Posted on: May 22, 2008 3:42 pm
 

Oakland Raiders Fans Should Stop Hating on Stuart

It's just too dang easy! It really is. Instead of watching the game, or in some cases re-watching the game, you can easily rely on a SportsCenter highlight to determine your viewpoint about a team, game, play, or player.

In some cases, such as former Raider Tyler Brayton getting caught kneeing punk Jeremy Stevens in the family jewels on prime time, these mini-clips can make a player look completely different than what they truly are. In Brayton's case, the mild mannered, hard-working defensive end that rarely made highlight-reel plays was determined to be the prototypical Raider hoodlum, which couldn't be further from the truth.

In the case of Stuart Schweigert, these mini-clips can make you look like an awfully bad football player. Whether it was a Ladanian Tomlinson touchdown run, a Tony Gonzalez touchdown catch, or any of Denver's running backs dragging him for ten more yards, Raider Nation and the haters both looked at him as the culprit for the big momentum shift.

I'm not blind. If you are looking for a hard hitting, snot jarring, play-making safety, Schweigert is not going to be your first choice. While I think he could be a playmaker in the right defense, thanks to his speed and soft hands, he was never to be confused with George Atkinson or Jack Tatum. He just never has had the killer instinct to be that enforcer in the secondary, which the Raiders have so desperately needed over the past few years...Ok, the past decade...alright, since Ronnie Lott donned the Silver and Black.

So, with Raider Nation expecting a Lott, Schweigert was doomed to disappoint. But think of all the safeties before him? Besides Rod Woodson and Eric Turner, name a safety over the past 15 years to wear the patched-eyed bandit on his helmet that didn't disappoint.

Can anyone say that Schweigert was worse than Anthony Dorsett? How about Derrick Gibson? Sure, he was no Vann McElroy, but he wasn't one of those first guys either. Does anyone reading this think Calvin Branch was better? Ok, I'll give you Eddie Anderson, but that's a close call.

Would you like to see the rest of the list? Patrick Bates, Chris Carr, Perry Carter, Rickie Dixon, Torin Dorn, Hiram Eugene, Johnie Harris, James Hasty, Derrick Hoskins, Carl Kidd, Dan Land, Albert Lewis, Lorenzo Lynch, Keyon Nash, Elvis Patterson, Reggie Tongue, James Trapp, Denard Walker, Lionel Washington, and Brock Williams, are the players listed as DB's who were notable or played for more than one season in the Raiders' secondary since Lott moved on to the Jets.

Out of that bunch, I'd be willing to give you Dan Land and Albert Lewis as guys who were as good or better than Schweigert as a Raider. So, in 16 years, the Raiders have had four or five guys who were as good or better than Schweigert play safety. Better yet, none of those guys were even in the league over the past five years.

The biggest complaint that I read and hear is that Schweigart couldn't tackle, yet in the only year that he's started all 16 games, he had 107 tackles. That's a linebacker number! I also hear that he didn't take good angles to the tackle.  Hmm, normally when you saw Schweigert looking out of position, it's because he was out of position for a strong safety or linebacker.

People forget, or don't know, that with his speed, Schweigert covered a lot of ground, and that was his downfall with the Raiders. Many of the out of position tackles he was making were cover-ups for strong safeties like Derrick Gibson or linebackers like Sam Williams.

The fact that his number was called so often should've been a sign to Raider Nation that this guy wasn't the problem. Instead, he's been booed and vilified on message boards as 'terrible.' If you must blame anyone for the lack of an enforcer in the secondary, blame the person who picked Michael Huff to be a strong safety.

Yeah, I'm a Raiders fan that thinks highly of Stuart Schweigert, so?  I'm not even going to remind everyone that he was the type of professional athlete that a fan could be proud of, with his community service, team first attitude, and willingness to meet with fans. So yeah, I'm a fan of his too.

So long Stu, I hope that your career winds up being long, and that you don't come back to haunt the Raiders when it counts. I'll still root for you, other than games that the Raiders face you. Whatever you do, don't even think about running your mouth like Chris Carr or Jerry Porter, because then it won't matter what I think of you now. If that happens, then I'll know that all of my good feelings about you will have been for nothing.

Rob Calonge writes for Thoughts from the Darkside on MVN.com.  More Raiders stories and articles by Rob can be found at http://mvn.com/nfl-raiders

Posted on: May 3, 2008 1:44 pm
Edited on: May 3, 2008 1:46 pm
 

Raider Nation: No need to give the haters what...

...they want.

You've all seen it. A perfectly good discussion amongst members of Raider Nation. As the banter starts to get good, the post of some lonely hater breaks up the topic of conversation.

It happens far too often to bother counting, but if I had a dollar for every time I've seen it, I wouldn't have a bill to worry about again. How many times I've been called a convict, pedophile, idiot, etc..., I can't really tell you. It's been quite a bit.

What's the point haters? I guess you are so filled with jealousy of my team that you can't seem to control yourself. I guess I should be honored that you find my team and myself so important in your life that you would waste part of yours to call me a loser or defame my team.

Is it really that bad hater? Is your life so empty that you have nothing better to do with your Saturday nights? Really? Maybe I shouldn't feel honored so much as I should pity your poor life.

You really must explain to me what it is that urges you so to jump on my message boards to tell me I'm a loser. What is it about you that makes you think, "Oh yeah! I'm gonna' go call those Raiders fans losers!"

Is it genetic? Really, is that what it is. Do you have a few branches in your family tree that DON'T branch out? Do some parts of your family just stop existing because it would be against the law to procreate? Ah, since you wouldn't understand that, what I'm asking is: Do you have family members that have married their brothers or sisters? You see, a yes would start to explain some things.

Is it that you didn't get enough nurturing? Be honest, does your mother have any children that she likes? Are there any children in your family that your father actually claims?

My guess is that the owners of your team of choice would be pretty embarrassed to call you their fan. You see, a real fan isn't a fan AGAINST another team. A real fan is a fan FOR their own team.

Well, I better get going. Lights out on cell block D, but you already knew that right?
Posted on: April 9, 2008 1:38 pm
Edited on: April 9, 2008 1:42 pm
 

It's official! I want to be Matt Leinart!

First Posted on Silver and Black Rants

MSNBC calls it a setback for Leinart, the Arizona Cardinals, and the NFL. I call it a setback for my ego. Seriously, I thought I had been pretty adept with the ladies back in my 'playin' days, but I have to tip my hat to Matt Leinart...he's doing better.

Really, what the heck do a bunch of pencil pushing, PC patrolling, namby-pamby reporters know about the good life? While they are hunched down in the bushes outside of some celebrity's house waiting to drill them with questions, the celebrity is IN the house living the life of...well, the life of a celebrity.

I referenced my good ol' days, but I have an excuse for my seeming ineptitude compared to Leinart: I wasn't a rich, famous, professional starting quarterback. There! I feel much better now.

In comparison to the women Leinart has already been rumored to have been with, this group isn't really up to his normal standards, but hey sometimes quantity IS better than quality.

What the media will now have you believe is that Bill Bidwell, Ken Whisenhunt, and the Cardinals organization are embarrassed and humiliated by these pictures. The truth of the matter is they aren't. You see, only the people that have never seen on TV, had, gone to, or heard about a party are going to be shocked.

If you've never beer bonged a twelver or been in a room where someone has, then you've been sheltered. You may want to go down to your local hardware store, purchase a funnel and tubing (preferably 3' to 4'), stop by the store, snag a case of your favorite beer, and call a friend over (to hold the assembled bong).

Drinking is a serious issue if abused or done prior to operating heavy machinery, nobody is making light of that. The truth is, why do people have to make light moments dark? The guy was having a fun time in the privacy of his home and not killing dogs, selling or doing drugs, throwing dollar Bills at strippers, or punching out newly turned adults.

Matt Leinart does have a couple of problems though. The first problem is that he doesn't have enough arms to put around his girl friends. If he asks real nice, I may give him a hand. The second and biggest problem that he has is that one of his so-called friends doesn't know the meaning of 'private party'.

If I were Matt, that would be the only problem concerning me.
Posted on: April 9, 2008 12:17 pm
 

Raider Nation fielding posts from the masses

First Posted on Silver and Black Rants

As the offseason has continued, Raider Nation has continued to keep a watchful eye on their beloved Oakland Raiders. Even when the news was at its bleakest, many of the following have posted to message boards to calm the rest of the brethren.

Through it all, even the least optimistic of Raiders fans has weathered the storm of the media only to now be accosted by other teams' fans raiding the Nation's message boards to vilify, taunt, and insult the Silver and Black following.

I myself have been insulted just for writing pieces having to do with the Raiders, a coming of age for any writer you could say. I won't reveal who it was, but I will say that they went out of their way to create a profile so they could tell me that I am, "a no-talent hack." The only thing that had caught me off guard was that I wasn't writing anything of conflict, some might say I wasn't writing anything of interest judging by the popularity the article received.

Water under the bridge right? Sure, until the 2008 NFL season starts. These messages of hate have grown considerably more frequent since Big Al made the trade for DeAngelo Hall. Prior to the trade and the boat load of free agent signings, the Raiders and Raider Nation weren't even being paid attention to.

Now, you can't go on a Raiders message board without seeing an upset Charger fan or an incessant 49er fan making fun of the Raiders, Al Davis, and Raider Nation. This hasn't deterred the avid Raider poster though, in fact it seems that the Raiders posters have banded together to fight off this scourge commonly referred to as, 'Haterism.'

It's a well known fact that the average Raider fan knows far more about his team than the most fanatical of other teams. It's also very well known that the average Raider fan can carry on a legitimate debate using real facts and analysis unlike most other football fans. The common thread in these debates is that rarely have Raiders fans resorted to broad generalizations of groups of fans to denigrate them as a people...at least as far as I've seen.

A colleague of mine recently wrote an article where fans of other teams decided to post comments. You can see the article here. It was a decidedly biased article, but nonetheless the debate turned ugly quickly as you'll see if you scroll to the bottom of the article and read the posts. Even I had something to say, which when it comes to these types of back and forth, I normally stay out of them.

One must wonder what would cause people to spend their free time insulting people minding their own business. I find it hard to believe that people would have the time or care to bother with Raider Nation unless there was something to it. Prior to the start of free agency, nobody cared if 'Rocky the Raider' was on a message board saying that they Raiders would win the Super Bowl next year...except for other Raiders fans. Now, going on to a Raider board and saying something positive about the Raiders, could get you a long rant about how your mother is a convict and you are a welfare baby and that's why you're stupid.

I wouldn't fret though Raider Nation. Your numbers are strong, and for every hater, there are three or four in the Nation that have your back. Rejoice! Once again, the Raiders and the Raider Nation are relevant on the football scene. Thanks to Mr. Davis, others fear Silver and Black domination.

Broncos, Chiefs, Chargers, and 49ers fans fear it the most. They fear not being able to have anything to say to the average Raider fan that elevates themselves in the conversation. They won't be able to dust you off with the simple phrase, "19-61 over the past five years," for much longer. They may actually have to learn about what they speak and stop throwing the false rumors at you so you'll have pause.

Soon, you'll be able to stop the hater...and they won't be able to say that you're living on the past. Soon, they'll have to revert back to the 'old' put-downs dealing with the costumes, how all Raiders fans are hoodlums, and how Al is controlling everything. Well, they might be right about Al, but they aren't right about you are they? Ah, who cares, as long as the Raiders are beating their teams it doesn't matter what they say. The only thing that matters is the old Al Davis mantra, "I'd rather be feared than respected." Their posts are proof of that.
Posted on: April 9, 2008 12:15 pm
 

He'd Be a Good Oakland Raider!: AFC West

First Posted on Bleacher Report

This is part eight of an eight part series detailing players that have jumped out at me and made me say, "Man!!  That guy would be a good Raider!"

In the glory years, the AFC West was the toughest division in all of football.  There would be at least three of the four teams worthy of playoff consideration.  Over the past three years, it has been steadily declining to where only one team in the division can be considered a playoff contender.

Rich in tradition, the AFC West still plays a style that is still reminiscent of the old AFL days.  All four teams can run the ball, they can usually pass, and usually can defend the pass.  Most often than not, the winner of the West is the team that can stop the run the most effectively.

Before I start, let's take a look at the past articles written in other divisions:

I'm going to try and not make big reaches, so I'll find at least one player per team, but no promises past that.  If you have any suggestions, post them.

Denver Broncos

This is a team that is very much in transition.  The problem is that even Broncos fans are unsure where this team is heading.  I like guys like John Lynch and Dre Bly, but I think they may be on their way out of the league.  I also liked Jay Cutler when he came out of the draft, but he has yet proven to be consistent.  Brandon Marshall was looking like he may have star material, but this off season hasn't been the best for the young receiver.

OC - Tom Nalen:  I have nothing but respect for this guy.  Not a big guy by today's standards at all, he's still a force in the middle of the Broncos line.  I thought he was retiring, but I guess I was wrong.  He's supposed to be back next year after suffering a torn biceps injury.  For a lineman, that can be the injury that ends your career.

CB - Champ Bailey:  I'd argue that he's the best in the league, but let's just say I wouldn't be disappointed if he wore different colors.  One of the three or four best corners playing in the NFL today.

LB - D.J. Williams:  Right now he's in the middle, but his natural position is outside.  Regardless of the position, he excels as a linebacker.  He's fast and strong.  He can stand up the fullback and still make the tackle on the runner, and he can cover too.  He's also pretty crazy looking, which may be my favorite thing about him.

DE - Elvis Dumervil:  In 29 regular seasons over two years, he's already gotten 21 sacks.  He's only 23!  I don't think I'm looking forward to the next five years of his career.

Kansas City Chiefs

This is another AFC West team that seems to be in decline.  They have some good players, but I'm not a big fan of the staff coaching them up.  Napoleon Harris, In my opinion, was a good Raider, but he won't make the list here.  The Chiefs have much to prove as a team before some of the players will make the list.

TE - Tony Gonzalez:  Not much needs to be said about this guy.  By the time he retires, there won't be any doubt that he's been the best pass catching tight end the game has ever seen.

WR - Dwayne Bowe:  This guy is impressive.  Along with Anthony Gonzalez (IND) and Sidney Rice (MIN), he looks to be a future star receiver in the league.  He's fast and tall, and I'm sure that JaMarcus Russell wouldn't mind throwing to him again.

DE - Jared Allen:  He grew up a fan of the Raiders, and he plays like a Howie Long on the line.  He's nearly impossible to block for 60 minutes, completely disrupts an offense with his high motor.  He's scary when he's going against you.

San Diego Chargers

I guess it's appropriate to save these guys for the last team I discuss in the AFC West, since they are the best right now.  Although they are solid from top to bottom, many of their players are system players.  Lorenzo Neal would've definitely been on this list had he remained a Charger, but I guess Norv is starting to work his magic in San Diego.

RB - LaDainian Tomlinson:  Another guy that doesn't need anything said about him.  If you don't know who he is or how good he is, you don't watch football.

TE - Antonio Gates:  Dominating player that can block well enough and catch the ball very well.  He's extraordinary at getting open when he needs to, like third and five.

OT - Marcus McNeil:  Two years in the league and two pro bowls.  Left tackle that dominates at the line of scrimmage.  opens up nice running lanes for the Chargers' running game and protects Rivers' blind side during the passing game.

OG - Kris Dielman:  A true throwback guard.  Plays whistle to whistle, and has been accused of being dirty.  He plays next to McNeil and the two of them form arguably the toughest left side in the game.

LB - Shawne Merriman:  I can't argue with results.  He really plays defensive end due to the 3-4 alignment, but you'll have a tough time finding a better pass rusher.  He's mean and nasty, athletic, and has a nose for the quarterback.

DE - Igor Olshansky/Luis Castillo:  I like both of these guys because they can hold up the run and rush the passer when needed.  I think I like Olshansky a little better, due to the name 'Igor.'  Really, can you blame me?  What a great name for a lineman.  Castillo is a monster in disruption and seems to make big plays for the Chargers defense.

Did I miss anyone?  Did I reach too much?  Agree or disagree? 

Any feedback you have is greatly appreciated.  I want to thank the guys that have given their feedback so far.  If you think I got it wrong, let the world know by posting it.

Remember the only criteria to make my list, is that the player has had to have made an impression on me so significant that I would say to myself, "He'd be a good Raider," or "I wish he was a Raider." 

Who's done that for you?

Posted on: April 9, 2008 12:11 pm
 

He'd Be a Good Oakland Raider!: AFC South

First Posted on Bleacher Report

This is part seven of an eight part series detailing players that have jumped out at me and made me say, "Man!!  That guy would be a good Raider!"

The AFC South is a division based mainly on systems.  Three of the four teams have been very stable in coaching and coaching staffs, while the fourth team, the Texans, have a relatively new coaching staff which is building the foundations for a strong system as well.

Along with the 'systems' these teams run, they are all relying on young talent in pivotal roles to enable them to be factors during the season.

Before I start, here's what I've done so far and where I'll be going in the next few days:

I'm going to try and not make big reaches, so I'll find at least one player per team, but no promises past that.  If you have any suggestions, post them.

Tennessee Titans

Like Chris Henry, Pacman Jones isn't on the list, and he may not even be on the team by the time the season starts.  Kerry Collins won't make this list for obvious reasons, and Chris Carr will be off the list even though he WAS a good Oakland Raider.  I like Finnegan too, but I'd like to see a little more history on him before jumping the gun.

DE - Kyle Vanden Bosch:  What better place to start than the strength of the team, defense.  This guy is a terror, and Raiders fans saw how much trouble he could cause last year as he was constantly in the Raiders backfield.  He's got a high motor and a quick first move.

DT - Albert Haynesworth:  Despite never finishing a complete season, either due to injury or suspension, when he's in the lineup the Titans defense is one to be feared.  He stops the run and wreaks havoc in the pass, last year he had 6 sacks from the defensive tackle spot.

LB - Keith Bulluck:  Last year wasn't his best season in tackles, but it was in interceptions.  A true team player, this guy plays the game how it should be.  Since becoming a starter, he's averaged more than 100 tackles per season and been the anchor of a defense during a transition of younger players over the past few years.

K - Rob Bironas:  This guy can make all of the kicks.  Ask him to make a game winner, he can make it, ask for a 50+ yarder, he can make it, and ask for him to win a game by kicking 5+ field goals, he can do that too.

Jacksonville Jaguars

This has been a consistently good team over the years, but it's the sum of their parts that makes them good.  Jerry Porter isn't going to make this list, and some good players probably won't make this list either.

RB - Maurice Jones-Drew:  I knew this guy was good in college, but I never imagined that he'd translate to the pros as well as he has.  He's listed at 5'7", which probably means he's 5'5", and he's about 210 lbs.  He's fast, has a quick first step, and strong.  This guy is a stud, and I can't think of any team he wouldn't be a good fit on.

QB - David Garrard:  He's a great role model of what hard work and determination sprinkled with talent can do for you.  The Jag's never seem to change their approach, yet the results change when this guy is the QB.  He's accurate, makes good decisions, and just wins baby.

DT - John Henderson:  This guy is the key to the vaunted Jaguars defense.  He's a tough guy, that will make you pay if you don't put two linemen on him.  He eats space and makes the defensive assignments easier for his teammates by taking up much of the line upfront.  He's another guy that is pretty intimidating looking.

Indianapolis Colts

This team is one of the class teams of the league.  If you were going to build a team, you'd want to pay attention to what the Colts have done over the past 10 years.

QB - Peyton Manning:  There's nothing I could say that hasn't already been said.  In my opinion, he's the best quarterback in the game, and in a few years will undoubtedly be considered the best of all time.

WR - Reggie Wayne/Marvin Harrison/Anthony Gonzalez:  I could've broken these guys up, but they all share the same attributes: They're fast, quick, smart, run great routes, and work hard.  The thing you have to love about them, they can all make the clutch catch.  None of them are T.O. or Randy Moss, but they are the best receiving corp in the game today.

TE/WR - Dallas Clark:  He does it all and he does it well.  Can play the slot receiver when needed, block for the run, and always seems to make the catch when needed.  He's Manning's safety valve, and he's proven to be an excellent choice for that role.

OC - Jeff Saturday:  No matter who comes and goes, the Colts' offensive line always works well.  Saturday is as good a center as you can find.  I'll admit, he's not the best run blocker, but Peyton stays clean more than not and that's really his main job.

S - Bob Sanders:  Maybe it's because of the scheme they play, but I'm not really all that impressed with anyone on the Colts defense...except for Sanders.  The Super Bowl run showed how important this guy is to this team.  He's a great run stuffer, but also plays the pass well.  What I like most is that he lays a great hit.

K - Adam Vinatieri:  He can break your heart if you're rooting against him, he can kick in any condition, and he has a great leg.  He's probably the second best clutch kicker of all time, right behind Blanda.  In a few years he may surpass the Raider legend, but for right now he'd just be a good Raider.

Houston Texans

This is an up and coming team built on defense.  If they keep improving and stay away from costly injuries, they are going to be force in the league. 

WR - Andre Johnson:  This guy should be considered a super star right now in his career, but since his offensive teammates have never stepped up until recently he's overshadowed by the other star receivers in the league.  What I love about him is that I never hear about him unless he's scoring another touchdown.

LB - DeMeco Ryans:  A pro bowler, he's well worth the selection.  He handles the middle for the Texans, he's only going to be in his third year, and he causes trouble for every offense he faces.  He plays the run well, but can also drop back into protection.  I don't think he's as good as Morrison, but not many linebackers are.  He's still good and he's a great hitter.

DT - Amobi Okoye:  As a rookie, he tallied 5.5 sacks from the defensive tackle spot.  Better yet, he's only 20 years old!  This guy is going to be great.  He's a good kid that works hard and it would surprise me if he ever had any character issues.  Started playing football as a sophomore in high school without knowing hardly anything about the sport.

DE - Mario Williams:  Everyone, including myself, thought the Texans really messed up when they drafted this guy ahead of Reggie Bush.  Ok, so we were all wrong and the Texans were right.  He's already a sack leader and pro bowl material.  I admire a guy that can come in with that much pressure and not implode, but to produce as he has gets all of my props.

Did I miss anyone?  Did I reach too much?  Agree or disagree? 

Any feedback you have is greatly appreciated.  I want to thank the guys that have given their feedback so far, including 'sure Bert' who gave a very thoughtful analysis of me.  If you think I got it wrong, let the world know by posting it.

Remember the only criteria to make my list, is that the player has had to have made an impression on me so significant that I would say to myself, "He'd be a good Raider," or "I wish he was a Raider." 

Who's done that for you?

Posted on: April 9, 2008 12:06 pm
 

He'd Be a Good Oakland Raider!: AFC North

First Posted on Bleacher Report

This is part six of an eight part series detailing players that have jumped out at me and made me say, "Man!!  That guy would be a good Raider!"

The AFC North is becoming one of the stronger divisions in the league.  It's a division that consists of teams that were once part of the old AFC Central division.  Tradition is a major factor amongst these teams along with some odd spins.

Pittsburgh is the one team not related to the rest in some weird way.  The Cleveland Browns were once the dominant team of the NFL, coached by none other than Paul Brown.  Paul Brown left the Cleveland Browns after being fired by majority owner Art Modell and later went to the AFL as principal owner of the Cincinnati Bengals, natural geographical rivals to the Browns and the Steelers.  Baltimore in the meantime had the Colts, until that franchise up and moved in the middle of the night to Indianapolis.

Almost 30 years after Paul Brown became owner of the Bengals, Art Modell decided to move the beloved Browns to Baltimore.  Since Cleveland won the right to keep the name, 'Browns,' Modell was forced to start a new tradition and renamed the team to the Ravens.  A couple of years later, the NFL expanded and granted the Cleveland fans their beloved Browns.  Did you get all that?  All three of the teams hate the Steelers, along with hating each other.  Good stuff.

Before I start, here's what I've done so far and where I'll be going in the next few days:

I'm going to try and not make big reaches, so I'll find at least one player per team, but no promises past that.  If you have any suggestions, post them.

Pittsburgh Steelers

First off, even though the Steelers almost always have a good defense, until some of those players actually leave the team for equal or better success, I've got to chalk it up to the system. 

WR - Hines Ward:  In my opinion, he's the toughest receiver in the league.  Like many receivers the Steelers draft, he's a former high school and college quarterback converted to receiver.  If you had to pick one receiver on 4th and long with less than two minutes to go, you'd want this guy.  He's clutch, and he's not a prima-donna.  He'll block, go over the middle to get pounded, and never has alligator arms.

RB - Willie Parker:  You always have to give undrafted free agents a ton of credit.  It's one thing to make a roster when a team has nothing invested in you, but to become a starter, then a Pro Bowler, that's something special.  That's probably what puts him over the top to get on this list.  He's good, but he sometimes has trouble running between the tackles.  You have to love his speed and vision on most plays though, so he's on the list.

S - Troy Polamalu:  Seriously, is there really anyone out there that wouldn't be thrilled to have this guy on their team?  Anyone?

NT - Casey Hampton:  Above I stated that the system is a big reason for the Steelers successful defense, and that's a credit to the whole defensive team and the coaching.  The Steelers' scheme just wouldn't work without a great Nose Tackle.  Casey Hampton is just that.  For the Steelers' defense to work, the NT has to be a space eater, sometimes taking on as many as three guys.  The Steelers have the best defense in the league, so what's that tell you?

Cleveland Browns

The Browns are an up and coming team, but they'll have to prove themselves in 2008, or they'll be considered a flash-in-the-pan team.  Even though they're good, many of the players, in my opinion, are still not proven.  Let's put it this way, I love Braylon Edwards and Joe Thomas, but they're not on the list...yet.  I'm impressed with Derek Anderson, but like the team, let's see if he can do it again with Brady Quinn looking over his shoulder.

WR - Joe Jurevicius:  You might be asking, "Really?"  I don't know exactly what's happened to this guy's career or why he's not more productive, because every time I watch a game with him in it, he's catching a critical pass or making a great play.  I've liked this guy since he was a Giant, and when he Torched the Raiders in the Super Bowl, my thoughts about him were validated.

TE - Kellen Winslow:  I'm sold.  I never wanted to be sold, but I am.  A Charger legacy who would probably never want to play for the Raiders, K2 always came off as a punk who was all talk.  Then he almost lost his leg in a motorcycle accident, and something changed.  Maybe he saw his once bright career getting dimmer.  He came back and has been as good as advertised.  He's a hard worker, like teammate  Edwards, and he's good.  Now the fact that he's edgy is a plus.

OC - Hank Fraley:  Another undrafted free agent who's carved out a very nice career.  He may have put in his best season last year leading the Cleveland line.  He may not be the most talented center, but he's a tough and durable center that's good.  Anderson got the credit for the offense, but without a good center, there wouldn't be any credit to give.

OG - Eric Steinbach:  He's a road-grader, and a big reason why Cleveland can run the ball.  He's another tough guy with good technique and plays to the whistle.  If a guy can pound the rock, he's going to gain yards running behind this guy.

Cincinnati Bengals

No, Chris Perry is not on the list haters.  In fact, only three are on the list.  This team has much to work out.  If I can't come up with at least four guys, that's pretty bad.  Their defense is bad, the offensive line isn't very good, and their QB hasn't been the same since breaking his leg against the Steelers a couple of years ago.

WR's - T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson:  I think "whosyourmama" is the better receiver, but he does play Robin to Johnson's Batman.  I love how tough both of these guys are and how they are a terror for opposing corner's to cover.  Johnson has put himself in the borderline area by being so ignorant as to alienate his team and fans when he knows he's at least another year away from having a chance of being traded.

RB - Rudi Johnson:  I love how this guy runs.  He's a little cannonball who runs into the line and around it, but he always seems to find the smallest hole in which to run through and he's tough.  He may be slowing down some, but I'd take him.

Baltimore Ravens

Here's another team that is getting old, but there are still players on this team I would think would be good in Silver and Black.  Since this team is known for its defense, I'll start there.

LB - Ray Lewis:  I think he'd be better served in the 4-3 scheme, but maybe he's lost a step.  I don't know, but he still seems pretty good to me.  I'm not a big fan of his and I think he talks way too much about some lame stuff on gameday, but whatever works, right?

S - Ed Reed:  I'm a huge fan of this guys.  He'll lay you out and on the next play, pick the ball off.  He's so talented and menacing in the secondary.  He's very much someone you could put in the same class of a Tatum or Lott.

CB - Chris McAlister:  The perfect compliment to Ed Reed, he's another tough guy that can play with finesse.  I love his game even though I may not be THE best corner in the game, he's tough and he's cocky, and he's good.  You want that in a corner.

NT - Kelly Gregg:  If you want to talk Nose Tackles, you have to at least mention Gregg.  First, he's a nose tackle who gets double teamed a bunch.  Last year, he had 80 tackles!  There are linebackers and safetys that don't have that many tackles!  He had 3 sacks also, and he's just a huge disruptor.  With the Raiders run defense, I covet this guy.

TE - Todd Heap:  What's cool about this pick, the Raiders already have the carbon copy of him in Zach Miller.  I love the way that Heap gets in there and levels defensive players with his blocks, but he also makes some acrobatic catches.  There aren't too many tight ends that could make the case that they're better.

Did I miss anyone?  Did I reach too much?  Agree or disagree? 

Any feedback you have is greatly appreciated.  I want to thank the guys that have given their feedback so far, including 'sure Bert' who gave a very thoughtful analysis of me.  If you think I got it wrong, let the world know by posting it.

Remember the only criteria to make my list, is that the player has had to have made an impression on me so significant that I would say to myself, "He'd be a good Raider," or "I wish he was a Raider." 

Who's done that for you?

Posted on: April 9, 2008 11:47 am
 

He'd Be a Good Oakland Raider!: AFC East

First Posted on Bleacher Report

This is part five of an eight part series detailing players that have jumped out at me and made me say, "Man!!  That guy would be a good Raider!"

When I started this, I knew this day would come.  First let me just say that there are only two teams that I despise at this moment in time, the Chargers and the Patriots.

You'd think that when most everyone who's not part of Raider Nation hates the Raiders, I'd hate all of the teams.  The thing is, in order to hate your team they have to, 1) be good, and 2) have done something that has infuriated me, like beating the Raiders in some extraordinary way.

For the Patriots, as you probably know, it's the 'tuck.'  I don't think I'll ever get over it.  The Chargers are a different case all together, and I'll get into that when I go over the AFC West.

Before I start, here's what I've done so far and where I'll be going in the next few days:

Buffalo Bills

First off, don't expect me to name guys like Teyo Johnson, Courtney Anderson, or Langston Walker to this list.  Even though Walker was part of the best line the Bills have had since 1989, and they let up a minuscule 26 sacks, he was also part of one of the worst lines in the history of the NFL when he was a Raider.  Not only that, anyone that is as ungrateful as he was when he left, can stay gone.

I do like Trent Edwards and Paul Posluszny, but they're young and unproven for the most part.

RB - Marshawn Lynch:  Along with begging Mr. Davis to draft AP, I also begged him to draft this guy.  Not in person of course, but from the comfort of my home with a a bag of cheetos in one hand and an ice cold pale ale in the other.  I still begged though.  He didn't disappoint as he rushed for over 1,100 yards in his first year.  He's a finesse runner that puts his head down and bowls you over if you get in his way and he's not afraid to defend himself or his teammates a la Marcus Allen.  When your running back doesn't take any crap, usually the rest of the team does the same.

OT - Jason Peters:  This guy has the perfect story.  Undrafted out of college, cut in 2004 but signed to the practice squad, then when signed to the team he plays special teams.  Four years later, he's a Pro Bowl left tackle.  That guy would be a good Raider!

OC - Melvin Fowler:  Responsible for calling the protection schemes and being the cog for the running game, you've got to give this guy his props since Buffalo was successful at both last year.  He's not the most talented center in the league, but if he were to join the Raiders it wouldn't be a bad thing because he's a hard worker and he's smart.

OG - Derrick Dockery:  This guy is great in pass protection and can block for the run.  You often hear that teams don't let great players leave, but I bet Washington missed him last year.  He's everything you'd want from your guard.

S - Donte Whitner:  Called a 'major reach' in 2006 when he was drafted behind Michael Huff by Mel Kuiper Jr., but I wonder if he'd like to take that back now.  Whitner is one of those guys that's all over the place, and when he reaches his destination expect an explosive hit.  That's Raider-like.

Miami Dolphins

Really?  Ok, I'll try.  I think I'll pass on Ricky Williams though.  I'm also not going to mention Renaldo Hill or Quentin Moses who were Raiders, and don't expect a Ted Ginn add either.

QB - Josh McCown:  Yeah, Raider Nation, he's a good Raider.  He took your abuse, a transitional team, and no future as the starter, but he kept his dignity and character and was often seen on the sideline helping his teammates.  I wish him the best of luck.

Bill Parcells:  If it weren't for the fact that he and Al Davis may be almost the same person, he probably would've already been the coach/GM of the Raiders at least once.

RB - Ronnie Brown:  I know that his injury puts his status in doubt, but he's proven to be more versatile than the Caddy so far and nobody doubts his ability.  Anyone that good who can take a backseat to someone like he did in college is usually who Al Davis goes for.

DE - Jason Taylor:  His best friend is Zach Thomas.  His wife is Zach Thomas' sister.  To this day, I don't really know how to take that.  Something in my stomach churns like it would if one of them went on Dancing...with...uhh...yeah, it just doesn't sit well with me.  I can't deny the guy is a monster though.  He hasn't missed a game since 1999 and last season amid all of the turmoil, he still racked up 11 sacks, 4 fumbles forced, and a pick.

OC - Samson Satele:  This guy is quick, strong, and nasty.  It really helps that he looks mean too.  Even if I didn't like the way he played, I'd have to give him consideration just because of the name...yeah, that's a pretty cool name.

New York Jets

When looking at this roster, I'm actually shocked.  I don't figure the Jets to be that good, but they have quite a few players that I like, and I'm not talking about Eric Barton.  So that's where Darnell Bing landed...

QB - Marques Tuiasosopo:  Just when I had finally learned how to say your full name without stuttering and then put pen to paper and spell it in one fell swoop, you were gone.  Thanks for ruining your career and being a Raider.

OT & OC - D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold:  Doesn't this sound like the lead actors of a porn movie?  Maybe they would shorten their name to D'Brickashaw and Mangold.  If for nothing else, it would be good fodder for Raider Nation at the games.  They're young and unproven, but should be good for years to come.

RB - Tony Richardson:  Bruising fullback that can catch the ball out of the backfield.  Hard-nosed, tough, and never shies away from punishment.  He's also an undrafted rookie who's found a way to stay in the league for 13 years.  It seems like everyone he blocks for becomes a star; Priest Holmes, Larry Johnson, Chester Taylor, and Adrian Peterson.  I'm just glad he's no longer a Chief.

OG - Alan Faneca:  How can you not like this grizzled veteran?  He's absolutely the 'take no crap' type of lineman that ALL teams want...especially at guard.  I like him because he plays to the whistle, and sometimes a little past it, like a guard the Raiders used to have (the Wiz).

DT - Dewayne Robertson:  Besides having a face only a mother could love, this guy is a disruptor on the line.  He's able to stop the run and force the pass, which for a defensive tackle is what you want.  Averaging over 50 tackles and nearly 3 sacks a season is good stuff for a nose tackle.  He's good, and his looks don't hurt either...as long as your not looking.

New England Patriots

Never had ill feelings for this team until that January game in the snow.  I'll always believe that was a fumble.  It doesn't help that they went on to start a dynasty that season.  Even after all of that, I probably could've let it go had it not been for BSPN focusing all of their Sports Center's on the Patriots ever since:  "Tom Brady is leaving his girl friend for a super model," "Belichick is going to auction off the cut sleeves from his sweat shirts today," "Tom Brady couldn't find his keys this morning."  Blah, blah, blah...national networks shouldn't focus locally.

Bill Belichick:  I never thought he'd be a good coach after what he did with the Browns.  I guess that just goes to show you what I know.  Often ridiculed as a cheater now, and known for saying much about nothing, he would be the perfect coach for Al Davis.  He just wins baby!  He's good at secrets, security, and doesn't crave for the spotlight.  There's a reason that the Raiders operate in a cloak of secrecy, the whole NFL 'cheats' so get over it.  People jumping onto coattails about the video taping need to learn their football history.  Being on a team where one of the catch phrases is, "If you're not cheating, you're not trying," would probably be a better fit for him.

OC - Dan Koppen:  No matter who lines up with this guy, they always look good.  You have to credit the guy in the middle for that.  He's held the line together and called all of the protections, and minus the Super Bowl, Tom Brady has stayed really clean during games.  Low key guy who was once a fifth round pick.  Nothing like an underdog manning the line.

OT - Matt Light:  Nothing like a big talented left tackle to keep your franchise quarterback healthy.  This guy is just plain good.  I don't think I've ever heard or seen a negative about this guy's game.  He's been the starting left tackle throughout the dynasty, and that is really all that needs to be said.

QB - Tom Brady:  Compare him to any great QB ever to play the game.  He fumbled, but he didn't the other seasons they won the title.

RB - Laurence Maroney:  Is there any fan out there that's not worried when this guy is playing against their team?  He's intimidating, and that's the Raider way.

WR - Wes Welker:  5'9" 185 lbs and undrafted, signed as a free agent by the Chargers, then cut and signed by Miami.  No chance right?  Yeah, right.  A handful to cover, he's proven to be one of the top possession receivers in the league, but he can also catch in traffic.  And that can't be easy when a guy almost twice your size is about to crush you.

DL - Vince Wilfork and Richard Seymour:  You can't argue productivity and that's what this tandem has been.  They are both dominating against the run and disruptive in the pass.  There aren't many pairs like this working together in the league and better yet, neither seeks the attention.  They do their job, make a great play, and then go back to the huddle with little fan fare or adulation asked for.

LB - Tedy Bruschi:  That saying, "Stats don't tell the whole story," applies to this guy.  He's got a big motor, never quits on anything, very smart player, and lays a hit when it's called for.  He's everything you want your inside linebacker to be, and then some.

LB/DE/TE/FB/RB - Mike Vrabel:  Is there anywhere this guy hasn't lined up?  That's why I like him, but then I watch him play.  Nobody catches the ball out of the backfield too often when they play the Patriots.  He's the biggest reason why.  See the play, read the play, kill the play.  That's Vrabel in a nutshell, plus he's not a bad receiver when he's playing on the offensive side of the ball.

That's a bunch of guys from the Patriots!  Lucky for me, I didn't have to add that other receiver to the list, since he's already proven NOT to be a good Raider.

Did I miss anyone?  Did I reach too much?  Agree or disagree? 

Any feedback you have is greatly appreciated.  I want to thank the guys that have given their feedback so far, including 'sure Bert' who gave a very thoughtful analysis of me.  If you think I got it wrong, let the world know by posting it.

Remember the only criteria to make my list, is that the player has had to have made an impression on me so significant that I would say to myself, "He'd be a good Raider," or "I wish he was a Raider." 

Who's done that for you?

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