By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Tuesday, February 6th, 2007 at 5:44 pm in Oakland Raiders.
With the slate wiped clean the moment the Indianapolis Colts were crowned Super Bowl champions, a few notes regarding the team at the bottom, the team at the top and other random observations:
– Peyton Manning was the Super Bowl MVP only because it’s an individual award. The star of Super Bowl XLI was the offensive line, which dominated the Bears from start to finish.
It also happens to be the area in which the Raiders are weakest.
It’s worth noting that since Manning arrived, he’s had one line coach _ Howard Mudd. Mudd is the only line coach left tackle Tarik Glenn, the Bishop O’Dowd High and Cal product, has known as a professional.
Robert Gallery, meanwhile, has absorbed the various blocking theories of Aaron Kromer, Jim Colletto, Art Shell, Irv Eatman and Jackie Slater. Next up is Tom Cable, whose hiring was made official by the Raiders Tuesday.
Gallery may never be as good as Glenn, but you wonder how much better he’d be with some consistency in instruction.
– Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes . . . LaMont Jordan and Justin Fargas? Assuming the Raiders hold on to Jordan, they desperately need a nifty, receiving back to diversify their offense.
– Additional instruction in the areas of both blocking and running is expected to arrive soon in the form of Tom Rathman. Rathman played fullback for the 49ers from 1986 to 1993 before finishing his career with the Los Angeles Raiders.
Rathman was running backs coach with the 49ers under Steve Mariucci and coached with Mariucci in Detroit. No word on the fate of Skip Peete.
Garrison Hearst, an explosive blocker as well as runner, gave Rathman particularly high marks in that area.
Rathman retired after the 1994 season with the Raiders. He considered coming out of retirement the following season when the 49ers lost William Floyd to a knee injury. One problem _ Rathman, who was coaching at Serra High School at the time, was still under contract to the Raiders, who wanted some form of compensation.
The comeback never happened, and the 49ers season ended in the playoffs against Green Bay when fullback Adam Walker fumbled away a reception on a swing pass from Steve Young. It was returned 31 yards for a touchdown by Craig Newsome, igniting a 27-17 win by the Packers.
– Tell me the Raiders wouldn’t fare at least a little better with a reliable receiver such as Hunter Smith in the middle of the field to actually hold on to the ball. Tight ends Courtney Anderson and Randal Williams looked like Bob Uecker going after knuckleballs.
Maybe that guy is John Madsen, but he’ll need to get bigger without sacrificing some skill. That was a problem for Williams.
– After watching Tony Dungy, and Lovie Smith for that matter, conduct themselves with serene decorum on the sidelines, why don’t we go ahead and concede Art Shell’s problems had nothing to do with his demeanor.
– Lane Kiffin has the reputation of being an aggressive play caller. That’s all well and good, but it didn’t get Chicago’s Ron Turner anywhere in the third quarter.
As much as Rex Grossman’s two interceptions sunk the Bears, I was convinced the game was lost on Turner’s decision on second-and-1 while trailing 19-14 to throw a pass. Grossman fumbled, recovered it for an 11-yard loss, the Bears eventually punted, and lost a promising opportunity.
Chicago hadn’t had the ball in 56 minutes of real time, and went three-and-out.
Move the chains first. Get clever later.
– Great responses on Raider-eligible Hall of Fame candidates. I liked watching Jack Tatum as much as the next guy, but don’t consider him a Hall of Fame player _ and it has nothing to do with Darryl Stingley.
Tatum was an intimidator and a terrific hitter. But he was a so-so tackler and ball-stripper and average at best as a cover guy and as deep help at safety.
If anything regarding Tatum belongs in the Hall of Fame, it’s the film clip of Sammy White losing his helmet in the Super Bowl.
– The Raiders Hall of Fame was something Al Davis talked about when the team returned to Oakland, but that was back when he expected weekly sellouts and piles of cash from jammed-to-capacity luxury boxes.
–If Brett Favre really wanted Randy Moss in Green Bay that bad, he’d have withheld his intentions to return until a deal was in place.
The whole fake moon of the Green Bay crowd is a non-factor, because if Favre wanted Moss, the Green Bay fans would follow along.
Can’t imagine Mike McCarthy would want to bring in the Moss problem, but on the other hand, Green Bay got more out of Charles Woodson that I ever thought possible.
– Yogi Roth, a 25-year-old graduate assistant at USC who KIffin recruited to join the Raiders as an assistant wide receivers coach, will instead remain with the Trojans, the Los Angeles Times reported.