Tag:Oakland Raiders
Posted on: July 30, 2010 6:39 pm

News from around the AFC West

Some quick-hitting news from around the AFC West:


Shawne Merriman is getting some terrible advice. The damaged linebacker (knee) is staying away from the first few days of training camp not as a holdout looking for a new deal, but as an unsigned RFA looking for assurance that the team is committed to him (whatever that means). Few players have as much to prove in 2010 as Merriman. He needs to be practicing.


Oversized tight end Brad Cottam, who showed flashes of promise at times last season, is out for the season. Cottam broke his neck in Week 15 last year and hasn’t rebounded well.


Coaches seem inclined to move franchise defensive end Richard Seymour to defensive tackle. Seymour, who was versatile as a 3-4 end in New England, is better inside than outside (especially in Oakland’s 4-3 scheme). If Seymour slides inside next to Tommy Kelly, run-stopping youngster Matt Shaughnessy and explosive second-round rookie Lamarr Houston would be the starting ends.


The Broncos say left tackle Ryan Clady is making great progress in rehabbing his surgically-repaired knee. (Clady, you may recall, partially tore his patellar tendon playing pickup basketball in April.) Of course, would you expect the Broncos to say anything about Clady that isn’t glowing with optimism? The good news is, outside observers have noted that Clady appears to be walking without a limp. The hope is that the game’s most athletic offensive tackle will be ready come mid-September.

-- Andy Benoit

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Posted on: July 29, 2010 4:26 pm

Jason Campbell is no JaMarcus Russell

It sounds like QB Jason Campbell made a good first impression during the opening of Oakland's training camp. Not that he had to make much of an effort to surpass the production of JaMarcus Russell, but it’s nice to know that the former Redskins signal-caller is putting smiles on his teammates’ faces.

“Oh man, it was great,” said WR Louis Murphy in quotes captured by CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Eric Gilmore . “He came in, commanded the huddle, very sharp on the plays, really spoke loudly in the huddle, so it was good to be able to follow our quarterback.”

WR Chaz Schilens had a similar thought.

“I feel we've got a good guy, a dependable guy, a guy who's going to work hard, who will be there for us every day,” he said. "He's not going to shy away from anything."

--Josh Katzowitz

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Posted on: July 28, 2010 4:33 pm

Campbell will be next Raiders starting QB

During his briefing with the press today, as captured by the Contra Costa Times , Raiders coach Tom Cable said Jason Campbell will be the starting QB.

This news isn’t surprising, considering Bruce Gradkowski has been out with a torn pectoral muscle. Previously, Cable had said there would be competition for the right to replace JaMarcus Russell.

--Josh Katzowitz

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Posted on: July 27, 2010 1:51 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2010 2:06 pm

Jack Tatum's Legacy

Ohio’s 10TV.com is reporting that Raiders legend Jack Tatum – aka The Assassin – has died. Tatum was 61.

The cause of death has not yet been reported, though the Raider legend retired from the NFL in 1980 and spent the next 30 years battling diabetes. He had all five toes on his left foot amputated, soon followed by the entire leg.

Tatum is survived by his wife and three children.J. Tatum (US Presswire)

In 2009, NFL.com ranked Tatum as the sixth most feared tackler of all-time.

Tatum was a prominent contributor in the Raiders’ Super Bowl victory over the Vikings, and he was the man who delivered the hit on Pittsburgh's John Fuqua that led to Franco Harris’s catch on the Immaculate Reception.

But perhaps Tatum is best known for making the hit that left Patriots wide receiver Darryl Stingley paralyzed. This brought Tatum’s reputation into question.

In 2007, Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports interviewed Tatum shortly after Stingley passed away.

"Yeah, everybody is supposed to play really hard and then get up at the end like nobody is hurt," Tatum said Friday from his home in Oakland, Calif. "It's unrealistic. If you want to play football for a living, you're going to get injured.

"If you went out worrying about getting hurt, you couldn't be a player. You certainly couldn't be a great player."

This isn't to say that Tatum doesn't feel bad about what happened to Stingley. But for Tatum, there is a line between sorrow and guilt.
"I feel sorry for what happened to him," said Tatum, who lost his left leg recently because of diabetes. "I tried to apologize to him a number of times, but people around him wouldn't let that happen."

-- Andy Benoit

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Category: NFL
Posted on: July 21, 2010 2:43 pm

People Want Terrell Owens on the Raiders? Really?

Terrell Owens and the Oakland Raiders would, on the surface, seem to go together like lamb and tunafish (or perhaps you prefer spaghetti and meatball?): a rambunctious, potentially over-the-hill, often self-absorbed wide receiver with a team known for its dysfunction and willingness to bring on disruptive personnel.

But this is supposed to be the "new Raiders," the team that dumped JaMarcus Russell and finally managed to put together an impressive draft class.

Surely, signing Owens is a complete non-sequitur to Oakland's offseason thus far, right?

Maybe not -- while there haven't been any actual rumors that the Raiders are interested, per se, there are a few folks out there tossing the idea around as if it wouldn't be all that horrible.

Adam Rank of NFL.com first proposed it yesterday, pointing out that both recently humbled parties deserve a second chance (although wisely admitting the notion that it could be a "hacky premise and an easy punch line").

And today, Monte Poole of the Oakland Tribune busted out a similar trope : the Raiders need TO.

So, um, do they?

Talent-wise, absolutely. Owens isn't an elite receiving option anymore, but judging him on his performance in Buffalo (based on their miserable quarterbacking situation and even more miserable offensive line) is a bit unfair -- he's clearly better than he was last year and definitely better than any other wideout on Oakland's roster.

There are other good arguments out there too: He'd immediately give new starter Jason Campbell a legit, proven weapon. He'd provide (potentially) a mentor for Darrius Heyward-Bey. He would be relatively cheap to bring in. His attitude would improve immediately just by being removed from the tropical paradise that is Buffalo.

The only question (and it's a really, really obvious one) is how will Owens mesh with the team's chemistry? Poole points out that having his own VH1 show is a nice outlet for Owens' self-indulgence, but I'd probably argue that still having his own show probably means that TO hasn't maxed out on humility quite yet.

That being said, though, if the Raiders went down this road, it would likely be with a cheap, incentive-laden contract that minimizes their risk. Worst case (or best case, if you write about the NFL for a living) is TO poisoning the locker room, causing a full-on silver and black meltdown that embarrasses the Raiders.

Either way, if it happens, it's worth bringing some popcorn.
-- Will Brinson
Posted on: July 8, 2010 3:52 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2010 4:27 pm

Oakland Raiders censure critics over Russell

Some critics have claimed the Oakland Raiders knew that JaMarcus Russell’s was abusing codeine and should have done more to either stop or help the quarterback. These critics have not drummed up much support or momentum, but the Raiders felt the need to release this statement anyway:

We did all that we could to intervene and assist with a myriad of issues with JaMarcus Russell. NFL policy restricts our ability to comment publicly at this time. Therefore, those in the media who declare what the Raiders knew or should have known or what the Raiders did or should have done, are reckless, irresponsible and offensive and do a disservice to all concerned, including the public.

--Andy Benoit

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Category: NFL
Posted on: July 6, 2010 8:24 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2010 8:27 pm

Russell, Leaf or the Boz?

J. Russell on the bench (Getty) While reading Andy’s post Monday night on JaMarcus Russell, where Andy called him “arguably the biggest bust in NFL history,” I wondered who else could qualify for such an impressive title.

I say we break down the numbers and figure out who really was the biggest bust. A few names pop out almost immediately: Russell, Brian Bosworth, and, of course, Ryan Leaf. Who will wear the crown? Who can be considered the biggest NFL disappointment of all time? Let’s check the scoreboard.

QB JaMarcus Russell , drafted No. 1 by the Raiders in 2007 – completed 52 percent of his passes for 18 TDs and 23 INTs, 7-18 as a starter – signed a six-year, $61 million contract with $32 million guaranteed:

Arguments For: He was undisciplined. He was lackadaisical. He was too heavy. He was indifferent. He was a disaster. He's also very rich in spite of all that.

Arguments Against: He played only two full seasons. Maybe he was just about to come into his own?

Brian Bosworth , drafted No. 1 by the Seahawks in the 1987 supplemental draft – played 24 games in three years and recorded four sacks – signed a 10-year, $11 million contract, then the highest in rookie and team history:

Arguments For: He was a Butkus Award winner, and he had huge hype after finishing his college career at Oklahoma. He had the posters, he had the nickname (The Boz) and he had the look. Evidently, he didn’t have quite as much talent, and steroids robbed him of a long career, forcing an early retirement. Plus, his haircut was indefensible, even it was totally 1980s.

Arguments Against: Seattle should have known it was taking a risk in drafting him. He was a known steroid user – he was suspended for the 1987 Orange Bowl – and he had an outlandish personality that could B. Bosworth and his hair (Getty) cause him to flame out suddenly. Some of the blame can be placed with the Seahawks.

Ryan Leaf
, drafted No. 2 overall by the Chargers in 1988 – completed 48 percent of his passes for 14 touchdowns and 36 interceptions, 4-17 as a starter – signed a four-year, $31 million contract with $11 million guaranteed:

  Arguments For:
As you might remember, there was a real debate about whether he or Peyton Manning should be taken with the top spot. Obviously, Leaf’s pro statistics speak for themselves, but you have to remember what the Chargers traded to the Cardinals for the chance to move from No. 3 in the Draft order to No. 2 – two first-round picks, a second-round pick and Eric Metcalf, a three-time Pro Bowler. Plus, Leaf was a jerk.

Arguments Against: Really, I’ve got nothing.

So, who’s the biggest bust? I give the nod to Leaf, but it’s close between him and Russell. Like, really close. Russell, though, still has a chance for redemption. Bosworth, to me, gets off easy on this argument, mostly because he provided the world the movie, “Stone Cold.”

On a side note, Russell’s arrest is no laughing matter. Here’s Alex Marvez of foxsports.com with a different take on the Russell arrest – a little bit of sympathy for somebody who perhaps has shown signs of being an addict.

--Josh Katzowitz

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Posted on: July 2, 2010 4:09 pm

Everybody's fault but JaMarcus Russell's

J. Russell getting crushed in a KC sandwich (Getty) I found this New York Times Fifth Down blog post today slightly humorous and slightly bizarre. Asking about the rumors that imply former Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell – largely considered one of the biggest No. 1 draft pick busts in NFL history – might work out a deal with the Jets, reporter Kristian R. Dyer spoke with well-regarded quarterback instructor Tom Martinez, who trained Russell before he was taken No. 1 in 2007.

What’s funny – and sort of head-scratchingly weird – Martinez blames a variety of reasons why Russell was terrible in Oakland. Very little of which, Martinez seems to say, was Russell’s fault.

Among the issues that were not Russell’s fault.

1)Russell should have been starting from day one and not relegated to backing up Josh McCown and Daunte Culpepper. That start-from-day-one decision might have worked for Colts QB Peyton Manning – who led his team to a 3-13 record in his rookie year, mind you – but the other option, allowing your top-picked QB to have a redshirt year, also works. Ask Bengals QB Carson Palmer, who’s had a pretty good career after sitting behind Jon Kitna for a season.

2)Bad offensive line and receivers who didn’t know – or simply couldn’t – separate from DBs.

3)The Raiders signed him for too much money as a rookie.

4)The coaches didn’t like him; only owner Al Davis did.

Yes, the fact that Russell didn’t work hard and played at a heavy weight didn’t have much to do with the reason he failed out of Oakland. Nothing at all.

OK, ok. Martinez isn’t being that ridiculous. He makes some valid points, but surely, Russell wasn’t so clearly not at fault.

From the article:

Of course, many in the league have questioned Russell’s work ethic, including his teammates, who liked him and wanted him to succeed, but grew tired of what they perceived as his indifference. Russell’s actions suggested he wanted out of the organization.

Martinez said bringing in Russell to back up Mark Sanchez would be a “brilliant move from a talent standpoint,” but even he concedes that if Russell doesn’t work hard, it will be the last we hear of him. All he needs is a fresh start, Martinez said, but the rest is up to him.

“If he repeats the same mistakes, then it’s his last chance,” Martinez said.

If he, in fact, gets another chance.

--Josh Katzowitz

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