By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Sunday, July 19th, 2009 at 9:25 am in Oakland Raiders.
A few Sunday morning notes:
– From the Twitter account of Nate Haber, agent for Raiders rookie sixth-round draft pick Brandon Myers: “Long day ahead… TE Brandon Myers will sign his contract today in Oakland. He was a non-combine invite out of Iowa, drafted in round 6.”
Will the Raiders announce any signings, or just wait until they all show up at camp? Doesn’t matter much either way, their track record of getting players in on time (other than one notable exception) is pretty good . . .
I hesitate to call Myers’ the Raiders first signing, because they could have signed everyone but Darrius Heyward-Bey by now and simply chose not to say anything about it . . .
– ESPN’s Len Pasquarelli warns not to be surprised if the Raiders still deal defensive end Derrick Burgess to New England.
Be very surprised, however, if it’s a dump job (fourth-round pick or later), because Al Davis still regrets the Randy Moss deal. Moss’ name is probably somewhere prominent in the thousands of pages of legal notes compiled in the Lane Kiffin file.
– If the Raiders do trade Burgess, do they try and sign Stryker Sulak? Teams dump undrafted free agents all the time and bring them back. From a business sense, the Raiders would pay little or no signing bonus instead of the $80,000 or so they were facing.
Of course, if there’s another offer out there, Sulak is going to take it after being placed on the waiver wire without any notice from the Raiders.
– Was asked whether Ray Guy, Ken Stabler or Cliff Branch would make it to the Hall of Fame and if all three players would eventually make it to Canton for a Page 2 feature.
“The best chance of the three probably belongs to Ray Guy, and even then it would probably be with the veteran’s committee deciding to let in the sport’s all-time best punter. Stabler’s problem is that he had several mediocre years and a short time as a premier quarterback. Branch’s numbers have been devalued by the inflated numbers of today’s wide receivers because of strict rules regarding pass defense.”
Before I get buried for Raider hating, keep the question in mind. I wasn’t asked if I thought they should be in the Hall of Fame, I was asked if they would eventually make the Hall of Fame. Two very different things.
Whether old-guard football-types like it or not, a punter is part of a football team and the best one ever should be in the Hall of Fame. At some point, I think this will be realized _ hopefully while Guy is still alive _ and he’ll make his way to Canton.
Branch was a more productive player than Lynn Swann in every area except Super Bowl highlights (although Branch had some Super Bowl moments of his own). He should be in, as well, certainly before Tim Brown, for example.
Don’t see it happening, however, with the flood of receivers with bigger stats that don’t mean nearly as much.
I think of Stabler at his peak and my knee-jerk reaction is that he was a Hall of Fame quarterback, one of the best that ever played. But Stabler’s peak also coincided with the time I was a fan, not part of the media, and was skewed by the fact that I was sitting in the Coliseum in some of his greatest moments and had a rooting interest.
A lot of people revel in Stabler’s days as a hard-partying quarterback who led comebacks while hung over, and it does make for a great story. But it also made him old before his time, and the way he played in later years with the Oilers and Saints are part of his overall legacy.
As the biased guy who sat in the stands and watched Stabler play as a Raider, I think, yes, he’s a Hall of Famer. But as a detached sports writer, I can see the other side.
Besides, Davis is pushing harder for Jim Plunkett, anyway.
Which is another issue entirely.