ALAMEDA - The Raiders will do things their way, whether you like it or not.
Their seven draft picks include some names that probably left you doing a lot of research. Tom Cable offered no apologies for that.
"Well, the first thing you have to know about me is, I don't need to stand up and beat my chest and say, 'The hell with everyone,'" Cable said. "I'm going to probably take a statement, if you will, from Bill Walsh. When you find a player you want, go get him. Don't worry about it. Go get him. And that's what I did. I'll take the heat for that. We've since had people coming back apologizing, turning on film and saying, 'Oh, my god, well this guy was going to Chicago, and they admitted that they were going to take (safety Mike Mitchell) at 49. So, it makes some people look pretty foolish now. But, the bottom line is, I kind of live by that statement from coach Walsh. When you find the one you want, go get it. Don't let anyone detract you and don't worry about what they say."
*The Raiders didn't draft a defensive tackle to help the run defense. Here's Tom Cable's explanation:
"The run game is kind of addressed a couple of ways. I think that we've gotta coach better and clean up some things in terms of what we're doing, system-wise. I think we've addressed that by the coaching staff we've hired. And then we've got to get better at the linebacker spot. And when I say better, I mean more depth there. That's really a key for us. You look what happens who we lose a guy, and then we kind of have to piecemeal it together. So this gives us a chance to not have that issue. Mitchell definitely upgrades us if any of you have taken the time to look at him now and see what he is physically. We feel a lot better about it. So we've got some good tackles on this football team. They've gotta play like it."
*The Raiders drafted three players listed as defensive ends. Two of them, Slade Norris and Skylar Sulak, will play linebacker for the Raiders.
I asked Cable about that because it seems like it's asking a lot for players that played defensive line to become linebackers and play in space.
Here's what the coach said:
"You know, Jason? You're seeing more and more of that out of the 4-3 teams. That Sam or Will linebacker that on third down's putting his hand on the ground. We actually did a little study. There's a tremendous amount of guys that are making that transition, standing up on first and second down and putting their hand down on third. That's really all over the league now, and some of the very good pass rushers are like that."
*Cable was happy about landing Louis Murphy. And though he played in the spread (the offense that made the likes of Michael Crabtree not as valuable) Cable said Murphy played on the outside, not the slot.
I think this was the Raiders' best pick of Day 2 and could prove to be their best selection in terms of value and production.
*As most of you know by now, this is my last day on the Raiders beat. I'll take a week or so off and reappear as a beat writer for the Sacramento Monarchs and Sacramento Kings.
I've had a lot of fun covering the team I rooted for as a child back in Long Beach. Trying to list all the players and coaches I've enjoyed working with would take a while, but I'll try, whether they were starters or players on the practice squad.
The QBs: Aaron Brooks, Daunte Culpepper, Josh McCown, JaMarcus Russell, Marques Tuiasosopo, Andrew Walter
The RBs: Michael Bush, Zack Crockett, Justin Fargas, Justin Griffith, Darren McFadden, LaMont Jordan (a fellow WWE fan), Oren O'Neal, Marcel Reece
The WR/TEs: Johnnie Lee Higgins, Drew Carter, Javon Walker, Randy Moss (he really was fun when he was in a good mood), Zach Miller, Courtney Anderson
The OL/DL: Langston Walker (Cal guy, of course), Robert Gallery, Jake Grove, Mario Henderson, Kwame Harris, Warren Sapp, Derrick Burgess (one of the funniest players I've ever dealt with), Kevin Huntley, Jay Richardson, Tommy Kelly, MK Bruce
The LBs: Kirk Morrison, Thomas Howard, Ricky Brown, Danny Clark, Jon Alston, Jon Condo, Sam Williams, Marquis Cooper, Isaiah Ekejiuba
The DBs: Nnamdi Asomugha (Cal, of course), Stuart Schweigert, Michael Huff, Charles Woodson (cool in my first year as a backup writer on the beat), Chris Johnson, DeAngelo Hall, Stanford Routt, Fabian Washington, Rashad Baker (update, how could I forget my man Jarrod Cooper).
Coaches: Tom Cable, Rob Ryan, Don Martindale, Lane Kiffin (I know most of you hate him but I got along fine with him), Art Shell, Don Turner, Keith Millard, Greg Knapp, Tom Rathman.
I can't many of the writers I've been around since 2005 who dealt with my Laker fandom, Cal Bear cheering and my love for Dodger blue.
I know I missed a lot of people. But hey, I'm doing this off the dome.
Thanks to all that have sent your well wishes. Maybe you'll catch me at a Raider game ... in the stands? Now that would be weird.
Well I'm gone. Take care, Raider Nation. Who knows, you might have to deal with me again in the future.