681

Who needs Cadillacs?

It seemed fairly sincere at the time, or at least as convincing as any NFL coach can be in the week leading up to the draft.

In a pre-draft press briefing, Cable talked admiringly of the four players who were legitimate left tackle prospects _ Baylor’s Jason Smith, Virginia’s Eugene Monroe, Alabama’s Andre Smith and Mississippi’s Michael Oher. He later referred to them as “Cadillacs.”

“I’ve never had one like that,” Cable said.

A few days later, the Raiders passed on Monroe, Oher and Arizona’s Eben Britton (the latter two were more likely trade-down possibilities than at No. 7) and selected Maryland wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, apparently of the opinion that while a Cadillac is a fine car, the Ferrari was the better option.

Which was followed by Cable admitting that he’d purposely oversold the idea of getting a lineman.

“We kind of went into it talking about the offensive line for a purpose, really, because we had signed Khalif Barnes and Erik Pears at tackle,” Cable said. “Then there was the trade (for Samson Satele), which was huge,” Cable said, going on to mention the depth at guard behind starters Robert Gallery and Cooper Carlisle, starting with Paul McQuistan.”

When the Raiders meet for five practice this weekend, starting Friday, at their mandatory minicamp, Cable’s future as coach will depend on his skill in developing that line.

Barnes (6-foot-5, 325 pounds) missed a start because he was late for a meeting, allowed 9.5 sacks and was penalty prone in Jacksonville. The Jaguars made no effort to sign him and happily snapped up Monroe when the Virginia lineman fell to No. 8.

Frankly, Barnes didn’t have many other options, although Cable wanted him badly. Al Davis sold Barnes on the idea of signing a one-year contract with the hopes of getting his career back on track and getting something done in Oakland down the road. He’ll initially compete with Mario Henderson to be the bodyguard for JaMarcus Russell at left tackle.

Pears played both on the left and right side in Denver before missing the 2008 season due to injury. he started all 16 games in 2007 for a heavily criticized Broncos line. He wasn’t even given a qualifying offer by Denver, which could have retained his services for a modest salary.

With a new coaching regime, it could be the Broncos are continuing to move away from a strict zone blocking scheme. At 6-8, 305, Pears has the angular look of a zone blocker that Cable’s system favors.

Satele, a two-year starter, was acquired for a fourth-round pick and a swap of sixth-round choices from Miami, a playoff team which instead opted for Raiders free agent Jake Grove. The Dolphins head coach, Tony Sparano, is a former line coach, and exec Bill Parcells knows a thing or two about line play.

The other newcomer was Marcus Johnson, a former Minnesota second-round pick who never panned out and will be tried at guard.

There may be a Cadillac in this crew, but right now its on blocks and it’s up to Cable and line coach Jim Michalczik to make the necessary repairs.

The good news is Cable, as a line coach, had the look of a Bobb McKittrick or Alex Gibbs. McKittrick and Gibbs made due with smaller lines which relied on athleticism and cut blocking. They typically put lines on the field made up of castoffs, undrafted free agents and late-round draft picks.

It was under Cable’s guidance that Robert Gallery went from a failed tackle prospect to a top-flight guard. The improvement in the Raiders line after his arrival after the Art Shell-Irv Eatman-Jackie Slater disaster was remarkable.

Not that he’s been perfect. Kwame Harris, anyone? The personnel needed an upgrade, because Cornell Green was never counted on to be a starter and he’s lined up at right tackle 22 times in two years.

Any chance Russell has of leading the Raiders to .500 and beyond rests with Oakland being successful running the ball, as well as Cable and Michalczik getting more out of the line than the sum of its parts would indicate.

Do they move Barnes or Henderson to the right side, and when does it happen? Or is Pears a viable option as a starter? The middle three spots are secure, but who is first in line after an injury?

It will begin to sort itself out on the field starting Friday.

Minicamp details

Practices are from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 4:10 p.m. to 6:10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Players will be available for interviews on the field following the first practice but the locker room will be closed. Cable will address the media at 2 p.m.

Sunday’s practice is scheduled for 11:45 a.m., with Cable available at approximately 2 p.m.

  • Share/Bookmark

Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/63/60563-004-52A399D4.jpg Dakota

    Rockstar,

    I’ve heard enough, I am calling it right now…Raji is a bust.

  • http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/63/60563-004-52A399D4.jpg Dakota

    lol

  • http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/63/60563-004-52A399D4.jpg Dakota

    lol

  • http://atm Raider O

    There is competition at a lot of positions on our team this year. We have plenty of young talent and they will compete for starting positions and roster spots. This can only make this team hungry to prove themselves, which should = more wins. IMHO

  • http://atm Raider O

    There is competition at a lot of positions on our team this year. We have plenty of young talent and they will compete for starting positions and roster spots. This can only make this team hungry to prove themselves, which should = more wins. IMHO

  • DMAC

    I’m calling it right now…Crabby is a bust too.

  • DMAC

    I’m calling it right now…Crabby is a bust too.

  • http://atm Raider O

    I only like Thorton out of that entire list.

    More players will be released later, then we should make our moves.

  • http://atm Raider O

    I only like Thorton out of that entire list.

    More players will be released later, then we should make our moves.

  • Raider Dell

    I’m calling it right now..Dakota was a bust on this year’s draft.

  • Raider Dell

    I’m calling it right now..Dakota was a bust on this year’s draft.

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    According to NFL rules, because McKenzie was injured in minicamp and had not signed a contract, the Pats must offer him a contract equal to the slot he was drafted. In between the draft pick before and after.

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    According to NFL rules, because McKenzie was injured in minicamp and had not signed a contract, the Pats must offer him a contract equal to the slot he was drafted. In between the draft pick before and after.

  • OAKlifer

    ______Double R,__________________

    La’ Roi Glover
    Hollis Thomas
    John Thornton
    Dewayne Robertson
    Langston Moore

    nice Avial DT list Ilike any of these guys as camp fotter to push fatty…and fatty

    R-o,

    Im soooooo fast!!!!!! cough cough…..

  • OAKlifer

    ______Double R,__________________

    La’ Roi Glover
    Hollis Thomas
    John Thornton
    Dewayne Robertson
    Langston Moore

    nice Avial DT list Ilike any of these guys as camp fotter to push fatty…and fatty

    R-o,

    Im soooooo fast!!!!!! cough cough…..

  • Raider Dell

    Ex

    I just read those rules. I also read from NFP, Jack Betcha that if he had a good agent, he would have secured insurance to injury, and it should of been based on his draft status and potential career. The insurance would be exercised when and if he can’t come back from the injury.

  • Raider Dell

    Ex

    I just read those rules. I also read from NFP, Jack Betcha that if he had a good agent, he would have secured insurance to injury, and it should of been based on his draft status and potential career. The insurance would be exercised when and if he can’t come back from the injury.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Dell,

    #520, LMAO

  • http://atm Raider O

    Dell,

    #520, LMAO

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    Let’s hope the picks before and after signs 3 yr deals with a nice 1st yr reporting bonus.

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    Let’s hope the picks before and after signs 3 yr deals with a nice 1st yr reporting bonus.

  • Raider Dell

    Ex

    His potential signing bonus for his slot in the draft in the third round is around $600,000. That should help motivate and rehab the injury for next year.

  • Raider Dell

    Ex

    His potential signing bonus for his slot in the draft in the third round is around $600,000. That should help motivate and rehab the injury for next year.

  • Raider Dell

    There was a few comments above that questioned Manny’s blame on a doctor. Let’s recognize that this guy earning over $25 million a year, didn’t see a doctor his agent was familiar with or not question the prescription he was given. I just don’t believe that excuse. This guy has been pampered most of his career and he blames the doctor, come on give us dumb folks out here a break.

  • Raider Dell

    There was a few comments above that questioned Manny’s blame on a doctor. Let’s recognize that this guy earning over $25 million a year, didn’t see a doctor his agent was familiar with or not question the prescription he was given. I just don’t believe that excuse. This guy has been pampered most of his career and he blames the doctor, come on give us dumb folks out here a break.

  • Raider-405

    You kids are on the old post, not the new one :)

  • Raider-405

    You kids are on the old post, not the new one :)

  • http://www.elvis.com Elvis

    Don’t be cruel bloggers…

    To that mod/troll when she is on her period because she can get very angry and boot people for selfish inadvertent reasons other than (racial slur derogatory comments patronizing other bloggers).

    If you see posts left up that still contain racial slurs and flat out foul language and then a posts gets deleted for no justifiable reason it makes you wonder?

  • http://www.elvis.com Elvis

    Don’t be cruel bloggers…

    To that mod/troll when she is on her period because she can get very angry and boot people for selfish inadvertent reasons other than (racial slur derogatory comments patronizing other bloggers).

    If you see posts left up that still contain racial slurs and flat out foul language and then a posts gets deleted for no justifiable reason it makes you wonder?

  • Pingback: казуальные игры

  • Pingback: hediye