Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

January 4, 2008
Figuring out the offseason

Rob Ryan's fate is unknown and the coin flip to decide if the Raiders pick third or fourth in the first round hasn't happened.

But that hasn't stopped questions about the 2008 NFL Draft and free agency.

Question: Jason, I too hail from Long Beach, I attended Poly and Jordan and having been used to so many winning seasons in football, what is it that makes the Raiders consistently inconsistent? As an avid fan, I just don't get it. I'm not saying we're playoff material, but we are always beating ourselves. Do you think kid Kiff can get us back on track in the next 3 years? Also being a Cal man I think we should draft DeSean Jackson, sign a free agent LT to protect J-Russ and try to get DT's and a safety that can hit?
Rick, Pine Grove

Answer: Hold up. You went to Jordan and experienced winning football? Just kidding. I was on the last Poly team that lost a Moore League game (28-0) to Jordan back in 1994 as a junior.

What has made the Raiders so inconsistent lately is a combination of poor drafting, and inconsistency in coaching since Jon Gruden was traded to Tampa Bay.

As a Cal and Poly grad, I’d love to see DeSean Jackson with the Raiders. Not only would it add some LBC flavor to the locker room, he would fill a need for a playmaker at receiver. The problem is if Jackson leaves school for the draft, the Raiders would have to trade down to take him as they wouldn’t use the third or fourth pick on him. Most projections have Jackson as a mid to late first round pick.

The Raiders should be in good position to trade down. If Darren McFadden is sitting at their spot and after the success Adrian Peterson had, teams might want to move up to get him or a quarterback.

A lot of that will have to do with free agency The Raiders will need a strong safety if Michael Huff is moved to free safety. With $4 million invested in Terdell Sands, the team will do all it can to make him its run-stuffing defensive tackle, though I expect the Raiders to add another defensive tackle.

Kiffin will look to upgrade the offensive line, too. If he’s able to have more say in personnel, I think Kiffin will have the Raiders winning more than they lose in the next couple of years.

Question: Hi Jason,
With all the talk about the draft, why don’t we get McFadden with our pick and let Justin Fargas go elsewhere? Or should we go after Chris Long, Howie’s boy or Jake Long? What is your take on this?
Ron, Woodbridge

Answer: The Raiders overall lack of foresight makes this tough. The team (notably Davis) was worried about cutting LaMont Jordan and letting him go to the Broncos or Chiefs. I ask if he’s not good enough to play for you, who cares where he ends up. It’s not like Jordan’s departure would have put another team in the playoffs ahead of the Raiders.

That decision meant the Raiders didn’t get to see Michael Bush activated from the physically unable to perform list. So the team has no idea if letting Fargas leave or drafting another back would make sense because Bush might be a star in waiting. He might not. The Raiders have no idea and would be crazy to draft another back if they truly believe Michael Bush was a back that would have been a first-round pick if not for breaking his leg.

I think the pick should be Chris Long, Jake Long or the best defensive tackle available and the team should resign Fargas.

Question: What’s the chance of the Raiders going after Chad Johnson to fill the WR position putting Ronald Curry at the #2 where he belongs and letting go the OVERRATED Jerry Porter. Then keep Fargas if they can’t get a hold of McFadden, and go after some defensive line help...Look for some depth in the O line later in the draft.
David, Sacramento

Answer: Chad Johnson is a big name and Al Davis loves having big names on the roster. So if he is available, I’d be shocked if the Raiders didn’t make a pitch to trade for him.

Lane Kiffin seemed to like Jerry Porter, I don’t think Porter wants to come back. A lot will depend on what’s out there for him and if there’s a playoff team that wants him. I expect the defensive line to be the first area the team addresses in the draft, but they shouldn’t ignore the offensive line too long.

Question: Jason, Hope you are back next season as I enjoy your Raider coverage. Quick questions: 1. McQuistan: is he a legit NFL OL? 2. Huff: Bust or slow developer? (Nnamdi took till his 4th season to make any impact). 3. Higgins: He looked slower to me as the season went on. Any potential, in your opinion? 4. Curry: took vicious hits during October on 2-3 occasions and seemed to lose interest after that. Your opinion on this? 5. Mario Henderson: any hope here? BTW, I see your boy Q. Moses got a sack! Thanks for your time.
Pat, Lodi

Answer: McQuistan is a legit offensive lineman, but he might be better suited at guard. Kiffin thinks he can play tackle or guard in the Raiders system. I like that he plays with a mean streak. And he actually wasn’t bad at right tackle toward the end of the season. I’m not saying his on his way to the Pro Bowl next season, but left tackle is a bigger concern for the Raiders.

Huff isn’t a bust. I think he played better in 2007, but his skills are not being used properly. Huff should be moved around, playing in space to use his speed and blitzing. He’s not a big safety so keeping him on tight ends all the times doesn’t make sense. What good is all his speed if it’s never used? If he’s moved to free safety in 2008, I think Huff’s breakout season is on the way.

I think Johnnie Lee Higgins has potential to help the Raiders. One of the mistakes of the 2007 season was not playing him more to develop him. He finally had a long punt return in the season finale, but he also fumbled. That’s why he lost his job a returner during the season. But rookies are going to make mistakes and I think the Raiders should have stuck with him. His speed would have been a help on offense and Kiffin admitted some of Higgins lack of development at receiver is the coaching staff’s fault.

I don’t think any hard hits impacted Curry’s play. But the team was disappointed in his overall performance. I would have said he had the best hands on the team before the season, but he dropped a lot of passes. Meanwhile, Porter (who Raider fans love to hate for some reason) ended up becoming the most reliable receiver the Raiders had. Kiffin expects a lot more from Curry next season.

Henderson, I honestly can’t say what’s up with him. Coaches believe he’s never been pushed and has problems with his confidence (which begs the question why trade a third-round pick in this year’s draft to get him, which the Raiders did). Kiffin had no intention of playing him this season, even signing Seth Wand when Cornell Green went down. I haven’t seen enough to say he’s a bust, but he’s definitely going to be a long-term project.

And Moses finished the season with 1 ½ sacks.

Question: Hey Jason do you think that Randy Moss would be a good fit for JaMarcus for next year or some else? What about Donte Stallworth, a Sacramento native or someone in the draft
Jonathan, Philadelphia
Answer: Randy Moss is the last person that needs to be around JaMarcus Russell. Moss is good in a locker room with established leaders, which the Raiders don’t have. And it would never happen because there’s no way Moss would come back to Oakland.

Stallworth is still under contact with New England and I don’t see him asking out to head west.

Any help the Raiders get at receiver will be in free agency or the draft.

--Jason Jones

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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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