Tag:Oakland Raiders
Posted on: October 21, 2010 11:07 am

Raiders could be making a change at left tackle

Posted by Andy BenoitM. Henderson (US Presswire)

Super talented but equally inconsistent Raiders left tackle Mario Henderson could be losing his starting job to rookie Jared Veldheer. Jerry McDonald of the Contra Costa Times says the two players are sharing reps at practice this week.

This is noteworthy on two fronts. One: Henderson, 25 and in his fourth season, is a player the Raiders have meticulously been developing the past few seasons. They’ve now reached what was supposed to be his payoff time, and they’re finding that payoff to be disappointing. Henderson’s poor showing against Justin Smith of the 49ers last week prompted coaches to give some of his practice reps to Veldheer.

What’s more, Veldheer is from tiny Hillsdale. When he was selected in the fourth round, he figured to be rawer than raw. The plan was to bring him along slowly. But thus far, Veldheer has not just learned two positions (left tackle and center), he’s actually pushed for a starting job at both.

The 23-year-old started for injured center Samson Satele in the season opener. However, at 6’8”, it’s doubtful Veldheer has a future inside. His natural athleticism could make him a perfect fit on the edge, though. It’s not known whom the Raiders will start against Denver this week, but a change at some point seems almost certain.

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Posted on: October 20, 2010 7:35 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2010 7:55 pm

JaMarcus Russell's Showtime interview

Posted by Andy Benoit

Showtime’s Inside the NFL has a fascinating interview with disgraced ex-Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell Wednesday night (9:00 ET). Russell, who is trying to get back into the NFL, gave the show an exclusive look at his training regimen (and no, we’re not referring to the part of the show where he’s sitting down and chatting with Josina Anderson – we’re talking about footage of RuJ. Russell (US Presswire)ssell actually working out).

The interview could be great for unintended comedy. Take a look at this exchange:

ANDERSON: Where from your perspective did things go wrong?

RUSSELL: Now looking back on it, I could have went about certain things different.


RUSSELL:  I am not sure. I don’t know where they went wrong. But the things that did go wrong I take full blame for whatever was my fault, and the things that did happen. Being drafted No. 1 there are so much that they want you to do at a snap of a finger. It didn’t happen that way which brings us to today

There is so much that they want you to do (including earning at least a snippet of $32 million guaranteed money). There is also so much that they DON’T want you to do. Such as: DON’T eat that! DON’T drink that! DON’T fall asleep. DON’T arrive late. DON’T throw the ball there. And, of course, No, no, DON’T throw the ball there, either!

Russell told Anderson he is not willing to play in the UFL or change positions. At this point, he’s just trying to prove to 32 teams (though he says only 31 teams, which we’re guessing means he has no interest in ever returning to the Raiders), that he’s worth taking a chance on.

For video excerpts of Russell talking about being benched, click here. For video excerpt of Russell's mentor, John Lucas, talking about the quarterback, click here.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: October 18, 2010 7:35 pm

Boller could be the Raiders next starter

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

One quarterback – the starter who replaced the starter because the original starter was no good – is still hurt, out with a sprained A/C joint in his shoulder. The original starter who had to start once again was terrible in the Raiders loss to the 49ers Sunday, and in the midst of it all, he hurt his knee.

That means Oakland might be getting yet another starter.

Boller Yes, third-stringer Kyle Boller – who you might remember from his five-season, 53-game stint as the starter in Baltimore – might take over the reins in Oakland in lieu of Bruce Gradkowski (still out with a shoulder injury) and Jason Campbell (who was impressively unimpressive vs. San Francisco).

Boller could start perhaps even if Campbell, coming off an awful 8-of-21, 83-yard, two-interception performance, is healthy enough to play. That’s what happens, though, when your quarterback rating is 10.7.

“I always take the approach that it’s your job – it doesn’t matter what position you play or what position you are on the depth chart - to be prepared, because you never know when your time’s coming,’’ Boller told the Contra Costa Times. "I’ve done a pretty good job with watching tape and staying in the game plan, because it’s also our job to help out the guys that are in there. And they need you to know what’s going on.”

Campbell underwent an MRI on his left knee Monday, and there was no structural damage found. Still, coach Tom Cable said Boller absolutely has a chance to start. And, with the way Campbell has played this season, he probably should.

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Posted on: October 17, 2010 12:47 pm

Report: Raiders' entire roster on trading block

Posted by Will Brinson

The Oakland Raiders aren't afraid to "make a play" (read: do something drastic), so it makes total sense to hear that their entire roster is on the block at the trade deadline.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Raiders alerted other NFL teams that if they're looking to improve, unload, or simply ring that cowbell, Oakland is willing to talk trade.

This isn't so much an indictment of the Raiders' roster as it is Al Davis & Co. treating real life like fantasy football -- often, owners in "not real football" leagues will say things like "no player's untouchable" when you start trying to trade with them.

That's a nice sentiment and it's probably (technically) true when people say it, but just because something's available for purchase doesn't mean you can afford it. Or, in the Raiders case, reason with it.

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Posted on: October 16, 2010 7:01 pm
Edited on: October 16, 2010 7:41 pm

Week 6 injury news and analysis, part III

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Saints at Buccaneers

This week’s ridiculous injury report goes to the Saints, who have 19 freakin’ guys on their list (they had 19 guys last week as well, so big points for consistency). Four players are probable, and four players, including RB Pierre Thomas (ankle) and CB Randall Gay (head), are out.

The only questionable player is DE Will Smith. Last week, he missed his first game since 2006 with a groin injury (that’s 57-straight games), and this week, he only had limited participation in practice.

The Buccaneers will be without C Jeff Faine, who hurt his quadriceps last week and will be out four to six weeks, and they’ll look to Jeremy Zuttah to replace him. Zuttah was fine in relief vs. the Bengals, but he might have a tougher time with Saints DT Sedrick Ellis. Also, WR Mike Williams, the team’s leading receiver, is questionable with a foot injury. He was limited in practice Wednesday and Friday, and he will be a gametime decision.

Jets at Broncos

New York’s best defender, CB Darrelle Revis, is also the team’s biggest question mark heading into Sunday’s game. He’s listed as questionable with a hamstring injury. He didn’t look good against the Vikings, and he probably won’t play Sunday, especially if he’s only 70-80 percent healthy. Besides, Antonio Cromartie, except for the TD catch he gave up to Randy Moss, looked good last week.

Broncos RB Knowshon Moreno practiced on a limited basis Thursday and Friday, and he’s questionable with a hamstring. Without him in the lineup, Laurence Maroney has been pretty ineffective, averaging less than two yards per carry. There seems like a decent chance that Moreno could start.

Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas suffered a concussion last week, and he didn’t return to practice until Friday. He might play, but don’t expect him to return kicks. That job likely will fall to Eddie Royal.

Raiders at 49ers

RB Darren McFadden (hamstring) practiced this week on a limited basis, and though he’s listed as questionable, coach Tom Cable said he won’t play him unless he feels 100 percent healthy. If McFadden does play, he likely will back up Michael Bush for the starting RB role. I’m guessing McFadden won’t play.

Though Oakland QB Bruce Gradkowski is questionable with a right shoulder injury, he’s definitely not going to start. That honor will go to Jason Campbell. While Gradkowski has fared fairly well after replacing Campbell the first time, the coaching staff doesn’t have to worry about starting him and then possibly having to take him out if his shoulder bothers him.

Not much news for the 49ers. S Curtis Taylor (quadriceps) and TE Delanie Walker (ankle) are out. T Joe Staley (shoulder), QB Troy Smith (abdomen) and G Adam Snyder (quadriceps) are probable.

Cowboys at Vikings

Will Brett Favre play or won’t he? That’s the biggest question swirling around this game. He’s questionable, but the answer is: of course he’s going to play. That’s what he said anyway. Favre is dealing with tendinitis in his elbow, but he’s not about to let that get in the way of his streak of 289-straight starts.

Although both are listed as questionable, it appears unlikely that CB Chris Cook (knee) and C John Sullivan (calf) will play.

The only questionable Cowboy is WR Dez Bryant. He was listed as not practicing Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, but it sounds like he’s going to try to play. Either way, Austin Miles and Roy Williams will continue to be big targets for QB Tony Romo.

UPDATE (7:39 p.m.):
The NFL Network is reporting that Bryant will, in fact, play.

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Posted on: October 15, 2010 11:18 pm

Crabtree wants to go 'big' against Oakland

Posted by Will Brinson

In one of the dumber -- yet unexpected -- draft moves in recent NFL history, the Oakland Raiders passed on Michael Crabtree and took Darrius Heyward-Bey with the seventh overall selection in the 2009 draft.

It made no sense at the time, it makes no sense now, and the only reason it's even justifiable is that Al Davis is old and crazy. But that's not stopping Crabtree from holding a grudge against the Raiders for their decision.

"Of course you think about it," Crabtree said of the snub with the Raiders coming to Candlestick Park for Sunday's Battle of the Bay. "Anytime someone gets picked ahead of you, you think about it."

Good news, I guess, is that Crabtree doesn't hate Heyward-Bey for, you know, just walking up to the podium and then tossing up as mediocre a performance as everyone thought he would.

"I'm not worried about Darrius," Crabtree said. "I'm focused on winning the game. But at the same time, I'm thinking about the Raiders."

Randy Moss has a similar beef with the Dallas Cowboys after they passed on him in 1998 -- in the sense that a team that should have pulled the trigger on him didn't.

But that's where the similarities end; comparing Moss and Crabtree is futile in the first place, but it's not like the Raiders ever promised Crabtree they'd draft him.

In fact, everyone would have been almost surprised if Heyward-Bey wasn't Oakland's choice. And the Raiders didn't pass on Crabtree because they didn't think he was the best wideout in the draft. They passed on him because their front office is a freaking wreck.

So while it's nice to see that Crabtree has enough competitive fire to justify his rookie year holdout (the sole reason being he wanted DHB money), it's almost asinine enough to warrant rooting for Heyward-Bey to have a monster game as the Raiders throttle the Niners on Sunday.

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Posted on: October 14, 2010 3:58 pm

Bush starting for Oakland, McFadden '50-50'

Posted by Will Brinson

Michael Bush, fresh off a very solid performance against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, will remain the starter against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 6, according to coach Tom Cable.

Via our Oakland Rapid Reporter Eric Gilmore, Darren McFadden says he is "50-50" to play Sunday.

"I'm still feeling it right now," McFadden said of the hamstring injury. "I haven't gone out there and tried to go 100 percent."

As we wrote yesterday, it makes a lot of sense for the Raiders to take their time with McFadden -- Bush is a completely capable back and more physical than McFadden. Additionally, hamstring injuries have a way of not healing through additional wear and tear.

As for the quarterback situation, it looks like Jason Campbell will get the nod in place of the injured Bruce Gradkowski.

"That’s yet to be totally determined, but it looks that way right now until we know exactly what’s happening with Bruce," said OC Hue Jackson.

Campbell struggled early during the season but looked like the quarterback the Raiders hoped he would be while leading the team to a win against the Chargers Sunday.

And in good news, if/when he starts hearing the old boo birds chirping on Sunday, he can probably just assume it's for Alex Smith.
Posted on: October 12, 2010 3:32 pm
Edited on: October 12, 2010 3:35 pm

Dey Took Er Jobs: Baby, don't drive that Carr

Posted by Will Brinson

Dey Took Er Jobs takes a look at the various job controversies around the league. If you don't get the title, you don't watch enough South Park.

"We want Carr!" echoed throughout Candlestick Park on Sunday night as 49ers fans expressed their deep (and understandable) frustration with Alex Smith.

The problem is that they don't want the former first-rounder to use some the money the team wasted on him to purchase them all shiny new Kias. No, instead, they wanted to see David Carr enter the game and attempt to lead San Fran to glory.

And what a dumb idea that is.

Reports started circulating Monday that Mike Singletary had told Smith a (paraphrase party coming) real quarterback wouldn't want to get taken out of the game, nor would he let a coach take him out of the game. Apparently, Vernon Davis went over to Smith, gave him a big pep talk about being a grown man and what not and then Smith challenged Singletary's potential decision to bring in Carr.

Eventually Smith won out (although didn't Singletary kind of WANT him to win?), stayed in the game and nearly led a charge back against the Eagles.

Said charge fell short, notch, but that's why you saw Carr maybe getting ready, Singletary and Smith yelling, confusion in the broadcast booth and awkwardness on the sidelines.

Anyway, now Smith is "week-to-week" as the starting quarterback -- apparently, that's the sort of motivation that a quarterback of his caliber needs. (Ironically, of course, fear was the primary motivator for another bust -- in the Canton sense though -- of a 49er, Jerry Rice.)

Fast-forward to Week 6, though, where if Smith struggles against the Oakland Raiders, people will get antsy and start calling for Carr again.

Again, this is a dumb idea.

If you don't believe me, just ask any Texans or Panthers fan who suffered the indelible pain of watching a man once called "Mister Mittens" run their ship into the ground.

Look, Smith's not great, but he's not Carr. Carr is notoriously horrible at understanding pocket time, and if San Fran fans think that Smith has a sense for the worst possible time to generate a turnover, they really have no idea what they're in store for if they get their wish and Carr plays.

Anyway, if Smith doesn't turn his patented "two great drives per game" into something more consistent, there's a good chance that Carr plays. But that doesn't change the fact that putting Mittens in there is a huge mistake.

Raiders fans also did a little bit of Jump to Conclusion Matting -- Jason Campbell, their flame, their muse, their Plunkett, was supposed to come right in and save the day. He didn't, and in fact, he was quite terrible as the Raiders quarterback, right up until the point when Bruce Gradkowski hurt himself and Campbell needed to step in and helped beat the Chargers Sunday.

Sure, the special teams (or "special" teams, if you're discussing the Chargers end of it) and defense deserve some credit for scoring, but Campbell looked composed, relaxed and accurate en route to completing 13 of 18 passes for 159 yards and a TD.

Tom Cable says that Bruce Gradkowski is still the starter (and, of course, Campbell didn't even consider trying to stir the pot; has anyone ever been more dumped on while remaining polite in the history of the NFL?) and that's fine. Gradkowski got the Raiders back on track after Campbell's shoddy play early in the season derailed them.

Jimmy Clausen or Matt Moore? That is the question that rings so … okay, you know what? It doesn't really matter. Clausen hasn't progressed since he got the starting nod, but Moore looked even worse in mop-up, blowout loss duty against the Bears on Sunday.

Jeff Otah's return (maybe in the next few weeks) will help the running game, but without a legitimate option at quarterback, which the Panthers don't have, it's hard to fathom that the Panthers have any prayer of contending this year.

Honestly, the smart thing might be considering shopping Steve Smith (if Deion Branch is worth a fourth to the Patriots, he has to be worth the second-rounder they already took from Carolina at least, right?) and possibly even DeAngelo Williams (Jonathan Stewart's contract situation is better, even if Williams is the better runner, which he might not be) in an attempt to totally reload for next year.

Yes, that's the rantings of a man who stayed up way too late crying that Bobby Cox is gone and all we have left in the world is a discussion of Brett Favre's cell phone, but it's also indicative of how shoddy the quarterback situation is in Carolina.

It's Tuesday, and that means Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb talk. Woo! Right? Actually, this week it's quite important, since Kolb looked good against the Niners and Vick might be ready to return.

Conveniently (or perhaps not), the Eagles play the Falcons, with whom Vick has a little bit of history. Vick gives the Eagles the best chance to win against a very talented Atlanta team, but is it worth playing him if he's still dealing with a pretty serious injury?

Two signs point to yes: first that LeSean McCoy played against the Niners with a broken rib, and two, Andy Reid made sure to get Vick some action against the Falcons last year. In other words, redemption and giving the Eagles the best chance on Sunday will win out.

Which is a good thing for all of us, provided Vick isn't re-injured.

Quickly …

- Poor, poor Cleveland. Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace are both injured, so Colt McCoy will play. McCoy gets the Steelers, so best-case scenario for Cleveland is him being alive on Monday.

- David Garrard has staved off Trent Edwards for at least the foreseeable future, by beating the Buffalo Bills. Neither of those things is an impressive accomplishment.

- It's easy to refer to the Darren McFadden/Michael Bush situation as a "competition," but that's really based on how they've performed thus far in the year. The reality is that they're two backs who compliment each other, and Cable would be wise to recognize that utilizing Bush's brutish bulldozing as a defense-softener that sets up McFadden is the smart play here. Or, alternately, just don't play D-Mac if his hammy's busted.
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