Raiders’ offseason: What we don’t know


Things that remain a mystery as the Raiders go their separate ways before reporting to training camp in Napa on July 29, with the first practice the following day:

— Can Ted Tollner and Paul Hackett provide the kind of stability and teaching JaMarcus Russell needs to build on his final six games of the 2009 season?

Tollner, at the behest of Tom Cable, was said to have added deeper routes and that played to Russell’s strength, although there was little in the way of evidence to support that in public practices.

Russell went through three playcallers in his first year as a starter and needs to identify himself this year as a player who can carry not only a passing game, but an entire team.

— What is Cable’s plan for the ascension of Michael Bush? I know, wise guys, it’s Al Davis who decides. Not so fast. Cable is on what Lane Kiffin called the “honeymoon” afforded to new Raiders head coaches.

Lance was right on this one. New coaches get a lot of rope, just enough to usually hang themselves, in many cases. Getting the sort of performance out of Bush the Raiders got in the season finale is something Davis wants to see.

It’s up to Cable to make it happen and in the process de-emphasize Justin Fargas.

— Assuming Mario Henderson is the left tackle, when does Cable make the move with Khalif Barnes to the right side? He said at one point he could do it as late as preseason games and everything would be fine.

I’ll defer to his expertise along the offensive line, but that seems a little late in the game when the issue is protecting the franchise quarterback.

— How good is new line coach Jim Michalczik? The running game will carry this team, and Cable as a head coach appears to be much more of a delegator than the man who attempted to wear all hats as an interim head coach.

— Can the Raiders’ woeful run defense be repaired with more due diligence with regard to discipline, rather than a major change in personnel and philosophy? No way to tell during no-contact practices in the offseason.

You’re up, John Marshall.

— Jeff Garcia, Lorenzo Neal and Greg Ellis are in the house. Are their teammates listening? Warren Sapp has his doubts, as expressed to Peter King.

Sapp is fond of exaggerating to make a point, occasionally stretching the bounds of credibility, but it’s true a lot of young players simply don’t want to hear it.

Jerry Rice even attended the Raiders final OTA. If the receiving corps was stifling a group yawn, there was no mention of it on the Raiders’ Twitter account.

— Will Darrius Heyward-Bey and Mike Mitchell be healthy enough come training camp to make a run at being contributors in the first quarter of the season? They’ve both been hampered by bad hamstrings pretty much since their first minicamp.

— What roles do Javon Walker and Derrick Burgess have with the 2009 Raiders?

Walker has been around, and according to Florida rookie Louis Murphy, has even been helpful as he recovers from the knee surgery which surprised his employer. Burgess has been a no-show and in the final year of his contract.

Walker is getting his payday regardless on a renegotiated contract, the question is whether he can still be anything remotely approaching the receiver he once was. The Raiders may be waiting with Burgess to see if any team loses a pass rusher during training camp in order to get the maximum in trade value.

There appears to be no such mystery with Andrew Walter, who should be a camp arm along with Danny Southwick until the one-time quarterback of the future gets his exit visa.

— Can the Raiders get anything out of Michael Huff?

The No. 7 overall pick in 2006 is nearing bust status. Some say he’s already there. Huff remains an infuriating step late in coverage and isn’t the kind of physical presence Oakland likes in its safeties. Tyvon Branch and Mitchell push him further down the ladder.

— Will Nnamdi Asomugha get the chance to shadow the opponent’s top receiver? He seems to think there’s a chance it could happen on occasion.

— Is Chris Johnson too good to be true? Cornerbacks simply don’t identify themselves as elite at age 29. The Raiders are pinching themselves on this one, signing him to a lucrative four-year contract that they’ve never announced to this day, perhaps concerned Johnson’s performance after the DeAngelo Hall fiasco was a mirage.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Oh I’m babbling now. You throw shyt out there, can’t prove it, then say I’m babbling, ok.

  • Ok One Stadium. That doesn’t equal most. Name another.

  • priesttj

    The Meadowlands, Shea Stadium, Candlestick Park, the new park in Arizona. The Superdome and the stadium the Titans play in.

  • Naturally, the league believes its plan addresses some of the criticism that owners have extracted too much taxpayer money to build stadiums for the teams’ private benefit. Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, introduced a bill on Tuesday that goes further than the N.F.L.’s financing.

    ”The league plan is an internal one to help owners raise their share of the private contribution to build stadiums,” said John Ullyot, a spokesman for the Senator. ”But it doesn’t address how to relieve the taxpayer burden.”

  • priesttj

    Listen KK the point we’re trying to make is that you’re looking at a football man and blaming him for things he simply can’t control. No he’s not the most commercial minded individual that ever owned a team. But Oakland cut there nose off to spite their face. And everyone blamed him when he was trying to negotiate in good faith they stabbed him in the back with Rozzell and you know it.

    The people of Oakland need to wake the hell up……………period demand more from their local Government and stop the crap. And the might become more than an after thought behind San Francisco.

  • All old stadiums, built when municipalities were financing, like the Oakland Coliseum. The Az Cardinals play in a Stadium shared with a University and they put 147 million of their own dollars into it.

  • Priesttj Says:
    July 2nd, 2009 at 1:25 am
    Listen KK the point we’re trying to make is that you’re looking at a football man and blaming him for things he simply can’t control. No he’s not the most commercial minded individual that ever owned a team.
    And what I’m trying to tell you is that Al Davis is responsible for his business, football and otherwise. He’s the owner of the business and it hasn’t been good, on the field or in the community.

  • priesttj

    Well hopefully that will aide the Raiders in some way to solve their issue here. Mr Davis wants to stay here based on everything I’ve heard. But it’s time for the Raiders or the A’s to get their own stadiums.

    Hell they are two of the most storied franchises in their respective sports. And yet they are the only teams in the respective leagues to pay in a shared stadium for each other. that’scrazy the civic pride should be more than that. But Oakland can’t see the benefit in it. They just don’t have the vision to pull it off when cities like Cleveland and Cincinnati even Arizona are getting it done.

    Well I’ve gotta get some shutdown time

    Adios!! KK

  • He’s no Jerry Jones, that’s for sure. To Let a brand like the Raiders fall into the toilet?

  • Al Davis within a year of his return in 1995 sued the City Of Oakland for 1 Billion Dollars.

    I don’t live in Oakland, but I wouldn’t give him a dime of taxpayer money.

    Maybe the good people of Livermore want to build him a stadium.


  • hwnrdr

    Wow, 10 days and still no new posts? Good morning Nation!!! Its taking hella long now to post stuff on this one…oh, and i know i’m a bit late, but congrats, Dakota!



  • *Yaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwn*

  • RaiderRockstar

    good morning AM crew!

  • Crow

    I think Jerry must be in Argentina with some young, Latina beauty. The wife won’t be pleased, Jerrah.



  • The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    See you guys in a month or so.
    Why? Is it cleaning time for your monkey cage? Going in for surgery? Surgery isn’t a cure for douchebaggery but try it.
    Anyway, thanks for the warning, pederast.

  • hwnrdr

    I know huh, Dirt Lot? Anyways….this is taking way too long and I am off tomorrow…so you all have a good weekend! Hopefully by Monday we will have anything, something…Happy 4th of July, also!!! Enjoy and be safe…See ya all next week!!!

  • im not made for this kinda hot weather…

  • RaiderRockstar

    see ya Hwnrdr!

  • OAKlifer

    Good Morning Nation!!!! wow come on Uncle Jerry!!!!

    Raiders Offseason: What the shadow knows.

    By OAKlifer – NFL Blogger
    Monday, July 2nd, 2009 at 6:35 am in Oakland Raiders.

    Well Raider Nation the dog days of endless heat, N.B.A Meaningless signings, malt liqour and out back BBQ’s are finally among us. Not sure if thats a good thing or bad thing where your from….But on my porch its always good. These days the talk revolves around Curry coming to the town and why the Colt 45 gets warm so fast along with hmmm….does losing Ariza really hinder Kobe that much and would Portland signing Hedo really pi$$ off Rudy to whaear he would go play in Spain?

    But just as I was about to pour a little out for the homies it hit me there is one raider topic that has been broadly touched but never disscussed in full.


    Coach Cable
    Cable, who has 21 years of coaching experience, including four as a head coach at the college level, joined the team as the Raiders offensive line coach in 2007. In 2007, Cable coached a Raiders offensive line that contributed to the Silver and Black finishing sixth in the NFL in both rushing and Inside the 20 touchdown percentage. Cable was head coach of the University of Idaho from 2001-03. During his tenure at Idaho, his teams averaged 424.1 yards of total offense per game. Not to be out Done by his record for that was the year Idaho jumped up to play with the big dogs.

    Dwaine Board,
    previously served 23 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, 10 as a player and 13 as an assistant coach. In 19 seasons as a coach, Board has sent players to 10 Pro Bowls and has coached one NFL Defensive Player of the Year. From 2005-07, Board’s linemen helped Seattle rank second in the NFL with 136 sacks. His group generated 36 sacks in 2004, and in 2005, his unit contributed 32.5 of Seattle’s NFL-leading 50 sacks on the season. They also allowed just one 100-yard rusher, set the franchise mark by allowing only 94.4 rushing yards per game (5th in the NFL) and ranked second in the NFL by allowing only five rushing touchdowns. Board made an immediate impact in his first season, helping improve Seattle’s run defense from last in the NFL to 19th in 2003, the second-greatest turnaround in the NFL behind New England.
    If this guy can help turn around our D-line then he will be annointed a savior.

    Paul Hackett,
    Hackett has served on both a Super Bowl and national championship staff while coaching some of football’s greatest players and working for several notable head coaches during his career. Hackett has been part of four division winners, has helped lead teams to seven playoff appearances and compiled a 90-54 record as an NFL offensive coordinator. In his 13 seasons as an assistant coach in the NFL (1993-08), Hackett has helped lead nine teams to the playoffs.
    If He can light the fire under Russell and teach him how to be great this could be the signing of the off season.

    In 2008, at Cal, he was assistant head coach, co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach and helped lead the Bears to a 9-4 overall record and a win over Miami (Fla.) in the Emerald Bowl. Under his tutelage, Bears center Alex Mack won two consecutive Morris Trophies, given to the top offensive and defensive linemen in the Pac-10.

    Jim Michalczik,

    In 2008, at Cal, he was assistant head coach, co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach and helped lead the Bears to a 9-4 overall record and a win over Miami (Fla.) in the Emerald Bowl. Under his tutelage, Bears center Alex Mack won two consecutive Morris Trophies, given to the top offensive and defensive linemen in the Pac-10. While at Cal, he mentored seven first-team all-conference selections. In all, 24 Bears offensive linemen earned some level of All-Pac-10 honors during his tenure, including all five starters making the list in 2004.
    Even thou we didnt land Mack I think Michalczik will turn our o-line around starting with the tackel spots!!

    John Marshall,

    This may be the most intriging staff change of the season it was long beleived in Raider Fan land that Rob Ryan was to blame for all the Raider woes….But having Track stars out of postion to whiff on tackles is not the ideal personal either…so here it is

    Since beginning his coaching career in 1967, Marshall has helped coach two Super Bowl champions and one national champion at the collegiate level. Marshall began his tenure with the Seahawks as linebackers coach from 2003-05 before moving to defensive coordinator. He helped tutor a defense that ranked second in the NFL in sacks from 2005-07 with 136. In 2007, Marshall’s defense led the NFL in touchdown passes allowed (15) and ranked fourth in the NFL with 20 interceptions. His defensive unit boasted four Pro Bowlers and two AP First Team All-Pros. Two players earned Pro Bowl selections under Marshall’s tutelage in 2006, and one player earned a Pro Bowl spot in 2005.

    Marshall was elevated to the defensive coordinator position prior to the 2005 season. His defense led the NFL with 50 sacks, allowed only one 100-yard rusher, finished second in the NFL in red zone defense (40.4%) and rushing touchdowns allowed (5) en route to a berth in Super Bowl XL.

    Some of these stas stand out but two Superbowl wins in 75 years of coaching …..hmmmm.. However he worked with Marshall is a student of the game has been to the big dance at every level the question that lingers is will he use his personal correctly, blitz accordingly, and not be shy about raw talent…i.e. M&M.

    It is just as imparitive that he call a good game as it is the O-fense does…


    Feeble attemt but come on Uncle Jerry at;east I tried!!!

  • RaiderTW Says:
    July 2nd, 2009 at 6:48 am
    The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    See you guys in a month or so.
    Why? Is it cleaning time for your monkey cage? Going in for surgery? Surgery isn’t a cure for douchebaggery but try it.
    Anyway, thanks for the warning, pederast


    Well said TW. I second that emotion.

  • NoMoreFargas

    What’s up fellas 4 straight day of 100+ here the good ol Fresno !

  • Lakers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • RaiderRockstar

    good morning OAKlifer, BSJ, NMF, Dakota …

  • Thanks for the read OAKlifer. Way to cover for the pro while he “hikes the Appalachian Trail.”

  • RaiderRockstar

    good morning LMN, TW, crow …

  • Trevor Ariza wants more than 5.6 million per season (which means $11.2 Million per season to Jerry Buss due to the Luxuary tax)? See ya Trevor…

    We’ll keep Odom and sign another SF instead…

  • Luxury…my bad

  • OAKlifer

    man I’m on the previous blog post fsater than EVER!!!!! we should all migrate even if it breaks blogging bylaws!!! either way I’m serving up the Kool AID on the previous blog!!!!!

  • OAKlifer

    over here over here!!!!!!!!1

  • SnB Defense

    Morrison/Howard/Brown/Alston combined had a total of TWO (2) sacks in 2008.

    The Raiders set a record for rushing tds allowed over the last 5 years

    The Raider run defense has ranked 31st twice in the last couple of years

    OAKlifer, I hope the coaching staff deserves the high grades you gave them. Those guys have their work cut out for them

  • RRS…

    thanks, but its late afternoon here =)

    …and im melting…

  • jhill

    Saw your MJ legacy take RRS.

    You’re trippin!

    Say what you want about the kiddie episodes, everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    But I’ll just say that based upon what your are seeing since he passed, his legacy is just fine. They can’t print CDs fast enough. He’s constantly being played on how many radio stations? How many fans do you see worldwide pouring out support? How many of his songs are dominating I tunes as top downloads?

    And did I mention his 50% ownership of the Sony music catalog worth 2 billion dollars? (Notice how all of his “problems” started after he “acquired” the rights to that catalog.)

    MJs legacy will be just fine. Way more people loved him than hated him.

  • jhill


    If I were Kupchak, I’d let Ariza walk, and just pay Odom. Odom should be our starting SF. Odom can play 4 positions at a high level.

    Give Artest that 5 million Ariza doesn’t want, and let Artest come off the bench!

  • OAKlifer

    OAKlifer, I hope the coaching staff deserves the high grades you gave them. Those guys have their work cut out for them


  • Yep, freaks will continue to eat Jacko up…and there are a lot of freaks in this world!

    I almost fell out of my chair when it came out that he is not the biological father of his ghostly white children!!! lol…duh.

    Jacko…take it easy…at least now maybe your assets will accumulate for your children instead of being spent on all that ugly schyt you liked to buy. And maybe Mr. Bubbles and be put down and buried with you and the bones of the elephant man.

  • Odom starting at the 3 is a good alternative. Huge rebound advantage over Ariza, but Lamar can be a liability on defense against quick SFs. And he doesn’t close out on 3-pt. shooters too well.

    The Lakers will still need a better PF off the bench than Powell and Mbenga (Tim Thomas?). And say no to Ron Artest. He is the new Barkley: great performer but will suck the life out of a team.

    Keep Shannon Brown and let him fill Sasha’s role after Shoelace-head is dumped.

  • jhill

    You can be kinda harsh Dakota.

    You should probably be directing a lot of that towards Poppa Joe for F’ing his whole family up. I wonder how you would have turned out being raised by that guy?

    Maybe I’m one of the freaks you are talking about. I certainly find myself tapping my feet, snapping my fingers, and singing along when those MJ songs come on. I still think everything he did right up to the Thriller album are all time classics.

    He started to lose me once he started to “change his look”. But I don’t believe he was a child molester at all. I think he is a 10 year old in a man’s body. But then again, I realize kids who were molested (i’m sure that freak Diana Ross f’d him when he was 9, lol!) are subject to repeat it. I just don’t believe that family who tried to blackmail him back in the day. Should he have taken Johnny Cochran’s advice and settled? Gambled on 12 of his “peers” believing him over a little white boy? (sorry, that was probably uncalled for) On a side note, do you think Kobe should have taken his “chances” in Colorado?

    I don’t know why I defend this guy, to be honest. You can probably say that I just don’t like to see people hated on based upon stuff they really don’t know about. Maybe that’s why I defend Sands, TO, Huff, JRuss, and ahhh yes, Michael Jackson.

  • Raider Rookie “Pantses” AFC Rival at Symposium

    don’t know much about rookie wide receiver Louis Murphy, the Raiders’ fourth round draft pick from Florida. But he just became one of my new favorite players.

    You might even say he’s charming the pants off me. He is doing this by “pantsing” his fellow rookies when they attempt to hold serious interviews with the media.

    Louis Murphy, like all NFL rookies, is currently attending the NFL Rookie Symposium in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. The Symposium is a four-day workshop intended to stress to the rooks the importance of financial planning, personal conduct, and the dangers of being in the public eye.

    One rookie, Miami Dolphins’ cornerback (and Vernon Davis’ little brother) Vontae Davis has already encountered these dangers. His state identification was stolen in June, and the thief was later arrested for an unrelated charge. But not before he had already used Davis’ ID. Davis spent a couple of weeks having to clear his name, even though the Dolphins could vouch for his whereabouts at the time of the arrest.

    “The biggest thing is to know how to say ‘no,'” Davis told the Palm Beach Post. “That should be the biggest word in your vocabulary. Some people may have to go through a class where they say ‘no’ a thousand times.”

    But as Davis was conducting this very serious interview, Louis Murphy crept up behind him, grabbed his pants, and pulled Davis’ drawers down to his ankles. Hilarity ensued. Or at least, that’s hilarity in my opinion.

    He may love to clown, but Murphy has been frankly impressive as a Raider thus far. Cam Inman said in the Mercury News that “he has the right spirit and could make an impact on this team,” and Patrick Patterson wrote in The Examiner that “rookie Louis Murphy has shown flashes that he will be successful at the NFL level.” Murphy could legitimately unseat Javon Walker as the Raiders’ number three receiver.

    And now we know he’s one of your more entertaining Raiders, in the mold of Warren Sapp or Gerard Warren.

    The Raiders don’t have the Miami Dolphins on their regular season schedule this year. So if Louis Murphy is going to beat the pants off Vontae Davis on the field, it would have to be in the playoffs.


  • Jhill….

    man i hope you’re not vouching for freak’o’s doings? yeah he had a sick father, but so what.. so did the other kids, they didnt start acting like your dear jacko….

    Im getting sick of all the smoothtalking in the radio… heck OJ was an outstanding citizen compared to freako…

  • BSJ….

    LOL, a regular pranker… well I like him a lot more than DHB, and i still almost hate the shaunesssy kid

  • Jhill,

    I like the man’s music too…or I did when I was 10-13 in the 1980s, but you have to admit, the guy was out there. You can only blame your parents so much before you have to take responsibility for your own actions.

    I am not big on giving people that excuse…if you were beat as a child, it doesn’t excuse you for beating your children, and if Diana Ross put out for you when you were nine, it doesn’t give you a free pass to sleep with children in my book.

    Michael Jackson was a drug abusing freak that had inappropriate relationships with children…just because he was talented and had a tough childhood doesn’t mean those things should be glossed over.

    If there is justice in the world, MJ is getting his right now…

  • RaiderRockstar

    Louis Murphy is a prankster, but he works hard on the field. gotta love it. Kid knows how to joke around and have fun (at other people’s expense), but when it’s time to battle he’s a guy you can count on. He was overshadowed by Percy Harvin at Florida, but in the Raiders less than spectacular WR corps he’ll be given plenty of time and reps to showcase his talent

  • New post up!

  • Another 400,000+ jobs lost last month, man I’m sure glad we hurried up and passed the stimulus bill on a Friday and didn’t give anyone anytime to read it over the weekend. It has had such a great immediate success they are now talking about round 2 (or 3 if you count Bushes version). Where are all the libs that were so worried about our growing debt to China, we need you right now to voice up again, please it ain’t getting better!!!!

    BTW, congrats to Dakota. May I suggest Winchester Lechler (Dakota).

  • # Dakota Says:
    July 2nd, 2009 at 9:38 am

    New post up!

    eff you dakota =)

  • Thanks Vegas…thanks LMN, lol.

  • Broncos star isn’t a mile high about city
    Mark Duncan / Associated Press
    Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall recently asked for a trade.
    olice report emerges in which Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall is said to tell police two years ago during DUI arrest: ‘I hate Denver. I hope to get traded.’

    By Mark Medina
    July 2, 2009

    Call it a new negotiating tactic.

    A police report involving Denver Broncos Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall recently emerged in which he voiced his displeasure with the Broncos to police who pulled him over two years ago on suspicion of driving under the influence.

    ABC7 reported on the findings Tuesday night, and it is timely because he has recently asked for a trade.

    “I hate Denver. I hope to get traded. I hate this city,” an officer quoted Marshall as saying in the police report.

    It’s not exactly an endorsement worthy of printing on a postcard.


  • KoolKell Says:
    July 2nd, 2009 at 12:57 am
    Name any NFL Stadium built with municipal funds?

    Beside the Alameda County Oakland Coliseum.


    I don’t know what the definition of “built with muncipal funds” would be, but just about every new stadium receives a portion of funds through municipal financing, either directly or indirectly. Both the Cowboys and Yankees new places received hundreds of millions of dollars through muni’s (great investments btw), however it may have only been 20-30% of the whole deaL.

    Also, redevelopment bonds (Redevelopment Agency Tax Allocation or RATA’s) will be floated to help surrending areas improve, and the bonds will be backed by taxes, often property, levied on the whole area including the stadium. Jacobs Field in Cleveland was a huge success as an example. The stadium doesn’t receive any direct funds, but it makes the whole place around way better, thus increasing traffic/customers.

    The point is, the Raiders stadium is lacking all of this, due to Al not making any friends, and Oakland being poorly run. Just like the team lately, the stadium situation is a joke, easily one of the worst in the league. Now the young team at least has some hope, getting a better stadium in Oakland has no hope for the future. Surrounding area hasn’t improved much in 25 years, and what are they going to do, float bonds? With all the news with Cali bonds, it would be border-line junk, literally.

    And those are my vents for the day/week, this page takes way to long to load to check it on the regular.