539

Looking for a middle man

Share

Sixth in a series of concerns regarding the makeup of the 2008 Raiders with the reporting date approaching on July 24 at the Napa Marriott:

Lane Kiffin would never admit it, but the Raiders’ startling lineup will be set when the team reports to the Napa Marriott on July 23.

The only gray areas for the silver and black are at right tackle, where Mario Henderson hopes to unseat Cornell Green, and center, where a three-way battle between John Wade, Chris Morris and Jake Grove will be one of the most interesting competitions during training camp.

Kiffin has warned against reading too much into minicamp lineups, but the largest share of first-team reps during media availability periods has gone to Morris, the third-year player out of Michigan State.

Wade worked with the first team during one of the organized team activities, while Grove, who was thought to be the center of the future when he was drafted after Robert Gallery in 2004, has been rehabbing a knee injury and could be getting his last chance to claim the position assuming he is healthy enough to play when camp opens.

Morris is the least powerful and talented of the three players but may be the best at executing the cut blocking that the zone blocking concept requires. It is not unusual for zone blocking teams to utilize smallish centers who can move, guys who wouldn’t have a chance to even make a roster on power blocking teams. Denver did this for years with Tom Nalen.

Wade, 33, would be another temporary fix along the lines of Jeremy Newberry, although a more durable one.

In five seasons with Jacksonville and Tampa Bay, Wade has started 106 out of 126 games played. He is a smart, capable veteran who Kiffin said would be similar to Newberry in terms of being a leader to a relatively young line.

Although Newberry wanted to return, and Tom Cable wanted him to return, chances are Al Davis made the right call on this one. It was remarkable to see Newberry hold up as well as he did, and it’s difficult to imagine it happening again. He is probably better off as a backup at this stage of his career, which is what he will be in San Diego.

Grove came out of Virginia Tech with the reputation of having a nasty streak, and was in fact a bigger star at defensive tackle than as an offensive lineman as a high schooler in Virginia.

But all that attitude hasn’t been enough to move defensive linemen consistently at the NFL level. As a result, Grove has worked on building up his upper body while rehabbing his knee. It remains to be seen whether the added bulk will hurt Grove in terms of executing the footwork the blocking scheme requires.

Kiffin went out of his way to talk up Grove as an important part of the center competition. Short of that, if he is healthy enough, Grove would be the most likely of the three players to bring something back in the form of a training camp trade.

Share

Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Johnny Rebel

    No wonder you think Davis is in control of all things Raiders, I bet you get more angry as you drink.

  • Dakota

    No, I get angry because I can’t drink all of the time.

  • Johnny Rebel

    I blame Davis for all the bad hires over the years and/or bad coaching decisions, like Shell over Shanahan.

  • mcfaddenswagon

    yes yes yes davis is a bold man, and sometimes gives people to many chances, and we have lost a coach or 2 a player or 2 due to his hard headed, egotistical nature, but hey thats why his is where he is.

  • vegas raider

    Dakota: Fannie and Freddie are messing up my weekend!!

    Wagon: The Raiders over/under for wins is 6, but the niners are 5.5.

  • Dakota

    The only worse thing than a Raider fan pining over Gruden is a Raider fan pining over Shanahan.

  • Dakota

    I paid off my student loan through Fannie Mae…can’t blame me Vegas.

  • mcfaddenswagon

    thanks for the info vegas

  • I’m taking the over, I think this team is going to rally around Russell’s leadership. 8 wins.

  • vegas raider

    KK:

    Haven’t been able to listen to local radio today, so I got no scoop. No news on Fox 5 websites, who broke the story and have been on top of things from the beginning.

  • Johnny Rebel

    Think about it a momment before you go insane, Shell picks Aaron Brooks to be the starting quarterback, without mind you, any competition, over all the other possible quarterbacks around the league they could have brought in just to take a look.

  • Dakota

    I am out…

    As to Favre, I predicted this in early March…look it up and remember…

    Dakota is ALWAYS RIGHT! (except for my Lakers in 4 or 5 prediction)

  • Thanks Vegas, Out.

  • mcfaddenswagon

    bastards get to go home at 4 i still got another hour.

  • vegas raider

    KK:

    I think we can get 8 wins, and we talked about it before, week 1 is a playoff game. Win and who knows, with some momentum and a little luck (Rivers, LT injury) the division should be attainable. Lose ugly week 1 at home to the donkeys and watch out.

  • mcfaddenswagon

    I agree, talent wise we are better then the broncos.

  • Johnny Rebel

    I still can see them 3-1 or 2-2 at the bye and in a tie for first in the division or sitting in second.

  • vegas raider

    So wagon did you get your #20 jersey yet??

  • mcfaddenswagon

    i can see us goin 4-2 in are division

  • mcfaddenswagon

    nope debating if i want a mcfadden, hall or thomas howard jersey

  • mcfaddenswagon

    we should be able to run all over denver everyone does.

  • vegas raider

    I remember posting on this blog about wanting Adrian Peterson instead of Jamarcus, and than telling everyone how right I was when AP blew up this year. But now I look at it, and I would rather have Jamarcus and D-Mac, than AP and Matt Ryan. So I guess I was wrong and apologize to everyone I yelled at on her.

  • El Dirty

    Sports news has us going 3-13

  • mcfaddenswagon

    haha yeah jamarcus has something about him that you can see him being a better dante culpepper.

  • vegas raider

    The hell with Sports News

  • Johnny Rebel

    I’ve been telling you guys the Raiders just got lucky, something special is about to happen for this team.

  • mcfaddenswagon

    vegas has all the best predictions, and they got us goin 6-10 which is about right, because we have a rookie qb who has yet to win a game.

  • Johnny Rebel

    The Raiders got the best 2 skill position players in back to back drafts in the country (sec) and it will start showing immediately, starting with game one.

  • Johnny Rebel

    Aikman went 1-15.

  • El Dirty

    That sucks

  • mcfaddenswagon

    mcfadden touchdowwwwwwwwwwwwwwnnnnnnnnnnn raaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyddddddddassssssssss

  • mcfaddenswagon

    anyone know who we play at home for preseason and the dates by any chance?

  • Johnny Rebel

    Next the league will alter the draft selection process so no team gets back to back top five selections because of the Raiders lol.

  • vegas raider

    The more I live here, and betting on games is a big hobby of mine, the more I see Vegas being so right it is scary.

  • vegas raider

    I’m outta here fellas, it was nice actually talking football

  • mcfaddenswagon

    ok i just check out are schedule we have 12 games that i can see us winning. but that includes beating the broncos twice and chiefs twice which is hard to do.

  • 137

    I wonder if California will still be on fire by the time training camp opens on the 24th.

    Seriously, this is getting out of hand.

    Living under a cloud of smoke for 3 consecutive weeks has been great!

  • Johnny Rebel

    IMO the Raiders got a huge break being able to play all thre division opponents in the first four weeks.

  • mcfaddenswagon

    Where going to know where we stand in the division real fast.

  • mcfaddenswagon

    it’ll be nice to win the first two to get jamarcuses confidance up.

  • 137

    Rebel,

    The Raiders will have the home field advantage. The other teams, except for maybe San Diego, won’t be used to constant smoke inhilation.

  • mcfaddenswagon

    travis hengry will ha

  • El Dirty

    But 6-10 Wins me a grand. Stupid charger fans bet me that we wouldn’t win 5 games! jerks

  • mcfaddenswagon

    you should have offered him a lifetime bet the chargers never win the superbowl.

  • Thec

    NATION WHAT IS UP???? el dirty can i get in on that action bro?

    We win 8 games minimum you can take that to any bank…
    same as cash.

  • El Dirty

    I already did! I bet them they wouldn’t win a superbowl in the next 5 years 100 bucks a year we are now on year 5 I will be paid 500 come Dec.

  • mcfaddenswagon

    charger fans are idiots

  • El Dirty

    Thec
    I wish I could get them to bet more! We made that bet before the draft! Now the want to lower the amount! lol

  • mcfaddenswagon

    yeah i loved niner fans reaction after the draft when we got mcfadden, u can see the jealousy.

  • El Dirty

    WE NEED TO DOMINATE EVERYONE 16-0!! (I can dream)