There were a lot of questions about what is the deal with Lane Kiffin.
I picked one of many questions on the subject to begin this week's Q&As.
Question: Why is Willie Brown posing with the new free agents at there signing? Where is Lane Kiffin? Not even a welcome quote in the paper?
Answer: For that have forgotten, David is referring to the Javon Walker signing in which the new Raider receiver is posing with Willie Brown.
That is quite a change from last year. There were quotes from Kiffin via press releases on just about every signing last year. There hasn’t been one quote from Kiffin on anyone this year.
Though the Raiders say Kiffin hasn’t been stripped of any authority, it doesn’t look good when there isn’t even the bland “he’s a great addition to our team” quote.
Kiffin has said through team reps that he won’t address every rumor, but did call a columnist to say he wasn’t dancing in Indianapolis at the night spot I saw him at. I asked Kiffin if he wanted to say anything and he didn’t.
Kiffin’s silence only add validity to the notion he has no say in free agency, which is what I was told some time ago.
I’ve been told Kiffin hasn’t been himself around the office (moping, looking sad), but of course I’m not there to see it.
Question: What are the real odds of the Raiders drafting Vernon Gholston (Especially if Chris Long is still there.)? He seems to be in the Merriman mold (And better than Long.). I also wouldn’t mind seeing McFadden paired with Russell (The interesting, fun to watch pick not a need.) Thanks.
Jay, Allentown, PA
Answer: I think it’s unlikely both would be available (the buzz around the NFL Combine was Chris Long would go No. 1), but if both were available, I could argue Gholston is the better pick.
As one NFL personnel person told me, Long has been coached by one of the best all his life (his father, Howie), so how much better can he get? That’s not to say Long won’t be a good player, but the point was Long is much closer to reaching his potential than a player like Gholston.
I wouldn’t be in complete shock if the Raiders drafted McFadden. I just believe history shows it’s much easier to find a good running back than a great defensive end.
Question: Hi Jason, me buggin you again. The guy you met in GB at Lombardi's. Just wanted to say, that I just watched your segment on espn.com and couldn't agree with you more. I hope we take (Gholston) or trade down. I am however hoping one of them takes the QB from Boston College. By the way, you look like you dropped a few, lookin good. Hope all is well.
Brendan, Kingston, ON
Answer: For those of you who don’t know about Lombardi’s, it’s a pretty good steakhouse in Appelton, Wis., right outside of Green Bay. Brendan had the pleasure of seeing try to eat the biggest strawberry shortcake in the world the night before the Raiders played the Packers.
I’ve been back in the gym since that fateful dessert.
Anyway, back to the draft. The Raiders will be in a good position to trade down, but history has shown the Raiders are more likely to trade up than trade down. And I don’t know if there’s a franchise player like a Peyton Manning worth trading up for.
If Miami or Atlanta (St. Louis just gave Marc Bulger a lot of money) were to take BC quarterback Matt Ryan, the Raiders’ pick becomes more valuable in a trade. That would mean Long, Gholston, McFadden, Jake Long or Glenn Dorsey, would fall to the Raiders’ spot.
But people I spoke with don’t see Ryan as first overall pick.
Question: Hi Jason-
I check your blog just about every day. I love your insight. In recent months, I've read about the suggestion that Michael Huff will be moving to FS. Now that Gibril Wilson has been signed, I've even read in your blog that Huff will probably move to FS. However, on the Giant depth chart, Wilson was listed as a FS. Would it be wise moving him to SS if he's naturally a FS? Do we now have THREE (including Stuart S) starting caliber FS's on our roster? What am I missing?
Answer: Wilson can play both safety spots. A lot of teams are going away from the traditional strong/free safety roles in favor of two versatile safeties that can perform either role.
With Huff’s speed, he would seem to be a natural strong safety while Wilson’s aggressive nature and solid tackling would make him a good strong safety.
Don’t be surprised if you see Rob Ryan using Huff and Wilson interchangeably.
As far as Schweigert, I’m not sure what the team’s plans are for him. Coaches weren’t enthralled with his tackling and he lost his starting job to Hiram Eugene.
And Schweigert is due $2,607,500 in base salary. That’s a lot of money for a backup safety. That could mean he might not be with the Raiders this season, if they find a cheaper alternative.
But Schweigert is key part of special teams, which might be enough to keep him on the team. His good friend, Jarrod Cooper, is also a special teams standout and backup safety.
The team will probably re-sign Coop (if they haven’t already), making Schweigert expendable. But it’s March, so I’m waiting to see what happens.
With the $116 million salary cap, the team might be able to keep Schweigert, though he might be happier somewhere where he would get a chance to play and where the coaches speak to him (something that wasn't happening much at the end of last season).
Players are due back in town for voluntary offseason workouts that begin next week.