Observations from OTA today

Remember wide receiver Juron Criner? Anyone? Yes, that Juron Criner, the one who burst on the scene two years ago and flashed during offseason workouts as if he was going to be the next Cris Carter.
Somewhere along the way to stardom, Criner crashed back to reality, was seldom used his rookie season and almost vanished last season.
He got passed by undrafted free agent Rod Streater, unheralded Andre Holmes and seventh-round draft pick Brice Butler.
Fast forward to today, and Criner looked like the Criner who caught anything he got his hands on for several practices his rookie season.
On Monday, Criner made a handful of eye-opening catches despite tight coverage, including a few in which he left his feet. Far and away, Criner looked like the best receiver on the field.
Before we get carried away again, it’s important to remember that Criner failed to duplicate his jaw-dropping feats in training camp his rookie season.
Still, Criner is a sight to see when he is at his best. Perhaps that’s what coach Dennis Allen was trying to bring out in Criner last season when he suggested that Criner needed to work harder and be more consistent in practice.
It’s also possible that Criner didn’t fully get the message until last season slipped away and now he is worried about his career slipping away.

– Last year’s offensive line, when everyone was healthy, featured: Jared Veldheer, Khalif Barnes, Stefen Wisniewski, Mike Brisiel and Tony Pashos.
Veldheer signed with the Arizona Cardinals in free agency. The Raiders cut Brisiel and opted against re-sighing Pashos.
In their place, the Raiders signed Donald Penn, Austin Howard and Kevin Boothe from the free agent market. Now that the dust has settled, here’s how the starting line projects, from left to right: Penn, Barnes, Wisniewski, Howard and Menelik Watson.

– Derek Carr made several nice throws into tight windowns in red-zone drills Monday. Befitting a rookie, Carr also misfired on a couple of passes, including one in which his pass sailed directly off the hands of cornerback Taiwan Jones in the back of the end zone.
All in all, it’s difficult to assess quarterback play when there isn’t contact and defenders aren’t there to wave their arms, bat down passes and make life more difficult in the pocket.
Therefore, you look for accuracy, arm strength, tightness of spiral, footwork, decision-making, among other things, when breaking down quarterbacks at this time of the season.
To that end, Carr, projected starter Matt Schaub and last season’s part-time starter Matt McGloin fared well today. If you’ll recall, it was about this time last season when Matt Flynn, Terrelle Pryor and the other quarterbacks struggled mightily.
General manager Reggie McKenzie dismissed the criticism, which, as it turned out, was spot on and a harbinger for the regular season.

– Allen remains steadfast in his approach that he is going to put the best players on the field when the regular season starts. Hence, every position is up for grabs right now.
Second-year linebacker Sio Moore, therefore, is being looked at potentially as a starter at the weak-side position, with Khalil Mack sliding into Moore’s strong-side spot.
“I did this in college,” Moore said, when asked about the potential switch. “Moving from (strong side) to (weak side), that’s nothing abnormal. I just try to use my versatility and continue to show my coaches and my teammates that I can do anything on the field and I want to continue to work at it, no matter what position.”
What happens to Kevin Burnett in this scenario remains to be seen. He could become a backup, the Raiders could go to a 3-4 base defense or the Raiders could trade Burnett.
“When we get into games, the more things guys can do, the more we’re able to adjust,” Allen said in touting Moore’s versatility. “He has the skill set to play that position, and we’ll continue to work with him through the rest of OTAs and training camp. We’re going to put the best three guys on the field, and whoever those guys are will be on the field and play.”
Burnett wasn’t at last week’s OTA that the media were permitted to watch. He was here today but an ankle injury kept him out of practice. He was not available to the media.

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Steve Corkran

  • the super genius dr robert

    Schaub has had three seasons with 4000 yards passing and over 20 Tds including one with over 4700 and 29.

    That’s not a game manager. That’s a legit top flight qb.

  • Guest123

    Texans OL was garbage? Really? could have fooled me!

  • RaiderReloader

    My wife used to watch the Raiders with me… Bed and Breakfast O and deconstruction ended that.

    Also not having players for the casual fan to enjoy hurts as well. She mentioned that the other day, Where is the Tim Brown / charlie Garner equivalents?

    We still are missing some obvious pieces, but hopefully it will start looking real a bit this year

  • the super genius dr robert

    Look at the positional units and I see a real nfl team capable if competing with anyone.

    This is not the same Raiders team.

  • http://thebadtenants.com/ eternal pessimist

    If the Raiders beat Seattle in Seattle, I will pee myself due to happiness.

  • Guest123

    nobody in league circles ever considered Matt Schaub to be a top flight qb even in his heyday.

  • Blackholepriest

    Schaub never won games for Houston. He merely kept the offense on schedule. Which is what he should do here. Throw checkdowns and first downs and TDs when he can.

    He ain’t going to be the difference in winning and losing I just hope he stops shooting himself in the foot.

  • R8erEduc8er

    Mr. Pigeon was multiple…just how we like our players.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist


  • R8erEduc8er

    New post, snitches!

  • JerryMcDonalds#1Fan

    run heavy offense is what we’re implementing…so assuming that works and DA’s defense is a juggernaut (as predicted) Schaub would be asked to take less chances with the football forcing it downfield..just take what the defense gives you, move the chains, #gamemanager

  • Guest123

    and no stud 1300 yard WR either. And no Arian Foster type RB either. But hey..

  • the super genius dr robert

    It’s a family show.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Dmac was supposed to be one of those.

  • the super genius dr robert

    4770 yards and 29 Tds from check downs?

    I doubt u have ever watched him.

  • Blackholepriest

    Correct! He is who he is……period

    If you expect something more it’s your own fault…….period

  • JerryMcDonalds#1Fan

    yes. it stunk, like Carson’s & Ours last year

  • the super genius dr robert

    Not remotely true. Top ten most years. Pro bowler. Predicted last year to lead them to the Super Bowl. Not top five but always top ten.

  • R8erEduc8er

    Exactly. Way too many new faces (improvements) on both sides of the ball.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    There’s a scary amount of parallels in our lives. Maybe SnBG is right, and even we don’t know it.

  • the super genius dr robert

    Nobody has said it’s a run heavy offense. We don’t have a run heavy RB. Schaub will pass for over 4k yards.

  • Blackholepriest

    If they beat Seattle I may need a bath as well.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Jaws did before last year. But I don’t like him so feel free to discard that one.

  • R8erEduc8er

    Yuck. May have been the same year we went to Miami…I went to that game.

  • Blackholepriest

    DA thinks we got the same sweetheart deal Denver got with Payton Manning. He doesn’t see any difference.

    Gawd! When are they going to fire that bum?

  • Silver&BlackBleeder

    Yezzir. Thats the south side of the Ox. Don’t ask me how a young Louisvillian moved to LA, and ended up in Oxnard (don’t feel like typing that much – Lol), but I’ve been living out here for a grip now. Addicted to the weather and can’t leave.

  • SlashNHack

    It’s not the same guy. Mystic is more litterate and actually seems to read books

  • Silver&BlackBleeder

    Nope…Just gotta pay to park. There’s a big dirt lot in front of the practice field and usually they charge 20 to park (maybe 10, but I wanna say 20), but you can park on the street about a half mile away (the subdivisions bordering that lot don’t let you park on the street during those practices).

  • TrevJo

    I think they had a very good draft indeed. But even so I am not too worried about rookies. Everyone on this blog has been treating the 2014 draft as being the key to improving from 4-12 to 8-8 or better. I don’t see it that way at all, if the Chargers had a great draft it is going to help them in the long run a lot more than it is going to help them this year.

  • Raider Rocker

    Not anymore you don’t. That site was shut down by the feds.

  • bennings

    I don’t want to piss on the red embers of your pipe dream, doc, but the Raiders only have one QB on their roster who passed for over 4k yards in the last year, and it aint Schaub. Carr has not shied from the pressure of being in his first NFL camp, by all accounts he’s thriving in it, which – however you want to rank the QB room – is a far cry from last season.

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  • BlasterCA

    Pretty sure 3rd round pick & second coming of Mo Collins, Gabe Jackson, will beat out Barnes for the LG spot.

    That’d make Barnes a very valuable back up at every spot ‘cept C. We were very thin last year, due to injury & lack of overall talent. This year we should have a couple interesting cuts along the OL. Bergstrom, inparticular & the young guys like McCants.

    I think Watson can put up a very good challenge & eventually win the LT spot over Penn. I’d love Howard to stay at RT, if Watson can win the LT spot. That’d leave Boothe battling Bergstrom. Bergstroms last chance, in essence.

    My prediction, from L-R;
    Watson, Jackson, Wisniewski, Boothe, Howard,
    With Penn & Barnes as the main backups, we could see an incredible leap in the fortune of our OL. Not to mention offense & team in general!

  • BlasterCA

    Schaub is one of only a handful of QBs to have five straight years with a 90+ QB rating. He’s only one Texans team wide disastrous season removed from those 5 years.

    We may not be playoff bound this year or next. But I dioubt that’ll be due to Schaub.

    Anyway, if Schaub can’t get it done, we get to see if McGloin can really be a leading man.Or an early start to a hopefully long & incredible career for Carr in Silver & Black.

    I don’t see any real downside to our QB situation this year. If McGloin &/or Carr aren’t the guy for 2016 & beyond, then we have a prob. But for the next year or two, nothing but upside & potential at the spot,.

  • BlasterCA

    Lots of people have said we’ll be a run heavy offense! Many players & coacjes.

  • BlasterCA

    You’re kidding, right? No, not top 5, but certianly top 10. He’s been to multiple Pro Bowls & is only one year removed from his so called *heyday*. & that one year is an admittedly horrific Texans team wide disaster.

  • BlasterCA

    Be serious! No one thinks getting Schaub is as big a *get* as DEN getting Peyton!! Get real!!!

  • BlasterCA


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  • 0tt0

    if you dont see any downside you better take the blinders off……..a QB on the downside of his career and essentially two rookies….theres your downside

  • BlasterCA

    That’s not downside when it leads directly to 1 of 2 outcomes; 1- McGloin gets called on again & we see if he can spark the offense once again. If he can, we may have the next great undrafted free agent.
    2- The Derek Carr era starts early. From all accounts, that could actually be the best of all outcomes.

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  • rioderek

    In a word clueless. Matt Scrub just set a record for consecutive games throwing a pick 6 and players tend to get worse after 30 not better. The guy has already thrown a pick 6 in practice.

  • BlasterCA

    Do you know the term *reductio absurdum*? ‘Cause your statement sums it up in a nutshell!

    Favre is at the top of the NFL in all time INTs. Does that one stat alone mean he’s a terrible QB?

    By judging Schaub on a single stat, you prove yourself the idiot.

  • rioderek

    Yeah scrub this idiot can own you. Now as it relates to your moronic post. Farve was never beat out by a 6th round draft pick or given away for next to nothing (a 6th rd pick). Matt Schaub has never been and will never be a Brett Farve like talent.

  • BlasterCA

    *Yeah scrub this idiot can own you.*

    Aww & here I thought we were gonna have some fun!

    But you gave away the game!!

    Ceding it to me by admitting your diminished intellect!!!

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