Monthly Archives: August 2015

What to look for in the dress rehearsal

The third preseason game is usually referred to as the “Dress Rehearsal,” because players play the most. The Oakland Raiders face the Arizona Cardinals for their Dress Rehearsal.

Here are a few story-lines to keep an eye during tomorrow’s bout.

D.J. Hayden’s rebound

Hayden must show some improvement. Forget not making mistakes. Forget winning a starting position. Hayden must simply grow as a football player. His amount of playing action has been limited the past two seasons. However, he is healthy and must improve.

I know he got ate up by the Minnesota Viking’s Charles Johnson, last week. Yet a defensive back is only as good as his last play. Hayden must rebound and put the poor performance behind him. The Raiders do not have any better options, so Hayden must develop.

Sio Moore’s health

This week, Head Coach Jack Del Rio said Moore is battling for a role-player position. Moore spent most of camp rehabbing a hip-injury. Therefore, Moore needs to prove he is healthy. If he plays against the Cardinals, he must show the same explosiveness and swagger which has made him successful the past two seasons.

More importantly, Moore must show an understanding of the new defense. Moore received plenty of mental reps this offseason, so he can implement that knowledge. At the vary least, few mental errors will help Moore find a situational role.

Taylor Mays addition

Did the Raiders sign Taylor Mays because they believe he can add something to the team? Or is it simply a favor for a once prominent collegian player via Ken Norton Jr., who coached Mays at USC?

Mays may not know the defense, but he needs to prove he still has potential. He has been in the league five years, but has not established himself. You can not teach his god-given talents and hitting ability. Therefore, maybe the Raiders gamble on Mays could pay off.

In closing, there are several jkey players who need a stand-out performance against the Arizona Cardinals.

Who are some players you will be looking at for a big game?

Throwback Thursday: remembering Kenny Stabler

Image via Twitter

Image via Twitter

One Oakland Raider went into the Hall of Fame earlier this month. That was Tim Brown.

Now one Raider, who has waited even longer than Brown, has an opportunity to go into Canton. Kenny “The Snake” Stabler was nominated by the senior committee, and will be on the ballot in 2016.

Stabler has been on the regular ballet three-times, but failed to get enough votes.

Stabler should be in, because he lead the Raiders to five AFC Championship games and one Superbowl victory.

But what do I know? I am just another Raider fan and blogger.

The truth is, I never witnessed Stabler play. All I know about the 1970s’ All-Decade team member is what I have seen on NFL films and heard via legends.

Still, I get chills hearing about those great Raider teams. A team that dominated and did so in style. So much style, that one player even arrived on a horse for training camp.

Could you imagine how many retweets that would have gotten?

No one embody theĀ  swagger and image of those Raider teams better than Stabler. When he passed away last month I heard all types of stories.

Most people know about the historic games. The “Ghost to the Post,” and “Sea of Hands” playoff games. Stabler was also on the receiving end of a great comeback via the “Immaculate Reception.”

Then there are legends among bars in the bay-area. There is the story about the quarterback who would get bailed out of jail before games.

Stabler even received a repetition as a womanizer. The two-time divorcee once said players in his day did not have agents and managers. Instead, they had girlfriends and bartenders.

Most of all, he was an approachable guy, who Raider and Alabama Crimson Tide fans still love.

In a lot of ways, Stabler was an athlete ahead of his time. Players did not make nearly as much as they do now, but Stabler still stunted in high fashion and sports cars.

On the field, teammates and coaches loved Stabler’s tireless work-ethic. He was a brilliant player calling his own plays long before Peyton Manning. Stabler was not known for a big arm. However, what he lacked in arm-strength he made up for in accuracy. Not to mention, Stabler stood strong in the pocket and took hits that would be illegal in today’s NFL.

John Madden said he would take Stabler over any quarterback in history. That probably has to do with Stabler helping Madden win his own Superbowl.

None the less, Stabler was a winner, renegade and Raider. There are plenty of articles that throw statistics as to why Stabler should be in the Hall of Fame. He has more passing yards than Brian Griese and Joe Nammoth. However, my appeal goes beyond the statistics.

I am privileged to know about the legend of the left-handed Snake. However, the entire football culture needs to know about Stabler. Look at how crazy the internet went when the Snake passed.

Fans, media and former-teammates grieved for the player who was quiet about his illness. Everyone chimed in stories about him in Oakland, Alabama and New Orleans. It goes to show exactly how much he meant to the game of football.

Canton needs to enshrine Stabler, so future fans can enjoy the legend of the Snake.

Reaction from game one

What I liked

The offensive line faced a big task against a you-gun St. Louis Rams defensive line. They passed the test by keeping Carr upright and springing Latavius Murray for a 17-yard run.

Amari Cooper wasted no time proving he can be a ballet. He did not seem nervous at all, as he caught three passes from quarterback Derek Carr.

Carr showed a grown confidence. He seemed more willing to sling the ball around. This group of receivers made a few plays the would not have made last year.

What I did not like

A couple of time Gabe Jackson did not block anyone when he was the pulling guard. Jackson is one of our bright spots, but he needs to grow his consistency. Rodney Hudson should help him with better push on down blocks.

Mychael Rivera did not start the game, and I wanted him to. Everyone had been raving about how good he looks but I wanted to see it with the first team.

On the opening drive, Carr threw a pick in scoring position. Our team is not talented enough to turn the ball over. He needs to work on the read and placement. I also would have liked him to redeem himself with one more drive. Let him prove he is a winner and can bounce back.

Keith McGill played a lot with the second team. He made a few plays here and there. However, I caught him with some bad technique a few times. McGill should have an extended role with the defense if he can work on consistency.

Overall, it is only preseason, so let’s not get our panties in a bunch. I can’t wait to see how the team improves next week.

Reaction to Raiders’ first official depth chart

Depth Chart via Raiders.com.

Depth Chart via Raiders.com.

The Oakland Raiders released their first depth chart, Aug. 10. Headlining some of the surprises are some position changes and incumbents who have fallen behind because of injuries.

Khalil Mack shocked a lot of people, because he is listed as DE. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who follows the team, because they have been adamant about him rushing the passer. My worries are about his long-term development. How many times did Jacksonville need a DE when JDR was head coach there?

Speaking of high draft-picks. D.J. Hayden claimed his rightful spot a top the depth chart. Then again, it shouldn’t be an accomplishment for the player drafted No. 12 in 2013. Moreover, it is a testament to the lack of talent the Raiders have at the position. Regardless, Hayden has displayed the right mentality so far in the offseason. Hayden said he plans to play all-out, without worrying about mistakes.

Then there were the snubbs. Rod Streater has yet to practice in training camp, so it is no surprise he has fallen behind. The Raiders have signed lots of competition at the position. Streater has the versatility to reclaim the spot, however, the coaching staff needs to see it.

Other injured players tumbling include Sio Moore. He is listed as a Will linebacker on the depth chart. The Will and Sam have some slightly different specifics, but I think Moore is better fitted at the Sam. Either way, he faces a tough challenge getting back into the starter role. Ray-Ray Armstrong has the coaching staff praising him constantly. Then there is the starting Will, former Super Bowl MVP, former Trojan and Seahawk Malcolm Smith. Smith’s versatility in coverage better suits the other two linebackers. Plus, Ken Norton Jr. is familiar with him from Seattle.

How about the Raiders other top position battles?

Well, the right tackle position has pretty much been Menelik Watson’s to lose. The former second round pick is listed as the starter, despite missing some time. Austin Howard and his $6 million dollars who? The tight end position will probably be an on-going one, throughout the season.

Mychael Rivera is listed as a No. 2, despite media praising him as a camp stand-out. His chemistry with Derek Carr gives him an advantage over the rookie third round pick Clive Watford. However, Lee Smith is the one getting the nod for the first pre-season bout. The primary blocker listed as a starter probably has more to do with the offense’s commitment to running the ball then anything else.

Remember Trent Richardson? Vic Tafur said his chances of making the team were 50/50, but I would put them higher. Helu is currently listed as the No. 2 runner behind Latavius Murray. However, Helu is primarily a receiving back. With Marcel Reece and Rivera taking most of the snaps at H-back, Helu might be repetitive. Maybe, just maybe, Richardson can seize the spot. The slimmed down Richardson has too much potential not to.

Yes, it is only preseason. Lets not read into these too much just yet. Not to be corny, but it is not where you start on the depth chart, but where you finish. The Raiders will sort out their depth chart more in a preseason game against the Rams.

Touchdown Timmie Immortalized

Getty Images via Google images

Tim Brown finally enters the Hall of Fame. Getty Images via google images.Aug. 8 was an amazing day to be Raider fan. Legend Tim Brown finally got into the Pro-Football Hall of Fame.

Growing up a Raider fan, there are few instances I can recall about Tim Brown. I am only in my twenties, so I did not witness his greatness first hand. Most of my memories center around Brown being the best player on the football games I played. As i grew up, I had appreciation for the veteran who gave it his all late into his thirties.

Once I got older, I could appreciate all the stats Brown put together. The records he set for our beloved franchise. He has the records in games played. He put together a phenomenal ten year stretch. He ranks No. 6 in receiving yards. I looked up his highlights, many of which happened when I was a baby. That meant, I had to respect the greatness of the one they called Mr. Raider.

Now that I have entered the sports media, I have learned more about Brown as a man. The larger than life spiritual man who GMs a Texas indoor football team. Moreover, I learned the stories about Brown lying to his parents about playing in the band instead of football. I learned about the young receiver who was more renowned for his utility in space and return kicks than his receiving ability. I learned that Brown was the first receiver to win the Heisman. Hence, I grew tremendous respect for Brown as an individual.

So when it was announced Tim Brown was finally going into the Hall, I was enthralled. After more than five years of waiting, it was great to hear he would finally take his rightful spot in history. It was a great moment for the Raider brand, as their top receiver would finally be immortalized.

I was just so happy, because future generations of Raider Nation will know about Tim Brown. They will know about the man who caught passes from 20 starting quarterbacks. They will know about the competitor who could not be stopped, despite not having much of a supporting cast. Most of all, I was proud that all football fans will know and respect the greatness of Tim Brown.