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.

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