Archive for category Oakland Raiders
When you get a chance, check out the following bits of audio:
Friday Night I appeared on Brian Carriveau’s Cheesehead Nation show on Blogtalkradio.com. We talked about the first few rounds of Packer picks, which I actually like quite a bit. (about 10 minutes at the front but the ep goes much longer)
I’m at the top but stick around for the whole show as they break down some of the picks more in depth later on. It’s good stuff, and Railbird Central is a great place to go for Packer stuff.
Saturday I joined my good friend Matt Levine of The Final Score of WSTC/WNLK in Connecticut to talk some Jets and Giants as well as some general NFL Draft stuff as well. I uploaded it here so you can hear what I had to say from Radio City. (about 20 minutes long)
On Sunday I got to hoof it to the home of Sirius Satellite Radio and join Cecil Lammey of 104.3 The Fan in Denver and Footballguys.com as well as Russ Lande, analyst for SportingNews.com’s NFL Draft Warroom and head of GMJr for three hours of 2010 NFL Draft recap.
As Cecil’s show (every Sunday on the Fan) is on in Denver, we covered a lot of Broncos (and Tim Tebow) but also hit on the Draft in general and the AFC West as a whole.
You can also get a behind the scenes look at the three of us on this episode of Blurb TV. In fact you can get a look at ALL of my experience at the 2010 NFL Draft here at Thundering Blurb or over at my channel on Viddler as well.
It’s a little bit folly to try and really declare winners and losers for a draft that isn’t even finished, much less a day old. Players haven’t even stepped on a NFL field yet, and some may not pay off for several years to come, forget this season.
Still, by the end of Saturday, it’s a worthwhile endeavor to examine some teams who have ended up looking smart and others….
Well, not so much.
So with the realization in mind that we still don’t know everything – here are the teams who made our jaws drop, though not always for good reasons.
Maybe Al Davis and his Raiders will prove us all wrong, but right now their draft can be summed up in an exchange I saw between Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times (where the Raiders once resided) and Raiders beat writer Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee (which is close to Oakland i suppose).
Farmer: Why were the Raiders reaching like that in the second?
Jones: They reach because that’s what they do.
They weren’t going to go offensive tackle, despite the need, because that’s not really the Raiders way.
And I knew they weren’t going to grab Crabtree, whether or not he was the best wide receiver on the board at the time. Crabtree’s lack of timed 40 speed made it impossible because Davis is crazy for speed like the bird in that cereal commercial is coo-coo for cocoa puffs.
But I never thought he would bypass Missouri’s Jeremy Maclin, who had the speed and a more developed game. I’m a little nonplussed.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t wish Heyward-Bey a failed career and he will probably turn out ok. But picking him up at 7, when they could have traded back and picked him later?
That’s just not achieving maximum value.
Worse, the team manages to follow it up with an even bigger reach in choosing Ohio Safety Michael Mitchell, a guy most people didn’t even have ranked in their drafts much less the second round.
Mitchell also may develop into a solid player, but right now he looks like a workout warrior and a huge reach as the third safety off the board behind Patrick Chung of Oregon and Louis Delmas of Western Michigan.
It’s one thing to fall in love with a player. It’s another to waste a pick five rounds early.
The Raiders have five picks on Sunday, two in the fourth round. They can recover, given the tremendous value still on the board, but if they keep picking like this, they might as well throw darts at a list on the wall.
How can I say it’s a bad draft when they didn’t draft anyone?
Bad enough the Cowboys didn’t have a pick for the first round due to last year’s wheeling and dealing, but they then traded out of the second.
Meanwhile, value continued to tumble by them in the form of solid safeties, wide receivers and defensive ends.
Maybe it’s not bad in the sense the Raiders draft was on Saturday but it’s shocking to watch the usually wheeling Cowboys nuetered and missing out on the value on the board.
The Browns made a big move back when the Jets traded for the fifth pick and Mark Sanchez (more on that in a minute) and were poised to grab some great value all day long.
Instead, they kept moving backwards accumulating more and more picks. And when they did spend them, it’s questionable whether they took the best value on the board.
I can’t argue with the selection of Alex Mack. The center from Cal is a versatile lineman who can work at almost any position along the line. And Brian Robiskie is a polished, fast receiver who runs a solid route tree and will contribute early, especially if Braylon Edwards is traded on day two.
But the Browns can’t rush the passer and need a linebacker or top flight defensive lineman.
I say need because while Mack is a great center, USC linebackers Clay Matthews and Rey Maualuga as well as Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitus were on the board still.
Maualuga was in fact still on the board when Robiskie was picked. While offensive line and wide receiver were needs, the pass rush was a bigger one and with several very good linebackers on the board, the Browns chose to fill less important needs.
They also bypassed shoring up their need at cornerback by letting Vontae Davis and Alphonso Smith sneak away as well.
And as much as I think Hawaii defensive end/linebacker convert David Veikune will be a good upside pick, wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi was a luxury, especially behind the Robiskie pick.
Massaquoi may become a good possession receiver down the road, but they could have grabbed a corner, safety or even replace Winslow at tight end.
For a team with so many holes who is rebuilding, it seems like they filled few of them with four picks in the first two rounds.
The Browns have four more picks on Sunday – one in the fourth and three in the six. Lots of defensive talent remains on the board and I hope they can recover from a lackluster day one.
New York Jets
Jet Nation is a tad split over the selection of USC quarterback Mark Sanchez, especially given the talent that slid out of the first round and through the second. But when you look at the price they paid, it’s more than reasonable for a possible franchise quarterback.
Defensive end Kenyon Coleman, quarterback Brett Ratliff and safety Abram Elam were players who in all likelihood would get cut before camp or in Ratliff’s case, clearly hadn’t impressed the new regime all that much.
Aside from that, adding the second rounder to a swap that spanned twelve spots between first rounders is a marginal price to pay.
The Jets have put themselves in a position where they cannot make many mistakes on day two though. They have four more picks on Sunday spread across four of the five rounds.
As I said with the Browns, there are many value picks to be had but the Jets have to be conservative to a great extent. They already rolled their dice once and that’s as much as they can risk.
I will openly admit – and it’s a shock to nobody who has read my work the last few months – that I do not agree with the Stafford pick. It’s not an awful pick – just not one I believe had to happen this year.
Yet, Stafford could develop into a nice franchise quarterback and he is far from awful. While I may not agree with the strategy to rebuild the franchise, it’s a solid pick.
On the surface, Brandon Pettigrew at 20 made me wince as well. But, like Stafford, Pettigrew is considered the top at his position and on top of it, he’s a tremendous blocker.
He’s no offensive tackle but he will be able to stay in and protect Stafford. A pick that is more shrewd than i gave it credit for at first. As Stafford and the oline get better, Pettigrew can release and become more of a pass catching tight end.
Finally, hard hitting cornerback Louis Delmas. Again, top at his position. And Delmas is the type of hard nosed player who could help give this defense a personality – something it greatly lacks.
The Lions are looking to become more physical on the defensive side of the ball and Delmas will bring that in spades. They also need some help in the secondary and this fills that hole.
Three picks. Three players arguably at the top of their class. They may not have filled all their needs but the ones they did fill were given top talent.
With five picks on day two, including the first in round three and another later the same round, the Lions stand to pick up some very good value. They could easily pull someone like Jarron Gilbert or Michael Johnson to help fill the defensive line hole, pick up the top guard on the board in Duke Robinson or even a decent tackle like South Carolina’s Jamon Meredith.
New England Patriots
The rich get richer. And richer. And richer.
How the organization ended up with the same amount of picks they started with, but also an embarrassment of riches in players is beyond me, but that’s how they end up being the great team they are every year.
Four picks in the second and every one a value.
Patrick Chung, second best safety in the class brings some thump to the secondary and will make receivers pay dearly.
Defensive tackle Ron Brace got overlooked a bit with BJ raji getting the love at Boston College, but will stuff the run as good as anyone in the draft class and is likely to take over for Vince Wilfork at the nose tackle.
Darius Butler, one of the top corners in the draft, probably won’t start this coming season but will take over in the aging secondary within the next year or two.
And while Sebastian Vollmer is a project for the offensive line, he will develop into a nice right tackle and used to play tight end, so he has the versatility to move around for trick plays if need be.
And, oh by the way – they have seven more picks. By the end of the draft they may have multiple picks for next years draft as well.
Before I let you go, dear reader, here are a few teams I am on the fence about. Tomorrow could be pivotal for them.
San Francisco 49ers: One pick, but what value. But you better build on Crabtree use your remaining six picks wisely.
Houston Texans: Methodically took care of two key needs with picks of USC LB Clay Matthews and DE Connor Barwin. Six more picks to shore up the corners and get a back to compliment Steve Slaton.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Almost made the Awe list, but as much as I loved watching them grab two very good offensive tackles in Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton, passing on Crabtree and Maclin and then a host of good defensive line prospects makes me wonder if last season’s Oline injury woes didn’t get in their head too much.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Did you really need to leap up and pay the price you did to move a few spots? Especially since nobody in front of you was likely to grab your choice of Josh Freeman? Six picks on day two and like the Jets you’d beter make them count. Unlike the Jets though, your new franchise quarterback is a far bigger project and has more question marks.
JaMarcus Russell –
This might be a better than average start for Russell, but does it matter when the average is this bad? You can’t start him unless you are in the deepest of trouble. Yes, the Chargers are a fantastically awful 31st vs the pass. But Russell has struggled too early and often to count on in the fantasy playoffs.
Justin Fargas – The run defense here is just good enough to have me worried (15th with only 6 TDs allowed). Michael Turner did get 120 yads but that was Turner and with a good offense. Fargas is not as good and lacks that good offense portion of the formula. And he may split carries with Darren McFadden. A flex? Maybe but a risky one.
Darren McFadden – Boom or Bust with DMac2 – he can put up some numbers but is splitting carries with son of Huggy Bear and having to run with no real threat of passing offense behind him – it could be tough. Again, the Chargers aren’t great against the run, but good enough and McFadden may put up a little of this, a little of that and not enough to be worth the start. He might be an early flex or real low end #2. He is a Hail Mary early in the week and I hate those.
WR core – no thanks. Seriously.
Zach Miller – Miller has been the only somewhat stable thing in the offense for a while and given how shaky many TEs are, he will be a decent though not fantastic start most weeks.
Phillip Rivers - A few weeks ago this looked like a much better matchup than it does now. But the oline in SD has actually gotten worse and allowed Rivers to get massacred last weekend against
Ladainian Tomlinson – Sure he hasn’t been himself this year. And yes the oline has been sub-par and losing Lorenzo Neal was unfortunate. Still, he is facing the 29th run D and on his own with the same bad oline scored 2 TDs and had 100+ yards. They will key on him and I think – while it will be meh for LT – he will have a good enough day to warrant starting him in all leagues – no lower than the #2 and more than likely worth at least a low level RB1.
Chris Chambers – While he is getting more targets than Jackson, he’s still not impressing me and isn’t doing anything much fantasy-wise. I wouldn’t trust him if I could avoid it, there are better #3s and a few #4s I might like more – including his teammate Jackson. Toomer, Hixon, Ginn are all guys I would rather start.
Vincent Jackson - Jackson is not getting as many targets as he had in the past but the ones he gets are red zone targets. If Chambers could play a little better, opposing secondaries wouldn’t be able to blanket Jackson and he would have more room. But he gets some redzone love and between that and his more reliable hands, I don’t mind having V-Jax in my lineup as a 4 depending upon other matchups.
Antonio Gates - Gates has not had a very good season, didn’t play great last time out (though was the only guy with a receiving TD) and struggled last week. If the Chargers cannot protect Rivers, Gates is in for a long day. I can only hope he plays well – this is almost a bench-worthy matchup right now – with a lesser TE it would be. But Gates can go off – so it will be hard to find someone you trust more often and can count on.
Darren McFadden is out for the RAHDERS today.
Other notes -
Coles is in for the Jets – no word on Cotchery.
Edited to add – Cotchery will play. If it wasn’t for the atrocious run D, the Jets pass offense would go off.
NFLN’s Adam Shefter is reporting that the Raiders have called a news conference for this afternoon. ESPN’s Chris Mortenson is reporting that Lane Kiffin will be fired there. When I return from my work out of the office today I am sure this will all be clear and make sense. Cause Mort’s been right every week on this, right?
In all seriousness the writing has been o nthe wall for weeks and interviewing folks while the guy you are replacing is still there is a sign that ESPN will be proven right on this. But with Crazy Al Davis, who knows?
Somehow Al will claim ‘insubordination’ and not pay Kiff and I hope Kiffin sues him because Davis has been about as classy as a fifty cent hooker on this one.
Fire the man or don’t but enough with making up lame lies to not have to pay him. Anyone who works for this franchise has been warned what a badly managed, run and cheap franchise it is. Good luck to the next sucker – I mean coach.
I’ll have a follow up post in a mintue but this is brialliant TV.
So yesterday when NFLN interrupted it’s loop of the NFL Sunday postgame show for the Kiffin Raiders conference I stopped what I was doing to watch. I’ll admit it – I was rubbernecking. How could I not? It was an awkward presser – Kiffin looked like he didn’t expect to have been there and might not be any moment. I half expected Davis to come rocketing into frame, fist extended (and bouncing off Kiffin’s chin cause let’s face it, Davis isn’t decking anyone) colliding with Kiffin yelling ‘YOU’RE FIRED BIATCH’.
But it didn’t happen and my fantasies go unfulfilled.
What happened after the cameras were off – or at least network coverage – is almist as good though.
Tim Kawakami asked Kiff near the end of the press conference if he felt isolated in the franchise, citing the alleged memo of an ESPN article critical of Kiffin (a rumor from last week during THAT ‘Kiff will be fired soon’ period).
The best part? Rumor has it Herrera is the one who leaked the ESPN article Kawakami asked Kiffin about. Interesting he took such umbridge no? Anyone here a Telltale Heart?
I may start putting rankings for RBs out Friday night – I mean seriously. How can you keep up?
According to ESPN and John Clayton, McFadden is only at 70% of full ability right now. If that’s the case, he’ll definitely see split carries and that thought I had during the News Stampede – about Michael Bush being the last man standing? Could be closer to happening that we thought.
McFadden looked good for a couple of games but we all know how a toe injury can linger all season. Rest is what is needed and even if he plays, they won’t overdo it. So look elsewhere for a more stable start – and if you are desperate? Check out M. Bush.
Quick reminder that today will launch the Thundering Blurb Daily News Stampede – Monday through Friday I’ll drop you a quick 15 minutes of news you’ll need to know to get the edge on your league mates.
A few stories of note this morning:
Willis McGahee returned to practice on Monday and while it’s clear he’s still coming back from surgery, what isn’t clear is who will start. My money is on rookie Ray Rice, but McGahee could steal carries if he practices well enough. Couple that with the fact that I think either runner will face 8 men in a box as the Bengals dare Joe Flacco to beat them with his arm – and I suspect either running back is a risky choice, even against the Bengals. Speaking of quarterbacks, Troy smith is home from the hospital and has dropped an astonishing 20 pounds. He won’t be playing anytime soon, hence the rumors Joey Harrington and former Jaguar Todd Bourman might sign with the team.
Javon Walker also returned to practice yesterday and while NFLN’s Adam Shefter reports that he is considered questionable with a hamstring injury, he looked fine, though he did have trainers check his leg out. Walker is not someone I want to have to start at all this week against Denver.
Matt Hasselback was back at practice Monday and said his back was not going to be a factor going against the Bills week 1. While I am always concerned with a back injury, I may be more concerned with the beat up wide receivers. Hass could be a risky play against an improving Bills secondary.
That’s all for now – remember to subscribe to ITunes and get the News Stampede delivered right to your door!
I will be posting my top 20 College Football rankings this afternoon either all at once or in halves – depends on how long the list is with commentary.
Onto the NFL -
Cards coach Ken Whisenhunt says that Matt Leinart has improved his audibling and red zone work and will not be coming out of games at that spot on the field. While I still think Leinart is a shaky choice for a Fantasy QB until he shows me he can be consistent, it’s good to hear he won’t get ‘middle relievered’ during an important Fantasy sequence on the field and it does lessen my concerns a bit.
From ‘The Sky is Falling’ column – rookie RB Darren McFadden fumbled 3 times in Monday’s practice. While I don’t think think the sky really IS falling (first fumbles of the preseason) you will now recall that one of the issues some people (including me) had with him pre-draft was his 15 fumbles his last year at Arkansas. This was a concern and will continue to be until he proves otherwise, but as these are his first fumbles in camp, I won’t worry much, he shouldn’t be going so early in drafts that a fumble problem will leave you hanging too badly.
Rookie Keith Rivers seems undaunted by missing a teeny bit of camp – he led the Bengals with 7 unassisted tackles Monday night and didn’t even start. He will probably be an intriguing late round/waiver pickup in IDP leagues, asssuming people chalked him up to ‘rookie’ and he went undrafted in the first place. He certainly seems to have stepped right up for the Bengals which they really needed to have happen. Tight End Ben Utecht seems to really be getting those promised looks in the offensive scheme. He had a good Monday night and the staff is putting ’special plays’ together for him. I might be starting to believe it…..
San Diego Chargers
Antonio Gates is running but also in a lot of pain, and apparently very frustrated with his lack of progress. He says he will not play early if it damages the season long term, which is good for your overall season, but bad if you want to draft him. If you get Gates, you may be in the position of being forced to take a back-up TE early to cover for him if he’s out a few weeks. If you go early on a tight end, my advice is to think of Jason Witten or even Tony Gonzalez. Better yet, get one of the later tier guys and keep an eye on the waiver for value. Amongst the TEs I like later are Jeremy Shockey, Vernon Davis on the earlier side, Owen Daniels, LJ Smith, Ben Utecht on the later side.
More great news for McGahee owners – the knee he just had scoped? It’s the one he has had multiple surgeries on, the one he wrecked in the Fiesta Bowl 5 years ago. He showed up to camp out of shape so rehab is an iffy proposition. Ray Rice continues up the boards as McGahee drops.
That’s all for now – questions and comments can go to email@example.com as well as the comment section below.
College rankings coming later this afternoon (my afternoon, not the East Coast’s).