Depth Chart?

Angry Pope

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Top of the charts

Well, training camp is over, and with it goes our chance to witness live practices. Once the team moves down to Alameda, the writers' information comes secondhand, from coach Art Shell and his players. That information includes the configuration of the depth chart, which can be a little hazy when you're not seeing it with your own eyes.

To mark the occasion, here's a look at the Raiders' first-team offense and defense, and - perhaps more interesting to the hard-core fan - the second-teamers. These lineups disregard injuries; I'll talk a little about those afterward.

FIRST-TEAM OFFENSE

WR - Randy Moss

LT - Robert Gallery

LG - Barry Sims

C - Jake Grove

RG - Paul McQuistan

RT - Langston Walker

TE - Courtney Anderson

WR - Doug Gabriel

QB - Aaron Brooks

FB - Zack Crockett

HB - LaMont Jordan


FIRST-TEAM DEFENSE

LDE - Derrick Burgess

LDT - Warren Sapp

RDT - Tommy Kelly

RDE - Tyler Brayton

OLB - Sam Williams

MLB - Kirk Morrison

OLB - Thomas Howard

CB - Fabian Washington

CB - Nnamdi Asomugha

FS - Stuart Schweigert

SS - Michael Huff


SECOND-TEAM OFFENSE

WR - Alvis Whitted

LT - Chad Slaughter

LG - Corey Hulsey

C - Adam Treu

RG - Kevin Boothe

RT - Brad Badger

TE - Randal Williams

WR - Johnnie Morant

QB - Andrew Walter

FB - John Paul Foschi

HB - Justin Fargas


SECOND-TEAM DEFENSE

LDE - Bobby Hamilton

LDT - Anttaj Hawthorne

RDT - Terdell Sands

RDE - Kevin Huntley

OLB - Grant Irons

MLB - Danny Clark

OLB - Darnell Bing

CB - Stanford Routt

CB - Tyrone Poole

FS - Alvin Nnabuife

SS - Derrick Gibson

The order has already been shuffled by injuries. Huff, Sims and Grove are out for the time being, with Gibson, Kelvin Garmon and Hulsey, respectively, filling in. Meanwhile, there is competition at the following positions:

Wide receiver: It seems just a matter of time before Morant, and probably Whitted, are superseded on the depth chart. The question is, by whom? Ronald Curry should move up to third receiver if he proves he's healthy. And Jerry Porter is the wild card. Assuming he stays with the Raiders, he could be stuck low on the totem pole, perhaps even made inactive each week; or he could work his way up to third receiver, if not a starting role.

Tight end: Williams seems to have the upper hand in the battle for time behind Anderson, though O.J. Santiago and undrafted rookie John Madsen are also in the mix.

Offensive line: Treu and Badger are prized for their versatility, but neither is a lock to make the team. That became clear Wednesday, when it was Hulsey - not Treu - who lined up at center in Grove's absence. Rookie Chris Morris could make Treu expendable.

Defensive line: Sands should push Kelly hard for playing time, especially if the Raiders struggle early in run defense, Sands' specialty. Meanwhile, end Lance Johnstone is a prominent part of the Raiders' nickel package.

Linebacker: Robert Thomas could usurp Bing if he comes back strong from the calf injury that knocked him out of much of camp.

Secondary: Jarrod Cooper has gotten many reps with the second team, and could wind up ahead of Nnabuife. And Chris Carr, while not represented on the chart, has gotten a long look as the nickel back.
 
That defensive line worries me -- a lot.
 
Because I don't like that group. They just aren't being effective. Have you seen the pathetic pass rush we've had so far in the three games? Wow...not good.
 
I have some concerns also.

Setting aside my offseason long tirade about moving Tommy Kelly from DE to DT, only to replace him with a marginal (at best) Tyler Brayton was not a good move IMHO, but since Kelly is clearly at DT in 2006, I'd prefer to see Turdell Sands or Rashad Moore next to him.

Starting Sapp is pure lunacy. He was never a great run stuffer in the best of times and now he's coming off shoulder surgery and over 30. Make him a 3rd down pass rusher from the DT position and leave it at that. Much like Johnstone at DE. Why have him take additional pounding? Stupid. The only move that I TRULY hate this offseason.

Back to Brayton, he's going to get pushed around in the running game and doesn't bring enough in the pass rush department to justify a starting nod. I'd rather start almost anyone on the roster over Brayton. Hopefully these are symbolic "starting roles" and guys like Sands, Moore and Hamilton are employed on "running downs" more often than not.....
 
I'm startiong to come around to your point of view on Brayton too. I have been a Brayotn supporter but really I don't see ny improvement in his ability to be any sort of difference maker. We'll see but I'm tiring of his mediocre play.
 
Well, I'm not going to change any minds here, they're already made up in the negative. No sense wasting my words.
 
Camp impressions

August 24th, 2006
By Jerry McDonald

Impressions from an uneventful, yet interesting training camp:

– Have never seen a camp where everything seemingly went according to plan _ until the last day. They’re saying Jake Grove may be out only three or four weeks, but his history of injury says to get ready for the long term.

– Until Grove went down, there wasn’t a single legitimate revision to the first-team depth chart. Not one. Don’t even bother with Derrick Gibson over Michael Huff. Gibson had as much a chance as beating out Huff as James Trapp did Charles Woodson in 1998.

– The performance of the Raiders offense was as bad day-in, and day-out as I’ve ever witnessed. And one good game agains the 49ers is no guarantee they’re ready to deal with the AFC West.

But they sure got better after Art Shell threw the whole team out of practice. I believe this to be a coincidence.

– The best quote of training camp, and it’s not even close, came by Warren Sapp when addressing the Jerry Porter situation to Sirius Satellite Radio:

“People talk about football being a family. It’s not a family. It’s a brotherhood of men. Because in a family, if the baby is lagging behind, everybody stops and waits for the baby to catch up. We can’t wait for the baby to catch up. We’ve got to go.'’

I plan on asking Sapp some day if he actually sits in his room thinking this stuff up, or if it just rolls off the tongue as effortlessly as it seems.

– The most impressive undrafted free agent of camp was tight end John Madsen. The converted wide receiver has some serious receiving skills and it would be a mistake to even put him on practice squad where any team could pick him up.

Will Buchanon was also had a great two weeks, but tailed off in the late going. Worth a practice squad look, however.

– You never really know how coaches are approaching training camp. With a new staff, don’t be dead-solid certain established veterans such as Adam Treu, Danny Clark and Zack Crockett are going to make the team.

– I think this Raiders defense has a chance to be better than middle-of-the-pack. There’s one serious concern. If Oakland can’t stop teams from plowing up the middle, their AFC West woes will continue.

– His all-around game may not be as good, but as a pass defender, Fabian Washington could be better than Charles Woodson ever was as cover corner for the Raiders.

– Ted Daisher hasn’t made many friends as the Raiders special teams coach, but he has done his share of influencing people. First impression is this was a good hire.

– Justin Fargas made it through camp healthy, and although he had a few days of trouble holding on to the ball early in camp, he’s been securing it tightly ever since. So far, so good.

– If any of you fans get a chance to meet Art Shell, take a moment to first turn off your cell phone.

– Asked Jerry Rice Thursday about two of his former teammates _ Jerry Porter and Terrell Owens. Rice talked in his press conference about how he watched every move of the veterans when he was a young player, so I was curious about what he thought about today’s younger players _ specifically Porter and Owens.

“I think a lot of kids coming up today pretty much have their own picture of what they want to do,'’ Rice said. “The amount of money they’re making has something to do with it. When Terrell first came in, he sat back, watched everybody. Then all of a sudden, it became his show, and he decided to take a different road. But I knew every time I lined up, he was going to play hard.‘’

As for Porter, Rice had him on his Sirius Satellite Radio Show. Porter was attempting to put himself in a better light after ripping coach Shell on the first day of camp, but Rice wasn’t convinced it was going to work.

“He said all the right things, but basically I think he’s been trying to get out of Oakland for a long time now,'’ Rice said. “He’s not feeling good about what Art Shell is trying to do there. He wants out, and I guess they have to deal with that distraction.'’

— Keep a close eye on Randy Moss. It could be that the quarterbacks simply aren’t looking his way, but he didn’t make nearly as many plays as he did last year in training camp. If he starts to slip, the drop could be considerable. Unlike Rice and others, Moss has never been much of a route-runner.

I talked with Rod Woodson and Tim Brown last season, and while they marveled at Moss’ skills, they said he was a jump-and-catch receiver. A great one, to be sure, but not a player who would age gracefully until the technical aspects of the game were integrated into the physical.

— Everyone who has had any dealings with the Raiders over the past few years is pulling for Sam Williams and Ron Curry.

— Williams, by the way, has had to do more than just be healthy to hold off Grant Irons.

— If the Raiders decide they don’t want to worry about Curry’s Achilles’ any more and release him, expect Norv Turner to be in Mike Nolan’s office lobbying for him to become a 49er.
 
Rupert said:
Well, I'm not going to change any minds here, they're already made up in the negative. No sense wasting my words.

What? Because we disagree you're going to throw out the "negative" card and take your toys and go home? Weak Rupert.

Tell me why I'm wrong about Warren Sapp & Tyler Brayton? What do you see that I don't?
 
Rupert said:
Well, I'm not going to change any minds here, they're already made up in the negative. No sense wasting my words.
spank.gif
 
Weak, not at all. Let's count the definitive negatives shall we:
  1. Bones: I don't like that group
  2. Bones: They just aren't being effective
  3. Bones: pathetic pass rush
  4. RIVL: marginal (at best) Tyler Brayton
  5. RIVL: Starting Sapp is pure lunacy
  6. RIVL: never a great run stuffer
  7. RIVL: doesn't bring enough in the pass rush department to justify a starting nod
  8. Bones: I'm tiring of his mediocre play
Now let's count the definitive positives: 0, not a single one.
The best you two give is: RIVL: Hopefully these are symbolic "starting roles"

What is there truly to say to any of that? Not one positive and loaded with negatives. I'm not throwing out anything that isn't patently obvious to anyone who can read. Color me stupid and judgemental if you like, but I'm just calling it like I see it. I think showing an alternate viewpoint is a waste of time in light of your comments.

I think both of your posts deserve the classic spank smilie, not mine.

I went through the drive charts again. There's nothing to suggest our DL is weak. Minnesota ran at Brayton and Sapp, but they also stuck with 3-step drops and quick passes against us. How can you judge our pass rush there? Additionally, we forced 2 punts in 3 series. They averaged 2.4 yards per carry. That's a great number. They'd have to rush over 40 times to get 100 yards in the game. Good freaking luck.

San Fran posted better rush numbers, but some of the situations explain that. 3rd and forever and they draw for 11 yards. BFD they punted the next play. Still they logged some good runs 10 on a 1st down, a couple 6 yarders to open a drive. And their 1st team scored all of 0 points. We collected an INT, they had 1 long pass play on play action.

Further, a DL gets an advantage as the game wears on. They get to rest but the OL doesn't. It's called a rotation. By late in the 2nd and late in the 4th the DL has an advanatge if the opponent hasn't been pounding it successfully all game. You could claim that San Fran was pounding our line, but without the help of a 46 yard pass, they wouldn't even have sniffed that 54-yard FG miss.

I'm not saying I'm exstatic about our line, but I'm not saying they're crap either. You guys are, and the results don't back you up at all.

We are definitely light at DE. Brayton isn't all world, but I think unbiased fans would be pleased with his results. I think you're biased against him. It's funny to read the drive charts and see the stops he made. One on the other side of the line, same for Burgess. These guys are not the kind to stand up under a pounding, they hit and shed and tackle. Watch them a little next time, they're not getting blown off the ball that often, and they're often in the backfield so others can make the play.

Take a look at Hawthorne once or twice. Dude gets into the backfield regularly. And Kelly does the same, which allows us to continue to use Sapp as a starter. Sapp takes away one gap, he's not getting blown off the ball an above average amount either, and you don't see his guy taking out the MLB. When Morrison makes a tackle in the middle it's because of the play up front. When the FB takes on Morrison, the two OLB's have to fill or the safeties have to.

I don't think you're seeing it the way I am. These guys are not only doing their jobs, they're doing them at an above average clip.

There, I've wasted my words.
 
I have a feeling we'll revist this on September 12th. ;)
 
The reason there isn't much postive being said about the D-line is because I don't see much positive.

I said plenty of postives things about the linebacking and the seondary. Obviously we see things differently. But when this sutff starts for real in September I don't ecxpect to be praising the DL...hopefully I'm wrong but that's what I am anticipating.
 
We'll probably be revisiting it all season. In my opinion, they're an average line. They're the short-game of defense though (golf reference). Nobody ever says much about it other than it has to be good or your all-around game sucks.

The fact that our defense has looked good means the DL is good, pure and simple. If they weren't the backers and DB's couldn't be good. Of course, I'll be the first to point out that the guys behind the DL make them look better too.

Because they're an average unit, they're going to be out-gunned at times, and there are going to be times they dominate. But most of the time it will be a struggle. Good plays here, screw ups there, stalemate more often than not. But those stalemates are going to allow the guys behind them to make plays, and as we've already seen, we've got more than a few guys who can make plays.

Still, I agree with most people that next season is the year of the DL. I wouldn't focus on either DE or DT since we'll need Sapp's successor, and why the hell did I want Super Mario this year? Because our DE's are good but not great. So we could definitely use something special.

Hell, we've only got 1 guy in the pipeline, Hawthorne. Huntley has looked okay against the 2's, just not consistent. Sands isn't anything special. He does eat up blockers, but not usually in the backfield. Quarshie hasn't shown me anything, so I wouldn't count on him ever delivering. Moore playing beside Hawthorne looks slow and weak. That doesn't bode well for him. No-one else has done anything to distinguish themselves.
 
There's a difference between not saying something positive and saying something negative. I think there are as many positives as negatives, but the vast majority is in the middle, which is why I say they're average.
 
Do you think we should be starting Sapp, given the age & injury issues? I obviously don't. For the sake of discussion, let's assume he is adequate against the run, aren't we still over taxing him?

As for Kelly, you're right that he gets solid penetration into the backfield, but wouldn't you prefer to see someone like Sands next to him?

Hawthorne? I like what I'm seeing from him as well. Probably the heir apparent to Sapp in 2007.....

I Quareshie has a semi-serious ACL injury (is that redundant?) and probably won't make the squad IMO.
 
I think Sapp will be just fine as the starter. He is disruptive and we're only asking him to take 1 gap. In that scheme, he's effective. Sapp hasn't had a history of shoulder problems, and the type of injury he sustained isn't any more or less likely to recur than to any other player. I don't think the injury thing is much of an issue. As far as overtaxing Sapp, he's a man of great pride in his work. I think he'll hang 'em up when he can't deliver, and I think he'll come off the field when he needs the rest. He's not ancient by any stretch.

I wouldn't like to see Sands next to Kelly. Sands doesn't get penetration. He usually just anchors. and that leave a crease in the line. That's why Sapp and Kelly is a good combo, they both get penetration.

That's why I like Hawthorne, he penetrates and anchors. Off the snap he's usually a step ahead of the OL, which is just amazing. However, he's doing it against the 2's and 3's. I want to see him against the 1's.

If Quarshie's injury is just a strain, no problemo. It'll take 6 weeks to heal. If it's a tear, he'll need a knee brace at a minimum. They say he doesn't need surgery, so it's not that serious. In games I've seen him playing some end, which is a little surprising, but I guess they're trying him in the Kelly, large end role. He is a bit small for a DT, but I haven't seen enough of him in the role to know if he's got good quicks off the snap.
 
I'm going to add an observation about Sands. Dude has beaten a one-on-one blocker rather easily on consecutive plays. He was just unable to move the doubleteam on a pass rush, but those 1-on-1 situations he's showing me something he never did as a NT taking on the double-team.
 
Oh well damn! There's some good things going on.
 
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