465

Raiders bring `haters’ to their knees

A funny thing happened on the way to another weekend of national scorn and ridicule.

The Raiders dominated the NFL draft.

OK, “dominate” is probably too strong, because no one really knows how a draft class is going to be for a few years down the road. But considering the abuse they’ve taken over the past few years, much of it justified, most who watched as a fan or critic were of the opinion the Raiders had three good days.

Three very good days.

Tom Cable’s talk about “championships” remains a reach, but at least it’s not ludicrous any more.

The fact is, if Rolando McClain is a middle linebacker who even approaches the level of a rookie Ray Lewis or Patrick Willis, if Lemarr Houston can provide a stout end to turn runners inside, if Jared Veldheer or Bruce Campbell can add something to the offensive line, and most importantly, if Jason Campbell elevates the art of quarterback all the way to above average, the Raiders have the look of a .500 team.

And once you’re a .500 team, you’re only a break or two away from 10 wins.

People rolled their eyes at the Raiders on Wednesday. By Saturday, they were something to be taken seriously.

Seldom was heard a discourging word from the endless procession of talking heads on ESPN and the NFL Network, many of them prefacing their comments with a qualifier such as, “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but . . . ”

Since he took over has head coach, Cable has wanted to get rid of negativity. He’s talked about in press conferences. He’s talked to reporters informally about it, wondering why doom and gloom is so prevalent. My response has been it’s a reflection of the won-loss record over the past seven years, and that it wasn’t going to go away until the Raiders changed things on the field.

Well, the Raiders, for the time being, did what I didn’t think was possible. They cast themselves in a positive light with what appears to be sound and decisive personnel moves.

In the cocoon of the Raiders draft room, Cable isn’t yet fully cognizant the negativity has ground to a halt.

“For awhile I’ve said at some point things will start to change,” Cable said. “If that’s the feeling out there it would be second to the feeling in that draft room.”

A skeptic can still find fault.

What if McClain isn’t any better than Derrick Johnson, the linebacker the Chiefs thought would change their defense in 2005?

Or that Houston is one of those Texas players who doesn’t take the next step in the NFL.

If Veldheer can’t make the gigantic leap from Hillsdale to the AFC West, and Bruce Campbell is one of those “looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane” types, then Jason Campbell will find himself taking a beating, the passing game will falter, and, well, you know the rest.

But the bad vibes are for another time.

Oakland has made a run at shoring up problem areas, and instead of reaching for “numbers” players like kick returner Jacoby Ford and Bruce Campbell too high, the Raiders took their shot in reasonable rounds. Veteran linebacker Kamerion Wimbley cost a third-round pick and Quintin Groves a fifth, both reasonable moves for talented players at not much cost.

Topping it all off, Jason Campbell, while not an elite NFL quarterback, was a 64.5 percent passer for a struggling Washington team and although he had 15 interceptions last year, has been pretty good at avoiding turnovers.

His arrival means Al Davis has taken a realistic view of JaMarcus Russell, which in turn will boost the spirits of the fan base. Campbell is scheduled to make $3.1 million this year on the tender he signed in Washington, and was extended for another $4.5 million next year. He’s not here to sit.

Campbell is far better idea than either an aging Donovan McNabb or the toxic Ben Roethlisberger, and it came at almost zero cost _ a fourth-round draft pick two years from now.

All the rumors about fire sales and the perception of a a franchise hopelessly adrift, and Davis did more good things in a short period than at any time in recent memory.

It wasn’t perfect, because it never is.

“You can always do better. I’m sure after we have some time reflect on it, we’ll look at it and say, `Man, I wish we could’ve done this or that,” Cable said. “But shoot, man. That’s a heck of a draft for the Raiders. It really is, and you can put some check marks to some very important issues on this football team.”

  • Share/Bookmark

Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • SteveAlford21

    GG,

    I’m getting the player’s jersey that I always get… MINE.

    I get the Authentic (Game Jersey) with my name and a new number. I have a home 29 (my number), a home 21 (in honor of Cliff, Nnamdi), and an away 24 (in honor of Willie, Woodson, others).

    The Randy Moss trade is what finally broke me. I had two authentic Mosses (home, away), and the EQT storm jersey (silver). I had just gotten the storm jersey about two months before the trade and was furious that I had wasted all that money on those jerseys that were now useless… so I decided that I was going to get the expensive ones with MY name on them… because they’d never become useless… I’ll always be a Raider. This year, I might get a new number or maybe just a different color of a number that I already have. Either way, it’s a great day in the Raider Nation, baby.

  • Chris in NY

    Guy Says:
    April 24th, 2010 at 7:57 pm
    walter McFadden may actually have an impact on defense. He is a physical tackler and a man coverage guy with good speed.

    ——————–

    And he’s considered best at Nickel corner lining up against slot WRs and covering those quick short to intermediate routes. Plus he’s a major ballhawk. Fills our biggest niche need by far in the secondary.

  • Chris in NY

    On a side note: Really impressed with what the 49ers have done. Davis, Iupati, Mays, Blount as a UFA. Already had a good defense. That team is going to put a hurtin’ on some people. Who would’ve guessed that San Fran would turn into a smashmouth franchise in the mold of the Bears or Giants.

  • RaiderRetribution

    Our WR corp is

    Mr. DHB,
    Mr. Murphy,
    Mr. Schilens.

    w/ Mr. Higgins, Mr. Holland, Mr. Watkins, Mr. Miller, Mr. Figurs, Mr. Bodiford, and the rookie, Mr. Ford-
    only two-three of these will make the roster at most (with Jacoby being one of them) the other for special teams coverage.

    We do need a veteran WR, we should make an offer to Lance Moore, force the Saint’s hand, this would give us the slot receiver we need, if they didn’t match our offer.

  • Raiders4eve

    Cable said that we got Gallery thats why the team is not going after Feneca. Are you serious???

    Alan Feneca is a pro bowler and has been healthy.

    Move Gallery to the RG and you got yourself a solid line.

    Cable also said that there is going to be new FB from the once that went undrafted. I guess O’neal is not ready yet…

  • Raiders4eve

    Is Mcfadden DMAC brother????

  • Guy

    Isn’t Murphy our slot receiver Retribution?

  • Chris in NY

    UFAs:

    - Lonyae Miller, RB, Fresno State is a must-sign.
    - Tony Washington, the o-line kid from Abilene Christian is a must-sign.
    - Seyi Ajirotutu, WR, Fresno State is definitely worth a look.
    - Travis Ivey, DT, Maryland is a 340 pound whale who’d be worth a look.

  • http://www.wix.com/GGEden/ggeden GG

    SteveAlford…

    Interesting that you do that. I havent done that yet, me as a Raider. I often believe getting a legendary player jersey always lasts forever. Plunkett, Stabler, Branch, Long, etc. I’ve gone thru soooooooo many new ones where they end up bad players or cut or traded to other teams and i have to sell them on ebay. I got rid of about 12 jerseys the last couple years.

    i only have a randy moss black left. but this draft class for a change was exciting and there’s a few fan favorites in there. Murphy, Z.Miller, M.Mitchell, T.Branch, Shaughnessy, maybe even DHB. Thinking about Lechler, and never got an Asomugha one.

  • RaiderRetribution

    Our DB corp is so deep!

    Mr. Nnamdi Asomugha is here, as no other team will be willing to pay QB money to one of the best cornerbacks (arguably the best) in the NFL.

    Mr. Mitchell has a year of experience under his belt and was stout in goal line stances (he was instrumental in the goal-line stops we had), Mr. Huff finally began to earn his value as a first round pick, Mr. Eugene & Mr. Branch were solid when healthy, Mr. Routt showed promise and gave us more reason to buy a shot than our ex-girlfriends (he will need to be more consistent) as does Mr. Johnson, hopefully the payday honeymoon is over for him and he goes back to his 2008 pro-bowl caliber performance, as they and Mr. Boyd will be competing with the rookie Mr. McFadden, Mr. Ware, & Mr. Brown for a roster spot and/or a starting position.

    With our scoring offense improving as well as our run defense improving the DBs will need to focus on coverage more than they have in years.

  • SteveAlford21

    Well, if I hadn’t played semi-pro, I probably wouldn’t be so keen on having jersey’s with my name on it… and it’s really kind of bitter-sweet… because I ended up quitting before my knee was completely destroyed. Having Raiders authentic game jerseys with my name on them makes me smile when I see them, but then kind of bums me out a bit over missed opportunities. I never should have joined the Army just because I didn’t get any scholarship offers (non-academic) to D1 schools… should’ve taken the academic ride to Kentucky and tried to walk on… they sucked badly enough at the time that I probably could have, given that I wasn’t half bad… but instead I went into the Army and messed my knee up walkin out of perfectly good airplanes and when I got out and made a semi-pro team, I found out after half a season that my knee just couldn’t take it if I pursued any further. *sigh* It sucks when dreams die…

  • http://www.wix.com/GGEden/ggeden GG

    As for this draft, the job isn’t done yet, so i hope the Raiduhs arent celebrating and slacking off from hammering the phones today and all week gathering up a bunch more UDFA’s at OL, DT, QB, RB.

  • SteveAlford21

    But I was a damned good press corner/spy LB if I do say so myself. At 5’10″ 185, this white boy could fly… had the hands to go in the slot when we spread the offense, but the DC didn’t like seeing me risk injury on the other side of the line, so I wasn’t used offensively very much.

  • http://www.wix.com/GGEden/ggeden GG

    SteveAlford…

    That’s the incredible world of football. Millions of guys like you with similar stories. For every guy who gets drafted, there’s a billion who just never made it due to especially injury. A lot of those were absolute superstars in high-school too, guys destined for greatness if it wasnt for a bad injury or series of them. But i hope you learn that regret shouldnt be on your shoulder rest of your life. More to life than being a pro-football star. Plus, you served our nation proud and that’s even more special than being a super-star football player 100/100 times.

  • Chris in NY

    Was last year’s draft really that bad?

    I’m still a Mike Mitchell believer. He couldn’t get on the field because Branch and Huff were playing very well. Shaughnessy and Murphy looked like steals. Brandon Myers was a solid pick in Round 6. Can’t write off Slade Norris, he could surprise. DHB’s the glaring pick but his story is far from over. Then Nick Miller, Desmond Bryant, David Nixon and Jerome Boyd — all UFAs — find spots on the roster.

    Last year was better than people think.

  • SteveAlford21

    Damn it, GG… now I’m all nostalgic and sad…

  • darkhorse

    prolly a cousin

  • RaiderRetribution

    Guy, Murphy was the only one that was deep it seemed he was our wideout.

    Both he and Chaz play the same position(as Mr. Heyward-Bey is to be our deep threat), but all three are those big body WRs, we need that dart that gets the ball on a 5-10 yard slant like Moore, as the Hall Of Fame, #25 was, going old-school on you, plus you know Al likes those current Super Bowl champion veterans free agents.

  • Chris in NY

    Ciron Black and Brandon Carter still available? Add them to the list of must-sign UFAs. Along with a FB.

  • Chris in NY

    RaiderRetribution Says:
    April 24th, 2010 at 9:29 pm
    Guy, Murphy was the only one that was deep it seemed he was our wideout.

    Both he and Chaz play the same position(as Mr. Heyward-Bey is to be our deep threat), but all three are those big body WRs, we need that dart that gets the ball on a 5-10 yard slant like Moore, as the Hall Of Fame, #25 was, going old-school on you, plus you know Al likes those current Super Bowl champion veterans free agents.

    ———————–

    Jacoby Ford was signed to be that guy and Nick Miller deserves a chance and will get that chance to crack the roster again.

  • SteveAlford21

    GG,

    I didn’t serve our country… I served the interests of wealthy men and the politicians whose favor they own. Fighting for your country and freedom and liberty are just the sales slogans that they use to convince the children of the middle and lower classes to go die so that they can make more money.

    I love the idea of our country and the principles upon which it was founded… but I do not love what it has become. I was young and naive and now I am permanently injured for nothing more than to make the wealthy even wealthier. ALL wars are about making money… and if I had known that when I was 18, I might be playing ball to this very day instead of suffering for a blind patriotism bill of sale.

  • RaiderRetribution

    Chris, I agree last years draft was a solid one.

    as for DHB, you are correct his career is far from over, in fact I know he will catch at least 50 passes and score 5 TDs minimum, especially with a year under his belt, he will not have the weight of carrying the scoring offense on his shoulders, while all the other WRs across the league will go thru their sophmore slump, DHB will shine!

  • Guy

    We got some fullback tonga. Not sure if this is official
    http://www.silverandblackpride.com/

  • snnyjcbs

    Do you really think the Raiders or any real Raider Fan gives two @#$%^ what you or any other flunky talking head says regarding the Draft.

    Any fool that talks up or talks doown a Draft before 2 to 3 years from the date of the Draft no nothing about what they are talking about anyway and most are working TV and not in the NFL for a reason.

    As far as 8-8, if the Raiders would have started last season with a QB and having a very strong schedule would have went 8-8. As for Campbell he had a higher completion percentage, threw for more yards and only 2 less TD’s than McNabb did last year and that was while playing behind a garbage O line and with second rung receivers and over the hill RB. While McNabb had a good O line and top receivers.

    I doubt that Al Davis is sitting up nights knowing you or any other clown that knows about as much about football as I do Brain Surgery likes the Draft they put togeter. I love the Haters being Haters so do not stop now my friend.

  • Chris in NY

    Just found a Patriots draft site that has all the reported UFA signings so far. Here’s what they have for the Raiders:

    Raiders
    Trent Guy, WR, Louisville
    Manase Tonga, FB, BYU
    Brashton Satele, LB, Hawaii
    Alex Daniels, DE, Cinci
    Alex Parsons, RG, USC
    Andre Anderson, RB, Tulane

  • http://www.wix.com/GGEden/ggeden GG

    SteveAlford…

    I hear you about the cynical/realistic pov about serving the wealthy and politicians. But it’s not all that either. That, plus your nostalgic sadness, you seem to have a depressing side to you, you can fall into it from reflecting and self-analyzing/comparing too much. You gotta try to live for the day more. I know it sounds corny, but it’s true, just wake up each day grateful and SEEING/understanding that every day brings a NEW EXPERIENCE and opportunities. Dont look back, not with regret anyway, and never for too long—either admiring the past or regretting it. Try to give yourself NEW things to be happy about every new day, so you build NEW memories that validate a higher self-esteem or sense of pride in yourself.

  • http://www.wix.com/GGEden/ggeden GG

    As for DHB…

    I didnt like the pick, but I am far more optimistic about him than McFadden and Russell. DHB works hard, is a good kid, and can very easily turn into a star with that attitude and work ethic. It’s very common for receivers to need 2-3 years to “get it” seeing as WRs have to learn so much, like QBs.

  • Guy

    Chris what is the website?

  • Chris in NY

    So much for my UFA wish list:

    Lonyae Miller: Cowboys
    Seyi Ajirotutu: Chargers
    Tony Washington: Still available
    Travis Ivey: Dolphins
    Brandon Carter: Saints
    Ciron Black: Still available

    Here’s the link to that site: http://www.nepatriotsdraft.com/p/2010-nfl-undrafted-free-agents.html

  • SteveAlford21

    GG,

    I hate that I’ve cast that kind of impression of myself tonight. I’m as happy-go-lucky as one can get most of the time and I have a lot of pride and happiness about my past and my life in the present. I guess the mood I was in from reflecting on my injury just had me in a frame of mind to be bluntly negative about the naivety of the idea of “serving your country” as it’s perpetuated from the government to the poor. I just refuse to sugarcoat things or look for silver linings, though. I will call a spade a spade and will make no bones about it. In my experience, it makes the good things in life a million times better, because there can be no doubt about their authenticity.

  • Guy

    Dang Al took too long. Could still use Black and Washington. Jay Ross and Charles Alexander (strong DTs) are gone. Can dez be a NT?

  • Zymurge

    The most positive Raiders draft in recent memory concludes today followed by the Sharks shaking the monkey off their back with a 6 game round one knockout of the up and coming Avs. What a great day for the two best sports franchises in my world!

    That, and my son scored 11 goals in two of the first three games of his hockey tournament in Fremont today. [he played goalie in the other and only gave up one goal]. Oh yeah, a good day all around!

  • Guy

    Are there any big DTs left?

  • http://www.wix.com/GGEden/ggeden GG

    Alford…

    Sorry, didnt mean to typecast you either. It’s all good now. Seriously, I hear you about the “serving the country” part. I DO have a dual outlook on that—i agree but also see the other side of it, because it’s there too.

    Shame about your pro-football dreams dashed. But at least you got semi-pro, you lived a dream still.

  • Chris in NY

    If you’re looking for a particular player, copy and paste the list into Word. Click at the top and hit CTRL and the F key to search the list for a name or school or whatever.

  • Guy

    Do you know of any available big defensive tackles? and Dez play NT if he puts on some weight?

  • http://www.wix.com/GGEden/ggeden GG

    WTF, Ciron Black still available and Cable hasnt jumped all over it. More work required to rustle up UDFAs.

    Has anyone signed Jarrett Brown?

  • Guy

    Ya the dam niners stole him. Jay ross is gone too. Perriloux (sp?) is gone.

  • Guy

    Yay we take a pass rushing DE over a DT.

  • Guy

    http://walterfootball.com/draft2010NT.php
    Do you guys know anyone from here?

  • Guy

    The only NT available from this list is Trey Bryant, the lowest rated guy.

  • http://www.wix.com/GGEden/ggeden GG

    So this is who we signed today…

    Raiders
    Trent Guy, WR, Louisville
    Manase Tonga, FB, BYU
    Brashton Satele, LB, Hawaii
    Alex Daniels, DE, Cinci
    Alex Parsons, RG, USC
    Andre Anderson, RB, Tulane

  • Kirk

    We are a VERY different team than we were three days ago. Here are the reasons we will be much better next year…

    Campbell is better than Russell
    Bush is better than Fargas
    McClain is better than Morrison
    Houston is better than Warren
    Ford is better than ?
    Veldheer and Campbell will upgrade the O line

    So we have a better quarterback, running back, middle linebacker, D line, O line, and return game. And all these upgrades will contribute to a better attitude on the part of the entire team.

    I am really looking forward to next season!

  • aig

    Kirk,

    We have a brandnew LB Corp now. yeah a very different D and no Jawalrus to worry about. in 1 week Al has improved the team tremendously.

  • http://www.wix.com/GGEden/ggeden GG

    I guess as Jim Mora said last night, you can never get a perfect draft, and you’re always post-draft gonna find out you totally forgot about this or that player and they slipped by you, got drafted or undrafted, and you kick yourself, an on-going process thru the pre-season to keep finding players that didnt make cuts on other teams, players you kicked yourself over before but fate brought them back to you fortunately, etc.

    I guess as long as we end up a 10 win team, and in the playoffs, that’s all that matters, and we still have to pump a fist that we finally had a great draft which makes up for a lot of mistakes in recent years.

  • http://www.wix.com/GGEden/ggeden GG

    Also look at how huge the J.Campbell signing was. There was a HUGE pall hanging over RaiderNation, the coaches, and Al, with JaKnucklehead bringing the whole franchise down and making a mockery of it and our tradition. This huge dead weight lifted collectively, the minute J.Campbell became a Raider. A NEW era beckoning. The whole mood of this place lifted not letting the door hit Russell on his way out. Like a bad stink gone.

  • Chris in NY

    CBSsports has the best breakdowns on prospects in my opinion. Looking over these UFAs now.

    - Manase Tonga, FB, BYU: Someone I was familiar with. More of an athletic, run/catch FB than a punishing lead blocker.

    - Alex Parsons, G, USC was a projected 7th rounder. Among the info is that he can play anywhere on the o-line, was a HS All-American and at 6-4, 310 ran a 4.9 at USC’s pro day.

    - Trent Guy, WR, Louisville sounds like a smallish return guy (5-8, 170) with 4.5 speed. Second team All Big East kick returner in 2008. Probably a poor man’s Jacoby Ford.

    - Brashton Satele, LB, Hawaii is an ILB prospect who missed all of 2009 due to injury. 6-1, 240 with 4.65 speed. Also found this quote on the site: Head coach Greg McMackin is hoping Brashton Satele can help fill the void. Satele missed all of the 2009 season with a shoulder injury. He has applied for a medical redshirt that would allow him to play again in 2010, but Satele redshirted in 2005 and there are no guarantees he will be granted a 6th year of eligibility. “I’m really anxious to find out from the NCAA if Brashton can come back. If he comes back, we’re sitting good at linebacker. He’s an outstanding middle linebacker. He’s a leader. He bring it all to the table,” McMackin said. McMackin told Hawaii News Now he does not know when the NCAA will rule on Satele’s appeal.

    - Alex Daniels, DE, Cincinnati is 6-2, 265 and ran a 4.7 with 31 bench reps at his Pro Day. Had transferred from Minnesota to Cincinnati. Fairly highly touted coming out of high school. No info on his 2009 season.

    - Andre Anderson, RB, Tulane was Honorable Mention All Conference USA two straight seasons. Here’s the scouting overview from CBS — Seven games into the 2008 season, Anderson looked to be on his way up draft boards. After two seasons playing behind Matt Forte (his teammates called him “Little Matt” at 2008 spring practices), he was among the nation’s leaders in rushing, averaging 123.4 yards per game. But a fractured and dislocated right shoulder suffered against Rice ended his season prematurely. Tulane’s offensive attack struggled to score in 2009 (16.1 points per game), but Anderson still managed to rush for 1,016 yards and eight touchdowns coming off the injury. He has also caught 55 passes over the past two seasons, both of which ended with him receiving honorable-mention All-Conference USA honors. A classic slasher who doesn’t fit into the pure speed or power back molds, Anderson is just a solid runner with a nice lean and who gives good effort on every play and has better speed than most realize. A team looking for a one-cut back in the middle-to-late rounds may focus on him.

  • aig

    GG Says:
    April 24th, 2010 at 10:05 pm
    Also look at how huge the J.Campbell signing was. There was a HUGE pall hanging over RaiderNation…
    ——————
    Very true indeed.

    hey Chris in NY, you happy with Bruce Campbell draft now? :)

  • Chris in NY

    Haynesworth for our No. 2 next year would really cap off this weekend nicely.

  • Chris in NY

    You know it Aig,

    You never know how any of these guys will pan out but to me that was probably the highlight of the weekend.