Category Archives: Raiders

Raiders Relocation?

Chris Schisler

The Oakland Raiders are flirting with the idea of relocation. They are sick of sharing a stadium with the Oakland Athletics, who extended their lease for the next 10 years. The stadium is in major need of upgrades as it does not bring in the money other NFL teams make. The Raiders want a new black hole and they may move to get it.

The Raiders may have been mostly awful in recent years but are one of the league’s most iconic franchises. Taking them away from their very loyal fans would be crippling to the franchise. The NFL does not want to see the team move; they understand the league is better when the Raiders are strong. Even when the silver and black are bad they are still the beloved Oakland Raiders.

So you may be thinking that whats the big deal if they move back to LA? You may think this would make sense because the Raiders spent over a decade in Los Angeles. Here is the problem, they’re not getting a new stadium in LA. That means Oakland is not moving there, end of discussion.

However San Antonio is intrigued. They will work with the Raiders on a new stadium. This means San Antonio could actually get the Raiders. It is a much smaller market but this has not hindered the Spurs. San Antonio is a possibility.

Al Davis may be gone but his cavalier attitude seems to be well alive in his son (Current owner) Mark. Mark Davis wants a new stadium bad. If Oakland does not help it is the guilty party if Davis relocates. What a shame that would be.,

Season Preview AFC West

As long as the touchdown machine that is Peyton Manning is in Denver, the Broncos will be the favorites in the AFC West. The division that was one of the weakest in the league, had three playoff representatives in 2014. The Broncos eliminated San Diego in the divisional round on their way to the Super Bowl. The Broncos received a 12th man sized beat down from the Seattle Seahawks losing 43-8. The Chiefs playoff loss was almost as embarrassing, as the Colts overcame a 28 point deficit and beat them. Despite their playoff failures, three playoff teams makes an impressive division. Will the division look so favorably in 2014?

The Broncos will be fine. They did lose some key players like Erick Decker and Knowshon Mareno, But Cody Latimer was drafted to fill Decker’s role. Losing Wesley Woodyard and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is a bit of a blow. The Broncos however invested heavily in the defense signing Demarcus Ware, TJ Ward and Aqib Talib. With more star power on the defense & Peyton Manning under center the Broncos will once again be contenders.

The biggest threat to Denver would be the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers went 9-7 last season but came alive in the second half of the season. With an impressive playoff win in Cincinnati, they proved they were building something under new coach, Mike McCoy.

Phillip Rivers seemed revived in 2013. The Chargers had a great draft, filling needs. The defense found a starting cornerback in Jason Verrett and a pass rusher in Jeremiah Attaoucho. Things seem to be pointing up in San Diego but they have to get past the Broncos. Only time will tell if they took enough steps to do so.

Kansas City is an interesting team. Last season, under new head coach Andy Reid they got off to a 9-0 start. They finished 2013 with an 11-5 record losing 5 of their last seven games. Many people bashed me for not buying into the Chiefs hot start. I simply was not impressed because they had a powderpuff schedule. The tough games against Denver, San Diego and Indianapolis were all after their week 10 bye week. They lost these tough games.

This however is a season preview, not a recap of the previous year. The Chiefs have failed to improve themselves dramatically this offseason. They signed a handful of serviceable free agents but made no big splash. They had a rather mediocre draft. Dee Ford is a good outside linebacker, but he is more of a future oriented pick. The Chiefs failed to get a receiver opposite of Dwayne Bowe. Kansas City is essentially what they were last season: a decent team that may bully lesser competition but does not get a seat at the big boy table. I see the Chiefs taking a slight step backwards in 2014. I don’t think this is a playoff team.

The Oakland Raiders will be an interesting team to watch. They drafted Derrick Carr to be their franchise quarterback. With a looks shot Matt Schuab in Oakland, we may get to see Carr a lot in his rookie season. James Jones was a big signing for Oakland, as they stole one of Aaron Rodgers favorite receivers. The Raiders defense should be improved with notable free agent signings in Lamar Woodley and Justin Tuck. Khalil Mack should be an instant difference maker in his rookie season at outside linebacker. Oakland is headed in the right direction, a sentence I never expected to type. They will be competitive, but its hard to see them making real noise.

Rookie QB’s: Sit em or Start em

-Chris Schisler

When NFL teams draft a quarterback of the future, the question is when do they let the future begin. Starting an unpolished rookie risks making him spoiled goods. The Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings as well as the Oakland Raiders all believe they have just found their savior under center. It is an exciting time in these 4 NFL cities. The decision they make could either pay off big time or haunt them for years to come.

It used to be common for teams to give their rookie QB time to develop. Things started to change in 2008, when Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco, led their teams to the playoffs in their rookie season.Teams began to start their quarterbacks right away.

In 2009, the New York Jets started Mark Sanchez right away. The Jets went to back to back AFC championships. The Jets were winning but Sanchez was a very flawed passer. The Jets surrounded their quarterback with a pound it out running offense & the comfort of a dominant defense. The Jets kept believing that Sanchez could be a star, ignoring his shortcomings. Sanchez regressed to a butt fumbling level and the Jets replaced him. The Jets came into the 2013 season at square one with Geno Smith. Geno Smith did so poorly in his rookie season that the Jets signed Michael Vick this offseason.

The league did not realize that Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco were exceptions to the rule. Teams looked for QB’s to get on the field training; they rationalized it by saying “what’s he going to learn on the bench?” There are some success stories such as Cam Newton, Russell Wilson & Andrew Luck but there are just as many Blaine Gabbert like nightmares.

There are less people qualified to be an NFL quarterback than any other job in the world. The physical and cerebral workload is incredible. The quarterback is the leader of the team and ideally is the most football obsessed amongst the players. They get all the credit in victory and all the blame in defeat. Think about the teams that win; they all have good QB’s. Teams have to be picky about who they put under center. If a rookie quarterback is going to start he has to earn it and be capable. Many teams draft a quarterback with a high ceiling in terms of potential and ruin him on the field too early. Everyone looks at the Flacco’s and Matt Ryan’s of the world. Why does nobody look at Aaron Rodgers. He had to sit behind Brett Favre; that worked out pretty good.

No matter how you slice it a rookie quarterback is a project. This years crop is a great example. Blake Bortles has a prototypical QB body and supreme arm talent. That said his footwork is messy at best, this affects the timing and accuracy of his passes-he struggles to read a defense when he is in the pocket and us only comfortable when rolling out. Johnny Football is not without his flaws. He has a lazy drop back, makes bad reads-uses his legs to get him out of the trouble he got himself in and forces late throws in the red zone. These two quarterbacks can make every throw and have an amazing amount of talent but I don’t think either one is ready. It’s not the ability, its the lack of fundamentals in their game.

The Browns would be best suited to sit their rookie passer on the sideline. They must remember the future is what is important. Manziel needs to develop a disciplined approach to football. If he tries the headless chicken-make magic out of nothing routine in the NFL he may get himself killed. Brian Hoyer deserves a chance to at least prove he can start in the league. The future is important to Cleveland they have been bad for a long time.

The Jaguars don’t expect to start Blake Bortles this year. Sure he could win the job, but they will only play him if he is truly ready. This is an organization that went through growing pains with Blaine Gabbert; they have learned from this experience. Chad Henne showed flashes of decent play last season. The Jaguars don’t need to rush things, they don’t expect to be great over night. They are rebuilding not rehashing their past mistakes.

Teddy Bridgewater however could start on day one. Bridgewater ran a savvy offense at Louisville like a well oiled machine. I had him rated as the best quarterback prospect; he was a total steal as the first rounds last pick. Bridgewater read defenses like a pro in college. Like Bortles and Manziel, Bridgewater has the ability to beat you with his legs. However Teddy uses his legs to extend plays, keeping his eyes downfield remaining a passer. Its funny that Bortles gets compared to Ben Roethlisberger based on size. Teddy Bridgewater plays the game mostly comparable to Roethlisberger; extending plays and connecting on deep bombs. The Vikings got a guy who is ready & they have no time to waste. Adrian Peterson is human so he won’t last forever.

I am not high on Derrick Carr, I never really have been. He has a tremendous arm, the physical tools are there. I can’t help but see Kyle Boller in Derrick Carr. I think it is so easy to fall in love with a cannon arm that we overlook signs of trouble. for Oakland’s sake I am wrong. I think Carr was very sheltered at Fresno State. The QB friendly spread offense and lower level of competition concerns me. His mechanics concern me. Getting blown out by USC in Fresno State’s Bowl game concerns me. Carr has the physical tools but I am not convinced he can do it at the next level. I don’t foresee patience for the Oakland Raiders. Matt Schuab is a shell of hus former self and a mere placeholder at quarterback. I predicted Carr to be a bust- an opinion many people have bashed me for. Now that I know he is a Raider, I am even more convinced.

There is no right or wrong approaches here. Everything depends on the situation. A team should absolutely start a rookie if he has earned it and is ready. Sitting your QB does not insure success. However starting him before he is ready is a good way to make him spoiled goods. Its a slippery slope that the respective NFL head coaches must be aware of.

Draft Grades AFC West

-Chris Schisler

Denver Broncos: A-

In round one Denver selected Bradley Robey, the cornerback from Ohio State. Robey is a boom or bust player; it seems life the perfect fit under Jack Del Rio’s defensive tutelage. In round two Peyton Manning got another weapon; the Broncos drafted Cody Latimer a budding star wide receiver. The Broncos drafted entirely for need. The only suspect pick would be offensive tackle Michael Schofield, but it is by no means a tragic error. Lamin Barrow in the fourth round is a linebacker that really impressed me as I watched the LSU Tigers. He is a big bruising backer who takes good pursuit angles to the football. Denver impressed me in this draft. Where some teams made decisions that just made me angry, the Broncos just had some preference differences. I respect the work John Elway and company did.

San Diego Chargers: A+

The Chargers struck lightning in this draft. Getting Jason Verrett, the corner from TCU was a great value at 25. The Chargers drafted one of my favorite prospects in the second round, in Jeremiah Attaoucho. Attaoucho is a fierce linebacker who plays with such an instinctive football quickness. His on the field pursuit of the quarterback and ball carriers is quicker than his measurables suggest. I thought San Diego found a couple of diamonds in the rough, drafting Marion Grice (RB ASU) and Tevin Reese (WR Baylor) in the 6th and 7th rounds.

Kansas City Chiefs: B-

The Chiefs drafted outside linebacker Dee Ford with the 23rd overall selection. This was a great pick for the future as it will be hard financially to keep both of their pass rushers. Aaron Murray in the 5th round was an absolute steal. Give him a year or two to develop, and I think he will dazzle.
None of their other picks excite me, yet they did a decent job.

Oakland Raiders: B

I really like the draft that the Raiders had. If I had a different view of their second round QB, Derrick Carr, I would probably love it. Khalil Mack is a top 5 talent. I really like the guard they drafted; Gabe Jackson is a big physical run blocker. Keith McGill is a perfect value where they got him in the fourth round.