Blog Archives

Raiders Rants: Cordarrelle Patterson, Marshall Newhouse and More

The Oakland Raiders finally made some Free Agency moves after what seemed like an endless first few day of the new NFL year.

Most recently, Oakland adds kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson. The two-time All-Pro brings the gamechanging and consistent return ability that this team has lacked for years.

More importantly, it is a two-year deal with a team option for the second year. Reggie McKenzie strikes again with a bargain free agent.

Besides the return game, Patterson could have ability to challenge Seth Roberts in the slot receiver position. First, Patterson will need to work on his concentratrion on catches and refine his route tree.

At the very least, Patterson brings the 4.42 speed that late owner Al Davis would’ve have drooled on. Thus, Patterson can serve as a fourth receiver to stretch the field via vertical passes. Essentially, this assumes Andre Holmes’ role in the offense over the past two seasons.

Patterson is also a former Tennessee Volunteer which RM loves.

Not to mention, the Raiders signed Marshall Newhouse over the weekend. He wasn’t a highly coveted free agent but he is a solid depth veteran on a cheap contract. Apparently, McKenzie helped evaluate Newhouse when he was in Green Bay.

Either way, I’d expect the Raiders to add a tackle in the draft since Menelik Watson bounced. Oakland needs help as Donald Penn is aging and Austin Howard has been inconsistence.

Speaking of players leaving, Malcolm Smith, D.J. Hayden, Stacy McGee and Nate Allen are among key players not returning to the team. Those guys all played hard for the Silver and Black, so I wish them luck. 

All of those players can easily be upgraded, but it should be noted that teams wasted no time signing them. Clearly, they saw something that the Raiders did when they added them.

Hayden might actually do well with the Detroit Lions. He’ll have way less pressure there. Meanwhile, McGee and Watson will have to live up to their new starting expectations. Khalil Mack should be happy that Watson is in Denver now. That should equal more sacks.

As for Allen and Smith, neither lived up to the 2015 free agency hype. However, they were both constant pros who made plays at times. Not to mention, they helped change the Raiders’ losing culture. Hopefully, they can pull it together and remain solid NFL players.

Moving forward, the Raiders still have massive needs in the middle of their defense. Key targets like Dontari Poe and Johnathan Hankins should be on the Raiders’ priority list. Especially when you consider this DT draft class is not as good as last year.

At middle linebacker, this draft class is deep. The Raiders could draft a player here in the top of they draft. Either way, they should still add a savy veteran. Luckily, Donta Hightower, Perry Riley and Zachary Brown are all available. They’re the top players at the position. They have a ton of experience and they are all on the right side of 30. Considering all three are available, Oakland should be able to get whichever one they want. I’d expect Riley is the first priority since he joined the team last year. Then again, wouldn’t they have already signed him?

Nonetheless, stay posted for more Raiders free agency updates.

Oakland Raiders: Free Agency Blueprint

The Oakland Raiders regime consistently adds competition to their roster through Free Agency. The Raiders will continue this trend by addressing each need with a capable starter or solid backup.

This formula helps steady the blue-worker culture of Jack Del Rio’s roster. It saves owner Mark Davis money by not cashing huge checks for any single Free Agent. Plus it gives general Manager Reggie McKenzie freedom in the draft.

Here is how the Raiders can win the NFL offseason, as the official NFL new year begins with the opening of Free Agency. Expect them to hone in on the running game and pass defense in the 2016 offense. They worked on run defense and passing attack last year.

1. Resign Donald Penn

The Raiders need someone ready to grow Derek Carr and Amari Cooper on offense. Unfortunately, that guy is not in free agency. The closest thing is Russell Okung, but he is not worth spending big bucks on. Also, count the Raiders out of the bidding war for Osmele.

It seems unlikely Penn returns because the sides could have signed a deal during the season. However, he is the perfect two year stop gap as the team drafts his replacement.

2. Sign a linebacker

The Raiders can cut Curtis Lofton now or before the season. Either way the team needs to upgrade the linebacker position. These players could be found in the draft. However, this talent group is top heavy at the position. Add  Danny Travathan, Jerrell Freeman or Bruce Irvin. Good age and plenty of experience. The Raiders got the cash to make this fast and easy.

They may also select a linebacker in the draft. Regardless, signing a starting caliber linebacker is a priority.

3. Grab some safeties

Forget your opinion on Nate Allen. Plus, Taylor Mays and Larry Asante are best as special teams. Therefore, the Raiders need to add at least two safeties via the draft or free agency.

The Raiders will make a run on a starting safety like Eric Weddle, Tashaun Gipson or George Iloka. After locking one up, they’ll add a fringe starter to the mix like Sean Richardson, Walter Thurmond, Hussain Abdullah or Michael Griffin.

4. Add a pass rusher or two

It is the old chicken or egg debate. What came first, the poor secondary or poor pass rush? I know the Raiders pass rush was decent last year, but expect the team to build on the strength. Del Rio and McKenzie both like building teams from the inside out.

Olivier Vernon and Malik Jackson spark a lot of interest for the Raiders. However, Oakland will probably pass on their high price tags. The Raiders should try adding someone like Jason Pierre-Paul on a fair market deal. That could move Khalil Mack into full-time linebacker duty. Either way that is an upgrade to the pass rush.

Otherwise the group can add some bargain bin veterans via the Justin Tuck role. How about Mario Williams or Chris Long? Both players could play all along the defensive line or rush the passer standing up. Charles Johnson might also be someone they add later in the process.

5. Add an offensive guard.

I am willing to believe this unit believes in John Feliciano. That is why they will not pay Osmele $10 million a yer to play guard. Osmele is not the answer at left tackle either, despite him starting a few games there last season.

The Raiders could still add a quality starter at the position. This could include Alex Boone, Jeff Allen or Ramon Foster. Otherwise they will probably take a flier on a veteran like Jahri Evans or Geoff Schwartz. This atleast gives them another year or two to develop Feliciano.

6. Bring in a corner

The Raiders will probably be linked to high end corners like Sean Smith and Prince Amukamara. However, they will probably see what they have in the trio of T.J. Carrie, D.J. Hayden and David Amerson. All three are young enough for another season of consideration. Adding some pass rush will help this group out.

Nonetheless, the Raiders will still sign some talent at the position. They’ll extend serious interest to Casey Heyward, Jeremy Lane, Morris Claiborne or Brandon Boykin early.  Heyward is the best of that group by far, but the rest of the guys could prove themselves in the Raiders secondary. As a consolation prize, the Raiders may give Leon Hall, Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson or Leonis McKelvin one last shot at playing time.

7. Add some skill players

The Raiders should express some interest in young position skill guys. The Raiders are more talented at running back and receiver than past years. However, they can still add a young player to push the incumbents at receiver or running back. Jermaine Kearse, Rishard Matthews and Marvin Jones should be in the Raiders spending. Anquan Boldin, Roddy White or Brandon LaFell might also bring their last bit of gas to the organization. The Raiders need another deep threat to replace Andre Holmes. Adding a big receiver could also spell Amari Cooper into the slot.

At running back it is much of the same. Some okay veterans and okay starters. The Raiders like Latavius Murray off of a Pro Bowl year. The team won’t overpay for Doug Martin or Lamar Miller despite how beast of a compliment they would be for Murray. Ronnie Hillman or CJ Anderson make sense as they are both young. James Starks or Arian Foster will be connected to the organization. No matter who they sign, the Raiders should also add a runner from the top five rounds of the draft. Unless they strike gold with Martin, Miller or Matt Forte.

8. Draft the best player available

The Raiders have no need to reach for a position in the draft. McKenzie does a good job at letting the draft play out. He will do the same by drafting the best overall talent in the draft.

Expect any player the Raiders draft to compete for a starting position. I predict the team will use two of its’ first three picks on defense. That is only if a really good running back or tackle falls into a position they can not resist.

9. Bring back key players

Keep Denico Autry, Seth Roberts and any other players they like from last season. That includes guys who might become career back ups like Tony Bergstrom, Khalif Barnes or Matt McGloin. I’m not oppossed to keeping Matt McCants, Rod Streater, Andre Holmes, Taylor Mays, Neiko Thorpe or anyone else that got significant time last year. If someone else does not value them, give them at least a shot in camp. The Raiders need these guys for role positions, and they played with lots of heart in 2015.

Finally, sign Aldon Smith. Make it Happen. He is too talented to let go.

MY predictions:

  1. Sign Donald Penn
  2. Sign Danny Travathan
  3. Sign Tashaun Gipson and Sean Richardson
  4. Sign Jeff Allen
  5. Sign Jeremy Lane
  6. Sign Chris Long
  7. Sign Jermaine Kearse and CJ Anderson
  8. Draft: T. Decker, Robert Nkemdiche, Paul Perkins, Scooby Wright, Best corner, best receiver, best corner or safety.
    1. Rankins or Nkemdiche are my favorite pickers here. However this is not a bad spot for Jason Spriggs, Ronnie Staley or Taylor Decker depending on Pro Days.
    2. If Nkemdiche or Jaylon Smith land here they are two talented to let fall past the Raiders in round two. Otherwise Kenny Clark, Dorian Thompson or Deion Jones could fit here.
    3. Paul Perkins is my favorite of the second tire backs in this class. Great pass catching option. Otherwise C.J. Prosise or Tyler Ervin comes into play here also.
    4. Best linebacker, linemen or corner in this spot depending on the rest of the draft. A good defensive player like Wright might find himself here.
    5. Draft remains the same through next 3 rounds. Just add some athletes. Maybe a high ceiling guy like Rashard Robinson.

 

 

Ultimately, the Raiders will continue their trend upwards with this draft. They add plenty of B and C plus signings before killing the NFL Draft. This team would definitely compete in the NFL Playoffs.

Free Agency Radar and Big Board

Finally, free agency. The Oakland Raiders bring the second most cap to the party at just over $70 million.

The team will look to build on last year’s success by adding starters and players who can immediately compete. Although the Raiders found key players at key positions, they still have many wholes on their rosters.

Below is a list of free agents the Raiders should target. Omitted are their own free agents. Notice the list is build from the inside out, because the team will build the trenches first.

These players are ranked based on age, dollars, injuries, scheme fit and play, as well as team need.

Offensive Line
Kelchi Osmele
Russell Okung
Alex Boone
Alex Mack
Brandon Brooks
Jeff Allen
Andre Smith
Anthony Davis
Ramon Foster
Geoff Schwartz
Mitchell Schwartz 
Kelvin Beachum
Jermon Bushrod
Richie Incognito
Jahri Evans
Evan Mathis
 
 
Defensive Line
Malik Jackson
Oliver Vernon
Jason Pierre-Paul
Damon Harrison
Jaye Howard
Chris Long
Mario Wiliams
Tamba Hali
Robert Ayers
Steve McLendon
Nick Fairley
Terrance Knighton
Haloti Ngata
Derrick Shelby
Adrian Clayborn
Charles Johnson
William Hayes
BJ Raji
Ahtyba Rubin
 
Linebackers
Danny Trevathan
Bruce Irvin 
Derrick Johnson
Jerell Freeman
James Laruinaitis
Nick Perry 
Tahir Whitehead
Sean Weatherspoon
Steve Tollach
Demeco Ryans
Chad Greenway
Safeties
George Illoka
Tashaun Gipson
Eric Weddle
Rodney McLeod
Mark Barron
Sean Richardson
Reggie Nelson
William Moore
Walter Thurmond
Rahim Moore
Husain Abdullah
Rashad Johnson
Louis Delmas
 
Coners
Sean Smith
Janoris Jenkins
Prince Amukamara
Casey Hayward
Jeremy Lane
Antonio Cromartie
Brandon Boykin
Adam Jones
Morris Claiborne
Leon Hall
Leodis McKelvin
Jerraud Powers
Kyle Wilson
 
Receivers
Travis Benjamin
Rishard Matthews
Rueben Randle
Marvin Jones 
Jermaine Kearse
Roddy White
Brandon Lafell
Anquan Boldin
Marques Colston
Greg Jennings
Andre Johnson
Nate Washington 
Mohamed Sanu 
Brian quick
Percy Harvin
 
Running Backs
Lamar Miller
Doug Martin
Matt Forte
Chris Ivory
Alfred Morris
CJ Anderson
Ronnie Hillman
Charcandrick West
Arian Foster
Joique Bell
James Starks
Chris Polk
Tim Hightower
Bryce Brown

Revisiting Raiders’ Key Free Agent Signings and Draft Implications

Rodney Hudson

The Raiders had to spend on someone. Hudson was the Raiders only marquee signing and got almost 9 million a year. The center is one of PFF top rated centers and is just entering his prime. He should be the middle anchor of the offensive line and Derek Carr’s key protector.

Draft Implications: Center was not the biggest positional need for the Raiders. Even if Hudson is a clear upgrade over the regressing Wisniewski, the Raiders still need help in the interior offensive line. They gave versatile Khalif Barnes and extension but giving him competition at right guard should be a draft priority.

Dan Williams

No his name is not Suh or Pot Roast. We have heard all about how Dan Williams being among leaders for QB hurries and being a better run defender than Knighton. Well he isn’t the big name, Williams is the big presence to anchor the defense. Expect him to move all over the defensive line as the Raiders try to get their best four guys on the field between Justin Tuck, Williams, Antonio Smith, Justin Ellis, and whoever plays left end.

Draft Implications: Free Agency proves Jack Del Rio wants to build both sides of the ball inside out. Williams addition sures up the tackle position but their is still a need for someone who can legitimately rush the quarterback from a three point stance. Well tackle is not the need, do not be surprised if the Raiders take the best player available if Leonard Williams is there at No. 4. JDR wants a stout middle and L. Williams could easily be best prospect in entire draft.  

Nate Allen

Allen had a down year last season for the Eagles. Still, he is an upgrade over Usama Young and Brandin Ross. Considering both the draft and free agency safety classes were thin, it should be no surprised Allen cashed out. The good news is, Allen is versatile enough to play either safety position so he should be savy enough to mesh with Charles Woodson. As long as he doesn’t have the same injury history as Tyvon Branch it will be an Upgrade.

Draft Implications: Safety class is so weak in this draft. Still the Raiders need an eventual replacement for Woodson. Added, Allen is not elite so competition will not hurt him. Raiders should still consider the best safety available in the final days of the draft. Otherwise Keith McGill could be a candidate for a move to safety?

Curtis Lofton

Lofton was Cut after just one season with the Saints. Regardless, he is on the right side of thirty and has consistently racked up tackles each season. Lofton sures up the middle of the defense for the Raiders as long as he can stay health.

Draft Implications: It is a shame the Raiders put such a priority into middle linebacker because this class is deep. However, McKenzie, Del Rio, and Norton are former linebackers so I am sure they will take a chance on someone in the late rounds. They will probably be a special teamer, but RM will take one if they are best player available. Eitherway, the position went from weakness to strength.

Malcom Smith

Smith’s addition was probably the most intriguing of all the signings. Is the former Super Bowl Player a Sam, Will, or Mike? Or is he just a back up relegated to special teams? Whatever the case he is great insurance should Sio Moore suffer anymore injury and could be used in four linebacker sets with Moore, Mack and Lofton. Reuniting with Ken Norton Jr. should be good for him.

Draft implications: See Lofton

Trent Richardson

Raiders made the most headlines signing the former No. 3 overall pick. At 24 years old, Richardson is certainly worth the squeeze. He should compete with Latavius Murray for touches. If Richardson can even reach half of his potential the Raiders could look like genius. At worst he is a camp body.

Draft Implications: This running back class is also very deep. Raiders could have got a great value pick in the middle rounds. With Richardson, Murray, Reece, and Helu the Raiders may have already filled all of their running back roles and will probably not draft a runner.

Lee Smith

Do the Raiders really need another blocking tight end? I would have loved to see Jermaine Gresham added as he is a young steady blocker and pass catcher. However, back concerns probably deterred the Raiders. Either way the addition of Lee over better pass catching tight ends prove the Raiders are happy with Mychael Rivera’s production.

Draft Implications: Again, I think this proves the Raiders feel like they have a quality starter in Rivera. With Lee there, the tight end role should be filled and the Raiders probably won’t draft tight end.

Ron Helu

The running back brings value as a third down back and H back. With the team already struggling to get Reece involved, I don’t see Helu being a huge contributor.

Draft Implications: See Richardson.

Raiders Free Agency: Window Shopping

Any talk about Free Agency has pretty much been irrelevant until yesterday’s franchise tag deadline. Now that teams have established exactly who will be able to hit the open market, it is time to sort out all of the Raiders rumors. With the Raiders having up to 70 million in cap space (depending on your source), Raider nation has all the right to dream about their favorite free agents being in Silver and Black. In a perfect world, these are the ways Raiders fill position needs.

via google images

1. Ndamukong Suh- Defensive Tackle

Isn’t it obvious? Suh is not only the best defensive tackle on the market but he might be the best talent to hit the free market in a while. Suh has already said his agent and dollar signs will determine where he plays the rest of his career.

Therefore, the Raiders come in to play because they have the funds and the renegade persona that match Suh’s needs. Still, I think this is more dream than reality because will Reggie McKenzie ever pay any player more than 20 million? I know the Raiders are desperate for impact players but would they really have Suh opposed to two marquee free agents with all the wholes they have? Moreover, the more mainstream media connects  Suh with the Raiders the less likely I think it occurs( Cough DJAX, Harbaugh). Even though I have lobbied for Suh for over a year, I think he probably cashes out elsewhere.

2. Randall Cobb- Receiver

Dez Bryant or Demarius Thomas would have been here had they not been franchised tag. That makes the 25 year old Cobb the prime meat of this free agent receiving class. Cobb not only has dynamic receiving ability but he can also bring value in the return game. His connection with Reggie McKenzie dating back to Green Bay make this an easy prediction for most.

Out of all the dreams listed here, Cobb is probably the most likely to be in Silver and Black. However, with rumors circulating that he might command 12 million, I think this is more fantasy. The Raiders are in a power position at No. 4 in the draft where receiver might not be as pressing of a need as people think. Also noted, there are less expensive starters on the open market. Hence, Cobb will have money thrown at him, but I think the Raiders ultimately dip out of this bidding war.

3. Greg Hardy- Defensive End

Jason Pierre-Paul would have been here, but he too became victim of the franchise tag. Hence, Hardy becomes the best edge player available as he was a dominate player two seasons ago

Unlike others on this list, I do not think signing Hardy is a dream because of the price. Rather, Hardy will be a dream to Raider Nation because nothing McKenzie has done in his past shows he will risk so much financial resources on players with as many off the field problems as Hardy. Someone will gamble on Hardy’s off the field problems but it will not be the Raiders.

4. Rodney Hudson- Center

Hudson has been linked to the Raiders as they have elected to like Stephen Wisenewski hit the open market. Hudson had a top rating by Pro Football focus makes him clearly the best target.

Still, letting Wisnewski walk is not a sign the Raiders thought they could upgrade at the position. Instead, I think it signals the Raiders will not break the bank on a center. Interior linemen can usually be found in the middle of the draft and that is the more realistic outlet for McKenzie to fill the whole at center.

5. Julius Thomas – Tight End

Thomas has had two dominate seasons making him the best tight end available. Him being a bay area native and familiarity with Jack Del Rio make this another easy link.

Still, considering the Raiders have young Rivera, they will not commit so much money to a tight end. With Thomas rumored to get 7-9 million, the Raiders will pass, especially on a tight end who can’t block. As i said before, they have Rivera to be a mediocre blocker already, so he will probably go to Jacksonville.

Overall, Raider fans have every reason to be excited for free agency. They should enjoy dreaming about the above players for the next week, because the reality is the Raiders might end up pursuing other less expensive options than the more quality players listed above.

Terrelle Pryor trade makes sense

Here is a column I wrote for my school paper.

Image

Original post- http://sundial.csun.edu/2014/04/seahawks-make-smart-move-with-low-cost-aquisition-of-raiders-pryor/

 

NFL teams began their quest for Super Bowl XLIX Tuesday with the beginning of offseason training activities (OTA). OTAs are teams’ first opportunity to welcome new players and assimilate them with team culture.

The defending champion Seattle Seahawks added one more new addition, by exchanging a seventh round pick in this year’s draft to the Oakland Raiders for quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

Oakland’s short-lived Pryor saga comes to an official end, despite Pryor’s show of promise as playcaller.

His departure signifies the end of an era, as Pryor was the last player ever selected by Al Davis, Raiders’ legendary owner and figurehead. Davis selected Pryor in the third round of the 2011 supplemental draft, after Pryor was suspended for a well known violation of NCAA rules.

Davis died later that season and would never see Pryor play a down of football. Neither would Davis be able to develop Pryor into the running and passing threat Davis envisioned when he selected him.

In fact, The Oakland Raiders never did Pryor any real justice as the developmental quarterback of the future.

The same year as Pryor’s selection, the team acquired Cincinnati Bengals “retired” quarterback Carson Palmer for an attempt at a playoff run. Exchanging a first and second round pick for Palmer sealed the team’s fate to the former Bengals’ quarterback for a season and half, while Pryor mainly sat on the bench.

Last off season, the Raiders said goodbye to Palmer, and added Seattle’s then back-up quarterback Matt Flynn. Then the team drafted a quarterback in the fourth round of the NFL Draft, and signed undrafted free agent Matt McGloin. However, Pryor successfully won the starting position, despite coaches handing Flynn the job initially.

Even after winning the job and almost upsetting the Indianapolis Colts in week 1 with a record-setting performance, Pryor was benched in favor of McGloin, after a knee injury and struggles with defenses’ adjustments to his running ability.

This off season, the Raiders traded for veteran Matt Schaub to be their starter. Combined with the Raiders interest in quarterback prospects in the draft and their fascination with McGloin, the Pryor trade was a foreseen conclusion.

The Oakland Raiders are lucky to have even gotten a seventh round pick for Pryor. The media and NFL knew Pryor had requested for a trade. It was not a secret that Pryor and Raiders’ head coach Dennis Allen did not mesh well. Pryor’s preference to improvise with running plays always seemed to throw Allen’s game plan for a loop.

Whether or not Pryor succeeds in the league, it was time for the Raiders to move on from Pryor. The team believes in Schaub and McGloin enough that Pryor’s play making ability would have wasted on the bench.

It is a shame the Raiders bid the 24-year-old goodbye, because he showed promise in his first few starts.  Sure Pryor struggled in his first season starting, but the Raiders never gave the raw prospect a real chance at growth from the experience the same way other current Pro Bowlers have been given early in their career. The Raiders need offensive play makers, but they effectively traded away one of their best.

As for the Seahawks, they added a play maker for a bargain price. Having coached at USC when Pryor was dominating high School and college football, Carroll is familiar with the type of person Pryor is. Seeing an inevitable release from the Raiders, the Seahawks would not have given the Raiders a draft pick for Pryor if they didn’t think he added something to their team.

Until the  Raiders, Pryor never had anyone work on his quarterback mechanics. Having relied on his athletic ability throughout his playing career, Pryor had a substantial learning curve. Yet Pryor’s god-given talent and size makes his ceiling unlimited.

Even with the turmoil in Oakland, Pryor never complained or made excuses. He showed his skin as a true competitor and deserves to be in a situation where he can develop as a quarterback.

Pryor joins a unique Seahawks’ culture which inspires competition, at every level. No, Pryor will not end up as the starter, because that is young phenom Russell Wilson’s job. Yet, Pryor could easily unseed Tarvaris Jackson as the back-up, and excel if Wilson were ever to go down with an injury.

Added, Pryor’s unique skill set gives the Seahawks another running option in scoring situations. Plus, his size and ability resembles a quarterback the Seahawks play twice a year in San Francisco 49er’s Colin Kaepernick. The Seahawks can use Pryor’s dual-threat skills to prepare for their division rivals, the 49ers.

Seattle offers a scenario for Pryor that he never had in Oakland. Pryor finally has an opportunity to develop. Not only does the Seahawk’s offense suit Pryor’s ability, but he can learn from Carroll and Wilson without pressure to produce. Either Way, Pryor’s opportunity in Seattle may be his last chance to live up to the hype generated from his playing days at Ohio State.

Even if Pryor does not fit with the Seahawks, and they are unable to utilize his potential then they can simply cut him. The Pryor trade offers Seattle a high-reward playmaker at a low-risk price.

A Raiders Fun Friday

Jones-Drew signs with Raiders earlier today, via Raiders.com


Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie did not waste any time on his Friday, and cleared his to-do list by signing two more veteran defensive linemen and running back.

I took some time to address a potential Free Agency signing for the Raiders, with Desean Jackson, but the Raiders already brought someone home to the bay-area.

Former Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew signed with Oakland for a 3 year deal, after spending his high school years in the bay and college years at UCLA.

MJD has shown some decline over the past seasons with injury, and he has a lot of miles of him. However, the undersized back is still capable of taking the ball to the house when he touches it. He has capable hands and is not afraid to pass block, which gives him value on third down.

I expect him to compete with Darren McFadden for time in the backfield. I think the result will be the two having split series. They have a similar skill set with down-hill running ability and versatility. At worse, Jones is a great insurance policy for McFadden’s reoccuring injuries. At Best it gives the Raiders two dynamic playmakers to hand the ball to. It is clear McKenzie is building a team that can pound the rock with the signing of the two RBS and offensive linemen.

McKenzie continued his trend of building a physical team by signing two more defensive linemen for depth. Pat Simms returns after probably being undervalued in the Free Agency market.

Last Year, Simms was a run stopper for the Raiders, but I think he is better in a reserve role. The Raiders have enough pass rushing options with Smith and McGee on the inside that Simms should play less 3rd downs and focus on gasing it in run situations. His big body gives the Raiders defense resatility for 4-3 or 3-4 fronts, but he can also eat blockers and allow the linebackers to make plays.

CJ Wilson, a defensive end who spent his career with the Packers, was also signed today. Wilson has some starting experience, but does not have a lot of sacks. That is normal for an end in a 3-4 defense so it should not be alarming. Luckily, is only 26 years old so he still has some potential. His signing is so Reggie McKenzie, but it is probably a result of the Raiders missing out on Alex Carrington early in the week.

Wilson is probably another add for depth. He has some versatility and will probably back up Antonio smith as a 3 technique or end in running situations.

Overall, Friday was a great day to be a Raider Fan, hopefully McKenzie can build on today headed into the week by signing Desean Jackson.

Raiders Keep one of their own

Reports indicate the Raiders boost their D-Block (Defensive Backs0 and are bringing back safety Charles Woodson on a one year deal.

Twitter reacted with Every Raider fan going nuts about the signing. For good reason too. Charles Woodson came in and made an impact for a defense desperate for playmakers and leadership. Woodson also represents a piece from the glory days of the Raiders and having him on the roster makes fans very happy. He embodies what it means to be a Raider, rough and tough.

From a football perspective, Woodson is the versatile Defensive Back Allen and Tarver utilize. He can line-up in the slot or at either safety position. He is not necessarily the kind of threat in coverage he once was, but he still has the range and speed to play safety. His tackling ability is up and down, but they have Tyvon Branch complimenting him at safety to cover those deficiencies.

Leadership wise, we understand what Woodson brings to the table. Reggie McKenzie’s trend is signing football players with Superbowl rings and Charles Woodson has one of his own. A strong Leadership presence will be on each level of Tarver’s defense. The Raiders look to be one of the smartest and versatile defenses in the entire league.

Additionally the Raiders made the re-signing of Usama Young, fellow safety. Young’s two year deal makes him an inexpensive back-up for Charles Woodson. Young started for the Cleveland Browns the year before serving as Woodson’s Back-up. He played well before injury took him out of  the line-up. Young is pretty good on Special Teams as well.

Young is a capable back up for Charles Woodson who should also offer some spot up duty. He recorded an interception and sack providing the kind of versatility to play all over the secondary. Preserving Charles Woodson is important and Young is more then capable of playing in his place.

The move indicates the Raiders are perserving 3 of their four starters from last season and a key back-up in Young. They also add a more season Brandon Ross and Chidekwai. FA Tarrell Brown is an unrated addition and they may even add a rookie to the mix. Dennis Allen specializes in Defensive Backs, so I have high expectations for them. They have the veteran leadership and continuity to be one of the strongest positions for the Raiders and i hope they produce

Raiders End 1st Week of FA with BIG signing

The Raiders capped off the first week of Free Agency by adding some weight named Donald Penn to an Offensive line in need of some help at the left tackle position.

Donald Penn is a former undrafted free agent whom has spent the last few seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Penn chose the Oakland Raiders over the Redskins because he wanted an opportunity to play at left Tackle. Penn has started at left tackle the past few seasons for the Tampa Buccaneers. He has struggled with his weight but he was a pro-bowl alternate a few years ago.

PFF focus has a higher rating on Penn then Veldheer but Penn is aged 31. The move is a low risk one for the Raiders as it is a 2 year deal with less then 3 million a season guaranteed.

Football wise, Penn is a monster. He has a chance to compete with Manelik Watson for the starting position at Left Tackle. With Watson’s history of injury, I am glad to hear the Raiders have a back plan in case Watson gets injured or is unready to be a fulltime starter.

The past couple of seasons the Raiders have wanted establish an imposing bully on the Offensive line. Boothe, Howard, and now Penn are all quality veterans with a lot of experience and even more LBS. The Raiders should finally have the bully to open holes for McFadden, so he can get down hill and take runs the distance.

Best part of Penn’s deal is there are no big cap implications if he is cut after the season. Otherwise, Penn has a chip on his shoulder and something to prove after being cut by the Buccaneers. The Raiders should be able to get Penn’s best football in the twilight of his career.

Donald Penn celebrates after catching touchdown pass in 2012, and adds versatility to Raiders line via google images

Mckenzie builds momentum with Jones signing.

RAIDERS sign former Giant Boothe


Jones joins Mckenzie with Raiders via Raiders.com

The Raiders added another couple of Superbowl rings and versatile weapons to their team in the second week of Free Agency, only this time it was offense.

GM Reggie McKenzie brought in one of his favorite players from his former employee named James Jones. At 29, the former Packer wide-out signed a two year deal worth up to $3.8 million a year. Considering their was not much rumored interest in one of the top wide receivers in Free Agency, McKenzie got himself another steal.

Jones passed up an opportunity to play for  The Panthers in favor of returning to Northern California as he is from neighboring San Jose. Football wise, Jones is a versatile competitor. He is capable of lining up in the slot or in the outside position. He has racked up almost 800 yards the past two seasons catching balls from Aaron Rodgers.

I love this deal because it is another bargain price for someone who is a big time competitor. The cap implications are not the bad, but I hope they do not expect Jones to be a true #1 receiver. Jones’ sure hands make him a reliable target but he is best suited in a complimentary role. 

I hate this deal because of it’s implications for the draft. I would hate to see the Raiders pass up the Clemson Phenom Sammy Watkins because of their depth at the receiver position. With Streater, Holmes, and Moore already there, plus Jones the Raiders have four capable play-makers in the receiving game. Either way, their is so much talent in this draft class when it comes to receiver that I would hate to see the Raiders pass up value in the mid rounds because the position is field.

Therefore, it would not surprise me to see Denarius Moore traded before the season ends. Moore was expected to be the go to guy, and made some big plays while struggling with consistency. Overall he is an Al Davis guy and has concerns with his work ethic which could make him a viable candidate for the trading block. He should have some value as a relatively young receiver who has made big plays in the league. The Patriots or Panthers could do worse then adding him to their receiving corps.

McKenzie was not done with adding Superbowl rings on Monday, as he signed a familiar face. Kevin Boothe was originally drafted by the Raiders in 2006 before being cut for schematic reasons the next season. Boothe went on to start lots of games for the Giants including two SuperBowl rings.

Boothe adds another big body capable of starting in the offensive-line. He is versatile as a center or guard. The veteran will be able to compete at either of the guards positions, while being insurance due to injury.

Boothe is not a Pro-bowler or anything spectacular. He is not a slouch neither, and is a welcomed addition to an offensive-line in transition.

Both of the signings are continue Reggie McKenzie’s trend of signing Veterans who know how to compete and win. He is not signing the most talented players but players who change the losing dynamic of the franchise. Boothe and Jones added to the core of players signed last week are the type of Leaders who can reverse the culture of losing.

I have been critical of McKenzie in the past, but I give him props for sticking to his guns. He is signing quality stop-gap players at a bargain rates in hopes that his draft picks can develop. For my beloved Raiders sake and for his own, I hope McKenzie’s plan works.

He will continue his plan and carry the momentum through the rest of Free Agency. He still has plenty of cap space.

Some Guys on my list who should be on his:

Mike Jenkins

Kevin Williams

Terrance Cody

Erin Henderson,

Henry Melton

Carlos Rodgers

Antonio Cromartie

Donald Penn