Willis McGahee – are we tempted?

So perennial pro-bowl running back Willis McGahee, having been cut by the Denver Broncos, has listed us as one of about six or seven teams that he would ideally like to join. I can’t say this news didn’t excite me. To be honest I was surprised by the news, a top NFL RB wants actively wants to join us? Maybe the Reggie-revolution is starting to bear fruit. Questions are, however, can we really afford him and even if we can, do we really need him?

Willis McGahee is an explosive 31 years old RB, traditionally near the end of the line for a RB. He has not, however, got quite the wear on the tread that a normal 31 year old RB would have, unfortunately the reasons for this are largely because of the serious injuries that he has endured over the years. We can conclude from this that he is indeed coming towards the end of his NFL career, with maybe only another couple of years reliable service left in the tank.

If McGahee could agree to come to the Oakland Raiders relatively cheap – I’d put the ceiling at a two year $3 million contract – then I would happily accommodate him. Remember Darren McFadden has a notoriously bad injury history, so a quality back up is always worth adding. Unfortunately, Willis McGahee will probably command a greater salary than we can realistically afford, but I might be wrong, old RB’s can go surprisingly cheap (in my opinion the position has been overly undervalued in recent years).

Assuming that McGahee was prepared to come to us for less than $1.5 million/year then the next problem becomes who are we willing to sacrifice. I like the young RB talent that we are starting to accumulate on the roster and wouldn’t want to risk putting Latavius Murray or Jeremy Stewart on the practice squad. The fear being that another team seizes their potential, as practice squad players are not protected from exits to other teams. So assuming that we are keeping Marcel Reece at FB (although he’s excellent cover at RB) and want to keep Latavius Murray and Jeremy Stewart on the final 53-man roster as backups to Darren MacFadden, I don’t think we really have room for McGahee…or Rashad Jennings for that matter. This, however, is the sensible strategy and as much as a say it I can’t help getting away from the thought that I would love him on the roster. There you go I’ve changed my mind and on instinct alone I say sign him, if he’ll come for less than $1.5 million, and let the mini-camp battles heat up a few degrees.

The Many Questions of Stacy McGee

The draft selection of Oklahoma DT Stacy McGee in the sixth round undoubtedly raised the most questions of any of our picks. Has he got the mental skills necessary for the NFL? Can he get fit? Will he behave? I wont pretend I know the answers to all these questions but I will express my happiness that at least we drafted an interior defensive linemen, who I hope could go on to be one of the surprises (pleasant) of this draft.

Physically Stacy McGee has the necessary foundations, 6’4″ 310 lbs is near ideal for a DT, plus on the clips I’ve seen he is good at stopping RB’s and creating pressure on the QB. Unfortunately, early in his career, he has run out of puff a little too easily, regularly needing to be rotated out of the starting lineup. So he needs to work on the physicals, something I believe that working with our excellent conditioning staff he really can do.

Improving his physical conditioning through co-ordinated physical training, however, requires the correct mind-set and this is where another one of Stacy McGee’s amber lights is flashing. He got into moderate amounts of trouble at college. This is not the be all and end all for me, as I can forgive youthful mistakes, but the issue moving forward is can he stop making these mistakes. Is he strong mentally? This is the vital point, as he’ll need this to get physically right to progress in the NFL. Plus he really needs to make sure he doesn’t get in any trouble again. I hear naturally most people/analysts seem to think he isn’t mentally strong, but I am going to make a giant leap of faith forward and say that I think that he is a lot stronger upstairs than most people give him credit for, or at least he can become strong. Reggie and his staff have assessed Stacy in detail and they believe that, despite the contrary evidence, his head is screwed on correctly. I back this belief with the interview tape that I’ve seen of Stacy chatting and its genuinely good. He appears to be a surprisingly intelligent and likeable. Hence I am putting his previous errors down to youthful exuberance, and mistakes that anyone could make.

Let’s give Stacy McGee a chance, becuase if he lives up to his potential this could be one hell of a good DT prospect. I’m optimistic we could have the makings of a real good line here.

London Francise

There has been a lot of talk recently about an overseas NFL francise, with London quoted as a distinct possibility, with the prospect of full attendances at 80,000-plus new stadiums very tempting to any owner. Whenever I read about such possibilities it is always laughed off as “that’ll never happen” but I must admit, given the success of the UK NFL games recently and the distinctly poor attendances at a number of teams in recent years I think this may actually happen now. Also I think it could happen within the next ten years.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are talked about as a possible switch, but what about the Oakland Raiders, attendances are not good enough, the current stadium is a shambles and something has to be done. Do you think Mark Davis would do it? He comes from a family of mavrics. Moving the francise to London, although controversial would probably be a huge success and make him a billionaire.

Its interesting, but tyhen again with LA not even having a team, closer moves make more sense….the balls in your court Oakland, act ow or loose your francise.

JaMarcus Russell working out for the Bears

Please don’t hate me for voicing it, but I’m a real believer in everyone deserving a second chance and I can’t help but think JaMarcus Russell is about to claim his.

When we drafted him he was a kid that clearly had personality issues. This was well summed up by that story about the coaches giving him a DVD to watch with an analysis of his failings, he said he completely agreed with….unfortunately that DVD turned out to be blank

But he’s lost the weight, has been working out with Jeff Garcia, apparently looked good in his try-out for the Bears, and clearly has the talent. Watch the tape – not the blank one – he really throws a beautiful deep pass, best I can remember.

The Bears have terrible depth at QB, while they are at it they should pickup Tebow too, and it would make sense for them to take a gamble on him.

Here’s the bit nobody will like to read but I would like him to get another chance here. Not sure if he’d come, but I’m all for second chance salon

Could we convert Nick Kasa to DE

Seeing as we have, at least, four fairly evenly talented TE’s on our roster, but one of them was a college star at DE, should we consider switching Rookie TE Nick Kasa back to DE.

I like the potential we now have at DE with Lamar Houston a lock to star one side, and an aging Andre Carter on the other, this looks ok. We will, however, certainly need someone to come in and give Carter a rest. We’ve nothing yet from last year’s draft pick Crawford, but I’m going to (perhaps optimistically) assume he is going to improve in 2013, so he’s the number one back up, supported by late round draft pick David Bass (who I really like). This rotation is shallow though, and would look a lot better with another player in there. Also it looks a bit lightweight……

6’6″ TE, weighing in above 250 lbs, ten sacks one year at Colorado, I can’t help thinking this lad might not be more useful to us at DE. My biggest reasons for saying this is are that he has only played TE for one season, will probably this year only play serious action on special teams, but we can’t carry all four of our young TEs one our final roster but we can squeeze in another DE….to me we squeeze more talent and potential into the roster by moving Kasa to DE, we shall see

WR – is youth enough

Going into the season we have a receiving core that is literally spilling over with youth and potential but worryingly low on experience. The more experienced players, such as Ford, are coming off serious injuries and there are concerns as to whether they can reclaim their old glories. Do we need to acquire some experience of should we give the relative kids a chance?

Personally I love the young receiving talent on this team, and given the stage on the rebuilding curve we are at I wouldn’t want to have to cut any of this massive potential. In recent years we’ve got really good at finding WR talent late in the draft or UDFA, and to be honest with what we have already I foresee us having to cut real talent.

If we were on a serious Super Bowl run then maybe I would have argued for acquiring Boldin, or looking at still relatively decent available talent like Braylon Edwards, but we have 6 or 7 young guys that can really excite already – for example I like at least 2 of this years UDFA WRs – and these guys come relatively cheap. This way we build up a sustainable strong roster for our future impending glories…..and whoever on the scouting team keeps finding these players, give them a longer contract.