Blog Entry

Oakland Raiders Fans Should Stop Hating on Stuart

Posted on: May 22, 2008 3:42 pm
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It's just too dang easy! It really is. Instead of watching the game, or in some cases re-watching the game, you can easily rely on a SportsCenter highlight to determine your viewpoint about a team, game, play, or player.

In some cases, such as former Raider Tyler Brayton getting caught kneeing punk Jeremy Stevens in the family jewels on prime time, these mini-clips can make a player look completely different than what they truly are. In Brayton's case, the mild mannered, hard-working defensive end that rarely made highlight-reel plays was determined to be the prototypical Raider hoodlum, which couldn't be further from the truth.

In the case of Stuart Schweigert, these mini-clips can make you look like an awfully bad football player. Whether it was a Ladanian Tomlinson touchdown run, a Tony Gonzalez touchdown catch, or any of Denver's running backs dragging him for ten more yards, Raider Nation and the haters both looked at him as the culprit for the big momentum shift.

I'm not blind. If you are looking for a hard hitting, snot jarring, play-making safety, Schweigert is not going to be your first choice. While I think he could be a playmaker in the right defense, thanks to his speed and soft hands, he was never to be confused with George Atkinson or Jack Tatum. He just never has had the killer instinct to be that enforcer in the secondary, which the Raiders have so desperately needed over the past few years...Ok, the past decade...alright, since Ronnie Lott donned the Silver and Black.

So, with Raider Nation expecting a Lott, Schweigert was doomed to disappoint. But think of all the safeties before him? Besides Rod Woodson and Eric Turner, name a safety over the past 15 years to wear the patched-eyed bandit on his helmet that didn't disappoint.

Can anyone say that Schweigert was worse than Anthony Dorsett? How about Derrick Gibson? Sure, he was no Vann McElroy, but he wasn't one of those first guys either. Does anyone reading this think Calvin Branch was better? Ok, I'll give you Eddie Anderson, but that's a close call.

Would you like to see the rest of the list? Patrick Bates, Chris Carr, Perry Carter, Rickie Dixon, Torin Dorn, Hiram Eugene, Johnie Harris, James Hasty, Derrick Hoskins, Carl Kidd, Dan Land, Albert Lewis, Lorenzo Lynch, Keyon Nash, Elvis Patterson, Reggie Tongue, James Trapp, Denard Walker, Lionel Washington, and Brock Williams, are the players listed as DB's who were notable or played for more than one season in the Raiders' secondary since Lott moved on to the Jets.

Out of that bunch, I'd be willing to give you Dan Land and Albert Lewis as guys who were as good or better than Schweigert as a Raider. So, in 16 years, the Raiders have had four or five guys who were as good or better than Schweigert play safety. Better yet, none of those guys were even in the league over the past five years.

The biggest complaint that I read and hear is that Schweigart couldn't tackle, yet in the only year that he's started all 16 games, he had 107 tackles. That's a linebacker number! I also hear that he didn't take good angles to the tackle.  Hmm, normally when you saw Schweigert looking out of position, it's because he was out of position for a strong safety or linebacker.

People forget, or don't know, that with his speed, Schweigert covered a lot of ground, and that was his downfall with the Raiders. Many of the out of position tackles he was making were cover-ups for strong safeties like Derrick Gibson or linebackers like Sam Williams.

The fact that his number was called so often should've been a sign to Raider Nation that this guy wasn't the problem. Instead, he's been booed and vilified on message boards as 'terrible.' If you must blame anyone for the lack of an enforcer in the secondary, blame the person who picked Michael Huff to be a strong safety.

Yeah, I'm a Raiders fan that thinks highly of Stuart Schweigert, so?  I'm not even going to remind everyone that he was the type of professional athlete that a fan could be proud of, with his community service, team first attitude, and willingness to meet with fans. So yeah, I'm a fan of his too.

So long Stu, I hope that your career winds up being long, and that you don't come back to haunt the Raiders when it counts. I'll still root for you, other than games that the Raiders face you. Whatever you do, don't even think about running your mouth like Chris Carr or Jerry Porter, because then it won't matter what I think of you now. If that happens, then I'll know that all of my good feelings about you will have been for nothing.

Rob Calonge writes for Thoughts from the Darkside on MVN.com.  More Raiders stories and articles by Rob can be found at http://mvn.com/nfl-raiders

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Comments

Since: Feb 19, 2007
Posted on: June 22, 2008 6:08 pm
 

Oakland Raiders Fans Should Stop Hating on Stuart

Um, well, I can't put myself into the Sportscenter view of Stuart Schweigert since I have seen nearly every game he has played in with the Raiders.  What category I can put myself in is the one who thinks Stu needed to go.

He is a player who came out of college and played fairly well, but who has not gotten any better and perhaps regressed depending on who you ask.  40 speed does not equal playing speed, but I for one never thought he played slow, just that he reacts slow.

Tackling angles...  You are not excused for tackling angles based on not being a MLB or SS.  The wirter of this oarticle I guess does not understand what is meant by tackling angles...  If you start out at point A and a runner starts at point B, you are supposed to be able to formulate quickly a good point C that you and the runner will arrive at at the same time so you can make a tackle.  It doesn't have to be bone jarring, it just has to be a tackle.  I cannot count how many times the point C in Stu's head is not the one that the ballcarrier arrives at.  That is instincts and reactions.

Pass defense - I do think Stu was pretty good here, but has really regressed.  Again, his reactions were late, he was late to help, and he didn't look like a starting safety in this league.

I like Stu.  He comes off as a good person.  He is a hard worker and never takes plays off, but he is going backwards.  I think there's a chance he can still be a pretty good NFL player, but obviously this coaching staff that Al won't let go was unable to get through to him so this is a case where a fresh start is best for everyone.




Since: Mar 4, 2008
Posted on: June 9, 2008 12:36 pm
 

Oakland Raiders Fans Should Stop Hating on Stuart

Now that's a position I can get behind.  I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who, as you alluded to, will believe the Sports Center view of Stu.  All I know is that over the last few years, the majority of the time I saw him playing he was making plays.  Is he Troy Polamalu???  No.  Is he Ronnie Lott???  No.  Is he a solid player who made plays???  IMO yes he was.  The idea of a "shut down corner" (Asomugha, Hall) or a "lights out" safety (Tatum. Lott) are the exception, not the norm.  Across the league there are many consument professionals who don't make the highlight reel, but do their jobs day in and day out and do them well.  I believe Stu was one of them and I regret to see him leave our organization.  Good luck Stu, I wish you the best........except when you line up across from us. 



Since: Sep 4, 2006
Posted on: May 29, 2008 6:06 pm
 

Oakland Raiders Fans Should Stop Hating on Stuart

I don't feel like Fabian took as much heat as Stu did.  I do think that Fabian was criticized by the Nation, and some was fair while some criticisms weren't.  When Washington was finally traded and he had smack to talk about the organization, I think that the Nation definitely had cause to run smack then.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post.




Since: Dec 30, 2006
Posted on: May 26, 2008 9:34 am
 

Oakland Raiders Fans Should Stop Hating on Stuart

Stu should have been a better player in the Raiders system. He was given every chance to play, he just could not come up with the big stop when It was needed the  most. He would miss the tackle on a scoring play or a big first down, that would always seem to hurt the team!!

He should have stuck around as a back up but is cap # is too high. $$2.95million. That is to much for a back up.  I'm not a hater of stu, he needed to be a better player, just like alot of other players in the league, he has his faults. He might fair a little better on another team.  He should go to the Cardinals they need safety help. He could help them but his days as a Raider are over. He could come back at a lower cap number you never know.

Just a question, do you feel that everyone hates on Fabian Washington  also?? He fell from grace just as fast as Stu did??




Since: Aug 23, 2007
Posted on: May 22, 2008 8:01 pm
 

Oakland Raiders Fans Should Stop Hating on Stuart

F'ing right. I've been saying this since last season. Nobody gets it. Somebody has to be the scapegoat. Nobody wanted to believe that Kirk Morrison is not run-stuffing MLB, or that Thomas Howard gets eaten by OL. How about that Michael Huff got burnt as bad or worse all season by runners. Stu got a raw deal. I wish him well. If Gibril Wilson or Huff are busts, everybody will be wishing we still had Stu . . . but they would never admit it. The grass is always greener on the other side, and we all see teams with safeties like Ed Reed, Troy Polamalu, Bob Sanders, etc. and we want that.

These arguments are falling on deaf ears. Devilraid, and the rest of the guys don't want to hear it. They want somebody to blame and they picked Stu. I'd be calling for a refund on Turdell Sands, and asking Rob Ryan why he can't create a run stopping game plan. Better yet, ask our Offense to actually produce and relieve the pressure from the defensive side. We can't produce yards or points enough, or protect the ball, and it kills our defense. Stu was just the last line.

What kills me is that people say he was slow. He's one of the fastest players on the field. He runs a 4.4 40 and owns more college picks than Rod Woodson. Argh . . .this is aggravating. We lost a good player and a great guy. I Wish him the best of luck, no matter where he plays.

Just don't trash the Raiders (he may bash the fans though, we deserve it).



The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com