Saturday, February 28, 2009

Holding Their Own

David White's blog has been impressive during signing season, and now he's reporting that Special Teams Pro Bowl alternate Ike Ekejiuba has re-signed with the Raiders. Good news.

Hopefully we'll see the Raiders get a Tackle or two, a Safety, maybe a Wide Receiver out of the free agent pool, but hanging onto our best players is a pretty good strategy so far.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hater of the Week:

I was driving home the other day and I saw this billboard. As you can see, some asshole of a company called will protect your data from those dastardly Raiders fans. These fucking idiots must take the "Pillaging just for fun" lyric of the "The Autumn Wind" literally. I've forwarded this picture to, to alert the Raiders to this atrocity. I can't believe they would insult their fans this way.

I'll post any response from the Raiders that I receive.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

No Safety

Yesterday's mildly shocking news of Gibril Wilson's release seems to remove any glimmer of success from last year's offseason spending spree. While not surprising given his huge salary numbers, modest impact on improving the run defense, and the Raiders' sudden need for a lot of cash and cap space, it is at least a little surprising for two reasons: Al singled him out as the one free agent acquisition to which Lane Kiffin did not contribute, and this leaves the Raiders almost completely bare at the critical safety position.

With mildly successful Wilson and Kalimba Edwards gone, Javon and Kwame must be next on the chopping block - or at least in line for restructuring. Kwame's release would reportedly clear up $7.2 million under the cap. A no brainer. Javon may be trickier. And what about Tommy Kelly? The home grown guy would typically be considered safe, but after Al went out of his way to declare Gibril his guy, one never knows.

So what happens at the safety position in 2009? Cable benched Huff for ineffectiveness at free safety, and now he's listed as a strong safety on But other than his man-to-man skills against TEs, he was ineffective at SS. That leaves Hiram Eugene at FS, Rashad Baker, and Tyvon Branch the only other real safeties on the roster. Not terribly inspiring.

The good news: defensive backs coach Lionel Washington. He has a good reputation, and the hire got good press. But we'll see if he has the talent in place to be successful or if the Raiders need to make some moves to finally figure out that safety position.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Renaming the Hater of the Week Award

I was checking various reactions to the Nmamdi and Lechler signings, when I came across Nancy Gay's dispatch from the Scouting Combine about Tom Cable. It really is remarkable, and you should read the whole thing. Here are some money quotes:

Cable believes in building through the draft and not free agency. It just so happens that the Raiders' punter and cornerback who just won the NFL lottery this week were Oakland draft selections.

That's a nice change for the Raiders. They were bound to overspend in free agency anyway. At least now they did it with home-grown, known quantities.

And there's this:

As a former college coach and a longtime position coach, Cable always has enjoyed breaking down game film on players. It's a discipline that not all NFL head coaches employ. But the good ones - Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells - tend to relish doing it.

"For example, as an offensive-line coach, I've always made my own (video) cutups," Cable said. "One of the things that works for me in Oakland, I like to break down each kid over and over."

Like Belichick, Cable will even go back and look at how a potential draft pick performed in high school. For example, after a good or bad game, who did he seek out first: his parents or his posse?

"You put your stock in this: How they prepared themselves for this? Are they in shape? Did they improve themselves physically? You get a chance to talk to them face to face," Cable said of his combine experience this week.

The Raiders already knew what they had in Lechler and Asomugha. Now it's up to Cable to find the next slam dunk draft picks for the Raiders, and you get the sense he has a good idea how to do that.

I mean, wow. I know she's not saying, "Tom Cable is the next Bill Belichick." But this is a downright rosy assessment of the Raiders' offseason so far, and practically glowing prose about Coach Cable.

Dan always likes to say that the best time to be a Raiders fan is in the offseason. This year it's especially true.

And the Hater of the Week Award is no longer named after Nancy Gay.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Briefly Catching Up on the Offseason

Haven't had a lot of time to post lately, but it's not for lack of interest. Was discussing the Nnamdi signing with Unk today, and we got to thinking that if you selectively go back in time to late December when the Raiders had two games remaining, it's been a pretty good run. Won the two games, JaMarcus played very well, kept the coach who put it together, assembled a reasonable (experienced) staff, signed Chris Johnson, signed Shane Lechler, signed Nnamdi.

Not bad.

I'm rooting for Cable. Sure, it's in my own self interest given that Sundays will be miserable for me if he fails, but I found his enthusiasm for the Raiders at his press conference endearing. He's a lifetime Raider fan, which counts for something. And the fact that all our big free agents are returning (recognizing that money is involved here) means that guys want to play for him.

Obviously I'm thrilled with the signings. I'm not sure it's even worth discussing. Sure, a remarkable amount of money and cap space was spent, but for two guys considered the best at their positions (per All Pro selections), pay them. Mr. Mackey is discussing Nnamdi's signing on ESPN's NFL Live right now, and just watching the Nnamdi highlights has me fired up for next season.

Came across this interesting Schefter blog entry. I was wondering how long it would take for Porter to come back after stealing a bunch of Jacksonville's money. If he returns and the Raiders draft a WR early, we could end up with a record number of #2 / #3 WRs: Walker, Carter, Higgins, Schilens, Porter, and a developing rookie.

Fittingly, John Clayton is now discussing the inevitable release of Marvin Harrison.

Al Can Still Sign

The coaching search may have devolved into a convoluted process that became the target of much ridicule, but Al has succeeded beyond expectations in terms of signing key in-house free agents.

Bronco-buster Chris Johnson a week ago, All-Pro Shane Lechler yesterday, and CLOAK man-crush NNAMDI ASOMUGHA today.

Three years and at least $45 million. A similarly good investment may be a black #21 jersey.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Justin Fargas Hearts Weed

I was going to post a round up of reactions to yesterday's Al-fest, but instead, via David White, is a video of some guy named Yukmouth smoking a fat-ass blunt at Justin Fargas' house.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Cable Press Conference Live Blog

1:16 P.M. Waiting for someone to wheel Al out to the microphone, so Solomon Wilcots, with a new goatee, is talking about what a "hard nosed" coach Cable is. "Solly" has some nice things to say about JaMarcus, and mentions how shitty our WRs are. We're waiting on Herrera, Cable, and Al.

I really, really hope that Herrera says something mean about Kawakami and/or Lowell Cohn. In a post from this morning, Jerry seemed to take a shot at Lowell for his "Howdy Doody" column:

As much as people want to lump Cable in with Joe Bugel as a well-meaning but overmatched line coach beholden to the boss, the comparison falls apart because of eight quarters of football in Weeks 16 and 17.

I happen to agree with Jerry on this one. The Bugel comparison seems a bit of a cheap shot.

1:22: Al is there, black leather jacket, smiling. Two Raiders helmets, but sadly no overhead projector. Cable is in a black suit, white shirt, pinkish tie. We'll take that as a sign of his indepence. Herrera intoduces Al to make a speech. He looks like a goddamn funeral director, which is appropriate.

1:25: Al opens with a shot at Lance. Nobody Hates like Al Davis. Even if he's a feeb now.

1:26: The Raiders are one of Three teams who have played in the Super Bowl since 2002 in the AFC. So that makes the Raiders one of the best three teams, out of 16 in the AFC.

1:27: Shut the Fuck up Donnie! Cable is in full on Walter Sobchak mode. "Listen Raider Nation, it's time to make you proud." I hear you, buddy.

1:29: "It's all about the team, blah blah." Cable's talking championships. He says that HE picked the staff, himself. Interesting.

1:30 Question and Answer time. Phil Barber gets first crack. Why did it take so long? Al breaks out the force chokes and Barber is now dead. Just kidding. Tom competed with....Al doesn't say. But it was one other guy. But Cable said he could deliver a staff, and Cable did. The other guy did could not deliver the staff. Also, Cable's dad passed away, so Al gave him a hiatus. And finally, Al didn't want to distract from the Super Bowl.

That's white of him.

Al is in full on lecture mode. Higgins and Schillens had five touchdowns in 4 games, Al's off the hook. Al says Cable hired every assistant coach. His hands are looking palsied.

1:34: Scott Ostler is confused. I kind of am, too. Al Davis is shocked that Ostler asked the question, which is, "How do you hire assistant coaches if you're not already the coach?" Al basically says Ostler's an idiot. "They were in competition for a long while."

1:38: Purdy: What makes you so confident this time compared to the last couple hires? Al thought Norv would be good, but he let Tim Brown go and Jerry Rice got into a fight with Rich Gannon. At least this time he gets "Bobby" and "Lane" right. I kinda miss "Lance" and "Bernard."

1:40: Are there only three reporters here?

1:41: Cable talks about checking out coaches at the Senior Bowl. They won't say who the other guy is. NFLN gets bored, so I switch it over to CSN. Al is no longer in HD, which is nice.

1:43: "This is my dream. This was my team growing up." Shit yes.

1:44: Vern Glen is alive.

1:45: Tom Cable is passionate. Al is right about that. "If you have that 'it,' if you will." He's talking about the passion and love for each other.

1:47: "The other fella." Al is not tricked by David White's question on the timeline. It's up to Tom whether or not Tom wants to call plays.

1:49: "I'm gonna call the plays." Atta boy.

1:51: The Oakland Raiders are Back. Tom is not afraid to say it. "There are three great teams in Sports: The New York Yankees, The Boston Celtics, and the Oakland Raiders."

1:53: Lowell Cohn! Al: "Brooklyn, New York." Lowell: "Brooklyn." Al: "Midwood High School." Love it when Al talks Brooklyn. Lowell reminds Tom and Al: We're reporters, not fans. I understand you're fired up, but do you think this team is any good?

Of course, Tom thinks they're that good.

1:56: Al is not saying who the local guy is to help with the football operations. Al goes back to his formula of Higgins and Schillens getting two touchdowns every two games.

1:58: Jason Jones has kind of a lisp.

2:02: Cable: I need Al's leadership, I need his wisdom, I need his musk. When this is over, me and him are gonna get an apartment together.

2:05: Al just blamed DeAngelo for the Denver loss. Can't really fault his logic; as Al says, when they tried to pick on his replacement, the Raiders won.

2:07: Corkran brings up Nmamdi and Lechler.

2:08: Ostler asks Al about the Stadium. Al says that there's no problem between the Raiders and the 49ers. Says all the problem between them were Carmen Policy's fault, for being a hater. Says he'd look at a joint stadium with the 49ers. Of course he would. He says Amy Trask is on it. But he needs to know the economics.

2:13: Al is breaking Ostler's balls again.

2:14: Jerry Mac! He wants to know about JaMarcus, is he staying in shape? Tom says yes, he's here now, working out, embracing his responsibilities. Al jumps in with an ominous comment about Jammy's "physical" problems.

2:15: Al thought the process of JaMarcus' development was "too slow."

And we're done.

I'm not sure what it is we just saw.

Monday, February 2, 2009