Part of the Bay Area News Group

Raiders news fit for print

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Sunday, May 2nd, 2010 at 10:25 am in Oakland Raiders.

Links to Sunday stories in today’s Bay Area News Group papers:

Beat writer Steve Corkran on how Rolando McClain has stepped right in to the job at middle linebacker.

Columnist Monte Poole on how far Darrius Heyward-Bey has come since last year, and how he still has to go.

I’ll be filing practice updates on the last minicamp practice on my Twitter page. Practice is scheduled to start at 11:15 a.m.

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  • SaintKaufman

    Our special teams should be mega improved this year as well.

    Hey Jerry, how does the Ford kid look so far??

  • http://raidersfans.net Just Win

    Jamarcus, Campbell, Boller, Michael Bush, Dmac, DHB, Murphy, Zack, THIS TEAM IS LOADED!!! RAAAAAAAAAIIIIDDDDERRRSSSS!

  • SinceFrankYouellField

    My biggest cocern for this season……

    I keep hearing everyone saying, “The NFL has become a passing league.”.

    The biggest concern for the Raiders has been “stop the run”.

    Other teams ran on the Raiders….IMO because they COULD!. Raiders gave up too quickly on their own ground game (IMO relied too heavily on the wrong RB’S), and couldn’t score in the passing game parttially because other teams were also built to defend the pass. Opponents were afforded the ability to pound our weak D-Line and light/fast and indecisive/non-aggressive LB’s.

    Now….we have bigger, stronger, more aggressive LB’s. My biggest worry is the size/aggressiveness (looking back to when we had bigger/more aggressive MLB’s) allowed other teams to take advantage of a soft short to medium defense over the middle. Just hope our safeties and nickle/dime backs can cover the slants and tight ends…….

    Your thoughts/opinions/predictions ?????

  • http://0 Bob Marley

    Richard Seymour is our premier DT.

    I would be surprised -and angry- if he does not play inside most of the time.

    I’ve been saying it for a while now, Seymour is a natural DT, he played there in college and made his first Pro Bowl with NE as a DT before they switched to the 3-4, but even as DE in the 3-4, his role was pretty much that of a DT in a 4-3.

    Here’s an article from a year ago, Seymour had not been traded to the Raiders yet.

    “Pat Kirwan: Ranking the game’s top DT’s:

    The defensive tackles in a 4-3 scheme are asked to attack gaps and be disruptive in the backfield.

    The defensive ends in a 3-4 defense, who essentially play the same role as tackles, are asked to stop the charge of 350-pound offensive tackles and make plays at the line of scrimmage.

    Of course, ranking the top tackles is problematic.

    A 4-3 penetrator such as Tommie Harris of the Bears is asked to do different things than a player such as RICHARD SEYMOUR of the Patriots — who is listed as a defensive end in a 3-4 but plays the role of a tackle.

    The same is true of a nose tackle such as San Diego’s Jamal Williams, who is asked to eat up double teams all game long.

    To rank the top six tackles is very difficult, but when looking at who are the best at what they are asked to do, while also considering the different schemes, it becomes a manageable task.

    #4. Richard Seymour, New England Patriots:

    Seymour had a down year last year as he battled injuries, but it was just two years ago he was the No. 1 defensive tackle on this list.

    He can play any defensive line spot, including a 4-3 right end or even a 3-4 nose tackle. Patriots coach Bill Belichick can scheme any way he wants with Seymour. Versatility and an all-around game are his big strengths.”

    - Seymour should handle one of the DT spots for us, he’s either too fast or too strong for most inside OL.

  • SteveAlford21

    As I looked around the tattoo shop yesterday, I tried my best to take in everything with fresh eyes… as if I were a new customer, seeing everything for the first time. There was all the typical flash (pre-made designs on the walls and in big pages); and there were strategically placed Raiders logos strewn about. There was the massive flag covering one of the storefront windows (in the back of the shop, but no other name for the type of window… unless “bay window” is accurate), there was the license plate hanging above the entryway to the tattooing studio room, and there was the Raiders helmet hanging above the back door. I asked myself what this would mean to a new customer… and couldn’t come up with anything.

    At least twice a day, I get the question: “So, you guys are Raiders fans, huh?” I usually respond with, “No, just me” and a grin. I guess I take all the credit/blame for shop Raiders fandom on myself to protect Dave from any stigma attached to the madness and futility associated with loving our team, but I can’t help but wonder if it’s also kind of selfish… as if deep down, I want to hog it all to myself so that when the day FINALLY comes when the Raiders are good again, I can have all the accolades for sticking with them through the bad to myself. Maybe I’m just ruminating on nothing and this is all a meaningless waste of time and text, but there’s a funny little introspective bug digging around in my brain wanting to know what’s up. I just thought I’d share that with y’all and see if anyone else has any similar thoughts or feelings on the matter.

  • SaintKaufman

    I got nothin Steve. I do however believe you are experiencing what is known as Lionitis. Just keep hangin in there!!

  • SinceFrankYouellField

    RE: Post #50:

    Saint, I am with you on that!

    I don’t know for a FACT that conditioning was a problem for Bush and that it is the reason our HC seemed to hold him out. I hear folks say they believe it was because Bush “took himself out of games”. I believe he wants to be the #1 RB. I also believe he worked his fanny off to come back from the broken leg. When he did come back, he was able to cut….but not as well as I saw him cut in college. IMO he took himself out because there was still some pain and he did not wish to stay in to the detriment of the team. Only the player knows when he is too sore to keep going and/or needs a blow.

    Bottom line……I hope (and believe) we will see him used more this season…AND….that he will hold up better…..AND…..if the gets 20-25 carries a game he will build momentum and be waving that “First Down!” signal in the faces of oppposing DB’S

  • SteveAlford21

    Repost regarding Richochet asking an explanation of what JaMarcus does well:

    I know that you addressed the question to the guy who called us girls, but since I criticize the lazy fatass QB a lot, I’ll field that question regarding JR’s good points (this time I will limit my responses to things that are football-related):

    He has a VERY strong arm.

    When he was a slender high schooler, he was mobile and very good at keeping plays alive with his feet, then getting the ball downfield for a big gain. Hopefully, he can get in shape and regain that ability… it would be a VERY good point. (In high school, he was only one inch shorter than he is now, so it’s not like it’s impossible for him to get skinny on his current frame, it would just take a LOT of work… but if you’ll notice his arms… they aren’t big, so his body WANTS to be slender, but he’s put a LOT of meat and fat around his middle and in his ass and thighs. He needs to get rid of all of that to add another dimension to his game… one that would be pricelessly valuable.)

    He is VERY durable… it’s hard to injure that big dude.

    His play drastically elevates under extreme game-situation pressure. (The problem is that he only feels that pressure if there is under three minutes left and we are within 7 points… AND he is coming off the bench to do it. ANY other time and he doesn’t care about anything. Another imcompletion… “Oh well, doesn’t matter… I got paid.” He has to find a way to bring that sense of urgency and importance toward his play on EVERY snap.)

    He is a FANTASTIC lead-blocker. Just check out his downfield blocking on reverse/end-around plays If he doesn’t work out at QB, we have found our bruising Fullback… or LT if he can improve his footwork… or DT if he can learn to hold onto someone else and take them with him when he falls down… but judging from his inability to hold onto a football as he falls, this might be wishful thinking.

    Although he doesn’t throw screens well… or dumpoffs… or outs… or flies… or flags… or deep posts… or swings… or spots… or out and ups… or drags…
    he DOES throw seam routes, curls/hooks, and short slants pretty well. He usually puts way too much heat on them and throws them high/behind the receivers about half the time, they are still the strength of his passing game as long as they are between 7 and 15 yard patterns.

    He sells the play-action pretty well.

    He hands off with authority and makes workable pitches.

    His shovel passes are accurate… in fact, that’s the only time he exhibits ANY touch at all and keeps the velocity below 70mph.

    He keeps his eyes downfield. (Unfortunately, he usually locks onto only one receiver and doesn’t know how to use his eyes/helmet to “look off” a DB… or only looks at a couple of options downfield… and pays no attention to ANYTHING or ANYONE in the backfield or the oncoming rush, feeling no pressure and having no pocket presence… but nevertheless, he DOES keep his focus downfield.)

    When he actually eludes the rush and decides to take off, he picks up very good yardage with his feet, even though he’s pretty damned slow.

    He’s nearly unstoppable on the QB Sneak.

    I can’t think of any more things that he does well… and that’s a pretty pathetic list… but there’s potential there… somewhere. At least he MIGHT be able to become great if he gets his mind right and gets some urgency and QUICKNESS about him. The QUICKNESS is the biggest reason that I want him to lose weight… so that he can get out from under center, finish his drop, and MAYBE elude the rush to extend the play and complete the pass or pick up some yardage with his feet.

  • SteveAlford21

    Saint,

    Isn’t that what the kid in “The Mask” had? Thanks for your support, LMFAO… ass-hole!

    Thanks for the laugh, bro.

  • SaintKaufman

    Frank,
    I think that all came from the Tampa game in ’08. Bush was killin it but on one of his last carries I saw him get up and almost fall over, stumble and grab onto to someone before he went down again. He made it over to the sideline and looked like he had just been in a car crash when Fargas went out there and got hurt(again) and McFadden was still hurt(presumably from being drafted). They were calling for Bush to come in but he you could see he was trying to figure out which class he was late for and what mom was making for breakfast. It was very obvious to me that he had been rocked but it was never really mentioned. After the game Cable said some crap like you’d expect those guys to not take themselves out of the game when they’re playing so well.
    I’ve seen him raise his hands a few times last year but it’s not like the dude is a scatback or anything. Perhaps if someone else in the backfield could stop getting hurt and would do more than just slam into the backs of the OLineman he’d be better conditioned come late in the season.

  • http://0 Bob Marley

    Mike Wauffle’s addition can’t be underestimated.

    Here are some of his concepts from a scouting form called the “Winning Edge” which they give to each of their players during game week:

    - “Breaking down the Quarterback:

    In the NFL, no other position is more important than the one calling the signals. We all know that the success of a team rises and falls on the QB – especially at that level.

    Waufle knows this, so he spends extra time preparing his defensive linemen for the type of personality they will see behind center each week.

    “The QB is the head of the snake,” says Waufle.

    “Preparing for the QB goes under coached at a lot of levels … It’s always our first priority when going into a game.”

    The first thing Waufle does is examine the depth of the QB on passes, or more specifically, his launch point.

    Unlike college, many professional QB’s are pocket types that don’t like to get out of the pocket much. But that doesn’t mean Waufle doesn’t prepare for it.

    On the “Winning Edge” form he’ll label what he calls QB escape points based on where he exits when pressure approaches. It helps players to prepare when they get him on the run and used mainly to track the angle of departure for the QB.

    “It’s important that guys know where a QB’s exit strategy is going to be. There are some guys that scramble so we try to find out where. If Michael Strahan is chasing a QB that always scrambles to his side, he’s going to get a lot of depth on his pass rush. So that when the QB starts to run, he’ll change his angle to match up his depth.

    There are great rushers that run right over the top of the QB and they run right by him because they don’t take proper angles to affect him. Osi (Umenyiora) does it because he’s extremely quick. If you’re playing a Donovan McNabb you have to control your rush and balance your rush lanes. You need to know where his escape area is either inside or outside.”

    - Determining Pass Protection

    According to Waufle, this relies either on the drop of the QB or the personnel in the game offensively.

    “I figure out what the QB set target is per down, or where he sets,” said Waufle. “Most are at seven yards but some are different, including the shotgun formations. We control our blitz lanes and rush targets based on that.”

    The type of protection will almost always be based on how many eligible receivers an offense will deploy.

    “We zero in on personnel groups to identify what they are doing,” says Waufle. “For example, if you take each personnel group with two backs whether it be two backs and two tight ends, two backs and one tight end or two backs and no tight ends there is only a certain way they will protect. Chances are those backs will be involved in the protection scheme. Now, anytime there is one back it can really be two formations – a two by two receiver set or a three by one receiver set. Rarely does anyone go empty in this league; the QB would get killed. Who releases and who stays in is based on whether it is a two by two or a three by one.”

    Waufle also will play a lot of games with his interior tackles to confuse the center. In most slide protection schemes the center will find the Mike, or middle linebacker in a 4-3 scheme, and set the protection to slide in that direction. A lot of teams will stem or move their front so that the center doesn’t get a clear identification. “If you just cover the guards once in a while, they just can’t figure out where to set the protection,” said Waufle.

    “I also like to get those quicker defensive ends in space by widening them out. Put them in situations where they can try to handle us. We are better athletes.”

    - Evaluating the Running Back

    “The alignment and the depth of the back are important. When he’s deep at eight yards, you want to re-establish the line of scrimmage by using various one man or two man games. You got the time to do it. If he’s shallow in there at six, I also want them to know that because a lot of teams will do that in the pass game for protection purposes. If that back is involved in the protection, they want him at or near the line of scrimmage in a hurry. They don’t want to waste any time by getting those defensive lineman downhill.”

    Because of those gap schemes where offensive linemen are often pulling at the point of attack, Waufle will have his guys examine the stance of their offensive lineman.

    “One of the biggest things I look for in the run game is the offensive line either backing off the line of scrimmage and their hand placement.” says Waufle.

    - Finding mismatches in the trenches

    Probably the most important aspect of the preparation process is finding and exploiting mismatches up front.

    In fact, the entire back sheet of “The Winning Edge” form is devoted to a precise breakdown of each of the starting offensive linemen they will be facing that week.

    It details their strengths and weaknesses, giving the players a “how to” manual on getting to the QB.

    “It provides immediate feedback for the players and their assignments,” said Waufle. “It’s a confidence builder and a security blanket that you can fall back on. This is the ultimate study tool. I walk out of the locker room and you won’t believe the number of players who are reading this stuff. They will ask me in the middle of practice and I just hand it to them. It’s on the sidelines with us all the time.”

  • SaintKaufman

    Keep those nine inch nails away from your eyelids!

  • SteveAlford21

    Saint,

    You don’t… wanna fukk with Steven… cuz Steven… will fukkin kill you.

  • SteveAlford21

    And yes, now I have a barrage of Eminem/D-12 songs running through my head. All because I accidentally came close to a quote and you ran with it.

  • SaintKaufman

    Wow, great post Marley. Thanks.

  • http://www.actionext.com/playlist_57486.html La Milicia Negra

    pluck twitter, eff it…

  • SaintKaufman

    Sorry about that Steve! Infectious grooves my brother.

  • SaintKaufman

    Hey LMN! Isn’t it like 13 o’clock at your place??

  • SteveAlford21

    LMN,

    I signed up for a Twitter account two days ago. I chose to have my Jerry Mc, ESPN, and Raiders updates sent to my phone, but didn’t realize that there was an option to turn off mobile updates between whatever hours you choose. After no updates for about an hour or so, I had fallen asleep at about 2am (my time… about 11pm Oakland time), when I suddenly started getting a deluge of messages. Needless to say, I was awakened by the barrage of texts and desperately attempted to use my half-awake brain trying to figure out whether or not to put my phone on silent so I could go back to sleep… but saying to myself that I couldn’t do that, just in case someone sent an important message. I finally got up and logged in to twitter… and the option that I needed was staring me right in the face without even having to look for it. Apparently those guys know what they’re doing.

  • SinceFrankYouellField

    Steve,

    Re post #55.

    Don’t even think about apologizing to the other nuts in this nut ward!

    Fan….IS….a contraction of the word, “fanatic”.

    Be proud of our shared luncy!

    Stick with the team through the hard times….and the really good times with be that much more enjoyable!

  • SinceFrankYouellField

    that was “lunacy”

  • SteveAlford21

    I have yet to make a single tweet, however. I don’t want the world to know what I’m doing at all times. Hell, I never even wanted any of my girlfriends to know what I was doing at all times… that’s why I had two failed engagements… I like my ME time, where there are no responsibilities and no one to answer to too much.

  • RaiderDebo

    DHB drops shallow cross from Campbell. Cable told us we ‘d be amazed by his progress. It’s been less than amazing
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    Oh sht.

  • Zymurge

    Being of occasionally reasonable mind and body, the way that I look at DHB now is to forget where he was picked and to just think of where I’d like a guy with his physical skills and work ethic to end up. From that vantage point, if he can be as effective as James Jett was in his best seasons, that actually not a bad thing. Jett was a legitimate deep threat that you had to account for every down. Sure, he dropped more than his share, but he also managed to catch a few here and there and turned them into TDs.

    It’s enough to make DCs have to scheme accordingly. That means deeper safeties with rolled up coverages which opens everything up underneath for the slot WRs and TEs. It helps the running game too that saw way too many in the box the last few seasons.

    And if he can exceed that, it’s all gravy. Because he has greater size and moves than Jett (who had none) he’s actually a threat on short outs, slants, bubble screens, etc. If he can be used on a few of those early, it forces the CBs to play him tighter which in turn requires deep safety help.

    Back to the physical attributes combined with ethic and attitude, and he really can be a solid #2 in this league. I’m cautiously optimistic.

    As for where he was picked, I look at it this way. He was a legit early 2nd round pick. He may or may not have still been there when the Raiders picked Mitchell. Since Mitchell is going to be a stud moving forward, he’ll get back the top 10 pick value. In the end, it’ll still look like a good draft overall :-)

  • JB

    # DHB drops shallow cross from Campbell. Cable told us we ‘d be amazed by his progress. It’s been less than amazing 2 minutes ago via PockeTwit

    Huff drops sure TD jumping Higgins route from Campbell as team session begins, offense backed up inside 10 7 minutes ago via PockeTwit

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    DHB drops shallow cross from Campbell. Cable told us we ‘d be amazed by his progress. It’s been less than amazing
    2 minutes ago via PockeTwit

  • SteveAlford21

    Frank,

    The thing is that Dave really doesn’t even follow football, though… so I can’t very well say that he’s a Raiders fan, too. I HAVE TO take all the fanaticism on myself… not that I mind, though… I wear a shirt or practice shorts or Raiders sandals or a hoodie or a jacket at least 15 days out of the month. I show my support with pride. I also get to put a lot of bandwagon and fairweather fans in their place. People will say, “The Raiders suck” quite often. So I always ask, “Well.. who is your team?” They tell me, and it’s almost always a team that finished with a good record the year before.

    So then I say that the Raiders do indeed suck right now, but that it won’t last forever and that things appear to be heading in the right direction… then I ask how come I never saw them wearing anything with THEIR team’s logo on it when their team was having a bad year. I particularly LOVE doing this to people that I know who are Steelers fans. I ask where all their hats and hoodies and shirts were after they fell apart last season. “Why weren’t you showing that you were a fan THEN? Oh, I got it… you stop being a fan when your team loses, right? Good job, buddy. I bet you have a few Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen Bulls jerseys laying around, too, right? Still a Bulls fan now, are ya? Yeah, that’s what I thought.”

  • JB

    Campbell comes back to DHB in 7-7 vs. WMcFadden, he makes routine catch less than a minute ago via PockeTwit

  • JB

    Frye finds Jacoby Ford, Yamon Figurs on consecutive throws. John Marshall not pleased less than 10 seconds ago via PockeTwit

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    JB,

    Time for DHB to start acting and performing like a top 10 draft pick.

  • JB

    It would be nice but not going to happen immediately. I still have good hopes for this kid. Give him a little more time and we may really have something.

  • http://0 Bob Marley

    Don’t blame DHB for being picked 7th, if he had been a late 1st rounder or early 2nd, as projected, he’d be getting praise right now for working so hard to become a player, everyone knew he was a raw and a project that would take some time to develop…and that’s exactly where he’s at.

    Blame AD, not the kid who’s working his tail off…

  • JB

    JaMarcus gets in for two throws, low and away, not close to Holland. Next pass high, but catchable to Bodiford. It sails through his hands 1 minute ago via PockeTwit

  • JB

    Back to full team, Campbell quick out to DHB, bobble, then catch. Lofton used to say, ‘One catch per ball.’ less than a minute ago via PockeTwit

  • JB

    Rolando McClain mostly a spectator today 1 minute ago via PockeTwit

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Back to full team, Campbell quick out to DHB, bobble, then catch. Lofton used to say, ‘One catch per ball.’
    1 minute ago via PockeTwit
    =====================================================
    I sincerely hope you are right about this kid. He’s got to step it up…he’s being paid too and he took the money.

    We should have the same expectations of DHB as we do for McClain

  • Twocents

    That was an interesting post by Bob Marley.

    Makes me realize how little I know about the finer points of football.

    If our D can incorporate all that, we can’t help but be better.

  • JB

    Whether we have expectations or not doesn’t change a thing. They are what they are. DHB is going to take more time & RoMac is NOT. RoMac was basically at pro level coming in whereas DHB came in as potential. Where he was drafted was AD’s choice, not DHB’s. He’s a good high character kid who is willing to work. Let him grow into his destiny.

  • JB

    # Routt by himself on sideline after ‘discussion’ with Marshall 2 minutes ago via PockeTwit

    Campbell rolls right, beats JRich to corner and runs out of bounds for gain 4 minutes ago via PockeTwit

  • JB

    Routt tries to rejoin first team, Lionel Washington sends him back off less than a minute ago via PockeTwit

  • JB

    Frye lofts high arching pass to Todd Watkins along right sideline. He adjusts for catch over Joey Thomas less than 10 seconds ago via PockeTwit

  • JB

    Eddie Anderson comes over to hear out Routt . . less than 5 seconds ago via PockeTwit

  • JB

    What’s Eddie Andersons’s role nowadays – team counselor?

  • JB

    Matt Shaughnessy limps off, looking for trainer .. . cramp? less than 20 seconds ago via PockeTwit

  • lefty12

    Using the logic of many on here,we would never have seen the greatness of Freddy B,Branch,J.Rice,T.Brown and many others as they all had problems consistently catching the ball early in their careers.

  • JB

    Travis Goethel forces Frye incompletion with middle blitz less than a minute ago via PockeTwit

  • buckeyeraider

    Bob Marley,
    Long before I logged in and started posting, I just sat back and read this blog; probably a little over a year or so. You were one of the posters I enjoyed reading. One of the voices of reason amidst some of the nonsense that sometimes pervades this blog.
    Then you just seemed to disappear for awhile.
    I even mentioned it once. Said it’s almost draft time, where the hell is Tommy Trojan, and whatever happened to that Bob Marley guy?

    Just take a little hiatus?
    Glad you’re back.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    JB Says:
    May 2nd, 2010 at 12:59 pm
    What’s Eddie Andersons’s role nowadays – team counselor?
    ======================================================
    Director, Scholarships Liason for the Head Office

  • http://www.actionext.com/playlist_57486.html La Milicia Negra

    Steve Alford…

    Im glad you like it, problem is, I rather see my news here, and if you can twitter (as a journalist) you also can update HTML, so get going Jerry…

  • JB

    #98

    Sounds about right.