Part of the Bay Area News Group

It’s Marshall’s turn

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Wednesday, May 13th, 2009 at 11:00 am in Oakland Raiders.

As much as Tom Cable has wisely distanced himself from Lane Kiffin, in one area the two were of a like mind.

When it came to defense, specifically defending against the run, it was mostly the fault of Rob Ryan.

The difference is Kiffin essentially pointed the finger at Ryan in the most damaging way possible. He also brought Al Davis into the mix, playing to the longheld belief that the Raiders play defense Al’s way and that the owner was even involved in game plans on a week-to-week basis.

Kiffin tried to fire Ryan after his first season and was told no, with Davis bringing the defensive coordinator for his final season. You wonder if Ryan came back because Davis really wanted him as the defensive coordinator, or if Davis simply wanted to spite Kiffin.

The toxic days are over, and so is Ryan is gone, moving on to Cleveland after his contract expired.

But make no mistake, as the Raiders made little effort in the offseason to change the personnel in their 31st-ranked rushing defense, other than the drafting of a raw in-the-box safety in Mike Mitchell, they also implicated Ryan and his staff for the deficiency.

(You could also include defensive tackle Ryan Boschetti, but he played so seldom in Washington it’s hard to know if he can be a factor or if he’ll even make the team).

If Ryan wasn’t so busy trying to put together a defense in Cleveland, he could probably feel the force of the wheels from the Raiders team bus.

Ryan used to often say the Raiders system was designed to put their superior players in position to make plays _ the inference being Oakland had ll the talent it needed and that it was his job to make it work.

At the minicamp, the words coming out of Cable’s mouth could have been Ryan’s, while at the same time leaving no doubt the former defensive coordinator ran a loose ship where details and assignments were missed.

“What it gets down to is I think we have some talented players on defense, and so getting them in the right place and them understanding what you’re asking them to do, and teaching how to play the game with their hands, and how to tackle, and how to blitz and how to cover the right way,” Cable said. “If you ask me what’s going to be different, that’s how we’re going to be different. We’re going to coach it and teach it better.”

Doubtful you’ll hear any response from Ryan, who will no doubt throw his considerable weight into building up some of the Cleveland Browns as unblockable and unstoppable.

You’re not hearing anything from Marshall, either, as Cable thinks its best at this time if he does all the talking.

Linebacker Thomas Howard said it’s been strictly fundamentals since Marshall arrived and isn’t sure what the defense will look like.

“We’re still feeling out John, seeing if he’s going to lean toward pressure or what,” Howard said.

Regarding blitzes, “Howard said, “We’re putting in a lot more pressures but you still want to see how it’s going to translate in a game. Even when Rob was here, we did it out here but you still want to see how it goes in games.”

Howard believes Marshall’s vast experience will be of some help.

“He’s been around the game for so long, he’s seen it when teams went (1-15) and he’s seen it when teams were (15-1),” Howard said. “He’s been to the big dance. he’s been at the top three in defense. He’s been in the bottom three in defense. He’s seen it all.”

If Marshall’s strict adherence to fundamentals _ Howard said the Raiders are doing things he did in high school _ pays off in one of those top three finishes, then the Ryan was the problem. If it is one of his bottom three finishes, Ryan is a scapegoat, and Marshall will be next up for scrutiny.

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  • RaiderRockstar

    1st

  • RaiderDK

    2nd

  • RaiderRockstar

    Profile: QB Bruce Gradkowski

    For new Oakland Raiders quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, the offseason mostly consists of getting back to Pittsburgh, Pa., to visit his family and friends before the season starts again. This year however, he arrived in Northern California to join fellow Raiders quarterbacks JaMarcus Russell, Jeff Garcia, and Andrew Walter for offseason workouts and May’s mandatory mini-camp.

    As a newcomer to the Silver and Black, Gradkowski’s main goal is to lead by example; to come in, work hard, and let his actions speak for themselves. “I really just hope to bring passion and energy to the game that will hopefully rub off on the team, as well as the fans,” Gradkowski said in a recent interview.

    Growing up in Pittsburgh, Gradkowski knew from the time he was in the fourth grade that he wanted to play professional football. When one of his teachers had students write down on an index card what they wanted to be when they grew up, Gradkowski wrote he wanted to play in the NFL. “She still reminds me she has that index card,” said Gradkowski.

    Although it was always a dream of his to play in the NFL, the future signal-caller took it one step at a time. After high school, Gradkowski went on to play at the University of Toledo in Ohio where he was named co-recipient of the 2005 Vern Smith Award by the Mid-American Conference. The award, presented annually to the league’s Most Valuable Player, was shared between Gradkowski and Western Michigan wide receiver Greg Jennings. Gradkowski was also selected first team All-MAC, and went on the lead Toledo to a GMAC Bowl win over UTEP in 2005.

    Having previously played with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Cleveland Browns, Gradkowski finds the biggest difference between playing college football and playing in the NFL is the speed of the game. “Everyone has talent in this league,” stated Gradkowski. “It is just a matter of willing yourself to win, to work hard, and to find a way to win games.”

    Having only practiced together a few weeks, Gradkowski feels as though the Raiders quarterbacks have good chemistry and complement each other on the field and in the classroom. By working together as one unit and learning from each other, they are bringing out the best in one another’s talents. “Us quarterbacks are all in this together,” said Gradkowski. “We are here to help [starting QB] JaMarcus [Russell]. We want him to succeed and if we have to play, we are going to do the best we can to help this team win.”

    Gradkowski’s mission is to help the Raiders win football games in any way that he can, on or off the field. He plans on being a leader and supporting the other players on the squad. As an individual player, he hopes to make his team better in any way that he can.

    Having never played in the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Gradkowski is most excited to see the “Black Hole” first hand, and meet the true passionate and die-hard fans of The Oakland Raiders. “As a player, you could not want anything more than that,” said Gradkowski. “To have your fans so into the game and so into your team, I’m really looking forward playing there.”

    By Sharni Bruce

  • vegas raider

    Rob Ryan was in essence a lame-duck coach the last two years. Players often have trouble playing for lame-duck coaches, so Ryan is addition by subtraction in my mind.

    If the Run D could just go from 31st to 22nd, still way below average, that could be the difference from 5-11 and 8-8.

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

    Jerry Mac says: Doubtful you’ll hear any response from Ryan, who will no doubt throw his considerable weight into building up some of the Cleveland Browns as unblockable and unstoppable.
    ____________________________________

    Jerry’s way of calling Ryan a fat ass.

  • stubblebuzz

    controlling the ball and the clock with an effective running game will do more to help the run defense than three new first-round defenders.

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

    …and blow hard…right Jerry?

    Just come out and say it, Ryan was a fat ass blow hard.

  • RaiderRockstar

    DE/OLB Jason Taylor resigned with the Fins today

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    repost
    exlaraiderseasonticketholder Says:
    May 13th, 2009 at 11:02 am
    Jason Taylor just inked a 4 yr deal with Miami.

  • http://RAIDERS Oakglenn

    That was the issue with the Raider defense. Waaay too slack. Too many missed tackles, poor fundamentals, guys not playing into a “team” concept and leaving their assignments. That, was the issue with the Raider defense. Hopefully, that will improve under Marshall.

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    From the SI article:
    “All of which brings us back to the Walker saga in Oakland. His secret surgery is virtually unprecedented and a clear violation of the standard NFL player contract, which requires the player to make the club aware of any health issues he is having or medical people he consults.”

    AD has the means to cut Walker without paying him if he wants.

  • RaiderRockstar

    AD has the means to cut Walker without paying him if he wants.

    ***

    get rid of Walker “for cause” … LOL

    I love it!

    this probably wouldn’t look too good in the middle of an ongoing Kiffin lawsuit where he was fired “for cause” . Walker might try to have the NFLPA intervene on his behalf

  • http://atm Raider O

    What’s up Nation?

  • http://RAIDERS Oakglenn

    If the offense can improve, AT ALL, the run defense will be much much better. Think about the Buffalo game last year. Not only did our defense play a stellar game, at one point they handed the offense the ball on the Buffalo 8 yard line. I think we ended up losing yardage before kicking a FG on that possession. Opponents knew we were not going to score, so they could just slam the rock at us repeatedly. We have to figure out a way to score points. It looks like Cable is going to scrap a bunch of the Kiffin offense in favor of his own, and by judging the last two games, that is probably a good thing.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Dakota,

    Lakers!!! 40 points!!!
    Remind me please, was I making fun of your lakers?!!

    lol

  • raidersince87

    whats up nation

  • http://atm Raider O

    Did we sign any new players??

  • raiderrej

    score is-27 raiders-21, game winding down 4th and 10 on the 10 yardline, 6 seconds on the clock…. whats the play???

  • raidersince87

    schillens fade to back corner of endzone while miller a curl route in the middle and dmac and a swing, options

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    Taylor’s deal is 1 yr. not 4 yrs.

    Ultimately, the 34-year-old former NFL Defensive Player of the Year and six-time Pro Bowl selection reportedly struck a one-year, $1.1 million deal that also contains an extra $400,000 in incentive clauses. The contract was finalized today.

  • RaiderRockstar

    minus Walker (cut) and Shields (IR) we should keep the following WR’s

    DHB, Murphy, Higgins, Schilens & Holland.

    wave goodbye to Parker & Watkins. let one of the undrafted rookies (Nick Miller or Shawn Bayes) join the practice squad. whoever is more impressive

    Bayes is only 5’10″ 180 lbs, Miller is only 5’9″ 180 lbs. LOL

  • http://RAIDERS Oakglenn

    # raiderrej Says:
    May 13th, 2009 at 11:29 am

    score is-27 raiders-21, game winding down 4th and 10 on the 10 yardline, 6 seconds on the clock…. whats the play???
    ———————————————————
    Play action draw fake to Dmac who wheels right, Shilens runs a deep post on the endline, but your primary is Zach running an 11 yard curl on the left side. Six.

  • raiderrej

    Raidersince87 Says:
    May 13th, 2009 at 11:33 am
    schillens fade to back corner of endzone while miller a curl route in the middle and dmac and a swing, options

    i like playaction to DMAC with schillens on an in-route

  • raidersince87

    i cant wait until we get rid of walker im sick of hearing his name and i dont want are young receivers around him

  • RaiderRockstar

    score is-27 raiders-21, game winding down 4th and 10 on the 10 yardline, 6 seconds on the clock…. whats the play???

    ***

    wildcat formation. DMC takes the snap and hands it to Fargas up the middle

  • http://RAIDERS Oakglenn

    # raidersince87 Says:
    May 13th, 2009 at 11:33 am

    schillens fade to back corner of endzone while miller a curl route in the middle and dmac and a swing, options
    ————————————————-

    LOL. Almost Exactly what I said.

  • raiderrej

    # raiderrej Says:
    May 13th, 2009 at 11:29 am

    score is-27 raiders-21, game winding down 4th and 10 on the 10 yardline, 6 seconds on the clock…. whats the play???
    ———————————————————
    Play action draw fake to Dmac who wheels right, Shilens runs a deep post on the endline, but your primary is Zach running an 11 yard curl on the left side. Six.

    ——————————

    gave me goose bumps!!! I can hear the crowd… RAIDERSS….RAI-DERS-RAI-DERS!

  • raidersince87

    raiderrej Says:
    May 13th, 2009 at 11:36 am
    Raidersince87 Says:
    May 13th, 2009 at 11:33 am
    schillens fade to back corner of endzone while miller a curl route in the middle and dmac and a swing, options

    i like playaction to DMAC with schillens on an in-route

    —————————————–
    that sounds good too, schillens can get between the ball and the corner with that body of his, but on 4th down a defense isnt going to bite on a play-action

  • raidersince87

    man i cant wait to see our guys in action

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

    raiderrej Says:
    May 13th, 2009 at 11:29 am
    score is-27 raiders-21, game winding down 4th and 10 on the 10 yardline, 6 seconds on the clock…. whats the play???
    __________________

    Which 10 yard line? lol 90 yard bomb to JLH or DHB.

  • RaiderRockstar

    score is-27 raiders-21, game winding down 4th and 10 on the 10 yardline, 6 seconds on the clock…. whats the play???

    ***

    Russell in the shotgun. pump fakes to Tony Stewart. throws the ball at Lorenzo Neal’s feet standing on the 1 yard line

  • raiderrej

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    May 13th, 2009 at 11:36 am
    score is-27 raiders-21, game winding down 4th and 10 on the 10 yardline, 6 seconds on the clock…. whats the play???

    ***

    wildcat formation. DMC takes the snap and hands it to Fargas up the middle
    ///////

    I dont like fargas in the wild cat… i’d go with bush!!! but i like the idea

  • raidersince87

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    May 13th, 2009 at 11:40 am
    score is-27 raiders-21, game winding down 4th and 10 on the 10 yardline, 6 seconds on the clock…. whats the play???

    ***

    Russell in the shotgun. pump fakes to Tony Stewart. throws the ball at Lorenzo Neal’s feet standing on the 1 yard line

    ———————————————-
    lets hope this DOESNT happen lol

  • raidersince87

    unless neil catches it

  • RaiderRockstar

    lets hope this DOESNT happen lol

    ***

    what about this one?

    wildcat formation. DMC takes the snap and hands it to Fargas up the middle

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

    We’re going with 17 Bob Trey O.

    break

  • raiderrej

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    May 13th, 2009 at 11:40 am
    score is-27 raiders-21, game winding down 4th and 10 on the 10 yardline, 6 seconds on the clock…. whats the play???

    ***

    Russell in the shotgun. pump fakes to Tony Stewart. throws the ball at Lorenzo Neal’s feet standing on the 1 yard line

    ****

    oh yeah…

    neal picks up a block…. russell spins weak side… lasers a pass to miller in blackhole… TOUCHDOWN RAAAAAIIIIIIDDDDDEEEERRRRZZZ! (thats my papa imitations)

  • raidersince87

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    May 13th, 2009 at 11:42 am
    lets hope this DOESNT happen lol

    ***

    what about this one?

    wildcat formation. DMC takes the snap and hands it to Fargas up the middle

    ———————————————–
    fargas is going to be on the IR once we get to this point lol

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/skew-t/166654980/ BART Bridge Blues

    Another quote from Howard:

    “We still have our Raider 3, the Cover 3, that we’ve been running since before I got here but at the same time we’re going to have some different pressures. We’re still feeling out John, seeing if he’s going to lean toward more pressure or what. But we’re definitely more fundamentally sound. Everybody is loud and kind of understanding because we’re starting all over.”

    ————————-

    What the hell is Raider-3, anybody know? I was always under the impression that we ran a Cover-0 scheme.

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

    Cable might go with: fake FG, Jano sweep

    break

  • raidersince87

    BART Bridge Blues Says:
    May 13th, 2009 at 11:44 am
    Another quote from Howard:

    “We still have our Raider 3, the Cover 3, that we’ve been running since before I got here but at the same time we’re going to have some different pressures. We’re still feeling out John, seeing if he’s going to lean toward more pressure or what. But we’re definitely more fundamentally sound. Everybody is loud and kind of understanding because we’re starting all over.”

    ————————-

    What the hell is Raider-3, anybody know? I was always under the impression that we ran a Cover-0 scheme.

    ————————————————-
    its that ridiculous 1 safety deep scheme that everbody is so mad at huff for, but the the scheme is a safety killer, it exposes the safety way to much

  • RaiderRockstar

    ok. here we go

    I formation, 2 TE set with Miller & Myers. Neal & Bush in the backfield. DHB the lone WR, runs a slant to the back of the end zone in the middle of the field near the goal post. Russell looks left, nothing. looks right, nothing. pressure up the middle, scrambles to his right. throws a high wobbler across his body. DHB leaps and makes the catch and is forced out of bounds by the CB. should be pass interference! only got 1 foot in bounds. no call. incomplete pass. game over

  • raidersince87

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    May 13th, 2009 at 11:48 am
    ok. here we go

    I formation, 2 TE set with Miller & Myers. Neal & Bush in the backfield. DHB the lone WR, runs a slant to the back of the end zone in the middle of the field near the goal post. Russell looks left, nothing. looks right, nothing. pressure up the middle, scrambles to his right. throws a high wobbler across his body. DHB leaps and makes the catch and is forced out of bounds by the CB. should be pass interference! only got 1 foot in bounds. no call. incomplete pass. game over

    ————————————————-
    i like schillens on a fade pattern like the giants ran for buress to win the super bowl, or dhb with his 40 plus vertical

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/skew-t/166654980/ BART Bridge Blues

    Raiderssince87,

    Wouldn’t that be a Cover-1 scheme? I am starting to think that Howard was referring to the Wolverine package, where there are 3 safeties that can play cover-3 on passing downs. Because are CB’s are almost never in zone coverage.

  • raiderrej

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    May 13th, 2009 at 11:48 am
    ok. here we go

    I formation, 2 TE set with Miller & Myers. Neal & Bush in the backfield. DHB the lone WR, runs a slant to the back of the end zone in the middle of the field near the goal post. Russell looks left, nothing. looks right, nothing. pressure up the middle, scrambles to his right. throws a high wobbler across his body. DHB leaps and makes the catch and is forced out of bounds by the CB. should be pass interference! only got 1 foot in bounds. no call. incomplete pass. game over

    //////

    then im stuck in traffic pissed off mad and drunk

  • http://atm Raider O

    What about DHB and his speed!! Play action to Dmc, JLH in the slot, Miller, and Chaz and DHB wide.
    Chaz runs a deep in.
    JLH runs the Flag.
    Miller on a short post,
    DHB on a Go route.

    I love it!!!

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

    Raider-3 is a brainchild of Rob Ryan. It’s when the first two levels of defense allow the RB into the secondary and then our great safeties are responsible for making the tackle as the third line of defense.

  • http://atm Raider O

    I almost forgot, TD!!!!!

  • raidersince87

    BART Bridge Blues Says:
    May 13th, 2009 at 11:51 am
    Raiderssince87,

    Wouldn’t that be a Cover-1 scheme? I am starting to think that Howard was referring to the Wolverine package, where there are 3 safeties that can play cover-3 on passing downs. Because are CB’s are almost never in zone coverage.

    ————————————————–
    yeah you right, either way raiders hanvt had no clue on how to use safeties, hopefully this changes with marshall

  • Mistabrown

    Hey OakGklenn! Your nose still bleeding?

    Actually we agree here! Problem is the last 2 years you’ve been saying Rob Ryan was a good DC. Poor fundamentals points directly @ RR, how can you be a good DC and not teach fundamentals?

    U may speak..

    Oakglenn Says:
    May 13th, 2009 at 11:15 am
    That was the issue with the Raider defense. Waaay too slack. Too many missed tackles, poor fundamentals, guys not playing into a “team” concept and leaving their assignments. That, was the issue with the Raider defense. Hopefully, that will improve under Marshall.