Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

May 3, 2008
Questions on a Saturday afternoon

The Raiders will allow us media types access to next weekend’s rookie minicamp on Saturday.

It will be impossible to accurately gauge how the young players fit without the rest of the team, which won’t happen until June 3.

Even then, they’re wearing shorts, so there’s no way to tell what to expect.

Meanwhile, I’ll take a stab at some reader questions before I hop back on the Xbox 360 and stop listening to all this Jay-Z (went to the concert in Oakland and his collection is still in heavy rotation on the Ipod).

Question: I just read that Edgerton Hartwell from the Baltimore Ravens, is going to the Raiders. I don't know anything about him and was wondering if you did. Can you find out some stuff in regards to his injury, and if he really is as good as they say, he could be. I really only trust your insight. (Seriously)

Martin, Elk Grove

Answer: Hartwell appeared on the verge of being a star when he played with Ray Lewis (key, playing with Ray Lewis) after being a fourth-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens. He left as a free agent for Atlanta in 2005 (for a six-year, $26.5 million deal) and played in just 13 games over two seasons and was cut.

Achilles and knee injuries dogged his time in Atlanta.

He was cut at the end of training camp with Cincinnati last year.

Perhaps the year off has helped Hartwell. That he didn’t catch on with the Bengals, who needed all kinds of help on defense and were coached by his former coordinator in Baltimore, Marvin Lewis, makes me wonder what was wrong with him last year.

He was a tackling machine with the Ravens. His best chance to get on the field would be at strongside linebacker where Robert Thomas is the starter. Kirk Morrison and Thomas Howard have the middle and weakside locked up.

Question: Does anyone else believe that Al Davis has made a serious mistake in not drafting Glenn Dorsey? If he had, Tommy Kelly would have moved to DE, where his athleticism and pass-rush skills are more valuable, as well as adding much-needed depth there. In addition, Dorsey would have bulked up the DT spot which is the team's major weakness. Drafting Dorsey would have improved TWO positions on the line. Then, the only piece missing to a solid all around defense would be a run-plugging middle linebacker. THE RUN GAME DOES NOT NEED MCFADDEN. Oh well, maybe next year!!!!!

Dave, Lake Country BC

Answer: I try not to determine if a team made a “serious” mistake in the draft too soon. Mario Williams was a “mistake” in 2006, but now the Houston Texans don’t looks so crazy for passing on Reggie Bush.

When it comes to Kelly, I’ll say this. The Raiders need to give him a position and leave him there. I thought Kelly was playing well last year before his injury, but I don’t know if he was an elite pass rusher at defensive end. He should be that at defensive tackle.

Also, if you’re going to pay Kelly more than $50 million to be a defensive tackle, and Terdell Sands up to $17 million to be a run stuffer, you shouldn’t need to draft Dorsey.

If Sands is in shape and plays with the proper technique, the Raiders should be fine in the middle.

And I don’t think the Raiders need another middle linebacker. I think if Kelly, Terdell Sands and Gerard Warren do their jobs and don’t allow linemen free shots at the linebackers, opposing running backs wouldn’t run untouched until they see a safety.

Also, if McFadden does what I think he can, I’m sure you won’t be too upset with him. But as they say, if “if” were a fifth…you know the rest.

Question: Is Warren Sapp thinking of going one more year with Raiders? He hasn’t turned in his retirement papers. How is GTA 4

Adam, Brockport, Pa.

Question: There’s no way I see the Sapp in a Raider uniform again. He just doesn’t sound like someone that wants to put up with the grind that is the NFL for another year, especially for a team that could be a couple of years away from serious playoff contention. Sapp is on the Raiders’ reserved/retired list so he could only play for the Raiders should he decide he wants to make a comeback. And from what I understand, players often don’t turn in their paperwork immediately, though I thought Sapp had.

I’m still in the early stages of GTA IV with only a couple of missions completed.

I like the gameplay, but need a day where I sit down for a few hours and get a feel for the game

So if I disappear from the blog world and my editors can’t find me, that’s what I’m doing (unless the Lakers are playing).

Question: I really loved the way Lane Kiffin instilled in the team last year that it would be an open competition for all positions and that there would be no "scholarship" players going into camp. Now with all the FA signings and expectations higher going into this season it appears as though guys are now guaranteed to start at several positions. I have not heard anyone speak to this and maybe it's too early, but does this work against the competition atmosphere that was created last year and could this hurt them in the long and short term?

Brian, Santa Monica

Answer: I don’t think it’s contradictory at all because Kiffin showed last year if the higher-paid player doesn’t produce, another player will be given an opportunity.

That’s how Justin Fargas, Hiram Eugene and Jon Alston all found themselves on the field last year.

Also, players understand the business of football. There’s no way the Raiders pay Javon Walker, Gibril Wilson, etc. to be backups.

If players with big salaries struggle for an extended period and stay in the lineup that would make Kiffin look like a hypocrite to the team.

--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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