Tuesday, September 30, 2008

" In Tom Cable we Trust"

The inevitable has happened and the axe has fallen on former Head Coach Lane Kiffin. I thought it was very strange that Al decided to break him off with a telephone call as oppose to speaking with him in person.

Al Davis named second year offensive line coach Tom Cable as the interim Head Coach. He becomes the fifth Raiders head coach since 2002. This is Cable’s second year with the Raiders. He was the offensive line coach for the Atlanta Falcons in 2006 where he helped the Falcons lead the league in rushing.

He has 21 years of coaching experience with four as the Head Coach at the University of Idaho. He has been tutored by several great coaches and is a disciple of Alex Gibbs, a well known Offensive line coach.

He is well respected by the team and around the league, he has to bring the team together starting October first and get them to focus on playing better in the final 12 contests this season and finishing games.

After watching the unprecedented Al Davis Press Conference and noticing him go into great detail and speak at length that he had cause to fire Kiffin was odd.

Al had a Power Point presentation and displayed the letter that he sent to Kiffin outlining mistakes made on and off the field as well as his warnings to him.

Al came off as someone who was storing up information for this moment from when Kiffin was hired until now. He stated that it wasn’t simply one thing as the reason for Lane’s dismissal but an accumulation of the things.

Al did state the obvious, that he didn’t want to admit that he made a mistake in hiring Lane Kiffin, as the reason Kiffin wasn’t fired in the off-season.

He essentially said that Lane ‘disgraced’ the team and organization citing outright lies to the media and conflicts over personnel.

Al Davis denied a report that he gave Kiffin a letter of resignation to sign and that he didn’t sign it.

He stated that Kiffin was responsible for getting that false claim out to the media. He used it as an example for describing Kiffin with the double barrel verbal blast as a ‘flat-out liar’ and a ‘professional liar’ in the middle of a bit of rambling.

The stranger thing was that the relationship between Kiffin and Davis deteriorated that much in such a short time.

Lane had a 5-15 record in his one year four game career which isn’t great but the team was competitive, had a lead before losing and was competitive in those 15 loses.

Al went on to say that even if the Raiders had a three win –one loss record he still would’ve fired Kiffin which was odd.

Several have stated that Lane was trying to get fired to collect the remainder of the money on his contract but I’ve always disagreed with that comment.

The Raiders have been close to wins on several occasions but unlike horseshoes and hand grenades the reality is this isn’t the close business. The bottom line is winning and the team has to find ways to win.

I’m interested in what changes we’ll see in the team for the remainder of the season. Tom Cable is in his second season with the team and has a good idea of what needs to happen.

I feel that he will attempt to rally the veteran players and call on their leadership to help right the ship. The team has had some success this year; they’ve also shown that they’re close to breaking out.

Tom Cable knows that in the NFL points come out of the passing game and that you run the ball to win the game. The defense has to get after and stop the opponent as well as get off the field on third down.

He is aware that this team has had leads in 2007 and 2008 but needs to figure out how to finish games. That has to happen and hopefully this team will be more aggressive on both sides of the ball without having to deal with the distraction of having to field the "is this week that the Head Coach will be fired question."

Monday, September 29, 2008

Thoughts on the 2008 Oakland Raiders, after the First Quarter

The NFL season is a long 16 week journey, so one needs to break it down into four quarters to put the season into perspective.

The Raiders have reached the bye week with one win and three losses on the season. This isn’t the worse record in the league but it is far from the best. This best thing is the season isn’t over and the team has time to get it together.

What have we learned so far?

We’ve learned a few things so far, one thing is that this is a young team that is still learning how to win games. We’ve learned that this team is better than several people thought they were but that they’ve yet to prove it.

We’ve also learned that this team has yet to put together a complete game, as evidenced by losses in weeks three and four. We’ve also learned that this team is capable of doing so much better.

Had the Raiders been able to put together a complete game and execute on offense and play solid defense in the second half of games as oppose to wearing down the Raiders would be looking at a record showing three wins and one loss which would have them tied for first place in the AFC West and spoken of as a team on the rise.

The above was a possibility but the reality is that this hasn’t happened.

The Raiders are a team in the process of rebuilding with an owner that appears to be dead set against the need to do so. There is a huge need for some Raider fans to get beyond blaming the officials for the outcome of games, unless that is the case and when it is trust me it will be obvious.

Several factors have gotten the team to this point; injuries, conservative play calling, the WR’s not stepping up and making plays, not executing on offense, failure to hold leads on defense, not doing enough to win games, doing a better job in acquiring the right personnel, doing a better job scouting college talent, drafting better and an owner and front office with a commitment to fire the head coach as oppose to winning games.

The next quarter includes road games against the Saints and Ravens, home games against the Jets and Falcons. The Raiders need to put the first quarter behind them and focus on playing a complete game each week.

There needs to be two game plans both offensively and defensively each week. Meaning that the team needs to have a game plan and be able to make second half adjustments and finish games.

The Raiders have shown signs of improvement in all areas and moving in the right direction but still have a long way to go in several areas.

The Raiders offensively have shown that they’re a running team with a stable of solid running backs and a system that allows them to do what they do best.

Lane Kiffin and Gregg Knapp need to establish the run, use mis-direction plays and use a lot of play action passes, work on several pressure release options and screens while not forgetting to take a few shots deep to keep the opposing defenses honest.

The team needs to make opposing defenses cover the entire field. Force teams to decide against stacking the box and placing eight defenders there to stop the run.

There needs to be a tremendous amount of work on third down offense to be able to sustain drives and give the defense more time to rest, especially being thin as they are at the Defensive Tackle position.

The team needs to activate WR Todd Watkins and go with a liberal use of a WR corps of Ashley Lelie, Johnnie Lee Higgins, Chaz Schilens and Todd Watkins. I would also like to suggest sitting Javon Walker and Ronald Curry. Neither one has met expectations.

The offensive line has played better than expected at times but needs to do a better job of giving JaMarcus Russell time to find an open receiver.

The defense needs to be much more aggressive and attack throughout the game. The defense needs to dictate what is to come to the offense as oppose to reacting. The defense has had trouble holding leads in the last two games and not being aggressive and that can be attributed to not getting off of the field on third down.

The way Al Davis is treating Lane Kiffin is a travesty. Al Davis has handled this situation horribly. I see both sides of the argument but I applaud Lane Kiffin for the way he is handling the situation and to the players for publically supporting the Head Coach.

In the competitive NFL he has shown that he is a competitor and has not quit. Doing so would follow you throughout your career. No one wins in this type of scenario and the fans are the ones who ultimately suffer as all Raider fans have for far too long.

One of two things should’ve happened, either fire him or endorse him as the head coach for the remainder of the year so all involved can move on.

This has been yet another year where ‘top down’ distractions have contributed to the team’s slow start. Contrary to popular belief, the season is not over and the goal for the team continues to be getting better and winning games.

The Raiders have a lot of work to do and need to continue to work hard toward improvement with the support of the Owner and Front Office.

The team can be best described as a work in progress although all of the above are things that the Raider Nation would like to see.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Revisiting Al Davis’ takeover of the Oakland Raiders

There was a time when Al Davis knew what he was doing and was good at it. I have no problem giving credit where credit is due; he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992 for his past contributions.

He has done a lot for the Oakland Raiders, AFL and the NFL. The team was 9-33 in the three years prior to his arrival; the 33-year old Davis, led the team to a 10-4 record in 1963 and was named AFL coach of the year.

Davis compiled a 23-16-8 record in his three years as head coach prior to becoming the AFL commissioner in 1966. Once named AFL Commissioner; Al Davis led some aggressive campaigns against the NFL, he went at them hard, signed several of their top players to AFL contracts.

Several other AFL owners held silent meetings with the NFL discussing a merger of the two football leagues; they announced plans that they were merging with the NFL.

Due to the compensation that AFL teams had to pay to the NFL, because he felt that the AFL would be the superior league if allowed to remain separate, Al Davis was staunchly against the merger.

He then decided to return to the Raiders as the general partner and head of football operations, along with seven other co-owners, instead of remain as commissioner until the AFL ended in 1970. In other words, he returned to take over.

He ruthlessly began his plight to become the don, or better yet, take complete control of the organization.

The same man who demands loyalty from all of his coaches, decided to make his power play and oust managing general partner F. Wayne Valley in 1972 while he was attending the Summer Olympics in Munich.

He decided to revise the partnership agreement that gave him near total-control of team operations. F. Wayne Valley returned home after dealing with the shock of the tragic events of the Olympics just to find out what had happened.

He tried to sue Al Davis to overturn the revised agreement but it was too late, he no longer had a voice.

F. Wayne Valley sold his interest in 1976, and no other partner has had a role in running the team since. Keep in mind that Davis didn’t officially acquire majority interest in the team until 2005, when he bought the shares held by the family of Ed McGah, the team’s last original general partner.

It sounds like fear and intimidation played a huge factor in the interim.
He currently owns 67-percent of the interests in the partnership through his company, A. D. Football, Inc. In other words he has been a team owner and general manager since 1970. This informs those who don’t know how we reached this point.

Call him a ‘control freak’ and you wouldn’t be off the mark. Call him someone who doesn’t like change and you would be wrong. While we’re on the subject of being wrong, it is dead wrong for the team to be in the state they’re in right now and the state that they’ve been in since 2001.

The NFL is a business of which the Oakland Raiders are a part of. Any business that has a few bad months or a bad quarter is holding several meetings/discussions to figure out what the company is doing wrong and what needs to happen to change it.

Any business that has been as terrible and unproductive as the Raiders have been over the last five years would no longer be in business.

Albert Einstein said it best when he said and I quote “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

As a fan of this team I’ve seen this on more than one occasion it is ridiculous. I’ve never seen failure at every level until I watch my team.

I’ll focus on the NFL draft for one; let’s look at the 2003 draft after Al traded Head Coach Jon Gruden for draft picks. Let's look at how those picks were used.

1 (31) Nnamdi Asomugha, CB California
1 (32) Tyler Brayton, DE Colorado
2 (63) Teyo Johnson, TE Stanford
3 (83) Sam Williams, LB/DE Fresno State
3 (96) Justin Fargas, RB Southern California
4 (129) Shurron Pierson, DE South Florida
5 (167) Doug Gabriel, WR Central Florida
6 (204) Dustin Rykert, OT Brigham Young
7 (246) Siddeeq Shabazz, SS New Mexico State
7 (262) Ryan Hoag, WR Gustavus Adolphus

Ten picks in the draft, five selections in the first 100 picks and the Raiders have two starters, three still on the roster and six that are no longer in the league.

I like CB Nnamdi Asomugha, but can’t understand how a team with two 1st round picks can pass on WR Anquan Boldin and DE Osi Umenyiora in favor of DE Tyler Brayton.

In the 2nd round in need of a TE and OLB, the team passed on TE Jason Witten, OLB Lance Briggs in favor of TE Teyo Johnson.
Lane Kiffin and staff need to remain in place to develop the young players and come together as a unit. The Raiders need to re-build the team the right way and build through the draft, finally.
This is the only sane way to bring the team back to being competitive every game and every season.
Fire Lane Kiffin and it will set the franchise back for at least the next three to five years. Al needs to do the right thing and stop meddling with the team. We all know who the boss is but the real question is does Al Davis care about the teams fans?

I have a strong love for the Raiders and have been a fan since the AFL days who is highly upset that my team has turned into an NFL punch line. I've got a lot of love for Al Davis, but for several years now he has failed to lead the team in the right direction.It is time to turn the controls over to someone else.
Hey Al, the 70’s and 80’s called, they want their team back.

Al Davis Needs to Stop Hitting the Reset Button

All is quiet on the western front, or at least in the East Bay of Northern California. Lane Kiffin has his job for another week despite the reports that he was out as early as 9/15/08.

He is at odds with Al Davis and we all know how this scenario usually ends.

The Oakland Raiders have to deal with more distractions from the top down, STILL. This has been a common theme for every fan of this team and it started out being a few jabs fans had to deal with but these punches have all landed and need to stop.

Any change needs to be from the top down.

We’ve seen the Don, Al Davis, run off several coaches who refused to be his “yes men” or ‘kiss the ring’ so to speak, and the franchise and its fans have suffered by the decisions.

The loyalty of the Raider Nation has not been reciprocated and Al Davis could care less, if it was different he would handle the team’s affairs differently and stop landing punches on the Raider fans.

Case in point, notice the timing of the latest act after the team’s best performance in years. Lane Kiffin and staff have some solid pieces to work with and regardless who the opponent is rushing for 300 yards is epic.

It is a known fact that every Raiders coach has no authority or job security at all. The reason for this is simple; it is Al Davis a man off of his rocker. He has been a maverick owner for years. He is a commander who is asleep at the wheel and has been for years.

The only thing he is accomplishing at this point is inserting yet another knife in the teams back.

His tired act is the equivalent of a QB throwing a pass to a wide open receiver on a sure touchdown just to have a disgruntled teammate upset that he isn’t playing come off of the sideline to emphatically bring him down with a shot that causes his neck to snap back.

Every single selfish act of firing the head coach has come back to bite him and provide the fans with another body shot. Teams from the front office down to the players need to be on the same page and working toward the common goal of winning games.

That goal needs to be more than proving that you’re the boss.

Here is a small list of the fired few:

Mike Shanahan, John Fox, Jon Gruden, Norv Turner, Bill Callahan, Art Shell, Joe Bugel

Six of the seven are still coaching in the league. Al hired them all and fired them for different reasons but as usual he felt the need to meddle with them. There are several playoff appearances between them; and three super bowl wins.

Had Al not been selfish and kept Mike Shanahan or Jon Gruden in place as the Head Coach this franchise would’ve won more than three championships and it would be stocked with more talent. There is also a good chance that team’s record against the Broncos would be different.

It is a known fact that Al Davis has no problem firing coaches but it has also been proven that with every coach fired it is another year of the team having a lack of continuity. It sets the franchise back at least three years.

When asked what he thought of the rumors flying around of Lane Kiffin being fired Nnamdi Asomugha stated that “I’ve heard that every year since I’ve been here”, He is the teams best defensive player and he was drafted in 2003, meaning he has had four and now possibly going on five head coaches.

He is also one of the rare players that have had the time to develop in Oakland. The coaches aren’t the problem the problem is in the owner’s box.

It appears to be that silly time of the year again when Al uttered those words “He’s not the guy I hired.” It is widely speculated that Al is prepared to fire Lane Kiffin and promote either Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan or Wide Receiver’s coach James Lofton.

It has been reported that it is a matter of when and not if he will be fired. In the event this happens it will be yet another distraction for this team. This team will not be able to build upon an impressive win in week two and it will be another ‘top down distraction’.

Lane Kiffin has stated the same thing that every other Raider coach has known and the reason several others refuse to coach in Oakland, being saddled by, the meddling of Al Davis.

It is difficult and almost impossible for a coach to do his job when the Owner/President/ Vice President/General Manager/Director Player Personnel/ Vice President Player Personnel/Director of Football Operations wants to tell you how to do your job and stands over you throughout the process.

Al was upset at the statement Lane Kiffin made after the terrible Monday night loss. He was bent that Kiffin basically stated that the defensive game plan was put together by Rob Ryan and Al Davis.

He also stated that Ryan showed more leadership than Kiffin by not throwing the players under the bus. It was also Al’s decision to have Rob Ryan give a press conference fall on the sword and back Al.

The person that needs to be fired is Al Davis. It is time for Al Davis to give control of the team to someone else, someone who is committed to improving this team. Several coaches have been fired and the record remains the same.

Most teams are set up to be .500 or better and when they’re not you can point the finger at the General Manager and the Owner, when they’re the same person fault needs to be placed at his doorstep and nowhere else.

I do have a few suggestions for improvement; hire a President, Vice President, General Manager, Director Player Personnel, Director of College Scouting and a brand new scouting staff.

There is a draft every year which gives a team the opportunity to add seven players or more per year to help improve the team. There has been too many times when the wrong player is drafted and of the listed seven to ten, only two or three players make the team with perhaps one being a starter.

Lane Kiffin has the team moving in the right direction and is in the process of building a team. This is something that Al Davis doesn’t like but needs to fall in love with. The idea of throwing money at older veteran players past their prime hasn’t worked for a very long time.

He has to realize that he’s thrown money at these players instead of building through the draft and the team has gone nowhere.

The only way for this to change is to have Lane Kiffin remain as the Head Coach and allow him and his coaching staff to do their jobs and develop these young players into a cohesive and competitive unit.

This is the only way that the Oakland Raiders will improve and stop Al Davis from hitting the reset button every two years. Raider fans have taken enough blows if it was a sanctioned fight the referee would stop the fight.

It is going to happen and it will be Al Davis’ and the Oakland Raiders ‘coup de grace’.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Darren McFadden and the Raiders run over Chiefs 23-8

What a world of difference a trip to Kansas City can make. The Raiders went to Missouri with their backs against the wall. Several people had the team dead and buried; winning cures all and the Raiders grew up as a team today.

The Raiders came into the game prepared to right the ship and leave town with a .500 record. The defense, under fire after a terrible week one showing, really shined. There was a lot of talk about Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan’s fiery profanity laced tirade during the week being a bad thing; but the team responded.

The Raider defense played with emotion and energy and held the Chiefs running game to 55 yards on 19 carries and no rushing touchdowns; got after the quarterback and came away with five sacks and two huge interceptions. The biggest was the second of the day and first of the year by MLB Kirk Morrison to seal the win.

The Raiders game plan was to run the football and throw when necessary. The team accomplished that task and more as they ran on, through and over the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Raiders as a team, rushed for 300 yards lead by Darren McFadden’s coming out party of 21 carries for 164 yards and his first NFL touchdown; the majority of which was in the second half. McFadden had runs for 21, 24, 51 yards and a 19-yard touchdown run.

Justin Fargas started the game and finished with nine carries for 43 yards before leaving the game with a groin injury.

The secret weapon, also known as, Michael Bush had a bit of a coming out party as well with 16 carries for 90 yards and his first NFL touchdown closing out the game. He did have a costly fumble that was potentially disastrous but the team was able to overcome the turnover.

QB JaMarcus Russell didn’t put up eyebrow raising numbers, he didn’t have to, but what he did do was manage the offense and protect the ball and not turn it over for the second week in a row.

The Raiders offensive line deserves a great deal of credit for their performance. I have to mention a huge performance by LT Mario Henderson. I had my concerns about him making his first NFL start but just as Head Coach Lane Kiffin stated he would, he played outstanding.

Mario Henderson had a baptism by fire and responded well and really stepped up and met the challenge. What was thought to be a weakness turned into a seamless addition to the offensive line. The best thing about it was that you never heard his or any of the linemen’s names.

Trust me when the offensive line is virtually anonymous until the outcome of a game has already been decided that unit played well.

The Raiders outgained the Chiefs 355 yards of total offense to 190. The win was the Raiders second straight in Kansas City.
Kicker Sebastian Janikowski converted three field goals from distances of 25, 40 and an amazing 56-yard kick; and in the process kept his streak alive by converting 15 consecutive field goals in Kansas City.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Oakland Raiders: Sifting through the debris

The Raider Nation was poised to start the season off right and the Network Associates Coliseum was sold out ready for action. The building was in a word electric and the Nation was behind the team; what we saw was awful.

The Raiders took a 41 – 14 beat down at the hands of the Broncos. It can be broken down into three parts, the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good

QB JaMarcus Russell was 17-of-26 for 180 yards with a 111.1 passer rating and didn’t throw and interception.

Justin Fargas had 18 attempts for 97 yards, a 5.4 yards per carry average and a long 42 yard run. Darren McFadden had nine attempts for 46 yards, a 5.1 yards per carry average. The Raiders had success running the ball as a team rushed for 150 yards with a five yards per carry average.

Johnnie Lee Higgins had six kickoff returns for 154 yards, with a 25.7 yard average per return and a 58 yard return providing the offense with excellent field position.

Zach Miller had four receptions for 34 yards, with an 8.5 YPC average, his longest was 21 yards.
Justin Griffith had three receptions for 39 yards, with a 13 YPC average, his longest was 24 yards.
Ashlie Lelie had three receptions for 37 yards, with a 12.3 YPC average, and a touchdown, his longest was 22 yards.
Chaz Schilens had two receptions for 29 yards, with a 14.5 YPC average, his longest was 19 yards.

The Raiders claimed OT James Marten off waivers from the Cowboys; He is in his second year, a 2007 third round draft choice from Boston College, Another young player to develop.

The Bad

Russell’s lone turnover; the fumble on the screen pass to McFadden. The turnover wasn’t as bad as the time it happened. The Raiders answering the Broncos first score and tying the game would’ve been huge and would’ve helped to get the crowd into the game.

Guard/ Tackle Paul McQuistan went down and left the game with an injury; it appears that he is out for the season with a knee injury on an already thin offensive line.

The Raiders defense looked lost and on their heels the entire game. The secondary appeared to be trying to do too much instead of everyone handling their assignments. Unfortunately it isn’t anything new.

The Raiders committed 10 penalties for 100 yards.

The Ugly

The defensive had trouble slowing down the Broncos offense minus Brandon Marshall and never did. In the infamous words of Joe Namath the Raiders defense was ‘struggling’.

The overall poor play of the veteran players on the team and the lack of leadership shown. The Defense was in a word awful; the worst thing was that the unit looked as if they were lost and a step behind from the outset.

The Broncos offensive game plan clearly was to isolate rookie WR Eddie Royal on newly acquired CB DeAngelo Hall and he got owned. This matchup was simply a mismatch as the rookie embarrassed the veteran.

No one expected DeAngelo Hall to endorse Royal’s rookie of the week bid but with his poor play he signed off on it. Hall sits firmly on the hot seat, but he is not alone. He is a veteran that knows he needs to redeem himself.

The Defense was devoid of a pass rush, again. The Defensive Coordinator or Al again decided to not blitz at all. The defense spent the entire evening waiting to see what would happen as oppose to dictating to the offense what will happen.

Derrick Burgess left the game with an injury and with him went any chance of getting to the passer. Free Agent DE Kalimba Edwards was a game day scratch who could’ve helped rush the passer.

WR Ronald Curry not helping out his young QB and dropping two catchable passes that would’ve been huge plays for the team. There isn’t a receiver that can say he never drops a pass but both were unacceptable.

The continued absence of WR Javon Walker is disappointing and has him on the hotseat as well.

The best WR in training camp was Todd Watkins and the disappointing thing was that he was inactive in a game he could’ve helped to provide a spark to the offense.

It has been said for years that cornerbacks play on an island and that they’ve short memories. I believe this the case in regards to DeAngelo Hall because the entire defense needs to have a huge bounce back game.

Game one is over and the team has the best remedy for putting this game behind them; game two in Kansas City. The Raiders need to forget about the monday night debacle. The focus needs to be on playing night and day better and winning the game against the Chiefs.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Oakland Raiders' Much Needed Roster Additions

The Raiders cut 21 players to reach the league mandated 53 players. Head Coach Lane Kiffin stated “that the roster wasn’t set “; his way of saying that a few changes will be made to the roster.

The first two moves have been re-signing Free Agent Fullback Luke Lawton to a one year deal. This move was big due to the fact that the Oakland Raiders are a running team and to go into the regular season with only one Fullback would’ve been alarming. He effectively replaces injured Fullback Oren O’Neal.

In need of a veteran receiver with game experience the Raiders signed 6’3” 195 lbs. WR Ashlie Lelie to a one year deal. He was recently released by the San Francisco 49ers. He brings a 17.2 yards per catch average to the silver and black. He is a deep threat receiver and former 2002 1st round draft pick on the Denver Broncos.

Both players are being added to the active roster which brings up the obvious question; who do they replace on the active roster?

A couple of other factors come into play here. 1) The Raiders should carry six receivers on the roster. The Raiders are a running team but there will be occasions when the team will run multiple receiver sets. Adding a veteran receiver will help the show the young receivers the ropes and will aid in their development.

2) SLB Robert Thomas, who lost the positional battle to new starter Ricky Brown, is injured. He is receiving starters pay and the last two high salaried non-starters who were in the same position (Greg Biekert and Danny Clark) were released.

My solution would be to release SLB Sam Williams and SS Hiram Eugene. Robert Thomas has earned a roster spot and has been far more productive than Sam Williams. He was behind Robert Thomas and Ricky Brown all of training camp.

He is a good guy and I would thank him for his contributions, and wish him well but his services are no longer needed.

He has been with the team since the 2003 draft and has missed 44 of 80 games since he was the selected as the 83rd player selected in the third round. He was selected over LB Angelo Crowell and LB Bradie James. He has yet to develop in to the player the team envisioned.

Speaking of the draft this is a year in which none of the Raiders draft choices didn’t make the team. The Raiders gave up a second round pick to acquire CB DeAngelo Hall essentially making him a part of the 2008 draft.

WR Arman Shields was placed on the Injury Reserve list due to being injured the majority of training camp but looks to be the surprises of the 2009 training camp.

There are linebackers on the waiver wire that can give the Raiders what Sam Williams has provided at a lower cost.

Speaking of the waiver wire, the team can find an athletic offensive tackle that can take Mario Henderson’s spot which would allow the team to place him on the practice squad and provide time to develop both Henderson and the replacement player.

The reason for Hiram Eugene’s release can be justified by stating there isn’t a need to carry five safeties.

The future of the franchise looks good and it is very exciting to see so many talented young players on the roster. The Raiders have improved their talent and will be much more competitive this year.