Part of the Bay Area News Group

It’s Chaz vs. Crabtree, not DHB

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, May 15th, 2009 at 9:44 am in Oakland Raiders.

Darrius Heyward-Bey and Michael Crabtree will be compared week to week and season to season by virtue of their draft slots and Bay Area locales.

In the days leading up to the Raiders-49ers game on Aug. 22, count on a flood of Heyward-Bey vs. Crabtree stories recounting Oakland’s unblinking commitment to 40-yard dash times over college production.

It’s possible the Raiders never even considered Crabtree. He simply didn’t meet their speed standard and perhaps they were scared off by the stress fracture in his foot.

But even if they gave Crabtree a look, there is a legitimate reason to pass on the Texas Tech star who most analysts considered the NFL’s top receiving prospect.

As dicey as it is to read too much into five non-contact practices spread out over three days, that reason is Chaz Schilens.

It might be a better idea to fire up the Schilens vs. Crabtree graphics rather than use Heyward-Bey as the comparison.

For what it’s worth, Schilens is taller than Crabtree (a legitimate 6-foot-4 to a little under 6-2). He’s faster, with sub 4.4 times in Pro Days before entering the 2008 draft. He’s got a 43-inch vertical leap.

From the looks of it, Schilens’ job will be to run the same kind of routes the Raiders would have asked of Crabtree. A lot of 15- to 17-yard routes, putting him in areas where he can use his athletic skill to go up and get the ball.

Heyward-Bey serves a different purpose. He’ll run those routes as well, but his main job is to strike fear into opposing defenses as a vertical threat, a guy who makes the occasional big play and also clears out areas for players like Schilens.

Al Davis made a point of singling out Schilens, as well as Johnnie Lee Higgins, as young players who probably should have played more and sooner last season. So it was no surprise that when Tom Cable replaced Lane Kiffin, he got Schilens on to the field more often.

Schilens didn’t set the NFL aflame, catching 15 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns. Seven rookie wide receivers _ Eddie Royal (Denver), DeSean Jackson (Philadelphia), Davone Bess (Miami), Donnie Avery (St. Louis), Jordy Nelson (Green Bay), harry Douglas (Atlanta) and Josh Morgan (San Francisco) had more receptions.

After starting in Weeks 7 and 8 and catching a 60-yard pass against Baltimore, Schilens had an ankle injury and didn’t catch a pass for six weeks despite being active in each game. In the last two games, Schilens caught six passes for 98 yards and two scores.

So Schilens was one of the players I wanted to watch closely. He was a seventh-round draft pick, No. 226 overall, taken with a selection the Raiders acquired for Bobby Hamilton from the New York Jets in 2006.

His draft status suggests he was second banana to fourth-round pick Arman Shields, who, unlike Schilens, was invited to the scouting combine and thrived there.

So was Schilens just a guy who thrived late in the season in garbage time of a lost season or someone who had begun to make a career for himself as an emerging player on a team with some good young talent?

The mandatory minicamp suggests the latter. Schilens was the best and most consistent receiver on the field. There was one end zone drop, but I can’t remember any other misplays. Operating with the first team, he was going up a lot against starter Chris Johnson and nickel back Stanford Routt. (It seems Nnamdi Asomugha isn’t tested much even in practice, plus he sat out a lot of reps).

He found openings in the middle, played large and looked comfortable and sure of himself. Crabtree, meanwhile, is out of action in San Francisco until his foot heals.

On one hand, Schilens has talked before of his seventh-round status as a chip on his shoulder. But that doesn’t stop him from preparing like a guy who is scrapping to make the team. There isn’t a trace of “I told you so” in him.

He concedes he erred in trying to play through his ankle injury rather than taking some time off to heal and come back full speed.

“I think I could have been able to contribute more to the team,” Schilens said. “I hurt my ankle pretty bad and tired to fight through it and ended up hurting myself more. The season is long, it’s long for everyone, especially rookies, and you’re just trying to take it week to week. I think to build off what I did for last season and hopefully it will make me tougher this season.”

Schilens took a couple of weeks off before getting back at it, and said he has been running routes with Raiders quarterbacks “for six or seven weeks . . . we’re getting our timing down.”

During the offseason, Schilens heard he had been singled out by Davis and seemed unaffected by it.

“You’ve got five receivers on a roster,” Schilens said. “That’s why you’re here. You’re expected to do that.”

Miscellaneous

– Here is some more information on Robert Gallery’s cruise from Dublin to Livermore to raise money for the children of the four Oakland police officers killed in the line of duty.

– The signing of tight end John Paul Foschi, first reported by Foxsports.com, is official. It is listed in transactions on Raiders.com.

– Here’s how former Raider Warren Sapp answered questions related to his former team on an NFL.com chat Thursday:

Q: Do you think JaMarcus Russell will ultimately be a bust?

Sapp: No, no way, no shape, no form of one.

Q: Can u believe the raiders took heyward-bey?

Sapp: Actually, I knew that was going to happen. If I don’t know nothing else, I got the pulse of the Raiders. I was told two weeks before it hpapened and they liked the safety.

Q: Who would win in a hot dog eating contest, you or Tom Cable?

Sapp: Cable. Idon’t like hot dogs.

Q: Does Al Davis really call the plays much to the chagrin of the coaches and players?

Sapp: Sometimes it’s been known to happen.

Q: Do you think the Raiders are headed in the right direction?

Sapp: As long as Al Davis commands the fort, then the fort won’t change.

Q: Is Derrick Burgess done?

Sapp: No chance.

Q: What did you think of the black hole?

Sapp: One of the legendary placdes in the NFL. I thought it was as crazy as it was insane and insane as it was lovely. One kind of place.

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  • http://Raiders.com RaiderTW

    First, Miller will be first among receivers altho not WR.

  • IndianaRaider

    1st

  • IndianaRaider

    nice, wtg lag

  • IndianaRaider

    In all honesty, I don’t see our offense improving that much when compared to last year. I can see maybe a few more TD from Russell and maybe 2-300 more yards, and then maybe Bush & McFadden with 6-700 yards and of course Fargas will have 4-500 yards. If we can finish 7-9 or better, then this season was a success compared to the last 6 years. Anything less is more of the same we have grown used to.

    *Repost

  • IndianaRaider

    It happens every season, some team with high hopes rides the back court with a long list of injurys. We’ve had our fair share, but gut feeling that Bush, McFadden, Schilens, Miller, and some other key players have to have a productive year and stay healthy if we want out of our slump.

  • DarthPirate

    I think Chaz could really turn into a legit number 1 receiver. He has all the tools, and is probably the mostly likely to do so out of our current crop of guys.

  • Norco Bob

    Jeff Garcia 2009…Tim Tebow 2010. Youre welcome.

  • http://www.blogcdn.com/www.fanhouse.com/media/2008/04/desmond-howard-425-sm.jpg Bo Schembechler Jackson

    Norco Bob Says:
    May 15th, 2009 at 9:59 am
    Jeff Garcia 2009…Tim Tebow 2010. Youre welcome.

    :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    Alcoholics Anonymous 2009, Narcotics Anonymous 2010.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Thx for telling me about the new post!!!

    I have been posting at the prev thread for 15 mins!!!

  • Braveheartraider

    Q: Is Derrick Burgess done?

    Sapp: No chance.

    Burgess has played so long on a poor team that I think mentally he is done. Dont know whether there was any truth to the trade rumours but it would’ve been better al round if we could have unloaded him. Poor against the run, which is no good in our division, and has little help inside from Sands, Kelly etc. Things might change this year but I’m not holding my breath.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Can someone please copy and paste my last post from the prev thread, I can’t do it from ITouch. I was talking about Chaz.

  • Braveheartraider

    Raider O Says:
    May 15th, 2009 at 10:13 am
    I like Chaz a lot.
    If you look at last year, Chaz wasn’t ready to play. He was in due to him being the best run blocker among WRs. At the end of the season, he was running good routes, and made some nice catches.

    I expect more from him now after he had a full season to learn our Offense.

  • http://www.blogcdn.com/www.fanhouse.com/media/2008/04/desmond-howard-425-sm.jpg Bo Schembechler Jackson

    Raider O Says:
    May 15th, 2009 at 10:16 am
    Thx for telling me about the new post!!!

    I have been posting at the prev thread for 15 mins!!!

    :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    Bo Schembechler Jackson Says:
    May 15th, 2009 at 9:49 am

    Raider O,

    Check out the new post!

  • RaiderRockstar

    I don’t agree. I just can’t see the Rookie doing better than Chaz or JLH!!!

    I like Chaz a lot.
    If you look at last year, Chaz wasn’t ready to play. He was in due to him being the best run blocker among WRs. At the end of the season, he was running good routes, and made some nice catches.

    I expect more from him now after he had a full season to learn our Offense.

    ***

    Raider O: you might be right?

  • RaiderRockstar

    perhaps they were scared off by the stress fracture in his foot.

    ***

    LOL @ Jerry Mac. yeah. Al Davis is scared off by injured WR’s …

    see Javon Walker, Arman Shields & Louis Murphy

  • DKnight007

    It’s basically going to come down to game planning, coaching, game day play calling and how the lines play and if they stay healthy to see if this can make an improvement record wise.

    This team needs to get that killer instinct of finishes teams off and playing for 4 full quarters!

  • Norco Bob

    Jeff Garcia 2009,…if Garcia starts from Napa,..we go 10-6…playoffs,..if its that lazy bum Russell, its 4-12. Jamarcus Russell will go down in history of the worst draft pick ever, overtaking Leaf. Hey at least we finally beat the Chargers.

  • DKnight007

    Do yourselves a favor Nation and keep your expectations LOW for this team.

    It saves a whole lot of pain and disappointment in the end and if they do better than the low expectations it is that much more sweet!

  • http://atm Raider O

    Brave,

    Thank you sir.

    Chaz played at SDSU, and that’s where I go to school.
    The guy made a lot of plays for us, and he was catching everything around him. For his size, he has great speed. I really thought he was going to be a 4th – 5th RD pick!!

    Chaz and Miller will be our Red Zone Targets this year.
    I still think Chaz will have a 1000 yard season.

  • Braveheartraider

    DKnight007 Says:
    May 15th, 2009 at 10:25 am
    It’s basically going to come down to game planning, coaching, game day play calling and how the lines play and if they stay healthy to see if this can make an improvement record wise.

    When we opened against Denver last year Shanahan knew we would come out fired up and he used a lot of mis-direction, play-action, etc, to keep us off balance. Plus he had the advantage of knowing Hall would be a liability. As you say Dknight we need smarter coaching, but from day one this time.
    An opening win over the Chargers could go a long way, but man we gotta stop LT for once.

  • http://atm Raider O

    BSJ,

    Thx bro!!

    LMAO

  • RaiderRockstar

    for six or seven weeks . . . we’re getting our timing down – Chaz

    ***

    Higgins said the same thing in a write up I posted yesterday! good news!

    If Russell can learn to throw accurate short, timed passes to these fast players like DHB, Higgins, Schilens and DMC we could drive DC’s crazy. Then pound some Neal and Bush in there. yeah baby!

  • http://atm Raider O

    We have Targets for JR, we have a great Running game, but do we have the O line to block?!
    Cable likes it, but he also liked last years O line!!

    What do you guys think? Gallery is doing great, but what about the other 4?

  • http://atm Raider O

    RR,

    I’m always right!!! Just ask R8!!!!

    lol

  • RaiderRockstar

    Q: Who would win in a hot dog eating contest, you or Tom Cable?

    Sapp: Cable. Idon’t like hot dogs.

    ***

    LOL. thats the funniest thing i’ve read all day. fans have a chance to ask Sapp questions on a live chat at NFL.com and they ask him if he could win a hoting eating contest? HAHAHAHAHA

    must have been a Raider fan!

  • http://atm Raider O

    RR,

    Or Norco Bob!!!

  • RaiderRockstar

    What do you guys think? Gallery is doing great, but what about the other 4?

    ***

    Cornell Green & Cooper Carlisle are decent run blockers, but terrible pass protectors. And by decent run blockers I mean we can run the ball against the teams we should be able to run the ball against. Against better defenses these guys are eaten alive and dominated.

    Henderson only saw limited action last year. Barnes is looking for a fresh start after playing like Kwame Harris in Jax last season.

    Satele is trying to come back from injury. was replaced by former Raider Jake Grove a few months ago. Is he a good fit for the zbs?

  • IndianaRaider

    Henderson may have only seen limited action last season but it was still better than all of the season that Harris seen on the field with his false starts, sacks given up, and piss poor performance. This line isn’t perfect but 10 times better than last seasons.

  • IndianaRaider

    Hey Norco Bob, I’m sure you’ve said it and I’ve missed it or over looked the issue, but I take it your not a Russell fan? You seriously think Garcia can give us 10 wins? I can’t see it, care to share?

  • http://atm Raider O

    RR,

    Don’t forget Pears!!
    Can those players block for JR, and can they help us run better?! We should be in the top 5 if not 3 in the league in rushing.

  • Braveheartraider

    Satele has good size and he’s young. Not sure what the problem was in Miami but he better keep his head on a swivel in oakland.Green shows inside a lot and that probably didn’t help Carlisle much, but I agree,neither particularly adept at pass blocking.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Indiana,

    What are you doing?!? Leave Bob alone!!
    Ain’t no sunshine when Bob is here!! lol

  • http://atm Raider O

    Barnes, Mario, and Pears will compete for RT and LT.
    Gallery and Cooper are our Gs.
    Satele will be our Center, Wade and Morris are done! IMHO

    I know this line will be better than last year’s, but is it good enough to help us win 7-9 games?

  • Norco Bob

    This blog has been destroyed.

  • Moose

    indiana

    go and look at the last question…on Jerry`s live blog….the guys just a complete jerk..his says all that crap to Jerry,then hes on his blog everyday

  • Norco Bob

    Jeff cares about football, lives and dies with it,..Russell only cares about his white Rolls, white full length mink,…Russell is gone after 2009 anyway, why let him lead us to 4-12 if this is his last year anyway,…its the superbowl with Garcia,..book that.

  • Norco Bob

    And possibly Garcia shows Gradkowski how to be great and he takes over for Jeff after he retires while holding superbowl trophy.

  • Moose

    if Russell has a good season….what then ?

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

    NFL just announced that the salary cap is goin up another $12 million to $128 million per team…things must be going quite well for them, lol.

    I’ll bet all the people that the NFL laid off earlier this year by using the economy as an excuse are pissed, lol.

  • inonewordraider

    This to me is garbage! JaMarcus would have to play worse than Todd Marinovich did to get yanked. The only way Garcia will see the field is if Russell gets injured or in blow-out games.

    How can some writer say what could happen? Yes there is the history with Garcia at each stop,but how does this guy know if our quarterback has been really getting to know the playbook? JLH made the comment during camp last weekend that he sees JaMarcus growing, starting to recognize what the defense is doing.

    Granted that is one players view and not a coach. And Jerry Macdonald has been taking shots at Russell about his weight and not taking the extra time to work with his receivers

    Dang Jerry, seems your a certified JRUSS basher

  • http://sportmag.us/images/Lester_Hayes_November_1981.jpg RaiderDogg

    “Q: What did you think of the black hole?

    Sapp: One of the legendary places in the NFL. I thought it was as crazy as it was insane and insane as it was lovely. One kind of place.”

    Who knew Sapp could be so eloquent? Maybe he isn’t as stupid as he appears to be.

  • http://sportmag.us/images/Lester_Hayes_November_1981.jpg RaiderDogg

    What up Dakota?

    Long time bro. Sorry about last night’s game, I was feeling for you. Nothing like a game 7 at home though. They’ll be all right.

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

    Thanks Dogg. They better be, they are the only thing in my sports world worth a schit at this point…

  • http://sportmag.us/images/Lester_Hayes_November_1981.jpg RaiderDogg

    At least you’ve got that. My A’s finally have a little offensive fire power and now they have no pitching.

    What’s left?

    The Lakers will dominate at home in game 7. Time to shut the door on the Nuggets and bring on the Cavs. The Cavs are looking scary though. You know that’s what the NBA wants, Kobe vs Lebron. Hell it’s what I want.

    Although I bet you would like to get the Celtics for a bit of revenge.

  • Kirk

    Sapp is stupid like a fox.

    Crabtree is going to be so much better than HB unless the foot is a problem. Crabtree runs like Gale Sayers.

  • lefty12

    Gale Sayers was fast and elusive.Craptree is neither.

  • http://atm Raider O

    My money ( if I can gamble) is on King James to win it all.

    Go Cavs!!!!

  • http://atm Raider O

    RD,

    That’s what I Want too, King James Vs. Princess Kobe!! I love it. lol

  • http://RAIDERS Oakglenn

    IndianaRaider Says:
    May 15th, 2009 at 9:49 am

    In all honesty, I don’t see our offense improving that much when compared to last year.
    ————————————————–

    Actually Indiana I think our offense is going to be greatly improved from last year. Here’s why: lst off, a lot of what went wrong the last two years can be directed right at Kiffin. Early in Kiffin’s lst season, he made a lot of rookie coaching mistakes that cost us games. Not his fault, it’s just the way it is. Not long after that, Kiffin soured on the Raiders and took it out on the team. That is not going to happen again. Rookie coaches are going to make rookie mistakes like any other rookie (see Cables ill fated fake FG last year), but at least we have someone here trying to win games.
    2ndly, Cable wanted to accomplish two things once he took over. To see what he’s got as far as players, and, try to develop a little bit of momentum. He accomplished both.
    Lastly, I thought Cable was going to stick to the Lame Kiffin offense. No he isn’t. He is going to install his own offense, a much more balanced offense which I think is what it takes to win in the modern NFL. And from the looks of things, he is going to be much better at it than we have seen here recently. Wins and losses in this league are going to be predicated on injuries which are predictable and unpredictable, but this team is fairly deep. To me, it all hinges on how the offensive line plays, which frankly, I do not have the highest of hopes for. If the offense plays better than last year, conventional football people think the defense will be much better. I agree.

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

    Crabtree runs like Gale Sayers? LMAO Come on man! Well, I guess if you mean Crabtree runs as well as Sayers runs…….in 2009, lol.

    Crabtree is nothing special. Gimmick offense, lots of screens…he’ll be a good possession receiver at best (which, sadly, still may be better than what DHB gives us).