One of the long-shots on the Oakland Raider’s roster that I am more excited about is OLB “Ray-Ray” Armstrong. The former University of Miami LB has serious intensity and according to reports from OTA’s has really been impressing.

The thing I like best about “Ray-Ray” is his passion, this kid obviously loves football and in a LB-grouping that includes Khalil Mack, Sio Moore (Mr Intensity himself) and Malcolm Smith it is quite possible that a real quality grouping emerges.

In the past Ray-Ray Armstrong has sometimes struggled with missed tackles and poor positional play, but (if OTA reports are true) he’s really improved this offseason. Lets give Ray-Ray a chance, he only has a couple of years experience at LB, having played S in college….a plus being here his coverage skills exceeded many backup LBs.


Fury Road

Starting with the haunting line “our world is fire and blood” the new Mad Max trailer perfectly encapsulates the excitement that I feel going into the 2015 season. Reggie is gradually pulling together a roster with not only talent but also a nice bit of Raiders’ swagger.

Any Raider fan can’t help but love the style and mystique of the Mad Max films, lets face it our former players and ongoing fans are pretty much the inspiration for the creatures that so hauntingly grace the backdrop of these brilliant films.

The bad-ass attitude that players like Khalil Mack, Sio Moore, Just Tuck and Charles Woodson bring to the defense a nasty, hungry personality, warriors looking to be set free on offenses by the excellence and dependability of new recruits, such as Curtis Lofton and Dan Williams. The additional pressure that our front 7 are going to bring this year should be awesome, and is likely to create a big increase in turnovers for our speedy DB-set. As Humungus the central baddy in Mad Max 2 said, “unleash my dogs of war”.

…. I can just see now, Derek Carr calmly striding onto the field, helmet in hand, to take the ball back after CW24 picks off another interception. Fakes a hand-off to Murray then pings a 50 yard bomb into the hands of Amari Cooper – the Oakland Raiders are back, its silver and black!!!

Front 7

A quick look at our defensive front-7 going into the 2014 season puts it into perspective how much better the Oakland Raiders now look.

Starting at the two DE positions its former-pro bowlers, Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley, then either side of them at OLB its last years best rookie Sio Moore, bound to be better with a second training camp under his belt and this year’s defensive stud Khalil Mack…..that my friends is awesome. Looking across the rosters of the other teams you will struggle to find better combos.

Then moving over to DT, we now have Antonio Smith and Justin Ellis, an excellent QB-hastling, run-stuffing combo, backed up by the very imporessive Stacy McGee and Pat Sims

At MLB then we have Roach, plus a decent bit of depth, particularly at LB….we could be real good next year.


With the 5th Pick of the 2014 NFL Draft The Raiders Select….

Khalil Mack…..cue screams of excitement and cheers of joy.

The adrenalin started flowing, big-time, when the Jaguars made the somewhat questionable selection of Blake Bortles.

Amazement grew when we saw how much the Buffalo Bills had paid, in picks, to move up just a few places. Basically the Bills had agreed to pay two first rounders and one later round pick for the Browns pick….Then I got a bit depressed, as I realised the Bills would probably be selecting their hometown boy Khalil Mack – probably the best player in the draft – but the old proverbial champagne was well and truly on ice as the Bills announced they were selecting Sammy Watkins. (Mr Watkins looked worryingly short, to me, as he approached the podium in his badly fitting suit).

OK, so the best player in this years draft has fallen to the Oakland Raiders, at number 5, it’s a no-brainer right, we select Mack? If you have any history as a Raiders fan you know that isn’t strictly true. Indeed, it’s normally wrong. A small part of all of our minds feared the worse … who ran the fastest 40-time at this year’s combine? Surely rumours of us signing Derek Carr at number 5 were over-done. We all remember the non-signing of Star Lotulelei last year.

….. cue insane celebrations, mass punching of air, etc, etc, as the commissioner announces that “with the 5th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft the Oakland Raiders select Khalil Mack”. A defence of Justin Tuck, LaMarr Woodley, Sio Moore, Antonio Smith AND Khalil Mack is made for knocking over Peyton et al…..the AFC West never looked like more fun.


Following Sio Moore’s excellent display against the Steelers I strongly believe the Raiders acquisition of pash-rushing LB Martez Wilson last week was designed to light a spark under Sio’s development. If this was the case, it sure worked.

Sio rocked the game, against the Steelers, providing constant pressure and sure handed tackling, plus excelling on special teams – always a great guage of “effort”.

Some/most young players (indeed players of any discription really) need competition to truely test themselves. To challenge themselves to be the best they can be. Sio seeing the acquisition of another potentially strong LB, like himself, upped his game.

This LB core is the best one I can remember these past 5 years, and it has lots of potential to improve. Its is also being helped out, and itself helping, by stronger DL and defensive backfields.

The D this year is so much better. Indeed if another team comes sniffing for Tarver as their head coach I’d go as far as to say we shoudl promote Tarver to head coach here. Ideally I’d wait a few more years to do it, but Tarver is really impressing myself and I’m sure all Raiders fans.