Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

November 30, 2006
Draft picks - already?

Question: Who do you think the Raiders should draft with their first pick in 2007? It looks like they could have a great shot at Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson or defensive end Gaines Adams from Clemson. Is there any chance they could get saftey Sean Taylor from the Redskins? Who are the top free agents out there who could help the Raiders and how long will it take to turn things around in Oakland?

- Louis Markos, Massachusetts

Answer: Is it time to talk about the draft already? I guess it is with nine losses already. For a team that has struggled on offense, Johnson would be an option. Chances are Jerry Porter will be gone next season and Randy Moss’ future is always murky. Even if Moss is around, he’s not at his prime and it wouldn’t hurt to rebuild around a wideout with tremendous size and speed. Gaines would give the Raiders a young defensive end to pair with Derrick Burgess, but defense isn’t where the Raiders need the most help. It would be hard to imagine the Raiders passing on an explosive player in the passing game or an offensive lineman.

Getting Sean Taylor would be tough because the Raiders have invested in young players on defense and bringing in a player with character issues that would be ahead of one of the Raiders youngsters would go against what they’ve built on defense.

Free agent options could include 49ers tight end Eric Johnson and New England tight end Daniel Graham or a wideout like Drew Bennett of Tennessee.

There’s no telling how long it would take to turn things around in Oakland. The Raiders are a competent offense away from being at least a team that can win eight games.

- Jason Jones

November 16, 2006

Question: What happened to the infamous blackouts of Raider home games? So far this season I've been able to watch all their home games despite their dismal performance. Usually almost all their home games were blacked out unless a hot team was coming to Oakland, even during a year they went to the Super Bowl. I'm delighted but puzzled.
-- Mike Ibold, San Andreas

Answer: The Raiders are selling enough tickets for sellouts, meaning home gamers are televised locally. It wasn’t until the end of the Super Bowl year home games were on television regularly, but the Raiders believe the team taking over ticket sales has helped sell more tickets. While you’re delighted, there are plenty of folks who were accustomed to seeing the best AFC game available during blacked out Raider games that aren’t too happy.
-- Jason Jones

Question: Hearing Randy Moss' comments about his unhappiness in Oakland, do you think he will be a Raider next year?
-- I. Kouvdos, Sacramento

Answer: Moss probably should be traded to make all parties happy, but Moss makes a lot of money (his base salary is $9.75 million next season) and with questions about his skills diminishing, most teams won’t be excited about taking on that contract. The Raiders could cut Moss and take a big salary cap hit but wouldn’t want to part with Moss without compensation. Chances are Moss will be a Raiders next season.
-- Jason Jones

Question: Don't you think the Raiders drop back and pass offense is putting to much pressure on the offensive line to pass block, especially with today's advanced blitzing schemes and an immoblie quarterback like Walter? Seems to me the offensive scheme is making the offensive line look somewhat worse than what it actually is.
-- Steven Dooley, Bloomington, Ill.

Answer: I believe that to be true. The longer this group has to block, the greater chance something bad will happen. Walter is also a young quarterback who might hold the ball too long. Other times, receivers running bad or wrong routes don’t allow Walter to get rid of the ball quickly. But as bad as the offensive line has looked most of the season, scheme is only part of the problem. Personnel is also part of the problem, something Art Shell is likely to address in the offseason.
-- Jason Jones

November 8, 2006

Question: If the offense continues to struggle, what is the chance of a change in offensive coordinator since Art Shell and Tom Walsh are supposed to be good friends ? Or will Walsh and Shell be a package deal until Shell leaves? I like Shell as coach but I think we need more innovative offensive plays drawn up.
- Steven Dooley, Bloomington, Ind.

Answer: There isn’t much of a chance Art Shell would fire Tom Walsh, at least not during the season. He believes there are too many things wrong with the offense - like poor blocking, dropped passes and penalties - that make it hard to evaluate the offense. Shell and Walsh are good friends, but it’s not impossible the word could come from above (Al Davis) that Walsh has to go at season’s end. Players are frustrated with the offense and Davis is known to listen to his players.
- Jason Jones

Question: Do you think the Raiders have a good chance to have a better record than last year's team now that they won two games?
- Baldomero Gutierrez, Sacramento

Answer: Sure, if the defense and special teams can produce points. If not, the Raiders could lose a lot of games the rest of the season the same way they lost on Monday night. The offense is so bad right now, the opposition knows a 7-0 lead is tough for the Raiders’ offense to overcome. But until the offense is more consistent, getting the three wins to surpass the 2005 win total won’t be easy.
- Jason Jones

November 2, 2006
Leader wanted

Question: Who do you believe is the leader of the Raiders? I don't know who that may be. The Raiders have lacked a leader on their team since Rich Gannon retired. I believe the while the Raiders are improving, they will not advance anywhere until someone like a Rich Gannon steps up. Until that happens, the Raiders problem will continue to be the same - from the neck up.

- Dan Perez, Elk Grove

Answer: It depends on what side of the ball you’re talking about. If it’s defense, the Raiders have leaders in the likes of Warren Sapp and Derrick Burgess. There also are veterans like Tyrone Poole who have been around the game and are a steadying influence on a very young group. When it comes to the leader on offense, that’s definitely up in the air. If you want a leader in the mold of Gannon, someone who will get in players’ faces and be vocal, that guy isn’t there. Barry Sims and Zack Crockett are the most experienced starters and lead by example. The quarterback position is supposed to be one of leadership, but Andrew Walter is still learning on the job. LaMont Jordan has no problem speaking his mind. But none of that really matters until someone on the offense emerges as a consistent performer and earns the respect of his peers.

- Jason Jones

November 2, 2006
Gannon as a coach?

Question: Do you think the Raiders are missing a seasoned mentor/coach for Andrew Walter? Do you think Rich Gannon would be interested or available as a quarterback coach?

- Robert Redoble, Sacramento

Answer: Right now, Andrew is getting the best seasoning possible by playing. No matter what a veteran tells you on the sidelines or in a game, the best way to learn is from being on the field. Rich Gannon seems to be enjoying life as a television analyst. And after years of being away from their families, a lot of players shy away from coaching immediately after retiring. So I’d be surprised if Gannon were to resurface as a coach.

- Jason Jones

November 2, 2006
No way

QuestionIs there any truth to the rumor that Eddie DeBartalo has purchased 10 percent of the Raiders from Al Davis?

- Jeff, Folsom

Answer: None whatsoever.

- 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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