Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Insight from Jerry

It's no secret we love Jerry McDonald's blog. Another reason to love? His weekly live chat.

Thus far, very little seems to have been written about on-the-field-at-camp McFadden. Maybe it's just me, but I was starting to get nervous that our newest superstar was just bumbling along trying to catch passes with "incorrect hand placement." Two very encouraging comments in Jerry's chat:

"McFadden is a stunningly fast runner when he reaches the corner or finds a crack. One of the fastest I've ever seen carrying a football in person, the others being Deion Sanders, Randy Moss and Napoleon Kaufman."

Ok, that one was predictable, but this is even better:

"McFadden seems to be absorbing everything they give him in terms of scheme and complexity. I think you'll see him catch 40 passes minimum and the number will go up each year to what the Raiders hope is a Marshall Faulk level."

Jerry also brings up the "strange case" of Johnnie Lee Higgins, my least favorite Raider of 2007:

"Looks great one catch, lost the next. His ticket is if he is chosen to return punts. Kiffin clearly wants Higgins to win the job, but it's not clear he is up to it."

Unfortunately, we seem to have no full time backup plan at punt returner. Higgins was truly dreadful last year, and now he's in position to knock a promising WR prospect off the roster.

But in keeping with yesterday's optimistic tone, Jerry notes the drastic improvement in the passing game, among other improvements. Are the Raiders better than last year at this time?

"Overall, it's a pretty good upgrade."

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