Being around the Raiders last year when Pro Bowl rosters were announced wasnít much fun.
They believed they had four legitimate Pro Bowlers. But thereís no way a team with two wins can have four Pro Bowl players Ė at least thatís the way the voters think.
Thatís likely to change if the Raiders continue to be competitive. The Raiders will win more games and players will be rewarded.
Though Nnamdi Asomugha has no interceptions yet, heíll get to Hawaii after everyone realizes the gaffe of leaving him off the original roster last year.
Middle linebacker Kirk Morrison was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Month for September yesterday, an honor that could have also gone to teammate Thomas Howard.
Both have three interceptions, but Howard has a touchdown return to his credit.
Morrison realizes the honor wasnít a result of his play alone.
ďIndividual awards are a result of team play,Ē Morrison said. ďAnd at 2-2 people are starting to take notice.Ē
If the Raiders can keep wining games, Asomugha, Morrison and Howard could be noticed as new faces on the AFC Pro Bowl team.
And I shouldn't forget punter Shane Lechler.
Now itís time for some reader questions before I enjoy my weekend off.
Question: How is Michael Bush coming along? What are his chances of being activated after Week 6 when he is eligible to come of the PUP list?
Answer: Hi, Alex. Vicki in Memphis had the same question, as did Arthur in Susanville.
Bush is looking good. He is in great shape and Raiders coach Lane Kiffin says heís at his lowest weight in a year.
Kiffin is from the USC school of running backs, which means more is better.
With LaMont Jordanís back an issue, Kiffin would like to see if Bush could get on the field this season. He wonít rush Bush, but I think heíll play at some point this season.
Jordan was moving around and working out this week, but thereís no telling when his back might go out again.
Question: Donít you know, if Warren Sapp was anything but an Oakland
Raider, there would be no fine? That my friend is the price players pay, for playing in Oakland. Just like the bogus call recently on Curry when he had a TD called back for Offensive Interference, that even the Broadcasters of the game said was bogus. Otherwise the Raiders would be 3-1. BTW keep up the Good Writing.
Mike, Tangent, Ore.
Answer: I try not to buy into Raider conspiracy theories. The NFL is tough on defenders hitting quarterbacks below the knees, which Sapp was fined for.
My problem is NFL rules donít give defenders any freedom and go out of their way to protect quarterbacks.
I believe Sappís fine for hitting Trent Green low is ridiculous. But heís not the only defender that will pay a fine for similar plays.
Question: The Raiders defense is not performing and is truly underachieving, especially on 3rd down. What do they rank in the NFL on getting teams off the field on 3rd down? How often have they made an offense go three and out during a game this year?
Answer: The Raiders defensive stats were helped playing against Miami, but theyíre ranking on third down is mediocre. The Raiders are allowing opponents to convert 42 percent of their third downs. Thatís the 17th highest rate in the NFL. The best team is New England, which allows third-down conversions at a 30 percent rate.
I donít have figures on how many three and outs the defense has forced, but thatís an endeavor Iíll undertake in the next few days.
The Raiders havenít stopped a team on fourth down this season in four tries, including a 35-yard completion against the Dolphins on fourth and 3.
Daunte Culpepper has played in Pro Bowls but I don't think itís accurate to refer to him as a "Pro Bowl QB on the bench". His numbers over the last 3 years are hardly Pro Bowl caliber, which is why he is playing for his third team in 3 years.
In the 12 games he has played over those 3 years he had 8 TDs compared to 15 INTs and was sacked 53 times even more than Andrew Walter was last year behind the Raiders terrible line (12G\46 sacks). Culpepper still has quite a bit to prove.
Mike, San Rafael.
Answer: Fair enough, Mike. Thanks for the research help.
This question was submitted before the Dolphins game so I donít have a ďdid you see him playĒ reply.
Maybe calling Culpepper a Pro Bowl quarterback isnít the best label. Maybe a Pro Bowl quarterback when healthy thatís been hindered by injuries lately is a better assessment.
Culpepper hasnít been named to the Pro Bowl since the 2004 season. He does have a lot to prove and I think the Dolphins game was a good start.
He ran fine and showed on his two touchdown passes he could still get the ball out quickly.
But assuming Culpepper is healthy, I do think itís odd for a quarterback that played in the Pro Bowl in his last healthy season, would backup a career backup in Josh McCown.