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Position group analysis: Defensive backs

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Thursday, March 4th, 2010 at 12:14 pm in Oakland Raiders.

Eighth in a series analyzing Raiders position groups as free agency begins (on the West Coast, anyway) tonight at 9 p.m.

Starters: CB Nnamdi Asomugha, CB Chris Johnson, SS Tyvon Branch, FS Michael Huff. Backups: CB Stanford Routt, S Mike Mitchell, S Hiram Eugene, CB Jonathan Holland, S Jerome Boyd.

Review: The Raiders were eighth in passing yardage surrendered, but part of that was because opponents were busy attacking the 29th-ranked run defense. Opposing passers compiled an 89.5 passer rating and the Raiders intercepted only eight passes. Huff had the best season of his career, Asomugha was avoided as much as possible and Johnson held up about as well as could be expected considering Asomugha was on the opposite side.

Branch, in his second year out of Connecticut, was second to Kirk Morrison in tackles with 124 _ more than any safety in the league. Depth was a problem. Routt had no interceptions, Eugene was overtaken by Huff and Holland and Boyd are projects changing positions, Holland from wide receiver, Boyd from college linebackers.

Contract status: Routt was issued the NFL’s most eye-opening tender, a first- and third-round designation that brings with it a salary of more than $3.2 million. Eugene received a second-round tender, his agent confirms. Everyone else is under contract.

What’s next: Do the Raiders have something up their sleeve with either Asomugha or Johnson in terms of a trade? Or is the mind-blowing tender to Routt simply another example of Davis seeing far more in a physical package than has manifested itself on the football field? It’s true Asomugha had a few rough years before he blossomed, but Routt has given little or no indication he is capable of doing the same.

Huff is due a $5.75 million salary that puts him with the elite at his position, and although he played much better, it’s a stretch to consider him Pro Bowl material. But at the NFL scouting combine, Cable went out of his way to say Huff had “arrived,” making it sound as if his salary is not an issue. It’s a big year for Mitchell, who showed promise toward the end of last season although Cable’s combine assertion that the second-round pick was “sensational” was a bit over the top.

It will be interesting to see what Mitchell can do if he keeps his hamstrings loose, gets in the kind of shape he wants and hits the ground running and hitting in July. Branch had some issues with angles and missed a tackle or three, but made more than his share and is the best looking young safety the Raiders have had in years _ very good for a second-year player they got in the fourth round.

Holland was on the roster primarily to return kickoffs, and the Raiders will look to replace him that area. That means he’ll have to make great strides as a defensive back to stick. Boyd will have had a full professional year under his belt as a safety, but the Raiders are more crowded at that position than they’ve ever been assuming Huff, Branch, Mitchell and Eugene are all still around.

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  • 24

    RaiderRockstar – After watching the QB play of the Raiders over the last few years. I’m willing to do whatever is necessary to ensure we have a quality starting QB next year.

    Sign Carr, trade for Bulger, give a 5th for Smith. I don’t freakin care anymore. Bring in a 50 year old Favre. Just Win Baby!

  • http://sportmag.us/images/Lester_Hayes_November_1981.jpg RaiderDogg

    MR

    Have you read this yet?

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ynews/ynews_ts1217

  • RaiderRockstar

    The Jets just cut Lito Sheppard. Resciend the tender on Routt and go sign Sheppard as our nickelback. Hes only 28.

    ***

    Yes! former 1st rounder & 2-time Pro Bowler

    problem is he was traded to the Jets from Philly. this is his first time hitting the market and he probably wants to cash in. instantly becomes one of the Top 3 CB’s in free agency

  • 24

    This was the year I gave up on Madden football. Its just not worth it anymore. I’ve been enjoying playing NHL 09 lately.

  • mcskinnnylegs

    dont you ever disrespect madden the video game lol whats wrong with you

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    Madden video game got better and better and better, graphics wise, play wise, everything, until the exclusivity was signed with the NFL and EA Sports. Since then, they’ve cut corners. Where are their consumers going to go? They know Madden gamers are addicts and need a new, updated game every year. This year, everything was worse, except they added “gang tackling”. Oooh. I’ll take last year’s version and their one on one tackling. It’s a much better game.

  • mcskinnnylegs

    you know what i dont like about madden 10 is they made the stats way 2 realistic and i cant win a damn game with the raiders

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    No doubt regarding the GOP, Dogg. They’ve never won an election without scaring people. Why give up on that method?

  • http://sportmag.us/images/Lester_Hayes_November_1981.jpg RaiderDogg

    MR

    Did you see those pictures depicting Obama as Heath Ledger’s Joker from Dark Knight and Harry Reid as Scooby Doo? Are these people in high school? Fukking ridiculous…

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    It’s not that the Raiders suck on there that’s unrealistic, I mean, that’s quite real. The problem is that they make the Colts and Patriots so much better than what they are. Their receivers catch everything that comes near them, even on the higher two levels. An inexperienced player can take the Colts or Patriots to the Super Bowl on the all pro level on their first run. Their exaggeration of how good the good teams are takes the challenge away from players using those teams.

  • RaiderRockstar

    LOL @ McSkinny. so in Madden 10 Russell can throw a football through the goal posts from his own 30 yard line, but can’t properly execute a screen pass or corner route? wow.

    does he even throw the ball at his targets feet?

  • 24

    Antwan Randle El got released. Sign that dude so he can return punts for us.

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    Making every team as realistic as they made the Raiders would be a good place to start, to make the game better. The Raiders are pretty real. No blocking. Receivers can’t catch balls when they’re wide open. Overthrown balls. Defensive line is useless. Linebackers can’t play the run, can only get occasional picks.

  • LA to TheBay

    “Madden video game got better and better and better, graphics wise, play wise, everything, until the exclusivity was signed with the NFL and EA Sports. Since then, they’ve cut corners. Where are their consumers going to go? They know Madden gamers are addicts and need a new, updated game every year. This year, everything was worse, except they added “gang tackling”. Oooh. I’ll take last year’s version and their one on one tackling. It’s a much better game.”

    Cut major corners.

    Sure, it looks good — but as long as the demand is so high for the game, they can continue to put out an inferior product.

    The draft is absolutely marvelous though. I find gems in every round.

  • 24

    I’ll tell you what…Jamarcus is most accurate when throwing out of bounds. Its a guarentee he’ll actually hit somebody.

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    McFadden gets injured just about every time he’s tackled…

  • mcskinnnylegs

    rr dude i refuse to play with russell hes by far and away the worst qb in the game i start big grads. accuracy is much better.o and mr tottally agree

  • 24

    Randle El had 50 catches for 530 yards.

    So…he had better stats than our WR’s and he can return punts. Sign him ASAP!

  • RaiderRockstar

    Jamarcus is most accurate when throwing out of bounds. Its a guarentee he’ll actually hit somebody.

    ***

    thats funny. I didn’t think he could hit the ocean, standing on the beach!

  • 24

    If you guys haven’t seen this…its a must see.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FMcdReHNOE

  • mcskinnnylegs

    tell you what though louis murphy is a beast in 10

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    Of course, put Jeff Garcia in if you haven’t updated the Raiders’ roster, and he starts hitting receivers. And funny how he gets time in the pocket, too. Like our line just gets better when Garcia is in. They need to stop trying to add their own dramatic scripts to the program, and just set every team at a certain strength and let the game be about skill. I simulated the Colts and Saints before the Super Bowl, and they brag about their simulations being realistic. Final score, Colts 72, Saints 68.

  • 24

    RaiderRockstar – Haha. The tide coming in would cause JR to duck down and avoid getting hit. I’ve never seen such a big man crumble like that. He could easily stiff arm defenders and take them down if he really wanted too. What a waste of 300 lbs.

  • mcskinnnylegs

    only seymour can tackle in 10

  • RaiderRockstar

    The tide coming in would cause JR to duck down and avoid getting hit.

    ***

    24:
    JR would trip over some kelp, lose the ball and a 5 year old would grab it & run off with it!

  • mcskinnnylegs

    i cant remember what game it was but after a horrible jroc throw i saw the youngster murphy right in his face talkin smack.not good when a rookie wr is bullying your star (lol) qb.CUT RUSSELL

  • RaiderRockstar

    I’d take Antwan Randle El if the price was right …

  • Nnamdi21

    The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    March 4th, 2010 at 1:37 pm
    Madden (video game) sucks because the NFL signed an exclusive agreement with EA Sports. No competition. And, despite the far fetched raves I’ve heard from fans of the new Madden, I think it’s worse than last year. The graphics look more animated, with cheaper fonts. They’re cutting corners on their product, they’re going to charge more for it, and gamers who want a fresh new NFL game every year are stuck with it because they have no competition.

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

    THATS why monopolies are bad.

    Last NFL game that is STILL the best NFL game EVER is ESPN 2K5 with T.O. on the cover.

    Last game developed by independent code writers with out bean counters sniffing over their shoulders to cut corners.

    Perfect game especially in franchise mode.

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    “Transfer the energy, yes, no?”

  • RaiderRockstar

    i cant remember what game it was but after a horrible jroc throw i saw the youngster murphy right in his face talkin smack.not good when a rookie wr is bullying your star (lol) qb.CUT RUSSELL

    ***

    Anybody who works their tail off and prepares like a pro will get sick of seeing their “franchise” QB slack off & play poorly. Not sure how many guys like JR we’ve got on the roster. Cable said about 10 percent, but most of those guys are either gone already or will be soon. that means 90 percent of the locker room wants Bruce to start at QB imo

  • Nnamdi21

    The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    March 4th, 2010 at 1:48 pm
    McFadden gets injured just about every time he’s tackled…

    ====================
    Thats funny cuz the way he runs he launches himself off his feet on contact like he’s deathly afraid of getting his cleats hung up in the turf and getting…you guessed it, injured…

  • Nnamdi21

    AND btw EA sports?

    Ufk built in terminality.

    Thats the same philosophy that helped sink the American car market.

    Sick of crap thats built to break in a year or two so we’re “forced” to go back to Commie Wal mart.

  • Nnamdi21

    I still got Russell’s back. We’ll see how OTA’s go and mini’s.

    I’d just hate for enemies to have “worst draft bust ever” to hang over our heads plus, if he lives up to potential, the guy could be great.

  • 24

    Jamal Williams officially got released right now and so did Philip Buchanon. Uh oh!

  • Tino

    I would definatly go after jamal williams.. He still has atleast 1 or 2 years left… He is a big reason why Chargers D tanks when he is out.. He is a force..It wouldn’t be the first time we took one of there DT (parrella)..any ways that would

  • RaiderRockstar

    Jamal Williams officially got released right now and so did Philip Buchanon. Uh oh!

    ***

    “Phillip giveth and Phillip taketh away”

    who said that?

    and don’t google it!

  • 24

    Its really hard to keep track of all the guys available but there is some talent out there right now.

    Trade a 3rd round for Boldin. Trade a 5th round for Troy Smith. Sign Antwan Randle El for WR/PR/KR. Sign Jamal Williams and Lito Sheppard. Come on Al…make me your GM. I know how to spend your money.

  • 24

    RaideRockstar – Tim Brown.

  • 24

    I think I’d rather have Philip Buchanon over Stanford Routt. At least Buchanon can return punts.

  • Pretty Rick

    So Hiram Eugene gets a 2nd rnd tender. So the Raiders must think he’s more valuable than Kirk Morrison,,,hmm,,I guess that play when Willis McGahee threw Eugene to the ground like a Lil’ hoe on his way for an 80something yrd TD run never happened. Im quite confused why the bench warmers are being valued higher than the starters. I dont get it. Hiram Eugene ladies & gentlemen.

  • RaiderRockstar

    very good 24! haha

    I’d steer clear of P-Buck and Ray Buchanon too!!

  • http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/antisocial-personality-disorder/DS00829 KoolKell

    Damn, I just saw that McGahee/Eugene play the other day. How embarrassing, that was brutal.

    2nd Tender????????

  • 24

    To hell with it…Sign Peppers too. Release Kelly.

    LDE – Shaughnessy/Ellis
    LDT – Richard Seymour
    RDT – Jamal Williams
    RDE – Julius Peppers

    COME ON!

  • The Big Banana

    I can break tackles with DMC in Madden 10. I’d say that’s pretty unrealistic. And they have Russell rated way too high.

    Trading can be unrealistic too. I get some pretty decent draft picks for some pretty sh1tty players like Terdell Sands, Holland, and Alston.

  • 24

    Did Karlos Dansby get signed? I don’t remember.

  • RaiderRockstar

    RB Michael Bennett
    S Antrel Rolle
    TE Chris Baker

    goners …

    Vrabel gets an extension in KC

  • RaiderRockstar

    Did Karlos Dansby get signed?

    ***

    24: not yet, but it won’t be long

    Miami said they start the bidding at 30 mil guaranteed

  • 24

    I always trade my 1st round picks for proven players in Madden and I stock my roster will Pro Bowl players. Then I sign all the best free agents with 7 year contracts and when their contracts get to 5 years remaining, I re-sign them to 7 years again and keep them playing on the 1st year of their contracts which is the lowest number. I’m a freakin guru.

  • RaiderRockstar

    *Here at UFC gym, watching Raiders LB Thomas Howard celebrate restricted FA with a devastating workout.

    *Man, I need to get in shape. Tired just watching him.

    *Part of workout: lift 70 lb body bag over shoulder, slam to the ground 40 times. Maybe they should dress it in a Chargers uniform.

    -David White (twitter)

  • 24

    I manage the salary cap and ensure that when I re-sign a player, I’m lowering the salary cap otherwise if re-signing them makes the salary cap higher, I will wait till the next year to do so. By years 7-10 in Franchise mode, you will see your team STACKED.