I still have to review the linebackers, offensive line, tight ends, quarterbacks and key special teams players.
Before I get to that, I wanted to get to some of the many questions that have filled the inbox lately.
Question: Do you think the Raiders would really take a shot on Shaun Rogers? He may have already peaked in his career. On another note, doesn't Rogers look exactly like DJ Biz Markie? A while ago, Biz was a guest on NFL Total Access and both me and my brother thought it was Shaun Rogers.
Answer: I think the Raiders would definitely take a chance on Rogers. He’s talented and the kind of player the Raiders need in terms of ability.
He’s apparently fallen out of favor in Detroit and is still under contract. If the price is low, the Raiders would be wise to investigate making a deal.
His play tailed off in the second half of the season and there were reportedly concerns about his conditioning. Perhaps a new team would motivate him.
The Raiders did the same thing in trading for Gerard Warren last year and I think Rogers is a better player than Warren.
And you’re right, the Biz (the first pic for those unfamiliar with The Biz) and Rogers (second pic) do look a like. But as a colleague pointed out to me during the season, Warren Sapp (the third pic) also bears a close resemblance to the Biz (and no, I don’t know why Biz seems to always have his tongue out).
The Vapors is still one of my favorite songs of all time and I loved Biz’s appearance in the Jay-Z video for “Girls, Girls, Girls” rocking that tight Vikings Culpepper jersey.
Nobody beats the Biz, nobody beat the Biz!!!
Question: Now that is a cool picture. Well done!
Jason, You haven't talked for awhile on the Raiders' front office. Who do you think Al leans on most these days? Do you see any changes or staff movements between now and this summer? Just curious to know if the Autumn Winds are blowing a little early around the Raiduz exec offices.
Take care, and again - good pic
John in Afghaistan
Answer: I bet you didn’t know I had a neck from the other pic. I was about 40 pounds heavier when I took the old one.
As for the Raiders’ front office, Al’s primary point of expertise is himself. He spends a lot of time talking to friends around the league, but ultimately Al leans on Al.
And I don’t forsee that changing. That’s why there’s no one with the Raiders that has clear job description when it comes to the front office.
As one Raiders employee once told me, “Al is the owner, president of football operations, general manager and head of scouting.”
Al certainly wouldn’t lean on Lane Kiffin for big decisions. He said Kiffin was hired to help evaluate talent, but Al has the final say on that, as he also does on coaching hires.
So unless Mr. Davis were to fall ill, there’s not going to be any change in that.
Question: I've seen a lot of questions asked about McFadden, WRs and DTs. Have you heard anything lately about our situation in the defensive back field? Is Nnamdi coming back for sure? What's gonna happen with Fabian and Routt, it seemed they were getting burned for big gains often this year since no one will throw #21's way. And how about Stu, he couldn't make an open field tackle to save his life and seemed pretty upset at the end of the year for being benched in favor of Hiram?
Robert, Quartz Hill, Ca
Answer: I assume that’s a nice town. One of my all-time favorite Cal football players – Jacob Waasdorp – hailed from those parts.
If the Raiders don’t reach an agreement on a long-term deal by March, when players officially become free agents, Nnamdi Asomugha will get the franchise tag. He’s not expecting to go anywhere and there’s almost no chance he will.
Routt and Fabian Washington figure to battle for the starting corner spot opposite Asomugha. Both will be picked on until one establishes himself as an elite corner. Even then, teams will take their shots and avoid Asomugha.
As for Schweigert, it’s hard to say. By the end of the season, he said coaches really weren’t even talking to him anymore. He also grew frustrated with the Raiders never allowing him to be the guy at free safety last year.
The team started by trying to give B.J. Ward time at his spot and eventually benched Stu in favor of Hiram Eugene, relegating Schweigert to special teams.
He knew his tackling wasn’t up to par, but in fairness, a lot of Raiders couldn’t tackle last season. And some of those missed plays can be attributed to the scheme the Raiders played. If you know your safety can’t cover ground the way you like, you have to adjust.
I like Stu. We both collect jerseys (I told him he should give me his Sandy Koufax considering he’s a Detroit fan and I’m a lifelong Dodger fan) but that aside, I’m not sure he’ll be back next season.
If the Raiders play Michael Huff at free safety, Stu might have to either play strong safety to get on the field or accept a backup role and play special teams where’s still a big contributor.
Question: In your "Finally ... Kiffin on Ryan" update you have a link to the pro football talk rumor section. They cite a "league source". I'm wondering, what constitutes a league source? In my mind that would be someone working full time for the NFL or any one of the teams. Do you know any reporters that would call another reporter or radio host a "league source"?
Thanks...keep up the good work
Robert, San Diego
Answer: What makes someone a league source depends on the reporter. That could range from a GM to the guy that does the laundry. Every organization has its own definition.
I’m sure there are reporters that depend on the word of other reporters in such cases. I wouldn’t do that and I’m sure my bosses wouldn’t let me in the first place.
FIRST, GREAT JOB THIS SEASON I READ THE BLOG EVERY MORNING. THERE HAVE BEEN QUESTIONS I HAVE WANTED TO ASK ALL SEASON BUT NEVER DID. THIS HAS BEEN BUGGING ME ALL SEASON. SEEING HOW THERE ARE ISSUES WITH THE SECONDARY WHY NOT TAKE ANOTHER LOOK AT DARNELL BING? .. WAS OUTSTANDING AT THE COLLEGE LEVEL AT SEEMED LIKE HE NEVER GOT HIS SHOT WITH THIS TEAM. .. LAKERS WILL BOUNCE BACK AFTER THAT TOUGH ONE. THANKS MARCUS, Camarillo, Ca
Answer: First off, I was disgusted with how my Lakers came out against the Spurs in the third quarter on Wednesday They fell into give the ball to Kobe and stare mode…not good. And my man Lamar Odom has to be more aggressive on offense.
But back to football before get angry.
Bing was cut before training camp, which told me Kiffin just didn’t think much of him. Considering he knew him from USC, I assumed Darnell would get a real chance to shine under Kiffin.
He was on injured reserve all of 2006 after being told he had a neck injury in his only season with the Raiders. He spent 2007 on the 49ers practice squad and signed with the New York Jets this month.
Being a Long Beach Poly grad like Bing, I definitely hope he does well out there.
Meanwhile, the Raiders continue to search for another safety.
Question: Jason, I don’t know of a way to pass ideas on to the Raiders coaching staff, so I will ask you, and see what you think. Why are they not looking at Jon Alston for SS? He is too small at 6' 225 lbs for LB. He is fast, ask Kiffin about the time Alston ran down Reggie Bush. He can hit, and is a sure tackler. Sometimes it takes someone else to show you what is right under your nose, so pass that on if you can, and let me know what you think. Thanks.
Robert, Walnut Creek
Answer: The Raiders did use Alston like a safety sometimes last year in their 4-4 look. That’s when Huff moved to free and the Raiders used four linebackers. That was to stop the run and even then, that didn’t work.
I know the Raiders like Alston and that he enjoyed being able to get on the field for more than special teams.
In pregame warmups, Alston was often playing safety against the starting offense, so it’s not unrealistic that he might be given a chance at safety next season.