Part of the Bay Area News Group

West’s best offseason

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Monday, March 24th, 2008 at 5:36 pm in Oakland Raiders.

You want good news?

The Raiders have had the best offseason of any team in the AFC West.

RAIDERS POLL: Rate the DeAngelo Hall trade

There. That wasn’t so hard.

Of course, the Raiders are the only team that has done anything of note in the division, so bringing in DeAngelo Hall, Javon Walker, Gibril Wilson and even Kwame Harris and Drew Carter makes it a veritable landslide no matter what you think of how much they paid.

The losses _ wide receiver Jerry Porter, defensive end Chris Clemons, defensive lineman Tyler Brayton and quarteback Josh McCown _ were more than offset by the gains. They also managed to bring back Justin Fargas, Dominic Rhodes and Tommy Kelly, and the first two came at extremely reasonable prices.

Division play happened to be one of Oakland’s best areas of progress last season. Until faced with the murderer’s row final four of Green Bay, Indianapolis, Jacksonville and San Diego, Oakland’s back-to-back wins over the Chiefs and Broncos were one of the most positive developments of the past few seasons.

The Broncos have signed LB Boss Bailey, WR Keary Colbert, LB Niko Koutovides, S Marquand Manuel, S Marlon McCree, RB Cecil Sapp and C Casey Wiegmann.

Wiegmann has been a solid center for a long time _ possibly too long. Bailey never seemed to realize his ability in Detroit. Colbert is a No. 2 receiver at best.

The Broncos wanted no part of Walker, deciding the $5.4 bonus was too much for an unhappy player with a history of knee trouble. That risk was assumed by the Raiders at a much higher price. Denver might have second thoughts if Walker regains his form, because Brandon Marshall, the talented receiver who replaced him, has a serious right arm injury sustained in a mysterious accident.

Losing kicker Jason Elam will cost them a game. Based on recent history, it could come against Oakland.

San Diego remains the top team in the division, but they’re only significant addition is linebacker Derrick Smith, a solid if slow linebacker the 49ers didn’t want who could fit nicely as an inside linebacker. Gone is Michael Turner, a valuable No. 2 running back behind LaDainian Tomlinson.

More important to Tomlinson, fullback Lorenzo Neal was released. Count on Tomlinson to lobby hard to bring back his body guard.

As for the Chiefs, who look to be the worst team in the division by a considerable margin, they re-signed punter Dustin Colquitt, and have done little else.

Searching for QBs

Not surprising Quinn Gray signed with someone other than the Raiders. He has aspirations of being a No. 1 quarterback and JaMarcus Russell’s future begins in earnest this season. He’s got a better chance of beating out Sage Rosenfels and Matt Schaub.

But it leaves the Raiders in search of another quarterback to go with Russell and Andrew Walter. According to the Fresno Bee, Trent Dilfer has been contacted.

If that’s the case, he may be better suited as No. 3 and a mentor, because frankly, I’d take my chances with Walter if Russell went down.

Bad day across the bay

I was pretty dismissive of tampering charges in general a few weeks back after getting an up close look at it going right out in the open at the NFL scouting combine.

It’s bad enough that the 49ers got caught tampering. It’s even worse that they got caught tampering with a player they didn’t even get. Lance Briggs is still with the Chicago Bears.

Profootballtalk.com believes it’s the first enforced tampering charge since the Miami Dolphins lost a first-round pick when it hired Don Shula away from the Baltimore Colts 38 years ago.

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  • Quagmire’d

    Tech, that ish was friggin’ hilarious.

  • La Milicia Negra

    Muahahhaha…

    Elam went to Atlanta, and then Bonkos made and offer for Olindo Mare, he just signed with Seahawks Muhahahhaa

    this is goood =)

    LOL

  • Dakota

    later

  • La Milicia Negra

    —”Seahawks signed K Olindo Mare. The Broncos made Mare an offer on Wednesday, but were apparently outbid by the Seahawks, who signed Mare to a two-year deal worth $3.5 million. Mare has been brutal for the past two seasons, and Seattle will likely draft someone to compete with him. Mar. 27 – 7:19 p.m. ET”—

  • darkknight01

    alameda,

    i don’t buy the Gholston overrated statement. If we pass on him then watch how well the beast does when the JETS or PATS draft him. That would be no good.

    I compare Gholston to DWare/Merriman/J Taylor/Patrick Willis….I think he that type of player. If they want Ellis then the old man needs to trade DOWN with the Jets or Baltimore!

  • La Milicia Negra

    yeah i’m outta here, gotta go my round, so to speak =)

  • darkknight01

    alameda,

    I think the smart move would be pick a replacement for burgess….which is Gholston….and let Kelley be more of a full time DT….then they can would have a nice versatile rotation with Burgess, Richardson at the set DE positions…..Kelley DT/DE on some downs…Gholston..DE/OLB elephant in the 3-4 packages….and then you have a DT rotation of Warren,Sands,Kelley and Joseph…Shaw and Hawthorne fight to make the team.

    I heard we can get a 5th rounder if Shaw signs with someonelse. They should let him sign somewhere else to get the pick if true.

  • Tech Geek

    good lookin Quag!

  • azraiderdude

    it’s c.long or mcfadden and maybe in the third let’s
    get bruce davis’s kid. and let’s all stop talking
    so much shit. be raider lover not a raider hater
    my blood will alway’s be silver
    and black

  • Kirk

    Good article on Gholston……

    *6-4, 262 lbs

    *4.56 forty yard dash

    *455 lb bench press and also squatting 405 lbs…20times!

    *37 reps at 225 lbs

    *42 in. vertical jump

    At his height and weight, those numbers are staggering. All of those are better than Chris Long’s numbers.

    Remember now, Burgess always lines up against the opposing teams right tackle, which means he isn’t coming from the quarterbacks blind spot, he’s coming head on. With Gholston coming off of the opposite edge, it creates a death-trap bookend. Especially with the corners locked on so the line can force numerous “coverage sacks”.

    For those of you with concern to the run defense, I’ve already got this covered (pun intended). Nnamdi Asomugha and DeAngelo Hall can cover wide-outs securely. Anyone who has questions about Hall’s ability or coverage wasn’t thinking about 2008. In 2008, Asomugha will cover the opposing teams “number one” receiver. Which in some cases, was what Hall had problems with. Now Hall only has to cover the “number two” receiver. I know he can do that. What does this have to do with the run defense might you ask?

    With the corners locked down and Huff returning to his true position, this gives the Raiders the ability to put eight men in the box. Gibril Wilson will be that enforcer we were lacking. With Kirk Morrison and Thomas Howard stepping up their game each year, eight men in the box should keep runners under 100 yards each game.

    It’s all about gap control. Vernon Gholston is a very good run stuffing defensive end. With his athleticism, it will be hard for opposing teams to double team anyone on our line. With a front four consisting of Burgess, Sands, Kelly, and Gholston, it will be tough for anyone to pinpoint a weak spot to double team, keep in mind that having to double team anyone on the front four lets our linebackers have “free range” to roam the field, especially the backfield. Those eight men in the box will get the job done.

    Vernon Gholston posseses the speed and power to go against the games best offensive lineman: left tackles. No one else in the draft has that ability to dominate from that position like he does, and that just might be the missing piece to propel our defense back to the days where people will not want to have the football in their hands on offense.

  • 909raiderlifer

    What is the over/under on what time, this knitting session, hits 2000.

  • darkknight01

    Kirksays,

    Glad someone else in here as the same vision on how effective and valuable a player like gholston will be to defense and our whole team in general.

  • http://insidebayarea.com Raiderkoolaid

    Looks like we are going for 2000. If we get Gholston, on passing downs we could have Burgess, Warren, Kelly, and Gholston along the D line. That would be a pretty formative pass rush.

  • Tommy Trojan

    expect a breakout year from sands this year

  • Raider Revenge

    Calling on the NATION to represent on Bleacher.com

    http://bleacherreport.com/sections/Oakland%20Raiders

    This site rocks and the Raider Nation lives.

  • OG

    Good article on raiders and Darren Mcfadden

    http://bigbenlivingroom.blogspot.com/

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