Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

October 25, 2006

Question: How come the Raiders did not draft Matt Leinart? At least it would have given the fans hope that they are rebuilding. How come the Raiders are this bad? They were not even this bad looking when Norv Turner was there. Is it time for Al Davis to step down and let somebody else run the team? I think so.
-- G. Morgan, Valley Stream, N.Y.

Answer: Matt Leinart wasn’t drafted because the Raiders already had Andrew Walter, who they believe is their quarterback of the future. The Raiders also didn’t believe they could afford to draft a quarterback because they needed help on defense. And ideally, they wouldn’t have played Leinart this season, so they wanted a player who could help immediately. One of the reasons the Raiders are winless is because as the old saying goes, you can’t put new wine in an old bottle. The roster is basically the same as last year, so it’s hard to get a quick turnaround without changes. The Raiders are also essentially using a rookie quarterback because Walter didn’t play at all last season. As for Al Davis, he’s not stepping down and he’s not selling the team. It will be done his way, for better or worse.
-- Jason Jones

Question: Hey, Jason. What are the chances of Weiss and Brady being with the Raiders in '07?
-- Raj, Yuba City

Answer: None.
-- Jason Jones

Question: Is it just me or does Art Shell look comatose during all five of the Raiders' losses? Where's his FIRE or INTENSITY? I mean what's his deal? Al Davis looks more alive them this guy. What's your opinion on the whole Jerry Porter mess? Reminds me of the Marcus Allen freeze out. Does Art Shell not remember that when he did that to Marcus Allen he lost all respect from the other players? Offensive coordinator Tom Wlash should go back to serving breakfast at the B&B. At least the B&B would be more creative than the Raiders offense!
-- San Diego

Answer: If you’re looking for Art Shell to start yelling, screaming or throwing something on the sidelines, you can forget about it. It’s just not his personality. As for the Porter situation, I believe the Raiders allowed this to become a distraction. Having one of your better players on the sidelines for four games while losing only creates questions about how committed the team really is to winning. One difference between Porter and Marcus Allen is during Allen’s feud, his public image never suffered. Many around the league, on the other hand, view Porter as a malcontent. And Tom Walsh isn’t going back to the bed and breakfast. But look on the bright side, the Raiders are up to 31st in yards per game.
-- Jason Jones

Question: What is the status of Al Davis' physical health? What would happen to the Raiders'management if Davis were not able to play such an active role? Is there a line of succession?
-- Robert B. Gunnison, Sacramento

Answer: Al Davis is dealing with a problem with the quadriceps muscle in his left leg, one he said he didn’t want surgery for during training camp. The 77-year old owner gets around using a walker these days. He doesn’t make as many appearances at practices as he did in the past but watches plenty of film. During training camp, Davis said if he were unable to run the Raiders, he would depend on the likes of John Madden to assist his wife Carol and son Mark in running the team. Art Shell would likely be one of those in place to help, too. On the business side, CEO Amy Trask would continue to handle those duties.
-- Jason Jones

Question: Why do you think the Raiders failed to bring in a big DT during the offseason. Even teams like Cleveland and the lowly 49ers are running right up the middle on them.
-- Brian Wong, Sacramento

Answer: The Raiders liked Tommy Kelly as the other starting defensive tackle, so they passed on adding someone like former Raider Grady Jackson to plug the middle. But the surprise has been Terdell Sands’ emergence as a run stuffer and even making an impact in the passing game. The more Sands plays, the better the run defense will be.
-- Jason Jones

October 10, 2006

Question: What is wrong with our coaching staff? Justin Fargas is ripping off 8-yard carries with every touch, and when they take him out for a breather, they don't bother to put him back in. Secondly, Walter is playing a decent game and make a couple poor throws, so the coaching staff pulls him and puts in a quarterback that has seen no action all year. It just goes to show you sometimes great coaches are not players that were great in the '70s.
-- Robbie Lipelt, Woodland

Answer: First point, Fargas is the backup, so unless LaMont Jordan is injured, you can expect Fargas to get spot duty. Fargas, however, is earning more playing time every time he breaks tackles the way he did against the 49ers. You can expect him to get more playing time.

Secondly, removing Walter was a matter of saving himself from himself. Walter was trying too hard, and with each mistake, he put the Raiders in a deeper hole. I would agree it was a bad decision if the Raiders said going into the Denver game Walter wouldn’t start. But Walter will start, so I think giving him some time to watch from the sidelines on a day he admittedly was playing bad (in the second half) wasn’t a bad decision.
--Jason Jones

Question: Andrew Walter's passes seemed to get dropped an awful lot. I wonder if it is because he puts too much "touch" on the ball instead of zipping the ball to the receiver. Even when the receivers run out patterns, the ball is lofted so high that the defenders have time to react. If I am running a pattern over the middle, Andrew's passes would scare me because while I am waiting to get the "soft" touch pass, the defense is getting ready to nail me. Your thoughts? Are there plans to work wth him on his velocity?
-- Jeff Parkhurst, El Dorado Hills

Answer: Interesting observation, because one of the things the Raiders love about Walter is his velocity. Walter’s touch comes in handy on the deep routes and he can zip it in when necessary. I think what you’re seeing has more to do with a young quarterback that is still learning how to get the ball by NFL defenses. He showed progress in the first half against the 49ers, and I expect the more he plays, the better he will get at knowing when to fire the ball and when to put a little touch on the ball.

As for those receivers running patterns over the middle, they’re more likely to get drilled when Walter misses high and leaves them to get hit.
-- Jason Jones

Question: After Randy Moss was injured last year, it was obious that he was not running his routes full speed. That was understandable then, but he still does not run full speed (as noted by the CBS analyst against Cleveland). His giving up mid-route on a pass he could have caught probably cost the Raiders the victory. Now he ways he's not concerned, and his body language certainly shows it. Why does the coaching staff put up with this lack of effort from this high-priced prima donna?
-- Dale Stemple, Weaverville

Answer: The Raiders put up with Moss because Al Davis loves him. It’s also because Moss is well paid. I believe his actions on the field -- like not going all out on pass routes, horrible run blocking and not fighting for the ball -- are part of the Raiders’ problem. It’s almost comical that a player that popped off but always gave a full effort like Jerry Porter can’t get on the field, but Moss plays every week, questionable effort or not.

Moss isn’t the player he was at his best in Minnesota with the Raiders. And the worse the season becomes, the worse Moss will be. He’s not the guy you want on your team when things are bad. Is it just a coincidence two seasons after trading Moss, the Vikings seem to be on the upswing?
-- Jason Jones

Question: Why doesn't Al Davis Like The shotgun formation? It will help Andrew Walter from getting killed out there, especially with a porous offensive line. This is not the old days of the Mad Bomber #3 Daryle Lamonica. The defensive linemen are much bigger and faster today in the NFL. The Raiders shoot themseles in the foot by not using the shotgun.
-- Louie Markos, Salem, Mass.

Answer: The Raiders say they have some shotgun in their playbook. The problem I could see the Raiders having with it is tipping off defensive ends who can take advantage of Robert Gallery and Langston Walker and beat them for sacks. But the line has improved to the point where Walter isn’t running for his life every play, so I don’t expect the Raiders to change anything.
-- Jason Jones



About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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