Bottom-feeding in the backfield


All I did was wonder whether two quarters of explosive football is enough to anoint Michael Bush as a future star.

At least I didn’t leave him out entirely.

Check out this CNN-SI feature ranking the NFL backfields, Nos. 1 through 32.

The author, John Mullin, ranks the Raiders No. 28 and never mentions Bush. He has Oakland ranked last among AFC West teams and ahead of only Detroit, Cleveland, Seattle and Jacksonville in the NFL.

Must be a hater.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • CantstandtheHaters

    Captn Kirk speaks… (didnt see it posted)


    Raiders MLB Morrison says ‘D’ can be dominant, Russell showing leadership

    By Dan Parr
    May 27, 2009

    Ripples of hope have been sparse in Oakland over the past six seasons, while the Raiders bumbled their way to just 24 wins. The team has floundered through five different head coaches, a myriad of poor personnel decisions and many embarrassing moments during the span. Yet, for four of the six seasons, a steadying force at middle linebacker has given the club reason to think it has a block to build around on defense along with Pro Bowl CB Nnamdi Asomugha.
    JaMarcus Russell, Kirk Morrison

    QB JaMarcus Russell,
    MLB Kirk Morrison
    Kirk Morrison, a third-round pick in 2005, flies under the radar playing for a team that’s known more for losing and bizarre Al Davis press conferences, but he’s been remarkably consistent, making at least 116 tackles each season, and has started all but one game since entering the league.

    Pro Football Weekly spoke with Morrison on May 19 after one of the Raiders’ OTAs (organized team activities). In a wide-ranging interview, Morrison talked about his development and the Raiders’ new defensive coordinator, John Marshall. He said the team continues to feed off the momentum from last season, when it finished with back-to-back wins for the first time since ’02, and he also responded to ex-Raider DeAngelo Hall’s recent criticism of the team.

    PFW: Is there anything in particular you’re working on improving during OTAs?

    Morrison: One thing you’re always improving is your situational play. We’re talking about red zone, goal line, third down, first and second down, four-minute defense vs. four-minute offense. I think that’s what you kind of focus on during the OTAs. As a middle linebacker, I’m excited because the game is more slowed down, going on Year Five, than it was in my first couple years.

    You start to understand a lot more when you look at what an offense is trying to do to you, what they’re thinking, what the defensive coordinator is thinking. A lot of times guys play on instincts. Sometimes we make football out to be really, really difficult because it can be, but a lot of times it’s really simple. We just sometimes make it a lot harder than what it is.

    PFW: Were you getting by on instincts as recently as last year? When did that shift happen for you?

    Morrison: Over time, you just learn to get it. … There are guys like Ray Lewis. You talk to those guys and figure out what they know and what they see. It all comes from film study and just playing, knowing the situation of the game.

    PFW: You mentioned learning from veterans like Ray Lewis, but you haven’t had a guy like that in Oakland. The Raiders have a pretty young group of linebackers. Whom do you look to as a mentor-like figure in Oakland?

    Morrison: I’m the older guy on the team, and I just finished my fourth year. I’m one of the oldest linebackers on our team. What I’ve looked for, and learned the game from, are guys who have been around those (veteran) players, but also the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. I’m with them every single day. I have a new defensive coordinator (Marshall) and linebackers coach (Mike Haluchack) this year. You’re learning new terminology; you’re learning about the game a lot more.

    They see the game differently than the coaches I’ve had before. You take everything in that you learned before, and you just add it to the philosophy that your new coaches have. It just makes you that much better a football player.

    PFW: How is John Marshall’s scheme or coaching style different from former D-coordinator Rob Ryan’s?

    Morrison: A little bit different in the fact of terminology and what he believes in. Everyone has their things. If me and you go to a restaurant, your favorite restaurant and my favorite restaurant, you know what you like, and I know what I like. We both like the same restaurant, but we like different items on the menu. I think that’s what it is for those coaches. They know the game, but they just like different styles.

    For right now, we’re just going over the basics and learning it. These OTAs help out teams such as ours that have a new defensive staff. We’re able to get a lot of the playbook in and a lot of the philosophy and terminology down, going into training camp.

    PFW: Is there anything in specific Marshall is emphasizing?

    Morrison: Just a mentality. He’s already trying to make the mentality that’s been around here in years past change as far as a losing habit. We haven’t won here in the past six years. He’s a coach that’s been around Super Bowl teams; he’s coached in Super Bowls. For me, I’m excited because he had a chance to coach a middle linebacker in Seattle the last couple years who’s a good friend of mine in Lofa Tatupu. Seeing the way Lofa went in that defense, I’m excited because I could step into the same opportunity and get to where Lofa is in his career as a three-time Pro Bowler. … I think what Marshall brings is experience and he’s a proven winner. He’s done it before. He’s been at the bottom before, and it’s not fun.

    PFW: Is everybody on board with the new guy?

    Morrison: Definitely. I think so. We understand what the NFL’s all about. We all loved Rob and we hated to see him go. But with as much turnover as the NFL has, you don’t see coaches stay with teams that long.

    The changes have been good so far, and we’re just trying to improve every single day. We feel like we can be dominant. Now we just have to go out there and do it.

    PFW: Tom Cable seemed to get you guys to click late last season after some struggles early on, which culminated in back-to-back wins to end the season. Has that momentum carried over into the offseason?

    Morrison: I definitely feel it. The guys feel it. What we did in the last couple games is something that didn’t happen in my first four years — going on a winning streak at the end of the year, going into the offseason feeling like a winner.

    It wasn’t like we felt like we were a bad football team at all last year. There were some games we should have won. We should have at least been a .500 ballclub last year. We let a couple games slip away and made some mistakes, and that’s one thing that he’s been trying to change the mentality of our team. He’s making sure that we understand that games are won and lost in the fourth quarter.

    We have to win that fourth quarter and win more football games. You know why? Because we can. We have shown it and we did it in the last two games (of last season). That’s what everyone’s been excited about.

    PFW: Looking around the AFC West, Jay Cutler has left the Broncos, the Chiefs are in rebuilding mode, and the Chargers aren’t as dominant as they used to be. Do you feel like this is the year you guys can make a leap in the division?

    Morrison: If we go out and do what we’re capable of doing, which is running the football on offense, making some plays down the field in the passing game, and just playing dominant defense — stopping the run, getting the ball out to our secondary — we feel like we have one of the best secondaries in the NFL. When we play like that, we feel like we’re going to go out and win football games.

    It’s not the same AFC West of past years when you knew there was a clear-cut team that was going to win the division. I think right now the division is kind of up in the air. On paper, everyone just doesn’t know. We’re eager to get out there and, I wouldn’t say ‘sneak up on people,’ but just … we’re going to be underdogs.

    PFW: While there isn’t an official quarterback competition in Oakland yet, Jeff Garcia certainly is capable of taking over on offense if JaMarcus Russell takes a step backward. Who do you think is the best fit to run your offense right now? Is it Russell or Garcia?

    Morrison: You have to think … JaMarcus has been here the last couple years. He was our starting quarterback last year. He’s fit to run this offense. He knows about it. He’s getting more and comfortable with it. … People don’t really understand that this is only JaMarcus’ second (year of going through) OTAs. His first year he had the (contract) holdout and he missed the OTAs and extra minicamps. He never really got a chance to experience it. Last year, he had it all happen for (the first time), going into kind of like a rookie season almost. This year he definitely understands it more. The OTAs give him a big boost in being able to do more. Last year it was kind of hard. There was a lot put on him, almost as a rookie.

    You asked me earlier about having a guy in your locker room at your position who has been in the game for a while and been a winner before, played in big games. That’s what Jeff brings to our football team and to our quarterback position — a guy that JaMarcus can talk to, lean on.

    It just so happens, if anything does happen to JaMarcus, which we definitely, definitely don’t want to happen, we’re able to have a guy in Jeff step in while JaMarcus is out, and we have total confidence that he can get the job done.

    PFW: Jeff Garcia is a competitor, though. I know you’re aware of that. You have to think he’s not going to back down but try to come in and take the starting job if he can.

    Morrison: Yeah, definitely. That’s the way his mentality is. But as of right now, we know what JaMarcus can do. He was our starting quarterback for the last two games of the season, and those are two games that we won. That’s what we go from right now. … Going into this season, I see JaMarcus as the starter. He proved to the guys on this football team that he can get it done. He made some big throws, but at the same time we know that Jeff is going to push him. You have to wait until training camp to see, but right now I just feel like JaMarcus was our starting quarterback from the end of the season and you kind of go from there.

    PFW: Tom Cable was pretty vocal this offseason about wanting to see more leadership from JaMarcus. Have you seen any of that from JaMarcus yet?

    Morrison: Yeah, definitely. He’s a specimen. He’s a commanding force. When he steps in the huddle, I know guys respect him. That leadership role is something that’s going to happen. It will happen. I know I’m in the same position at middle linebacker where you’re pretty much the leader on defense. The only way you lead is by being out there every day, being vocal, but also you have to make sure that you’re doing your job. That’s what a leader is.

    PFW: I don’t think a second-round pick has caused more controversy, at least recently, than the Raiders’ choice of Mike Mitchell this year. What’s your impression of him

    Morrison: He’s a hard-hitting safety. He can cover. He’s fast, strong. A lot of people say, ‘Well, we didn’t have him rated (that high).’ You’re saying that to the wrong guy here. I’m a third-round guy, but I feel like I’m a first-round talent in terms of my play on the field. I don’t look at the way people rate you. If you look at my draft class, I feel like I’m right up there with the guys who were drafted in the first round at my position. I told Mike that, too. I said, ‘Go out and play the game. Have fun. Don’t let all that other stuff distract you.’

    PFW: Your former teammate, DeAngelo Hall, joined a growing group of ex-Raiders who have taken shots at Al Davis and the team after leaving. He said he was relieved to leave Oakland midway through last season. I know you haven’t seen his comments yet, but how do you respond to the criticisms of Davis and the organization?

    Morrison: Not every situation is going to fit for people. With DeAngelo, it looked good on paper. He came here, people saw the talent and thought everything was great, but it just wasn’t a good fit for him.

    Those kinds of things happen.

    The cure for all the scrutiny, for all the down talk — all you have to do is start winning football games. If you start winning, all that stuff goes away real quick. That’s what we have to change.

    In 2001, ’02, ’03, Oakland was the place to be. Everybody wanted to be in Oakland. The last couple of years, that kind of changed a little bit. We need to get back to where we were six, seven years ago.

    PFW: Do you feel like the Raiders’ organization is dysfunctional, and do you get frustrated with the way things are done there?

    Morrison: Every organization does things different. You have to understand that’s just the way it is. You have to go along with it.

    You go out and do your job. You go out and go to work every day. That’s what I do. That’s something you can’t control. You can control how you play and how you are as a person and what you do extra to make sure you’re doing your best. No matter what you do, you got to make sure you take care of yourself first. All that other stuff, don’t let that affect you.

  • rightnasty Says:
    May 28th, 2009 at 10:50 am
    Here’s the curious thing though. Bush refused to switch to FB which is fine, but when did the FB position become such a “step down” for running backs? There have been a lot of great fullbacks who did it all running, blocking, pass catching and were certainly every bit as part of the offense as the halfback. A fullback used right and not just as a blocker gives the offense an extra weapon.

    It’s a step down in terms of carries, money and prestige. Come on man, are you kidding? Do you think Bush is going to get a commercial deal being a bad lead-blocking FB v. a TD scoring HB? Bush would have been an idiot to let Al and co. force him into a position change.

  • RaiderRockstar

    Burgess & Wilfork are both in the final year of their contracts. both are disgruntled. both teams drafted their eventual replacements (Shaughnessy, Brace). Pats need a pass rusher – missed out on Jason Taylor. Raiders need a run stuffer in the worst way!

  • SnB Defense

    I would give New England Burgess AND a 1st rounder for Wilfork…throw in a 2nd rounder too.

    Wilfork would be a HUGE upgrade to what’s there now!

  • I love Mediterranean food!!

  • Jezuz…where did that happen LMN?

  • What aboput D. Burgess for Ron Brace straight up?

  • 4evaRaider

    Raider O Says:
    May 28th, 2009 at 10:40 am

    Saudi has lots of black and yellow Gold, and nut much water. Other Countries in the Midd East have plenty of water

    Raider O,I was reading an article from the Economist about 4 years ago and they said this was the Saudi’s intention because their oil will run out some day.So with 5 desalt plants they will be able 2 irragate.And top-O-the morning 2 you bro!!!

  • RaiderRockstar

    What aboput D. Burgess for Ron Brace straight up?


    if the Raiders wanted Brace they would have drafted him at #40 last year instead of trading that pick to New England

  • I would give NE Burgess, Huff, Walter, and a 3RD pick!!

  • Rockstar, just because Al had a hard-on for some unknow safety doesn’t mean the Raiders didn’t want Brace.

    Fuk, now that you mention it…we’ll probably trade Burgess to NE for a CB or S.

  • SnB Defense

    Dakota Says:
    May 28th, 2009 at 12:04 pm
    What aboput D. Burgess for Ron Brace straight up?
    Won’t happen. Belichek traded up, with the Raiders (sigh), to get Ron Brace. Brace is going to be a player for them and is the replacement for Wilfork when he asks for a ridiculous salary next year.

    I still say Burgess and our 1st rounder or 2nd rounder for Wilfork. Then sign Wilfork long-term.

    I would rather see the Raiders trade the 1st rounder anyway. I don’t really want to see Taylor Mays (yet another safety) drafted next year until the Raiders KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THEY HAVE ON THE ROSTER NOW!

  • unknown…mi kant spel todey.

  • #253,

    Great post, I really enjoyed reading it.
    Thank you.

  • BadMoodGuy

    Who is there to police the spell check police? Lamer.

    Nobody said Fargas was an elite back. The same way nobody said McFadden or Bush wouldn’t get Russell killed if they were required to pick up a blitz.

    You need different players to be able to expose different weaknesses of the defense that is playing to stop your strengths. Every time you stop something you give up something. Put in Fargas and the defense doesn’t have to worry about him catching the ball but they know they won’t be as successful blitzing. Put in McFadden and they need to watch him more but know they will get to Russell faster. This year both McFadden and Bush should be better, next year they should be good enough that you shouldn’t fear for Russell’s life with them in there.

    Straw man much Aunt Sally?

  • RaiderRockstar

    I would give New England Burgess AND a 1st rounder for Wilfork…throw in a 2nd rounder too.


    that would be robbery for a player that is basically going to the highest bidder (ala Haynesworth) next offseason. Get him now so you don’t get into a bidding war with other teams. D-Burg and possibly a 3rd or 4th rounder would work. it would be well worth it imo, but Warren is a Cable favorite and Davis hasn’t given up on Sands just yet

  • With the 5th dick in the 2010 NFL draft, the Oakland Raiders select Taylor Mays, safety, University of Southern California.

    With the 37th pick in the 2010 NFL draft the Oakland Raiders select Trevard Lindley, cornerback, Kentucky.

  • What about Huff, Burgess, Williams, Yvonne, and the rights to James Lofton to NE for Wilfork.

  • 4eva,

    A lot of those Oil countries are looking for other ways to improve and build their economy.
    Look at UAE, and what they have done!! Lately, they took a big hit. It’s a global economy now. I wasn’t impressed by Saudi’s vision for their economy.

  • jezus, I said 5th dick! lol

    I give up…

    see you guys next week…I’m going to the doctor to see if I’m having a stroke…

  • SnB Defense

    that would be robbery for a player that is basically going to the highest bidder (ala Haynesworth) next offseason. Get him now so you don’t get into a bidding war with other teams. D-Burg and possibly a 3rd or 4th rounder would work. it would be well worth it imo, but Warren is a Cable favorite and Davis hasn’t given up on Sands just yet
    Yeah, Warren has been beautified by Tom Cable and Sands is a scholarship athlete.

    Actually, if you asked the coaches, they think the defense is just fine.

    I would trade the first rounder. How many more top 10 picks can the Raiders afford? Plus, that pick will be used on Taylor Mays or Eric Berry. I would just as well get rid of it.

  • 4evaRaider

    Yep the time is now 2 invest in new or old tech’s,or be left behind

  • RaiderRockstar

    I would give NE Burgess, Huff, Walter, and a 3RD pick!!


    the Pats added Shawn Springs, Leigh Bodden, Brandon McGowan and Patrick Chung to their secondary this offseason. I doubt they’d want to inherit Huff and his bloated contract …

  • Dakota, the “D” and the “P” keys are quite far apart…what would Freud say?

  • 4eva,

    This is the best time to buy property, and a lot of it.
    Buy in your state, other states, Mexico, and especially in the Midd East.


    I bought property in Jordan.

  • I know Bo…I am very bothered by that fact! Maybe it was because I was thinking about how Al Davis fuked up our draft and that makes him a dick?

    Yeah, that’s it!

  • SnB Defense

    Darius Heyward-Bey and Mike Mitchell better be in the starting lineup come September.

    Heyward-Bey is a $25Million investment and they passed up on a lot of players that could have been day 1 starters in much needed positions for those two.

    I only say this because the Raiders reached in the draft. Not saying the players aren’t good…just that they reached to get them.

    I think it would be a massive disappointment to see those two as role players next year.

  • RaiderRockstar

    How many more top 10 picks can the Raiders afford? Plus, that pick will be used on Taylor Mays or Eric Berry.


    the Raiders would only consider another DB if Huff and Branch both flop. Eugene will be an unrestricted FA next year, as will Stanford Routt

  • Raider O…the Black Hills were so expensive you were forced to buy land in Jordan?

    I can see it now:

    Come and listen to a story about a man named Raider O
    A poor college student, barely kept his family fed,

    Then one day he was shootin at some food,
    And up through the ground came a bubblin’ crude.
    Oil that is, black gold, Jordan tea.

    Well the first thing you know ol’ Raider O’s a millionaire,

    Kinfolk said O move away from there
    Said South Dakota is the place you ought to be
    So they loaded up the truck and moved to Black.

    Hills, that is.
    Tar pools, very few cars!

  • RaiderRockstar

    I think it would be a massive disappointment to see those two as role players next year.



    Schilens/Higgins or Schilens/Walker

    Huff/Branch or Eugene/Branch

    Agreed S&B. we can’t afford to redshirt these kids

  • SnB Defense


    I think its more…unless Branch/Huff/or Eugene light it up….they will pick Mays or Berry.

    No way Al Davis passes on a 6’2 225lb defensive back that runs a 4.3 or better.

    I used to think otherwise, but after this draft I think its crystal clear the draft strategy of Oakland.

  • OMG, Dakota has become fully untethered to reality. I blame the Cubs.

  • lol

  • SnB Defense


    I agree that Schilens is the best receiver on the roster, at least going into camp….but DHB really should be able to beat out Javon Walker…right?

    Again, hate to beat this drum…but DHB was a top 10 pick. Walker is slow and washed up…but who knows…stranger things have happened. Although I think there will be some subtle pressure from upstairs to get DHB in the game early and often

  • RaiderRockstar

    I used to think otherwise, but after this draft I think its crystal clear the draft strategy of Oakland.


    the trend has been: BUILD THE OFFENSE

    Russell, McFadden, Bush, DHB, Murphy, Higgins, Schilens, Miller, Henderson all in the last 3 years.

    Barnes only signed a 1 year deal and Cornell is in the final year of his contract at 1.8 million …

    If the OFFENSE train keeps rolling, we’re going to draft a tackle in Round 1 next year (or a kicker)

    Janikowski is also in the final year of his contract at 1.5 million


  • Dakota,


    Land was cheaper in Jordan!! They also use the metric system, so you get more land!! 🙂

    Still LMFAO

  • Jordan Tea!!!!


  • Dakota,

    Their Acre is a 1000 SM!!! For a lot less money than the Hiils. 10000 JD per Acre for some good farm land. That comes to about 15k in US dollars. Great deal bro!!

  • Good for you O…but the commute is going to be a real biotch!

  • Dakota,

    That’s about 45-1 hour drive from the Capital Amman.
    You can buy acres for $500 in some areas away from the main areas.
    Now, in the city of Amman, some acres are worth a 1+ mil JD per acre. About 1.5 mil per acre!!

  • I thought the capital of Jordan was Lamont.

  • Dakota,

    I have family there. My wife is born and raised there, so she wants to visit yearly now.
    She can go yearly, but I will go every few years.
    I lived 8 years there, from the age of 8- 14. I also spent about 2 years there when I got married 5 years ago. One reason why I’m not done with my EDU.
    I love to travel. 😉

  • BSJ,


  • Dakota, and others,

    A lot of people here in the US have the wrong ideas about that area.
    If you are interested in visiting and learning more, I can help,
    I have a place to stay there ( I own an apartment there), I know the area well, and honestly I would be more than happy to help.

    You can enjoy the Mediterranean weather and food, and the old ruins.

  • RaiderRockstar

    Dakota: are you skipping out on your cousin’s graduation?

  • O,

    I would love to visit the ancient Roman ruins in Philadelphia.

  • Rockstar…no, we are leaving at 5:30 tonight…the dog sitter isn’t available until then. We are going to Mitchell (home of the Corn Palace!) tonight and then the rest of the way to “Fargas” Falls tomorrow.

  • Dakota,

    Any time!! I mean it.

    Philadelphia. lol

  • RaiderRockstar

    We are going to Mitchell (home of the Corn Palace!) tonight


    Why don’t you visit Sacramento (home of the Cornhole!) MR … ?

  • Dakota,

    By the way dude, you scare the crap out of me. lol
    Due to a few posts from you now and before. I think you are either very educated, or you have a lot of interst in that area. 😉

    CIA agent!!!