In other words, do not expect to see a lot of Bush. 

With the running game relatively secure, expect the Raiders to test both their wide receivers and their back-up quarterbacks - will Kyle Boller start ahead of Trent Edwards?  In regards to receivers, there are a gluttony of players on the roster and cuts will have to be made, so the Raiders will likely look to test their plethora of receivers - currently there are fourteen wider receivers on the roster (though many are obviously camp fodder, but for some on the edge this will be their time).  With Jacoby Ford's injury and Chaz Schilens' inclination for injuries, Denarius Moore should see enough game time in order to make his case to the team and to the fans; something many have read about in numerous blogs and on twitter, but have yet to see in live action.

Since the Raiders will likely look for clarity among their wide receivers, this will inevitably put a lot of pressure on the offensive line.  Will Stefen Wisniewski start at center or will Samson Satele?  Either way, expect the Raiders to work on their offensive line and both Joe Barksdale and Stefen Wisniewski should see sizeable game time - however, the question remains, will second year player Bruce Campbell receive extensive game time?

Posted on: August 9, 2011 3:41 am
Edited on: August 9, 2011 4:45 pm
 

3 Reasons Why the Raiders Will Surprise:

Coaching and Wide Receivers:

Though some have raised objections to Coach Tom Cable's exit, Coach Hue Jackson is the right man, at the right time, for the Silver n' Black.  Had the Raiders extended Coach Cable's contract, that would allowed Coach Jackson to interview for other head coaching vacancies in the league and inevitably, he would have been lost to the Raiders.  So unfortunately one of the two men had to move on and, by far, losing Coach Jackson would have been a bigger loss for the Silver n' Black.  This is not to say that Coach Cable was not loved by the team nor any fans, but rather that Coach Cable is arguably a better offensive line coach than he is a head coach.  In the end, regardless of one's position, Coach Jackson is the current head coach of the Oakland Raiders and it cannot be denied that he seems to be coaching as a man on fire. 

As a matter of reference, and importance to the current crop of Raider receivers, Chad Ochocinco stated after Coach Jackson was named head coach, that he [Coach Jackson] is the " best receiver coach I’ve ever had."  Add to this, the experience in the form of Al Saunders, who is an Air Coryell disciple, and among his other accomplishments, has worked as an assistant head coach for the St. Louis Rams with Mike Martz, Torry Holt, and Isaac Bruce when their wide receivers were flying high as the 'greatest show on turf.'  Ultimately, with this coaching staff, whatever happens with the Oakland Raiders in the coming season, one can expect that the Silver n' Black will not be boring and that veteran receivers such as Chaz Schilens, Jacoby Ford, and Louis Murphy will almost certainly play a larger role than they have in years past.   In addition, one new player likely to benefit from this stalwart coaching staff is Denarius Moore.

When the Raiders drafted Denarius Moore out of the University of Tennessee in the fifth round of the 2011 draft, Eric Berry, of the Kansas City Chiefs, immediately tweeted that "we used to go at it at practice everyday...now it's gonna b twice a yr. Oak got a good one. N their track team might b complete lol."  The derogatory, though somewhat true, jab at the Oakland Raiders receiving corps aside, Berry's praise of Denarius Moore did not go unnoticed and neither has Moore's play in practice.  In fact, other receivers have already taken notice; Darrius Heyward Bey recently noted that Denarius Moore is "a ball player right there ... we just call him 'Smooth.' Doesn't look like he's going fast, but he's catching everything."  It seems Smooth, has an inclination towards making the remarkable play seem commonplace on a daily basis.  However, Smooth's play can best be described by the man himself when he stated, "I am not a playmaker.  I just make plays."

My Take:  If the offensive line can hold (without holding), expect to see plays from the Raiders in the coming season.

 

 

Defensive Line:

With Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly, Matt Shaughnessy, Trevor Scott, Desmond Bryant, and defensive end Lamarr Houston, the Raiders defensive line and rotation should cause ulcers for numerous offenses.  Look for the Oakland Raiders defensive front to attack and test every offensive line in front of them.  This, particularly this season, is especially important with the loss of Nnamdi Asomugha.  Thus, it is no surprise that the stout Silver n' Black defensive line will be the unquestioned anchor of the Raiders' defense.  Expect Richard Seymour to remain the unequivocal veteran leader of this group as he has since arriving from Foxboro and as he has been during the lock-out.  Add to this the punishing Rolando McClain and resurging Kamerion Wimbley and getting past the Raiders defense is going to be a battle.  Though, if opposing teams can fend off the Silver n' Black defensive front, new coach Rod Woodson will have his work cut out for him as teams will look to expose the Raiders' secondary.

My Take:  The strength of the Raiders defense is outwardly in their line and that strength will likely be put to the test as opposing offenses look to hold off that line in order to test the Raiders' secondary.

 

 

D-Dawg and Bush:

The current Oakland Raider and former University of Arkansas Razorback, Darren McFadden, Dmac, or D-dawg, as he prefers to be called, was continuing his work from last season and impressing everyone at camp before fracturing his orbital bone.  Since last season D-dawg has proven to be the bite in the Oakland Raider offense and, as opposing teams can attest to, D-dawg was hungry.  The Raiders were second in the league last year in rush yards per game and D-dawg led the team with 1,157 yards in only 13 games.  If Darren McFadden can stay healthy, the Raiders need to feed him the ball.  To this end, the Raiders insurance policy, Michael Bush, has finally shown up to camp.  To be fair, Bush is no insurance policy, rather he is the thunder to McFadden's lighting and the Raiders need both to cause up a storm for their offense.  The Raiders running game, if successful, will help give the passing game much needed life.

My Take:  Darren McFadden, if healthy, will almost certainly build upon last year's success - if not, expect Michael Bush to step up and continue pounding the ball for the Silver n' Black.

Posted on: August 7, 2011 2:31 am
 

3 Reasons Why the Raiders Will Disappoint in 2011

Offensive Line Worries:

It is not a well kept secret in the NFL that the Oakland Raiders offensive line, in recent years, has been, well, just plain offensive. With a motley crew of cast-offs and inexperienced players consisting of such players as Alan Pelc, Roy Schuening, Alex Parsons, Bruce Campbell, Stephon Heyer, Lou Eliades, Seth Wand, Daniel Loper (whose claim to fame in Oakland is the 'Holy Loper' on youtube.com) and Cody Habben it should be no surprise that offensive line is an area of great concern for the 2011 Oakland Raiders. In fact, the supposed strength, at least on paper, of this unit consists of either off tier linemen or raw players, even some rookies, such as Stefen Wisniewski (R), Joe Barksdale (R), Jared Veldheer (1), Khalif Barnes, Cooper Calisle, and Samson Satele. This is not to say that all the above mentioned players are all rubbish, though not too surprisingly many players named above may not even make the final roster cut, but rather that the offensive line is in fact an area of great concern for the Silver n' Black.

With the loss of Robert Gallery and Coach Tom Cable, whose strength was coaching the offensive line, the Raiders may be in more trouble than last year. Additionally, two players, that have seen significant playing time in recent years, Cooper Calisle and Samson Satele, may not even fit the current move toward a power blocking team that Coach Hue Jackson plans on employing in the coming season. What does all this mean? Well, for now, that the offensive line is one reason why the Raiders may disappoint.

My Take:  Having Offensive Line Coach Bob Wylie in charge of this group does not immediately engender confidence, however, having Steve Wisniewski as the Assistant Offensive Line Coach does raise the optimism level somewhat.



Free Agent Losses:

There is little, if any, doubt that the biggest losses in this year's free agency for the Silver n' Black are Nnamdi Asomugha and Zach Miller. The effect of Miller's loss has been assuaged somewhat by the timely addition of Kevin Boss from the New York Giants - though replacing a Pro Bowl player, even an alternate, may prove more difficult than many may want to believe. Nevertheless, Boss has a reputation of being a solid blocker with decent catching ability, so this loss is arguably bearable. Consequently, there is little doubt that Oakland Raiders' most serious loss this off season is the departure of Nnamdi Asomugha to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Asomugha's exit coupled with the rich contract given to Stanford Routt that, after restructuring, made him the third highest paid cornerback in the league means that Stanford Routt needs to step up significantly for the Raiders. This obviously is an area of great concern for opposite Routt is the often beleaguered Chris Johnson. Notwithstanding Football Outsiders much ballyhooed burn rate and Routt's mercurial placement on that list, many Raider fans can recall with dread the games in which Routt was routinely burned. The question for the Oakland Raiders and their fans is which Stanford Routt will show up?

My take: This may be an up and down season in regards to the cornerback play in Oakland.


Jason Campbell:

What is there to say about Jason Campbell that has not already been stated before on numerous internet forums, blogs, and posts? Jason Campbell, for better or worse, has been the subject of many heated and impassioned debates among Raider fans. Many of his detractors argue that the Raiders more often than not have won despite him, rather than because of him and point to such performances as that against the Tennessee Titans in 2010 where Campbell chose not to rush for an ostensibly easily attainable first down in the waning minutes of a game, which was within the grasp of victory - had Campbell not nonchalantly trotted safely out of bounds well short of that all important first down and any defenders. This lack of fire, or passion, together with his reputation, whether deserved or not, of being a check down king and padding his stats in the waning minutes of lost games raises significant concerns for the Oakland Raiders in the coming season.

To be fair, Jason Campbell supporters argue that he has not had consecutive seasons in the same system since high school, until this season, and adherents further point to his physical skills; Campbell is tall, does have a strong enough arm, and has been accurate at times. Moreover, they argue that the Raiders have not had a strong line (true) and his receivers could be significantly better (again, true). Nevertheless, despite the veracity of these claims, what has changed? The Oakland Raiders still have glaring question marks at both the offensive line and wide receiver positions. Whether or not Jason Campbell's skill set can overcome all these questions will be seen in the coming season, however, with the offensive line the way it is and the composition of the receivers relatively unchanged (Moore on this later), quarterback play for the Oakland Raiders is an area of concern.

My take:  Jason Campbell is capable enough to deserve at least another season to see if he can progress as the starting quarterback with the Silver n' Black.
Posted on: April 26, 2009 10:00 pm
Edited on: April 26, 2009 10:03 pm
 

Darrius Heyward-Bey, The Most Complete Receiver


To all the naysayers and doubters; Darrius Heyward-Bey was positively and unequivocally the best receiver on the board when the Raiders selected him. By "best receiver" I mean that he was the most complete receiver on the board; he works hard; he blocks hard; and understands his role to make the TEAM better – rather than just his own personal numbers. 

With Darren McFadden, Michael Bush, and the zone-blocking-scheme, the Raiders are a run-first team... how nice is it for them to have a complete receiver on the roster that can help the team improve upon its strength – running the ball. I can just see Michael Crabtree, acting like Randy Moss when he wore the Silver 'n Black, taking running plays off and then complain that he is not getting the ball enough... this does not seem to be the case with Darrius Heyward-Bey.

The only fear I have with Darrius Heyward-Bey is his hands... JaMarcus Russell throws a hard ball and I am concerned that he may not be able to hold on... but, we shall.  However, his athleticism and willingness to block for the running game makes him the better total receiver.

In regards to Michael Crabtree, he may work out for the 'Niners, but that does not mean that he would work out in Oakland - just like Randy Moss did not work out for the Silver ‘n Black, but is playing phenomenally in New England. The 'Niners running game is getting old and thus Crabtree will likely get a lot of touches which should keep him happy, regardless of the score; however, with the Raiders running machine, it is doubtful that he would get as many touches and thus, would likely begin to vocally complain [which would kill any locker room chemistry] or perhaps even flat-out quit as Moss did.

In the end, the Raiders drafted the most complete receiver in the draft who happens to also be one of the fastest. Darrius Heyward-Bey will seemingly work hard with, and without, the ball - and, more importantly, not likely become a caner in the locker room as that other guy across the bay might.
Posted on: December 25, 2008 3:37 am
Edited on: December 25, 2008 3:37 am
 

Merry Christmas!

 

 

                                                                                           Merry Christmas...

                                                                                            happy holidays...

                                                                                   and happy birthday Jesus!

Category: NFL
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com