Inside Slant...

Angry Pope

All Raider
Feb 2, 2006
Reaction score
The Raiders hope to have gotten younger and faster on defense in the offseason, although they lost considerable girth in the middle when they opted to part ways with defensive tackle Ted Washington.
On the defensive line, Washington's absence is the most notable change. He will likely be replaced by Tommy Kelly, who began playing more tackle than end last season.

Kelly figures to rotate with ex-Seahawk Rashad Moore and Terdell Sands, whose play late last season may have given the Raiders the impetus they needed to jettison the highly-paid Washington.

The Raiders will watch Warren Sapp, coming off rotator cuff surgery, very closely. Sapp, who was a non-factor in 2004, showed flashes of his Tampa Bay form last season before being injured.

Derrick Burgess, who led the NFL in sacks with 16, could get additional help outside from Lance Johnstone, a situational pass rusher. The Raiders also moved Tyler Brayton back to defensive end, where he is currently starting over veteran Bobby Hamilton.

The Raiders got an infusion of youth at linebacker with the drafting of Thomas Howard (second round) and Darnell Bing (fourth round), the latter a converted safety from Southern California. In case they don't develop as quickly as hoped, veteran Robert Thomas, a former first-round pick, was added as a free agent.

Also returning is outside linebacker Sam Williams, a third-round draft pick in 2003 whose career has been derailed by serious shoulder and knee injuries. Williams won the starting job in training camp last season before being injured.

The biggest change in the secondary is strong safety Michael Huff, who will immediately start alongside free safety Stuart Schweigert. But from down to down, Huff could be anywhere — covering the slot receiver as a corner, playing in the box against the run, or even blitzing on occasion.

His role will be similar to that of the departed Charles Woodson, who left as a free agent. The Raiders were gradually working Woodson into a jack-of-all-trades role, but got only 19 games out of him the past two years because of injury.

Third-year cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and second-year man Fabian Washington will start at cornerback, but the Raiders got depth and some help in extra defensive back situations with the addition of New England castoffs Duane Starks and Tyrone Poole. They will probably be happy if one of the two has enough gas left in the tank to lend a steadying hand in the backfield.


—Quarterback Aaron Brooks professes no worries regarding his ability to satisfy three ultra-talented but moody receivers in Randy Moss, Jerry Porter and Ronald Curry.

"My relationship with my receivers has always been a very tight, close-knit relationship," Brooks said. "I've never had problems with my receivers. They do what they're supposed to do and I try and get them the ball. I'm pretty good with players and wonderful with coaches."

—There has long been talk that Art Shell's first tenure as Raiders head coach was undermined by some assistants who had designs on getting him fired.

When Shell was let go, assistant Mike White took over. At a recent Raiders' charity event, Raiders defensive backs coach Willie Brown hinted Shell didn't get what he deserved the first time around.

"Art is coming back with a different attitude than he had," Brown said. "That was his first coaching job. I am not sure all the people around him worked hard enough for him."

—Kevin McMahan thoroughly enjoyed the festivities in his honor as the "Mr. Irrelevant" of the 2006 NFL Draft, earning gifts such as a $1,500 watch, a PlayStation portable and a laptop computer. His mother and grandmother also received gifts simply because McMahan was the final pick of the draft.

In complimenting Newport Beach, McMahan, a wide receiver from Maine and a native of Rochester, N.Y., also inadvertently took a shot at the home of his new team.

"Everybody is so nice," McMahan said. "It's almost weird being around so many nice people. California is a lot different than what I thought. All I had experienced of California was Oakland. That's not what California is like."

—Randy Moss has a new clothing line, and now Warren Sapp is hoping to set himself up for the future if his surgically repaired shoulder does not respond. It also appears Sapp has hired a P.R. form which can match him bluster for bluster.

Referring to a string of "HipHopSoda Shops" in Central Florida and Jacksonville, the H3 Enterprises release stated the shops would "combine the urban swell of the hip-hop music, Pro-Ball, healthy fast food, CyberSports, merchandising and pre-downloadable cash-cards into the hottest phenomena since the cultural revolution of Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock Cafe and Starbucks."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't know if people realize what it is like for a player to come in from another organization and be part of the Raider Nation. I'm just soaking it all in." — QB Aaron Brooks.
—Quarterback Aaron Brooks professes no worries regarding his ability to satisfy three ultra-talented but moody receivers in Randy Moss, Jerry Porter and Ronald Curry.

Moody? Not these guys ;)
On Porter...

Sources close to the Raiders indicate that WR Jerry Porter isn’t the happiest camper with the way new head coach Art Shell has pushed for more discipline. As an example to previous issues, sources cite the sometimes tenuous relationship Porter had with Jon Gruden, who, like Shell, was more heavy-handed than Bill Callahan or Norv Turner. The Raiders have dangled Porter as trade bait in the past, so it wouldn’t come as a complete surprise for Oakland to shop him if things don’t go well early on.
Might as well just post these here...

The Raiders would love to add a running back for depth behind LaMont Jordan and may look to the early round of training-camp cuts for just such a candidate. Justin Fargas, No. 2 on the depth chart, is considered little more than a special-teams guy, and part-time FB Zack Crockett, while reliable in the past, is not someone you want to hand your offense over to.
On using the linebackers...

Word out of Oakland is the development of rookie LBs Thomas Howard and Darnell Bing could ultimately determine how many three- or four-LB looks the Raiders use this season. At presstime, the Raiders were believed to be at least mildly interested in the services of Junior Seau in an effort to add a veteran presence defensively.

Brooks is the man

Aaron Brooks was benched by the Saints in December after starting 82 games in a row, a streak that dated to 2000. Brooks' status as the Raiders' new No. 1 quarterback, though, was cemented this spring when Oakland, with only raw Marques Tuiasosopo and Andrew Walter in reserve, didn't draft a passer or sign another in free agency.

"It told me that the organization had trust in the quarterback they had," said the 30-year-old Brooks. "[Last year] was extremely difficult, frustrating, even at times irritable. ... I'm very excited to be working with [new Raiders coach] Art Shell. I'm very excited to have an opportunity to throw the ball to arguably the best receiver in the game today [Randy Moss]. It's almost like a dream come true. I wouldn't trade it for the world. I'm just very happy to be a Raider right now."
This thread has been closed due to inactivity. You can create a new thread to discuss this topic.