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Alston looks for leading role as the heavy

Time, as well as the ability to shed blockers and make plays during training camp, will determine if Jon Alston is a blown-up safety or a strong sidelinebacker capable of blowing up a sweep to his side.

Although Alston felt the Raiders defense did not perform up to par in Wednesday’s open-to-the-media organized team activity session, his own performance was impressive.

He is one of the most spirited, enthusiastic defenders, playing with a contagious enthusiasm even in the most routine practice sessions. He made a number of plays in the passing game, and positioned himself for would-be stops in non-contact drills against the run.

It is the latter skill which will be tested when the Raiders convene in Napa. In his fourth-year out of Stanford, Alston is a man varied interests. He plays the guitar and has designs on being an actor in his post-football life.

Rather than spend a lot of time with those pursuits, Alston put his mind to packing on some pounds after finishing the season at 214 pounds, making him the smallest strongside linebacker in the league.

At first glance, Alston, with bigger arms and thicker around the neck and shoulders, doesn’t seem to have lost any of his quickness.

Building a body beyond its capacity can have its risks, not only in terms of health but performance. Years ago, the Raiders wanted Lance Johnstone to come in a little heavier so he could advance to something beyond a pass rusher.

Johnstone got heavier all right _ he came in with a gut and a year later he was released and wound up in Minnesota.

A pair of Raiders tight ends, Randal Williams and John Madsen, also got bigger but not necessarily better.

Williams, special teams player and wide receiver, went from a wide receiver in the 200-pound range to a thickly muscled 230-pound plus because Norv Turner wanted him to play tight end. He began to drop passes, experience back trouble and eventually was gone.

The decision with Madsen, a slot receiver at Utah, was to either make him a large wideout in the Ed McCaffrey mold or convert him to tight end. The bigger Madsen got, the more injury-prone he became, and his receiving skills suffered as well.

Alston believes his body has taken to the added weight and thinks he is at an age where he can get bigger as well as better.

Here’s a few questions I asked of Alston as he came off the field Wednesday in a brief interview before Tom Cable went to the podium to address the media:

Q: Is there a lot of difference in what you’re doing defensively this year, or is it just doing things better?

Alston: One of the main things we’re going to be seeing is a strong sense of refinement in this defense. Coach Marshall brings a ton of experience. he’s been in the NFL probably a lot longer than I’ve been alive and one of the things that comes with that is added discipline. We enjoy having him around, and that’s basically what’s going down.

Q: There’s been a lot of talk about how the run defense can be fixed with discipline without a major change in personnel. Is that viable?

Alston: Look at anybody’s life. If you ever want to prove something, you’ve got to know where you messed up, acknowledge that you messed up, then fix those problems piece by piece. Personnel is not going be the issue. We have talent. Everyone knows we have talent. It’s can we play together, can we be disciplined, how much do we care? That’s the test. I think what we have now is a new sense of vigor, especially under coach Cable, in making sure we get stuff done.

It’s not just going to be that we play well once in awhile and that’s good enough. It’s making sure we get this stuff done. It’s got to be every time we play, we play well. Today we didn’t have the best practice, so we have to come out (Thursday) and have a better practice than (Tuesday) _ which was a great practice, especially on the defensive side. Coach Cable let us know, and that’s the biggest part. he let us know we’ve got to go to work.

Q: You were considered a tweener at Stanford, not exactly a safety, not exactly a weakside linebacker. You played on the strong side last year. Is too much made of pigeonholing a player in a certain position or is a football player simply a football player?

Alston: Everybody’s journey in this league is different. I’ve been fortunate enough to put on some weight this offseason. It’s come with age and a lot of hard work, but it’s given me a chance to compete. If they tell me to play SAM, I’ll bulk up and do my best to play SAM. I just want to play.

Q: How much bigger did you get?

Alston: You know what? I probably ended the season around 214 and I’ve gotten up to 235. Right now I’m sitting at 232.

Q: Some players lose their quickness when they bulk up and that’s a big part of your game. But you seem to have kept yours judging from the practice field . . .

Alston: I think it was time for my body to grow a little bit.

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    I’m just talking perception. And Al is a glory hound.

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    Hayes

    Are you a local guy?

  • HayesDaze37

    KK — What does having an eloquent prez have to do with football (other than White House visits)? Of course, I’m excited when our dignitaries can speak English well.

    But, you came in here with baited hook for a political debate, and this ain’t the joint for it. LMN’s not even here to spew his anti-US views. It would’ve been just you and Dakota…and nobody wants to watch that boring debate.

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    There are a lot of boring debates in here nobody want’s to watch. I don’t get to say, and either do you.

  • HayesDaze37

    I been local off-and-on for 45+ years. Can’t say too much.

  • M Lonetree

    HayesDaze,

    you must know that when someone declares that others are puppets of Al Davis they are are actually being puppets themselves. What else would you call it that whenever a subject comes up the first reaction is to lay all blame upon AD? A string is pulled, a marionette reacts. Reflexive knee-jerking it could be called. With added pre-ordained verbiage.

  • HayesDaze37

    Let’s have a drink, KK. Let me get another beer. Eyeballing some 1800, it’s a powerful draw right now. Entice me to spend happy-hour here.

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    I’m drinkin hot sake right now. Get’s right into your bloodstream, quick.

  • blackdeath29

    MEDICAL UPDATE: Defensive tackle Ryan Boschetti missed the second OTA with a chest injury incurred lifting weights. Fullback Oren O’Neal (knee) and wide receiver Javon Walker (knee) aren’t likely to play until training camp. Tight end Zach Miller (sports hernia) suited up for the first time since offseason surgery and went through drills but did not participate in team sessions. Gerard Warren sat out with a pectoral strain. Jay Richardson was out with a knee issue but should return for next week’s OTA. Guard/tackle Mark Wilson sat out the OTA with back spasms.

  • lasvegasraider

    Bottom Raider line: Tackle, tackle, tackle, none if this leaving a circle in the dirt. If you let LT SD put whipped dog, shame in us again, you are toast.

    We are Al Davis’s Raiders. We don’t care if you are a Green, three legged Martian, if you can put the hammer down, and “Just help us Win,” we want you. Let race, color or planet be damned, “Just Win Baby!”

  • Nnamdi21

    If you’re going to play a smallish SAM linebacker better hope some one on the D can diagnose plays and make the right calls to gain the advantage of that speed.

    That hasn’t been Morrison.

    Lets hope this year…

  • Nnamdi21

    HayesDaze37 Says:
    June 5th, 2009 at 5:25 pm
    Let’s have a drink, KK. Let me get another beer. Eyeballing some 1800, it’s a powerful draw right now. Entice me to spend happy-hour here.

    =====================

    Might I suggest Husong’s Tequila?

    None of the charcoal and artificial colorings that make you si9cker than a dawg.

  • Nnamdi21

    HayesDaze37 Says:
    June 5th, 2009 at 5:19 pm
    KK — What does having an eloquent prez have to do with football (other than White House visits)? Of course, I’m excited when our dignitaries can speak English well.

    But, you came in here with baited hook for a political debate, and this ain’t the joint for it. LMN’s not even here to spew his anti-US views. It would’ve been just you and Dakota…and nobody wants to watch that boring debate.

    =========================

    LMN earned the right by fighting for our country.

    No need for the Government to censor us when we do it ourselves.

    Any where, anytime is the right time and place to discuss the fact there is something terribly wrong with this country…

  • SaintKaufman

    huh?

  • Raider Dell

    Double huh??

  • SaintKaufman

    echo?

  • priesttj

    Looks as if Jon Alston agrees with my assesment of the defensive talent and what the problems are (discipline and technigue) now if only I could convince the MistaBrown. ….it’s keeping me up nights!

    MistaBrown it seems that I’m not alone in my views, what do you think? Do I have your approval you wannabe GM? Also Kirk Morrison and T Howard echo what Jon had to say.

    Mistabrown since I’m such a know nothing what is your opinion of the these players comments on the defensive issues, since I’m so dumb? And you’re so much smarter than the players and you mock my opinion which they seem to agree with?

    What say you?

  • Bishop916

    I like how Inman had nothing objective to say about the Raiders. Nothing but how the players are undisciplined and no one showed up to practice. C’mon. Enought of all that already. Meanwhile Singletary is Coach of the Year candidate? Please. We will see when its go-time. Maybe he can drop his pants for his team again. But oh yeah, that is inspired coaching, not acting an ass.

    Whatever.
    Obviously a hater.

    GO RAIDERS

  • Raider Dell

    echo?

    chamber?

  • priesttj

    I was reading a discussion between Lefty12 and SnB on Plunkett and Marino.

    My thoughts are this. If both Marino and Plaunkett were rookies I would select Plunkett hands down. I saw both in college and attended many of Plunketts games at Stanford. Plunkett was an incredible athlete in the mold of John Elway 6′ 2″ 230 could run extremely strong as QB’s go. Had an arm similar to Russell he was IMO the single best college QB I have ever seen bar none. He played in a pro style offense Sam Wyche was his QB coach on the offensive staff was Dick Vermiel, Bill Walsh, Sam Wyche and Mike White. It may have been the greatest coaching staff ever assembled. The HC was John Ralston. The DC was Rod Rust one of the better DC’s in NFL history.

    Jim Plunkett was ready to start early in his career at NE the first victory came against a stacked Oakland Raider team and he just picked us apart. Dan Marino also was NFL ready early in his career but he had a much better coach and team. Plunkett was beaten to a pulp while Marino enjoyed early success and a very good team. But Plunkett drug NE to every victory that rookie season Marino enjoyed wonderful protection and had great recievers.

    The NFL never saw the Plunkett that they should’ve seen, if they had he would’ve been they single best QB ever…………period

  • SaintKaufman

    testing, testing, 1, 2….

  • http://atm Raider O

    Flip flip flip!!!
    Flop flop flop!!!

  • Raider Dell

    Jon Alston will be in the NFL film highlights with many titles on his famous run with JLH on that punt return for a touch down.

    I remember he was escorting JLH and had lost his helmet, picked it up and carried it with him as he escorted JLH into the endzone.

    I guess Jon Alston can be seen on the NFL films funniest moments, great head shots, abnormal occurances during a game.

    Whatever the NFL film crew chooses John will always be a Raider in the highlight, and this will give him special spot for us,the fans, as we will never forget his speed and courage racing down ready to block someone, without his helmet.

    Good stuff.

  • Raider Dell

    Raider O

    Where are you?

  • http://atm Raider O

    Dell,

    He has heart, and now a body to go with it! He added 20 pounds.

  • http://atm Raider O

    San Diego sir.

  • http://atm Raider O

    lol

  • Raider Dell

    Raider O

    I have a question for you. Don’t worry I will not turn into dude.

    This blog has broken down everthing up to this point, but yet we have not really spoken or written about the coaches Cable brought on board.

    Any thoughts on likes and dislikes, or who will we hate or who will we want to see go.

  • http://atm Raider O

    I used to own options for Qualcomm, before the split and all!! I could have made over 60k, but I ended up making Nothing!!

  • http://atm Raider O

    Dell,

    Tone honest with you sir, I don’t know much about the OCs. And the only few things I know about Marshall and Board are from what I have read after they became Raiders.

    From what I read about Board and Marshall, I was very impressed. Helped Seattle go from the worst Defense in the league, to the top 15 in one year!!

  • Raider Dell

    Trolls 35

    What do we owe your time tonight to!

  • http://atm Raider O

    To be honest.. Sorry.

  • Trolls 35 Raiders 0

    # Raider Dell Says:
    June 5th, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    Trolls 35

    What do we owe your time tonight to!

    Dell I’ve been here every night :idea: In spirit :lol:

  • http://atm Raider O

    Dell,

    Post 228, is one of the reasons why I’m a finance Major. I knew there was a lot of money to be made in that sector,but I needed to learn how to make it. lol

  • Raider Dell

    Raider O

    My biggest concern is the offensive staff, the youth of this team is on that side of the ball.

    I’m aware of Tollner, Hackett and Michalzik, as the coaches that have been in the league a long time or have coached at many levels.

    I’m just wondering about the young coaches, like Lal,Henry, Morgan.

    Will they be able to add energy and discipline to the guys and how much are they in regards to great teachers.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Dell,

    You can’t play the game and win, if you don’t know the rules!!

  • http://atm Raider O

    Dell,

    You are asking the wrong the guy sir, BHP knows coaches a lot better than I do.
    I look more at players!!

  • Raider Dell

    Raider O

    The technology sector has not been a sector that has done well lately or even in it’s best days.

    Let me provide another lesson to you, of course free of charge.

    you are looking at a sector, I’m looking at a section.

    The best sector in the section of the world is the emerging market. Look no further than Russia, China, and many others, all the markets that surround countries that supply not cheap labor but have resources to reduced costs.

    Vietnam Laos, Cambodia are emerging. Why do you think North Korea wants to shoot missles, yet they want part of the action.

  • Raider Dell

    Raider O Says:
    June 5th, 2009 at 10:30 pm
    Dell,

    You are asking the wrong the guy sir, BHP knows coaches a lot better than I do.
    I look more at players!!

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    Raider O

    You are looking at the hour glass wrong again.

    Good coaching will provide better results. Remember past performance doesn’t indicate future results.

    Ask Peyton Manning how he feels about Tom Moore leaving, good coaching is a staple, it is needed to solidfy a football player.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Dell,

    When I bought those Q options, I was only 20 yrs old. That was back in 99 and 2000.

  • Raider Dell

    Were they non Q or Q options. And what was the hold of those options before you could of sold them.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Dell,

    My last investment was RE in Jordan. It’s a great time to but there, land is cheap, and steel prices went down.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Buy, sorry.

    They were one year options, and I can’t remember if they were Non Q options. I have been trying to remember, but that was 10 years ago. I remember the 4:1 split

  • Raider Dell

    Raider O

    You fell into my type of investor regarding the Qualcomm options.

    Would a could a should a=

    WACASA= Wacky angry clients are stupid asses.

  • Raider Dell

    Goodnight O

    I’ll catch you later.

  • http://atm Raider O

    I remember I bought 2 options for 10k, 1yr options, and 100 stocks per/ at $50. I think the stick was at $170+. it was a good buy, but I didn’t sell after the split. I had insider info that that deal with China was going to happen before the end of my option. I was wrong!! lol

  • http://atm Raider O

    Dell,

    Good night sir, and thank you for the free education.

  • http://atm Raider O

    By the way, the Q options were my 1st investment.

  • BadMoodGuy

    Don’t bother BHP, you cannot reason people out of a position they have not reasoned themselves into.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Good night gents, later Nation.