Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Raiders Dark Horse

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After mini-camp, The Oakland Raiders have taken a lot of criticism over their quarterback play.

Anyone who has played football, knows that it is way too early to make assumptions about the Raiders play as they are still shorts and tee shirts. However the amount of ducks and inaccurate throws by the teams three quarterbacks has given precedent to experts being skepical of the 3’s ability to play. Reporters even labeled the Raiders mini-camp as one of the worst showings of NFL mini-camps ever.

Espn’s Jaworski labeled Matt Flynn the worst starting quarterback. This comes a year after Flynn lost his starting job with the Seahawks to Russell Wilson. Fourth round selection, Tyler Wilson has shown flashes of ability but his lack of experience and reliance on physical ability instead of mechanics caused him to fall to the fourth round. And then there is Terrelle Pryor. Pryor was one of the most decorated quarterbacks entering his senior year at Ohio State, before he was the face of one of the NCAA’s biggest recruiting scandals. The previous regime felt the Ohio State stand out was still worthy of a third round pick in the NFL’s Supplemental draft.

Coach Dennis Allen, has since said that Matt Flynn is the starting quarterback until the competition dictates otherwise. While Flynn is the highest paid of the group, I would caution Allen of putting all his eggs in one basket. Allen may not feel pressure to play Pryor because he did not draft him, but I would think otherwise.

The NFL stands for Not For Long, and if Allen thinks he will be safe after another year of mediocrity, he has another thing coming. The fact of the matter is the Raiders are not the most talented of teams, and they need to find ways to win games. I find it hard to believe that a 6’4 , 4.5 running quarterback doesn’t give this team its best chance to win. Pryor is probably the second or third most explosive play-maker on the entire team. This is why many people are urging the quarterback to change positions, but I disagree. In a league where athletic quarterbacks, gimmick offensives, and options are dominating the competition, the Raiders best bet it is to jump on the train before they get left. Pryor has had his best seasons in a run option spread system similar to what Cam newton, Tim Tebow, and RGII are having success with. His size and athleticism open up even more dimensions and wrinkles to the Raiders Offense. Defenses around the league will have to respect both Pryor and Mcfadden in the option. Meanwhile his size and athleticism make him a threat to tuck it or chuck it from the pocket.

Sure Pryor has tones to learn in terms of becoming a quarterback at this level, but so do the other two people in the group.  I mean what is the worst thing that could happen? Many people already predict the Raiders to walk away with #1 pick, but atleast pryor will fill a few more seats, and get a few more highlights. Playing Pryor and them losing will show Allen exhausting all of his resources. If Allen elects not to utilize Pryor, many fans and officials will call for the coaches jobs as he will be quilty of not exhausting all of his resources, and that is what every coach is hired to do. I for one, just want to see what the young player is capable with, so that we can move along. I know Pryor is a competitor and gamer just as much as he is an athlete and the god given ability should have some translation to on the field results. So don’t forget about Pryor when you think about the Raiders QB competition, as his ability combined with great coaching could be scary for opposing defenses.

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Bigger Impact: Woodson or Branch?

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Safeties Charles Woodson and Tyvon Branch are arguably two of the most skilled players on the entire Oakland Raiders Roster. Both seasoned vets offer a tenacity and versatility that could be utilized by most teams in the NFL.

This past off season the Raiders said farewell to veteran Michael Huff who had been the leader of the DBs since being drafted number 7th overall. The change comes a year after veteran Tyvon Branch was signed to a multi year deal after a season where he was a pro bowl alternate.

Charles Woodson’s credentials speak for himself, as he was once the pro bowl corner and franchise cornerstone of the Raiders. Just before he spent the last 7 seasons in Green Bay were he was able to be an all pro and defensive player of the year winner.

Both safeties are capable tacklers, cover men, and leaders, but my question is which player will have the bigger impact this season?

While Branch is younger, and has more experience with this Raider’s roster and staff, I will make the argument for the savvy vet, Charles woodson.

I have heard many say c-wood has shown he has lost a step or two of explosiveness, I disagree. Father time might have slowed Woodson down,but for every bit of athleticism lost, Woodson has gained two steps of maturity and intelligence.

As for the field, Branch’s nose for the ball and sure tackling make him a likely cantidate for the SS position. Woodson does possess a similar skill set, but his experience in coverage and range give him a leg up on Branch in terms of Coverage. He also has 55 interceptions showing proving the DB’s superior ball skills and game intelligence. Not to mention, we have all seen branch get lost in coverage, or burned by a tightend/slot receiver countless times.

You factor in Woodson’s Heisman trophy, defensive player of the year award, and all pro awards, one will see Woodson posses the merit and swagger this Raider team has been missing since he left the first time.

The fact of the matter is Woodson, was around the last time the Raiders were even relevant. He knows what it means to be an actual Raider, and what it means to win games. Woodson’s swagger is just as important as what 24 brings on the football every game.