Raiders’ rookie midterms


Assessing how Raiders rookie draft picks have fared at the bye week:

(Keep in mind the higher the pick, the more that is expected and the tougher the grade)

1/8_Rolando McClain . . . B

McClain has not been conspicuous in terms of playmaking, with only half a sack, no interceptions, a few passes defensed and no forced fumbles or fumble recoveries. He’s been beaten to the outside on some pass routes by quicker running backs.

Oakland is ranked 26th against the run, but has played very well of late, giving up 75.3 yards per game on the ground in their three-game win streak. While McClain hasn’t been stuffing ballcarriers like Ray Lewis or Patrick Willis, the fact is he’s the defensive signal caller for one of the NFL’s most improved units and coach Tom Cable is of the belief that opposing linemen are not finishing blocks on the likes of Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour so they can find McClain at the second level.

2/44_Lamarr Houston . . . B-minus

Almost everyone loved the pick of Houston because of his production at Texas, but most thought of him as a classic three-technique tackle, a disruptive interior player with a high motor. Cable said from Day 1 Houston would play left end for the Raiders because he saw a player who could do a lot of damage lining up over a tight end. There were were times early in the season when Houston, who played end early in his career at Texas, did indeed look out of place.

Lately, however, Houston has played quite well. He’s holding the edge, making some plays, pressuring the quarterback. And his energy and intensity have been evident since his first day in training camp. If the Raiders are scuffling on the practice field, chances are Houston is in the middle of it, and for the most part, it’s been a good thing.

5/69_Jared Veldheer . . . B-plus

The beginning was strange when Cable suddenly made Veldheer the starting center before the opener, with the rookie from Division II Hillsdale predictably struggling. It seemed even more weird when Veldheer was then shifted back to tackle, with Samson Satele resuming his job at center. Why would they give Veldheer just one game at center against a very tough Tennessee defense and then give him the hook?

Because Cable saw the Veldheer would be needed at left tackle earlier than expected. The rookie began alternating with struggling incumbent Mario Henderson before replacing him fulltime. He’s been good enough the Raiders may be able to scratch “left tackle” off the list for the 2011 draft. He and Robert Gallery did big damage against Denver. Veldheer had some difficult moments against Chiefs pass rusher Tamba Hali but showed he is a quick study by walling Hali off on the 47-yard Jason Campbell to Jacoby Ford pass that set up the game winning field goal by Sebastian Janikowski.

4/106_Jacoby Ford . . . B

No player in the NFL had a more spectacular game last week than Ford, who had 6 receptions for 148 yards, setting up both the game-tying and game-winning field goals, and igniting a second-half comeback with bolt-of-lightning 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

Even in training camp, Ford looked more polished than expected (although he missed some time with a quad injury) in the way that he got both feet in bounds along the sidelines and caught the ball away from his body whenever possible. Has had some drops, but not an alarming number. At this point there have been glimpses of promise and one huge game to build on.

4/108_Bruce Campbell . . . . C-minus

The Maryland combine warrior has struggled with with getting his own prodigious speed up to NFL levels in terms of turning it loose and playing with the quickness and violence necessary along the offensive line.

Instead of moving him to different positions, as Cable usually does with his offensive linemen to enhance their development and expose them to new techniques, Campbell has been at right guard since Day 1, behind starter Cooper Carlisle. Cable said Campbell is coming along, but the better the Raiders play, the more likely it is Campbell will be used sparingly all season with the hope he’ll be ready to push for a job in 2011.

5/138_Walter McFadden . . . Incomplete

McFadden’s play opened a lot of eyes during training camp, as the Auburn product looked as if he would challenge for playing time as a rookie in some packages.

However, McFadden began to have hamstring issues, which carried well into the regular season, and as a result he’s mostly been inactive or on the bench.

6/190_Travis Goethel . . . Incomplete

Goethel spent most of training camp as a backup middle linebacker along with Ricky Brown behind McClain, and his willingness to mix it up and play hard endeared himself to the coaching staff.

When the Raiders left Napa for Alameda, Goethel was quietly moved to the weakside and was even challenging for a starting job as the club decided to move Trevor Scott back to defensive end. However, Goethel’s back began to act up and he underwent a “discectomy,” a procedure in which involved the shaving of a disc in his lower back in a procedure similar to an arthroscope. It cost him the first eight games of the season.

7/215_Jeremy Ware . . . B-minus

Gets a grade bump for an end zone interception which halted a Chiefs drive at the end of the first half and kept the score at 10-0. Ware plays a very aggressive style of corner which can get him in trouble, but he doesn’t back down and after an ankle injury to Nnamdi Asomugha, the Michigan State product became the Raiders’ nickel back.

7/251_Stevie Brown . . . C-plus

Seemed to have made the final cut, only to find out later in the day he didn’t after he’d already spoken to the media. Brown opened the season on the practice squad but signed to the active roster on Sept. 19, dropped to the practice squad again, and then promoted again Sept. 23.

Brown showed a knack during training camp and preseason of being around the ball and with Michael Huff having void year in his contract, could find himself competing to be the starting free safety next year. He’s done some solid work on special teams, although he lost a touchdown on a fumble return against Seattle which Cable said the NFL confirmed was a mistake.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Dirtiest Raccoon

    50.Guy Says:
    November 12th, 2010 at 8:56 pm
    Raccoon, I’d rather see Charles get injured than Jones. Arian Foster was the only power back that gave the Raiders trouble this year.


    Charles wouldn’t be nearly as effective if it wernt for Jones doing the heavy lifting. I like to see Charles get 300 plus carries in a season.

  • djohnnyg

    If KC loses the Oakland Raiders will be in FIRST PLACE in the AFC West as a result of owning the tie-breaker.

    That’s pretty cool. It’s gonna be an interesting Sunday after all.

  • Born with a Patch

    Denver is a better team than KC. KC will be good in the coming years, but this year they are over rated

  • Born with a Patch

    i’m prob a few weeks late on the subject, but has anybody seen the inside the NFL interview with Jawalrus the DE?

  • #1 Raiders Fan

    45.Raider75 Says:
    November 12th, 2010 at 8:36 pm
    When is Plaxico Burress getting out of jail?


    No No No No! No No No! No No No No No!


  • Born with a Patch

    Plax has spent too much time from the game. it’s not like the Vick situation, Plax would be expected to perform immediatley and i dont think his body wil able to handle it. and the dude has a hole in his leg

  • Born with a Patch
  • Nnamdi21

    Guy Says:
    November 12th, 2010 at 8:56 pm
    Raccoon, I’d rather see Charles get injured than Jones. Arian Foster was the only power back that gave the Raiders trouble this year.


    Their cutbacks in teh ZBS scorched us.

    Seems like we’ve made some adjsutments. Handled the KC game and everyones minding their gaps and swarming to the ball.

    Been a Looong time since I ‘ve seen that…

  • Nnamdi21

    And the hits just keep comin’…

    Broncos LB D.J. Williams charged with another DUI.

    Do they have ANY linebackers left?


    Drunk, hours before work.

    Unnn doh!

    That ain’t good…

  • priesttj

    I see the Raiders in the playoffs even if we lose to the Steelers cause I think they are a very different team than when the season started. They have the confidence now that winning teams possess. They know they can win games if they play well and execute it’s not a dream anymore it’s not something that hasn’t been done or that they haven’t experienced. They have been to the mountain top and been allowed to look over. Now teams have to beat them and out execute them. If they cannot they will lose. The Raiders will not give away anymore games. You have to beat them which very few teams can do because of the talent and speed on this team.

    Now the Steelers are such a physical team in their front7 with those dominant LB’s you have to force them to do things they don’t like to do more than they want to. You have to consistently put them into situations that force them out of their comfort zones. Make them cover and protect the zones by attacking them with quick short passes making them tackle fast players in openfield. That will give us running room. You must pass on first down and run when they’re vulnerable. DMC must be a rec’ more than a runner let Reece and Bush hit them up the middle and it doesn’t matter how many yards they get just make them play it in order to get behind them in the intermediate zones and deep.

    Now we get to the good part, there is no way they can cover us deep but we need time to throw thus the previous paragraphs. But when we do get deep we have to be accurate and make those plays, if we do they cannot win. If they give us the time we got last year with the talent we have now we will blow their doors off.

    Defensively they will try to impose their will with the run because I don’t think they want to get into a shoot out they want to gut us run out the clock and allow Ben to throw a few TD’s. They’ve seen the film on us and they know what can happen if they let this game get away. They saw it last year and this year we’re twice as explosive. Their secondary is slow but physical they want to keep everything in front of them that’s hw they beat you. With us that is darn near impossible. We will get behind any defense it’s only a matter of making a cnnection. If we do they cannot win………..period

    They will come into the stadium backpedaling but they wont stop us from getting deep JC just has to make 2-3 deep throws and we’re off to the races……..period

  • 3ALLEN2

    For the most part, I feel our rookies have really stepped up to plate and showed that they deserve a place on the 2010 Raiders roster! Not all of them have been the shinning stars that some had projected them to be. Goethel, W. Mcfadden, and maybe one or two others will come into their own in time. For now, I’m just grateful for the way the Raiders have been gelled together as a team and are out there winning games that would have been lost in the past. Keep up the good work guys! And enjoy your week off! You all deserve it!

  • Born with a Patch

    I’m happy about how the team is performing overall. wonder what our draft will look like and who will go. i like our D as is, just need to continue to improve. our O, we need to work on our line. and of course we will need a franchise QB… but i really dont want to get into that discussion. just a random thought.

  • JB

    Seems to me the Raiders have a history of beating the “better” teams and blowing it with supposed sure hings. Sure, Pittsburgh is a formidable opponent but guess what, so are we and we are getting better weekly. I highly doubt that opponents are looking past the Raiders at this stage of the game. Any NFL team that can post more than 100 points in a two week stretch need to be taken seriously.

    We’ve just become accustomed to seeing them fail this last 7 years. I come for the old school days and I still expect them to be dominant and win. I look forward to seeing the Raiders reclaim their proper position in the NFL starting with the defeat of the Steelers and by the way, their fourth consecutive victory in a row.

    Keep a positive thought. We walked into Pittsburgh last year as the underdog and left the victor. There’s no reason we can’t do it again.

  • priesttj

    We can do it again, and the difference is they know it this time.

  • Dirtiest Raccoon

    54.Born with a Patch Says:
    November 12th, 2010 at 9:25 pm
    Denver is a better team than KC. KC will be good in the coming years, but this year they are over rated


    Yeah, Dungver is a way better passing team (Ryan Clady), but other than that I think KC has them beat.

  • imaquaman

    i was born a raider fan ,that cant be helped or changed ,not that i want to ,but i need help can anybody help me ,im a fool for blond hair and blue eyes besides she is hot,and we are talking daily ,and then she tells me shes a donkey lover ,yep the denver donkeys.i politely told her it could be our secret and i would not tell anybody ,but that didnt matter anyway cause after two minutes of talking i could tell she was a donkey lover but i just felt sorry for her,she understood the generosity i was showing and made no mention of it again,so i told her everything was good just go make me a sammich before she walked home ,besides i was sure it would stop raining sooner or later.so the next day on my space she had left a comment and this is what it said………. Recently a teacher started a new job at a school in San Diego and trying to make a good impression on her 1st day, explained to the class that she was a Chargers fan. She asked the class to raise their hands if they were Chargers fans too. Mary did not raise her hand. Shocked, the teacher asked her why she didn’t raise her hand. “Because I’m not a Chargers fan.” Mary replied. Still flabbergasted, the teacher said, “Well, if you’re not a Chargers fan then who do you support?” “I’m a Broncos fan & proud of it!” Mary beamed. The teacher could not believe her ears. “Mary, how can you be a Broncos fan when you live in America’s finest city, San Diego?” “Because my mom & dad are from Denver. My mom is a Broncos fan and my dad is a Broncos fan, so I’m a Broncos fan too!” “Well,” said the teacher in an obviously annoyed tone, “that’s no reason for you to be a Broncos fan. You don’t have to be just like your parents all the time. What if your mom was a prostitute & your dad was a drug addict & a car thief? What would you be then?” Mary said, “A Raiders fan.” ………so what was her point sheez those blonds lol

  • lefty12

    The Stealer game is on the offense.Our defense has been playing lights out most of the year and seems to get a little better every game.We can and will shut down their offense so our offense has to put points on the board.If we score Cables minimum weekly goal of 24 we will probably win.Lets hope we can connect on a few deep passes that will be open.

  • lefty12

    Ryan Clady-we don’t need Ryan Clady,we have Jared Veldheer.

  • imaquaman

    need i say it lefty you are right ?

  • Dirtiest Raccoon

    imaquaman Says:
    November 12th, 2010 at 11:17 pm
    i was born a raider fan ,that cant be helped or changed ,not that i want to ,but i need help can anybody help me ,im a fool for blond hair and blue eyes besides she is hot,and we are talking daily ,and then she tells me shes a donkey lover ,yep the denver donkeys.i politely told her it could be our secret and i would not tell anybody ,but that didnt matter anyway cause after two minutes of talking i could tell she was a donkey lover but i just felt sorry for her,she understood the generosity i was showing and made no mention of it again,so i told her everything was good just go make me a sammich before she walked home ,besides i was sure it would stop raining sooner or later.


    F that bish!

    I’ll tell you how to handle this chick.

    Step 1. Look up Dirty Raccoon on urban dictionary.

    Step 2. Take her to YOUR favorite eatin place. When the bill comes tell her you forgot your cash, and you will “get her back”.

    Step 3. Go back to her place, and pull off the Dirty Raccoon.

    NEVER talk to that Ho again!

    O, one more thing wear protection, she prob been in a Donkey show or two!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dirtiest Raccoon

    69.lefty12 Says:
    November 12th, 2010 at 11:30 pm
    Ryan Clady-we don’t need Ryan Clady,we have Jared Veldheer.


    Who said we did?

  • imaquaman

    thnxs dirtiest(sanchez)racoon ill keep that in mind any one else have any advice ?

  • Dirtiest Raccoon

    Any time.

    RAIDER on my brotha.

  • priesttj


    I agree with you about it being on the offense but we have to play defense like we’ve been playing for the last 3 weeks. If we let them run it’ll be tough to stop big Ben. I’m sure we can help them by scoring early and often that will force them to throw and with that Oline weakened we should wreak havoc if we’re on our game.

    However Campbell has to show that he is over the early season struggles and is ready to play at a igh level on a more consistent basis. He cannot sink back into the poor outings and look confuse any further. There is no going backwards he has to show weekly improvements and leadership this team neeeds so that the offense can be successful during the stretch drive to the playoffs. The next 3 games will tell you everything you need to know about what kind of QB he is. If he can play well all 3 games we have a chance to win all 3. If he’s average we’ll be lucky to win 2 of them if he sucks we’ll lose them all.

    The QB position has to be on point fr the rest of the season whomever that guy is he has to attack with some degree of excellence because we’re playing the best tems in the league the rest of the year. From SD to Indy to and KC and we have to win 5 out of the last 7 games to make the playoffs because of the games we played poorly early losing to Tenn, Houston and SF and AZ, if we win one of those games our chances increase tremendously. Especially if it’s either Houston or Tenn. WE never should’ve lost to the other two…………period

  • Born with a Patch

    imaquaman, do you live in Denver?

  • Smith?

  • What up Raider Nation?
    Have a great weekend, and Go Donkeys!

  • Just Fire Baby

    A bunch of B’s and C’s with a few incomplete’s.

    Way to really go out on a ledge Jerry.

  • Jerry probably wrote that post weeks ago in prep for vacation… I mean bye week.

  • “There were were times early in the season when Smith, who played end early in his career at Texas, did indeed look out of place.”


    Anthony Smith deserves an F Jerry. Its almost like he’s invisible these days…

  • DaRayduh

    Tho KC – Denver could be called a showdown, I expect the caliber to be more toilet bowl-esque, considering their embarrassments at the hands of the Raiders.

  • Just Fire Baby

    So what to expect from Auburn if Scam Newton doesn’t play?

    I don’t look that guy, just from his look. Pretty boy, always smiling flashing the dimples, than behind the scenes he is an egotistical, self-serving guy who thinks rules don’t apply to him, and he can lie and bat his eyes out of any situation.

  • Just Fire Baby

    Sunday night game should be awesome for us.

    We have our next opponent in the Steelers, and (I’m calling it here right now) our future 1st round playoff opponent in the Patriots.

  • YoungAmerican

    Looking at it objectively, I think the Raiders could drop three of their remaining games, (Steelers, Chargers, Colts) and end up 9-7.

    But having seen the Raiders fight hard against a “superior” team in the Chiefs, and having seen them topple much better teams in the past, I don’t see any reason that the Raiders can’t win these games.

    The Steelers game is going to be hard-fought, but as long as the Raiders avoid turnovers they’ll keep it close. They can’t abandon the run game – they need to keep the Steelers defense honest. And McFadden is one of those players who the more carries he gets, the more likely he is to break off a big run. It’ll also open up the passing game, where the Steelers’ cornerbacks have a penchant for getting burned downfield. If the offensive line can stave off the pass rush the way they have been, the Raiders will win. The key matchup here will be Satele, Carlisle, and Walker against Hampton, Keisel, and Woodley.

  • YoungAmerican

    The Chargers game is going to be difficult because they’re going to be firing on all cylinders. Their schedule is a cakewalk from here on out, and they always seem to gain momentum later in the season. Last time around, the Raiders kept it close and won ugly in the final minutes. This time they need to be better in all phases of the game. They can’t afford to give up 400+ yards passing again.

  • YoungAmerican

    The Colts game is going to be a lot like the Chargers game matchup-wise, but this could also be the most winnable of these three games. Their run defense is far from exceptional, and a healthy dose of McFadden and Bush will take its toll. Their secondary is banged up, which will help the Raider WRs, especially if Schilens is finally back. They have no running game to speak of, so the Raiders’ defense can turn the offense one-dimensional.

    But then, the Colts have Peyton Manning, and whenever he has the ball crazy things tend to happen. The Raiders are going to have to be in his face all day and force him to make plays under pressure.

  • Just Fire Baby

    We will have to figure a way to beat the Chargers without two blocked punts for 9 points and a defensive TD.

    Tough to do that to the same opponent twice in one year.

  • Good Morning Raider Nation!!

  • Vegas, we win next Sunday…we’ll go to the playoffs!!

    If we lose…we’ll end up 8-8, maybe a wild card.

  • R8eray, 8-8 will not make it as a wildcard. It could win the division, however.

  • Just Fire Baby Says:
    November 13th, 2010 at 9:58 am
    We will have to figure a way to beat the Chargers without two blocked punts for 9 points and a defensive TD.

    Tough to do that to the same opponent twice in one year.
    The Chargers didn’t have any trouble beating the Raiders twice a year. It can be done.

  • HayesDaze37

    It’s a great off-day to be a Raiders fan! Isn’t it?!

    What the great Manning and the pretty-damn-good Rivers have in common is they can’t handle the pressure that forces them out of the pocket…especially when there is tight coverage on the receivers downfield.

    Not very many Defenses in the League can do what our D does right now…pressure from all points — especially the front 4 — with Man coverage that’s as tight as the rules allow.

    Both Manning and Rivers are going to get beaten-up in the games, we just need to make sure they pay (or think they will) every time they take more than a 3-step drop. A harried QB is a mistake-prone QB.

    Games against great QB’s define great Defenses…and I believe we are on the verge of becoming one. The foundation has been laid for a good long run.

  • Musaeus

    What the heck is a void year in a contract?

  • HayesDaze37

    When either the team or the player has the option to leave, or stay at a pre-determined rate.

  • HayesDaze37

    The option to keep the player that year, that is. Ha!

  • hwnrdr

    I think that if they play with the same intensity as they have played with since the SD game (minus that WTF game in SF)…they will do good and beat Pitt, SD, Indy, etc…they also have to minus the mistakes and stupid penalties…They are headed in the right direction! No more set backs…GO RAIDERS!

  • Born with a Patch

    Just Fire Baby Says:
    November 12th, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    I got work to do down there and in El Paso. Will be there for the week.

    You got a good green hook-up (or any one at all) let me know.

    Just Fire, you’re better off bring your meds down with you. EP is kinda crazy, they get some spill over violence from Jtown across the river. I wouldn’t trust dudes out there. If your still down here on the 21st i’ll be back in LC, hit me up so we can watch the Raidas vs Pitt.

  • Born with a Patch

    Peyton is a beast but he seems lose a step during some games. They’re backfield is beat to sh#t so i hope Marshall dials up some blitzes, similar to what we saw late against SD, to get at Manning and disrupt his timing.

  • Born with a Patch

    I think we are a much more sound team since the SD game. I think we can get a W without 2 blocked punts. But it is the hardest game remaining on our schedule.

  • Just Fire Baby


    Yeah I would never try to deal with anyone in EP. I go there about once a month for business and I am happy to be leaving every time.

    I am leaving on Friday so no dice on the Steelers game. Is there any good sports bars in LC that maybe I can watch the Monday night game at? I will be staying near Mesilla.