Flynn Set To Fly

So our boy Terrelle Pryor – in my opinion the future of the francise – is going to rest out the Redskins game, which makes perfect sense to me as their is no point rushing our talented young QB back into the heat of our shaky OL. So a big welcome back to Matt Flynn, I really hope you fly. I worry, however, that our line wont create enough time for you, but then again at least the Redskins aren’t one of the leagues premier front-7’s, so mayeb you will surprise a few analysts and excel, I sincerelly hope so.

Lets all get behind Flynn, and remind ourselves of the beautiful performances he put in for the Packers (see link, below). I like Flynn, and I think he is a perfectly talented QB, it is just that given our OL weakenesses I think Pryor is better. However, we are giving the keys to flynn now, for at least one game now, so lets hope he creates a difficult selection dilema for Allen moving forward.

If they were going to make a film of the sensational nfl season, in which the 1-2 Oakland Raiders lost their staring starting QB and rolled on to win a Superbowl with a journeyman QB you know Matt Damon would be an ideal look-alike to play Matt Flynn.

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We Look Short on the Interior Line

In a desperate effort to address the apparent weaknesses we are showing on the interior line I imagine Reggie is frantically scanning the available player lists (I know I am), and looking purely at the guards that are available I thought the following made sense:-

Lance Louis – the former Chicago Bear starter signed with the Miami Dolphins in FA but got cut during the off-season in a somewhat surprising move given his abilities. At 320 lbs Lance Louis is just the sort of player that could toughen up our interior line. The concern with Louis is whether he is 100% yet after his ACL injury of 2012, if he is bring him in.

Stephen Peterman – having been released by the Jets this offseason doesn’t look quite as severe given their recent winning run, as it did at the time, and this former Cowboy/Lion could be a cheap power option. Drafted in the third round of the 2004 draft Peterman has planty of experience, and would be a relativeyl cheap stop-gap option.

Jake Scott – former Colt (started in 2007 superbowl victory) just missed out on the Lions 53-man roster this offseason, and would provide a definite upgrade over Nix.

Chilo Rachal – long-shot (Al-style) effort to reclaim lost talent, this former 49’ers second round draftee has bounced around rthe nfl in recent years (even getting cu by the Cardinals this offseason, and their OL isn’t great), but he has some talent, maybe Sparano is the man to relase it?

These suggestions are not to say I’m discounting Lamar Mady, the coaching staff obviously rate him (particularly as he leapfrogged Antoine McClain onto the active list versus Denver), and as Silverandblackpride point out (see below) he obviously has potential. Whoever makes up the final starting OL, if we are going to keep Pryor safe we need an improvement over those that started week 3, fingers crossed Sparano sprinkles some magic dust over the unit.

http://www.silverandblackpride.com/2013/5/4/4301136/oakland-raiders-udfa-player-profile-ol-lamar-mady

Roster Moves

So we roll-on. Yes we lost to the Denver Broncos, but it was closer than most analysts (though perhaps not the eternal optimist fan) thought, with clear signs of potential in our ranks. The roster, however, is already changing, and hopefully for the better.

Former practise squad guard Lamar Mady has been signed to the active roster, replacing TE David Ausberry who has been placed on IR.

Positives:-
* We are now only carrying 3 TE’s – 4 was too many for a 53 man roster
* We were looking woeful at guard, whether (or not) Mady is the answer to our problems – likely not – at least we are making moves, and giving youth a chance
* The National Football Post rated Lama Mady as their number one “linemen that NFL teams are excited to see at the combine” (ahead of Larry Warford), they particularly highlight his excellent display against the Texas versus the Nation Game. They saw him as a potential third or fourth rounder going into the draft. Draft Insider, meanwhile, described Mady as “an explosive run-blocking lineman who has upside.” Indeed, reading all pre-draft scoop on Mady again I’m starting to get excited, it looks like this boy could have it – Sparano weave your magic.
http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/Four-OLinemen-that-NFL-teams-are-excited-to-see-at-the-Combine.html
http://www.draftinsider.net/reports/2013/G/Lamar-Mady

Negatives:-
* A TE with real pass-catching potential, Ausberry, is out. I wonder if there is much more time on the clock for his perenial potential?
* Mady is an undrafted FA, we have already cut once

Expect more moves on the OL/TE front.

Broncos Beat Us But We Showed Potential

So we lost, or more to the point (and this is important) the Broncos beat us. Peyton Manning was excellent, pure and simple….who knows if Hue Jackson hadn’t bet the family silver on Carson Palmer maybe we’d have Peyton Manning in silver and black 😦

Anyway, Peyton beat us (and he’d have beaten most teams in the nfl on that form tonight. We just have to look for the positives in the loss, and there were plenty. Terrelle Pryor is a hard working gamer, and he deserves the keys to the francise QB position. Lets invest in Terrelle – give him a multi-year deal and a couple of quality OL – and see what he can do, as he’s improving with every game, and I just love how he keeps it interesting.

Other positives include the youthful fight a few of our players showed. Previous Raiders teams would have capitulated in the second half, but we came out fighting, restraining their second half offense and showing a few tricks of our own.

The much-maligned Raiders WR group also deserves some credit, as they once again showed signs of improving. As the groups young, with many different skill sets I wouldn’t waste a 2014 draft pick here, instead preferring to invest in the OL on offense.

The D also showed glimpses, but there is a general lack of talent when compared to a gunslinger like Manning that proves we need to spend next years top draft pick (and FA money) on D. On that Ronnie Hillman TD, for example, we truely sucked – we missed 2 clear tackles. Come on man, Hillman is hardly the kind of player that should be making us miss. Better players would have stopped that run in its tracks, but credit to the Broncos OL.

Flipping back to offense quickly, and trick plays – looking at the poise DMC put on that touchdown throw, we need to find ways of getting him throwing a couple of times every game. But what happened to his running yards? The OL didn’t perform well enough, but then again neither did he, a top RB should still be able to get yards even behind a weak OL.

Looking forward this team has potential at least, and I personally thought we’d lose by more.

Ex-Raiders Make Some Interesting Roster Moves

Some very recent ex-Raiders made some interesting roster moves, these past couple of days, including the Atlanta Falcons (lets be honest a better roster than ours overall) signing Omar Gaither to their 53 and Chase Thomas to their prqactise squad. The Arizona Falcons, meanwhile, terminated Sam McGuffie’s practise squad contract, as they replace him with Dan Buckner.

We all acknowledged that Omar Gaither looked good this off-season, indeed almost ever Raider fan I’ve spoken to recently wanted him on our 53 – myself included, so this signing is a shame, particularly as apparently we had him on “speed dial”.

Should we consider bringing Sam McGuffie onto our own practise squad? Purely on his college career, yes, but we saw him in camp and apparentyl he didn’t impress all that much, so we’ll have to trust Reggie on this one.

Anyway, good luck to them all – once a Raider, always a Raider.

Free Agents We Could Target

We’ve a 50% win-loss record, anything is possible – up to the crazy (15-1….I’m not being serious) – so should we consider a few aquisitions, as some real talent is still available. Particularly, given Branch’s injury, we need to think about safety cover.

I list the following interesting possibilities:-

(1) Kerry Rhodes, this former Cardinal/Jet safety is of definite starting caliber. Indeed, I really can’t see why he is avbailable. Snap up now please.

(2) Kenny Phillips – reasonable, former Giants, free safety. Hasn’t had an amazing nfl career, but definitely has some talent if he can come back after relatively poor couple of years, which could be more system related ratehr than player talent (and lack of)

(3) Haruki Nakamura – this former Raven/Panther safety might not have a particularly long nfl career, but he’s developed under two excellent D’s and both his mother and father have black belts in judo = tough cookie

…other positions:-
(4) Trevor Laws – the former Eagle (2nd round draft choice) and Ram DT, injuries have ended recent seasons, but if fully fit (?) could be worth bringing in to bolster the interior line

(5) Ron Brace – NT – another player that hasn’t done too much since being drafted high (second round by the Patriots), but I feel this is largely down to missing opportunities, he rocked coming out of college (in 2009 I think it was) and imo would certainly provide some excellence run-stopping skills on the inside (cheap too)

…. there are many more options out there, and I’ll cover them in the days to come if the interest is there – let me know beloved readers

Tyvon Branch Breaks a Bone

So we got the win, unfortunately we lost one of our best players, saftey Tyvon Branch to a fractured fibula. Dennis Allen referred to the injury as “significant” and in my own humble opinion we should put him on the season ending injured reserve list – Branch that is, not Allen 😉 – as there is no point carrying healing players through a transitional season. Better to get another young player on the roster, to see if they have what it takes.

I love Branch’s play in the defensive backfield, but he CAN be replaced, and indeed Brandian Ross looked excellent on sunday covering fro him, as did Usama Young. Brandian Ross has the potential to fill the role full-time, remember one of the best field-coaches in the game Charles Woodson is there to lend a hand.

Either we sign Chance Casey or Shelton Johnson from our own practise squad, or we raid someone else’s – anyone have any good ideas for young talent other teams are nurturing on theirs. Or, of course, we could aim for one of the more experienced free agents that are available, such as former all-pro strong safety Kerry Rhodes. Remember Rhodes is only just over 30, so there should still be fuel in the tank for another couple of seasons, and I always rated him as one of the New York Jets best defensive players, why a player of his talent is still available is a bit of a mystery to me, but lets face it Charles Woodson was available for far too long given his talents. (Note: I’m not comparing the two, just stating some very good players sit in free agency for far too long)