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

  • beeecham

    Why in world are any of you arguing with Krappy? That old goat hasn’t had a cohesive thought since the Korean War. I know news is slow these days on the blog, but to engage that senile old bag of bones is like debating politics with your lawn chair.

    But kudos to you, Krappy, for staying up until 2 am last night night. The old wifey must’ve been proud that her deranged old husband was up late football blogging with himself.

  • doriangray


  • Dakota,

    You hear the Lakers sold their draft choices and saved about $7M? Mitch Kokchap said it chould help with their FA signings.

    The Raiders should dump their `10 first rounder as well…

  • doriangray


  • Dorian Gray, you are a fan of that notorious queen Oscar Wilde? Shouldn’t you be on a niners blog?

  • OAKlifer


    SaintKaufman Says:
    July 2nd, 2009 at 9:16 am
    Are you lost man??

  • doriangray




    So guys, what do you think about the team for next year? Feel free to share your feelings on:

    1. Will Jackson come back for Title 11?
    2. Is Jeannie Buss the hottest owners-daughter in sports?
    3. Does Mikan belong on the all-time Lakers roster?
    4. How much better than Jordan can Kobe get?
    5. When will the Bay Area get an NBA team?

  • doriangray


  • I told myself I wouldnt see the tour this year, but now im starting to wonder if i can keep that promise :/

  • Bo,

    That was what they claimed…hopefully they will actually use the money to sign Ariza and Odom…instead of funding one of the Buss’ trust funds. If they don’t re-sign Ariza, they damned well better sign someone with the MLE or Kobe might go all bonkers again!

  • doriangray


  • doriangray

    fukkin laker fans . ..:( kill yourselves . the raiders havent won campionship since whitnet houston was sober

  • doriangray Says:
    You’re 3 months late. Burn the portrait & act your age.

  • HayesDaze37

    C’mon Jerr — That wasn’t nearly as bad as what some of these guys put on here every day.

    Time for a new, post-vacation post, isn’t it? Puh-leeeze!

  • doriangray

    no raidertw .these morons already got their next years draft ready im betting

  • Dorian Gray, if that is truly your name I pity both you and your asinine parents. Please heed the excellent advice from RaiderTW. Grow up and stop the hating. Someday the Bay Area might even get an NBA team…just click your heels together 3 times, and repeat “there’s no place like the Castro…”.

  • jhill


    I hear ya on MJ, and I think I agree with most of what you are saying. Grown men should not be having sleep overs with kids, no matter how innocent it is. So therefore, yes MJs behavior was inappropriate. I just don’t believe any of it was sexual. I think he is a kid acting like a kid. But I could be wrong. It’s 3 sides to every story, and I’m just no so quick to judge.

    If that’s the case, I have more to say to the parents than I do about MJ. Why was this only a story after you asked him for 10 million. On the blackmail tape, they never said he did anything to their child. They only threatened him with leaking that their child slept in his bed, and how that perception would look. He even came out and admitted it, that yeah he has kids sleep in his bed. As soon as he said that, he was doomed with a lot of people. “what kid of grown man has kids sleeping in the bed with him? He must be a ….” and it just took off from there. Zero proof of child molestation or anything close to it.

  • jhill

    OJ vs MJ, LMN?

    You’d take OJ and his alleged crimes over MJ and his alleged acts?

    Having kids over for a sleepover, and Smores

    Killing 2 people, and armed robbery, kidnapping


    Can you at least prove the guy is a molester before you roll with the other guy? We at least saw 2 bodies, and got a conviction in Las Vegas on the other charges.

    Too funny! Same ole LMN!

  • Dorian Gray, reminds me of Dr JD Dorian from ‘Scrubs’ and all the female names Dr Cox calls him… LOL

  • doriangray


  • SaintKaufman

    Hey there brain drains!

    Man, this is a LOOONNNNNGGGGG way down the list.

  • Brandon Marshall says:
    “I hate Denver. I hope to get traded. I hate this city,” an officer quoted Marshall as saying in the police report.
    Did he call the cop sugar t!tts?

  • Jhill..

    LOL, yeah, I think would feel safer in OJs company than freako… not that im a child or anything but i have a childlike mind, but I KNOW i never effed OJs wife, so I go with OJ…

    that said, MJ made tons of great tunes, but OJ was a football player, so again OJ is the winner of those two in my book =)

  • # RaiderTW Says:
    July 2nd, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    Brandon Marshall says:
    “I hate Denver. I hope to get traded. I hate this city,” an officer quoted Marshall as saying in the police report.
    Did he call the cop sugar t!tts?

    thats not nearly as worse as our Khalif Barnes calling all cops in jacksonville K-K-Ks…

  • SaintKaufman

    Some choice there LMN. Crazy or crazier!!

  • La Milicia Negra Says:
    July 2nd, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    LOL, yeah, I think would feel safer in OJs company than freako… not that im a child or anything but i have a childlike mind


    Strange outlook from a Euro, considering man-boy love is legal in the EU…

  • BSJ…

    are you stupid? or just dense??

  • BSJ…

    should i start calling you a dollar? i can see the logic since a dollar isnt worth shyt…

  • Vegas

    I will stipulate that the City of Oakland in poorly run. But, if Al Davis would have over the years, got out into the community, shook some hands, pressed the flesh, he’s such an Icon, his relations with the City and his interests would have been much better served.

    The Fact is Al Davis can’t get along with anyone. Not his early partners, not his partners in the NFL, Not Oakland, Not Los Angeles, Not Hollywood Park, Not Irwindale.

    Now, instead of whining conspiracy, one might be open-minded enough to ask oneself, maybe I’m approaching this wrong?

  • But we’ve all seen over the years his endless counter-productive Vendettas.

  • LMN, what famous person called a cop sugar t!tts?
    Khalif was probably right, it was in florida right?

  • speaking of MJ….


    LOL, freaking funny =)

  • TW…

    oh lol year, good melly is one huge psych0, I think its great he is such a good catho1ic, he claims he is, and still gets divorced, ohh and adultery… LOL what a pathetic old man…

    I love Kiefer Sutherland, he truly is a hero of mine, I always wanted to get into a fight with a christmas-tree, but i never dared to, they are some feisty spruces… LOL

  • ….. oh lol yeah…not year…. =)

  • La Milicia Negra Says:
    July 2nd, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    are you stupid? or just dense??


    Are they mutually exclusive?

  • Just got done reading those Lou Gehrig letters ESPN obtained…wow, sad stuff.

  • I am outta here…have a nice 4th of July!

  • rodsdays
  • RaiderRockstar

    you guys all have a great/safe weekend and 4th of July!

  • Jerry Mac…

    W-hiskey T-ango F-oxtrot??

    How about a new FIX!

    Have a GREAT 4th. everybody.

    I managed to score some m-80’s, so all will be good here. BBQ ribs, and ka- BOOM on the 4th.

    Happy birthday Al.

  • lifetimeraider

    hey fellow fans. the question to me is to either be ready to prepare for another bad season or are we just going to win baby. i do not understand all the talk about mr russell. the guy has not shown anything in two years. go garcia!!!!!!
    i hear people say he had a good last game, yeah right we ran for over 200 yrds. that is what im looking forward to seeing this year is the three headed monster coming from the backfield. we keep thinking were going to get the great raider passing game back but right now i want to see the run game explode.
    whats everyone think?