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Archive for March, 2011

Meet the new Raiders; same as the old Raiders

Note: The esteemed Jerry McDonald is on a mandated one-week furlough. I will do my best to fill the sizable void during Jerry’s absence. — Steve Corkran



Cornerback Stanford Routt uttered the words, but they might as well be plastered all over the Raiders year-round facility in Alameda for the 2011 season:
“We’re a lot closer to the making the playoffs than people think.”
That’s part of what Routt said in an interview with National Football Post earlier this month, yet it just as easily could have come from managing general partner Al Davis, new coach Hue Jackson or anyone else within the organization.
Routt cited close losses to the 49ers, Jacksonville Jaguars and Arizona Cardinals as reasons for optimism heading into next season.
“You change the outcome (of those games) and we’re not 8-8,” Routt said. “We’re 11-5 and we’re in the playoffs.”
Never mind that two of Oakland’s victories came in games they just as easily could have lost – the first game against the San Diego Chargers and the first game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Let’s go with Routt’s line of thinking, which is something that Davis and Jackson apparently are comfortable doing.
How else do you explain the Raiders offseason moves to this point? Most teams fresh from an 8-8 season seek wholesale changes in hopes they can make the jump from mediocrity to Super Bowl contender.
Davis and Jackson are thinking like Routt, that the Raiders were talented enough to be an 11-5 team last season and few changes are necessary between now and the regular-season opener in September or whenever, depending upon how the collective bargaining mess plays out.
The evidence comes from the myriad moves made in the 71 days since the Raiders concluded their 2010 season with a convincing victory over the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
Davis and the Raiders tendered contract offers to tight end Zach Miller, running back Michael Bush, center Samson Satele and long-snapper Jon Condo, signed Routt, defensive tackles Richard Seymour and John Henderson, special teams ace Rock Cartwright and offensive lineman Daniel Loper to extensions, and designated outside linebacker Kamerion Wimbley as their exclusive franchise player.
Fullback Marcel Reece and backup defensive tackle Desmond Bryant also likely were tendered one-year contracts – this hasn’t been confirmed yet — given their production last season, potential and the relatively cheap cost of signing them as restricted free agents.
Add it all up, and the Raiders of 2011 are going to look much the same as the Raiders of 2010. The glaring exceptions will be at left guard, with Gallery told to seek employment elsewhere, possibly right cornerback, unless three-time Pro Bowler Nnamdi Asomugha is dead-set upon being a part of the Raiders turnaround, be it in 2011 or whenever, and free safety. Michael Huff’s contract voided, and he isn’t a sure bet to be asked back.
Even so, the Raiders feel as if they are covered in all three areas. Loper filled in well for Gallery during a four-game stretch last season, and he received a two-year contract befitting a starter. Chris Johnson, Walter McFadden and Jeremy Ware are eager for a shot at a starting job at cornerback. Stevie Brown and Hiram Eugene await the word to fill in at free safety.
Beyond that, the Raiders have taken steps to ensure that just about every other starter and key reserve will be back in 2011. Davis even found the time to re-sign seldom-used running back Michael Bennett and third-string quarterback Kyle Boller before the lockout took effect.
The only other position unsettled is at right guard, the domain of veteran Cooper Carlisle the past four seasons. Davis is high on second-year player Bruce Campbell, and he wants to see Campbell on the field and not with hands on hips on the sideline. This doesn’t bode well for Carlisle seeing a fifth season as a starter with the Raiders.
There’s a huge danger in the Raiders thinking they were only “three or four plays” away from being a playoff team last season, as Routt said. Just the same, there’s also a huge upside from the standpoint of the Raiders being much farther along in preparation for next season than other teams who haven’t made many moves and are waiting to see how the CBA situation unfolds.

Time will tell whether Routt, Davis and Jackson are correct in assuming that the Raiders are on the cusp of challenging for the Super Bowl.


Here’s a year-by-year comparison at how the Raiders starting lineup looked in 2010 and how it is projected to look for 2011:
2010                                          2011
QB – Jason Campbell             Jason Campbell
FB – Marcel Reece                 Marcel Reece
RB – Darren McFadden        Darren McFadden
WR –Louis Murphy               Louis Murphy
WR –Darrius Heyward-Bey Darrius Heyward-Bey
TE – Zach Miller                    Zach Miller
LT – Mario Henderson         Jared Veldheer
LG – Robert Gallery             Daniel Loper
C – Jared Veldheer               Samson Satele
RG – Cooper Carlisle            Bruce Campbell
RT – Langston Walker         Langston Walker

DE – Matt Shaughnessy      Matt Shaughnessy
DT — Tommy Kelly             Tommy Kelly
DT – Richard Seymour       Richard Seymour
DE – Lamarr Houston         Lamarr Houston
SLB – Kamerion Wimbley  Kamerion Wimbley
MLB – Rolando McClain     Rolando McClain
WLB – Quentin Groves      Travis Goethel
LCB – Stanford Routt         Stanford Routt
SS – Tyvon Branch             Tyvon Branch
FS – Michael Huff               Hiram Eugene
RCB — Nnamdi Asomugha Chris Johnson

K — Sebastian Janikowski          Sebastian Janikowski
P — Shane Lechler                      Shane Lechler
KR – Jacoby Ford                       Jacoby Ford
PR – Johnnie Lee Higgins          Nick Miller
LS – Jon Condo                           Jon Condo

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Posted on Monday, March 14th, 2011
Under: Oakland Raiders | 309 Comments »

Report: 2011 rules could be same as 2010

The Washington Post is reporting that if the NFL is forced to open its doors through the court system, the playing field would be the same as they were last season.
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Posted on Sunday, March 13th, 2011
Under: Oakland Raiders | 120 Comments »

Players gone from Raiders’ Web site

The listed rosters are still intact, but the Raiders have removed the images of players, including Nnamdi Asomugha and Darren McFadden, from the borders of the lead page of their official Web site.
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Posted on Saturday, March 12th, 2011
Under: Oakland Raiders | 155 Comments »

How prolonged work stoppage hurts Raiders

In some ways, the Raiders are better prepared to withstand a prolonged work stoppage than a year ago given that systems of offensive and defense are already in place.
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Posted on Friday, March 11th, 2011
Under: Oakland Raiders | 220 Comments »

Cartwright unsure if he’ll attend dinner

The possibility of a lockout has Raiders running back Rock Cartwright wondering if he’l be able to attend a dinner in his honor Saturday night in Oakland.
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Posted on Friday, March 11th, 2011
Under: Oakland Raiders | 21 Comments »

A Raiders’ reminder about the days of 3-4 defense

Are the Raiders thinking of utilizing some 3-4 defense this year, an alignment they haven’t utlized as a base defense since returning to Oakland in 1995?
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Posted on Wednesday, March 9th, 2011
Under: Oakland Raiders | 528 Comments »

Gallery takes the high road

Robert Gallery spoke fondly of his time with the Raiders and declined to address the club’s unusual tactic of publicly discussing his contract issue.
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Posted on Wednesday, March 9th, 2011
Under: Oakland Raiders | 228 Comments »

Bresnahan has experience with Al’s defense

The trick question came from an NFL television personality at the combine attempting to seize upon my uncertainty surrounding the Raiders defensive coordinator position.
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Posted on Tuesday, March 8th, 2011
Under: Oakland Raiders | 43 Comments »

Eugene, Loper as starters?

Contract figures made available to Bay Area News Group indicate the Raiders may be looking at free safety Hiram Eugene and guard Daniel Loper as potential starters.
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Posted on Tuesday, March 8th, 2011
Under: Oakland Raiders | 180 Comments »

Brown gets second-round tender

The Raiders continue to be impressed by the work of Ricky Brown as a reserve linebacker and special teams player, giving the five-year veteran a second-round tender.
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Posted on Tuesday, March 8th, 2011
Under: Oakland Raiders | 69 Comments »