Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

January 19, 2008
You ask and I try to answer

Question: I thought you made a great point about tying up too much money in one position (RB) when we have other positions to fill. I think Jerry Jones, an Arkansas Alumni, would be interested in RUN DMc.

My questions are what would they have to give up to get McFadden? If we get both the first rounders, (we would end up with 3 top 35 prospects) do we have the money to do sign them?
I believe this would give us a number 1 receiver, a good DT and a good safety. Thank you for taking time to answer
Answer: No problem, JD. Anything I can do for someone from Long Beach, I will.

There’s been plenty of talk about what Dallas might be willing to do to get Darren McFadden.

The Cowboys own the 22nd and either the 28th or 29th picks in the first round. Two first round picks would be enticing, but would the Raiders want to move that far down in the draft?

The Raiders have approximately $26 million in cap space (the salary cap is projected to be about $116 million) before having cut high-priced players like LaMont Jordan, having restructured any contracts or resigned any players.

Trading down makes economic sense, but the Raiders shouldn’t trade down so far they can’t land an impact player or players.

But there’s something people tend to forget. The Cowboys have a very good running back already in Marion Barber. He’ll be a restricted free agent. Julius Jones was the starter, but Barber did the heavy lifting and was named to the Pro Bowl.

If the Cowboys reward Barber with a big contract, the Cowboys might elect to keep their picks. But that doesn’t mean there’s a team willing to move up and grab McFadden if the Raiders don’t select him.

State: Ca
Question: Hey what's up Jason. I have a quick question and hopefully you have an answer. Even though the Raiders kept Rob Ryan,is there any truth that they will be switching to the cover 2 defense? Please keep up the good work.
JD, Salinas

Answer: I haven’t heard that one. Funny thing is the Raiders have some personnel in place that would make them a good cover 2 team.

They’ve got a dominant pass rusher (Derrick Burgess) and three linebackers that can run. The problem the Raiders have is that scheme requires a secondary full of good tacklers. That’s one area the Raiders need to improve, regardless of their scheme.

Question: Hey Jason,

What’s up with all of the hating on Jerry Porter? He has the ability of an elite WR, but just hasn't had the benefit of having consistent p.t. with a good QB. His best season as a Raider,2004 he had 998yds and 8 td's just 7 yards less and 1 more touchdown than Randy Moss' best season as a Raider. Pre-Shell he had back to back 950yds plus seasons. He is 6'2" 220, has ok speed, good hands and body control, and will go over the middle. Marginal effort is due to lackluster QB play. Nation, stop hating!!!!
Tyler, Los Angeles

Answer: Tyler, I’ve never quite understood the mass hatred of Porter (and yes, I know that statement will solicit emails of why you all hate him). He was by far the team’s most consistent receiver in 2007 after his banishment by Art Shell in 2006. This, even though he went stretches where Raider quarterbacks didn’t throw to him even though he was the only receiver on the team that could beat man coverage with any consistency.

When it comes to media bashing, I can tell you some of that has to do with some just not liking him as a person. Is that fair? No. But it happens with the media.

Lane Kiffin loved Porter. He’d heard that Porter was basically a malcontent that didn’t want to work and found him to be the opposite of that.

I’m not convinced Porter won’t be back next season. But I know he’s going to see if there’s an opportunity on a winning team that fits him.

Question: Your thoughts, if time allows:
The defense changes (back) to the 3-4 alignment. If Ryan is really staying, you know that's what he prefers. Draft a nose tackle in the 1st round. Start Clemons at ILB as a "rush backer".
4 years ago, the Raiders best DL was Sapp, who couldn't play either DE or NT. And they kept on trying to convert ends into LBs. Clemons has played LB before & they've got Morrison, Howard & Thomas + Ricky Brown.
It should be easier to find 1 good DT than 2. And there's several other holes to fill.
Will, Sacramento’

Answer: I’ve thought of the notion of Ryan going back to a 3-4, but I’m not sure if the personnel fits that.

The Raiders linebackers are perfect for a 4-3. But the bigger concern would be what to do with Burgess.

He’s too small to do what’s asked of a 3-4 defensive end. And I don’t know if he has the ability to drop into coverage as a linebacker. Teams would figure out he’s always rushing and take advantage with quick passes to his side.

Sam Williams would be a good 3-4 outside backer. Though I like Morrison, Howard and Thomas in a 4-3, they could play in a 3-4 if Morrison and Thomas were the inside guys.

But Burgess is too good at what he does to mess with. And I think Ryan learned his lesson with the Sapp experiment.

Question: Mr. Jones,
I dunno about this whole need thing at DL. It’s a need, but if an LT, A.Peterson, E. Dickerson type player is available; you have to take him. Have you seen Darren McFadden'shiglight reel ? It’s disgusting..... We will put up points and then teams won’t be able run on us all afternoon. Run defense is not just DT, Its gaps, its overpursuit, its a SS we lack, and its the fact that we don’t put up points. We need explosive playmakers that go win a game for us, not guys that slow down the inevitable loss.
Morgan, Santa Barbara

Answer: I’ve seen a lot of McFadden highlights. Before Justin Fargas emerged, I was convinced the Raiders would draft him if he were available.

If the Raiders don’t resign Fargas, they almost have to take McFadden, especially if they cut Jordan and Dominic Rhodes.

You’re right that fixing the run defense is more than plugging in a new defensive tackle. But it’s where the team should start if it’s going to build the defense.

The team does need explosive playmakers, but as the Raiders showed more than once, with our without the lead, an inability to stop the run leads to losses.

Question: Has there been any thought to trading down and selecting Kenny Phillips from Miami to play alongside Michael Huff? There seems to be a lot of interest from Dallas in McFadden, and with their two first rounders a defensive tackle we can live with would likely be on the board as well... I realize that if Dorsey is available we take him, no question, but if he's not?

Also, do you think Max Starks (Steelers free agent LT) would be a good fit for us?
John, Boise, Idaho

Answer: Safety is a position the Raiders are looking to upgrade, even if there’s no trade with Dallas.

Don’t be surprised if Huff is moved to free safety and the Raiders move to bring in another strong safety.

The Raiders have wanted to do this for some time.

As for Starks, I’m not sure. He’d fit in coming from a running team, but I’m not sure what kind of salary he’d command.

He played right tackle and lost his starting job before moving to the left side as an injury replacement.

Paul McQuistan might have done enough to keep the right tackle job, so Starks, 26, would have to come in to replace Barry Sims.

Question: I'm on board with you when it comes to using the first pick on the defensive line. However, if Long is there, they should and will take him. The Raiders love pass rushing defensive ends and Tommy Kelly is probably a little too slow for an end. With that said, he won't be there at #3, so they'll pick a DT. By the way, you joked about Sands simply sticking out his arm to make a tackle on a RB, did you see the arm tackle he made on LaDainian in week 17? Unbelievable. Still, he’s a huge disappointment.

Answer: I think Chris Long will be gone, too.

And I saw that play Sands made. It startled me not only because of what he did, but also because I wasn’t used to hearing his name much during the season.

Joking aside, I spoke with a scout that said the problem with Sands is he struggles when he comes in and out of games and that after losing his starting job, it was tough for Sands to find a groove again.

If he found it, Darren McFadden would be a lock for the Raiders.
--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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