Other Things 02.28.06..

Angry Pope

All Raider
Feb 2, 2006
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The following shows who NFL draft enthusiasts think the Oakland Raiders are going to get with their first 2 draft picks . Players are shown with the number of mock drafts that had this player going to the Raiders, and the % of the time that this player was selected to go to the Raiders. The bottom table gives a list of positions that the Oakland Raiders are most likely targeting with their first 2 picks of the draft.

Top 15 Targeted Prospects at Pick 7

Player - # Drafts - %

1 Michael Huff, S Texas 139 23.3
2 DeAngelo Williams, RB Memphis 74 12.4
3 A.J. Hawk, OLB Ohio St. 61 10.2
4 Jimmy Williams, CB Virginia Tech 54 9.1
5 Mario Williams, DE North Carolina St 49 8.2
6 Vernon Davis, TE Maryland 48 8.1
7 Haloti Ngata, DT Oregon 35 5.9
8 D'Brickashaw Ferguson, OT Virginia 33 5.5
9 Chad Greenway, OLB Iowa 20 3.4
10 Jay Cutler, QB Vanderbilt 11 1.8
11 Santonio Holmes, WR Ohio St. 10 1.7
12 LenDale White, RB USC 9 1.5
13 Tamba Hali, DE Penn St. 9 1.5
14 Winston Justice, OT USC 6 1
15 Laurence Maroney, RB Minnesota 4 0.7

Top 10 Targeted Prospects at Pick 38

Player - # Drafts - %

1 Rodrique Wright, DT Texas 15 7.7
2 Thomas Howard, OLB UTEP 13 6.7
3 Manny Lawson, DE North Carolina St. 13 6.7
4 Gabe Watson, DT Michigan 12 6.2
5 Omar Jacobs, QB Bowling Green 11 5.7
6 Ernie Sims, OLB Florida St. 10 5.2
7 Bobby Carpenter, OLB Ohio St. 9 4.6
8 Brodie Croyle, QB Alabama 8 4.1
9 Charles Spencer, OG Pittsburgh 8 4.1
10 D'Qwell Jackson, ILB Maryland 7 3.6

Top 7 Targeted Positions in the First Two Rounds of the Draft

Position - # Drafts - %

1 Safety 150 19
2 Outside Linebacker 119 15.1
3 Defensive End 91 11.5
4 Running Back 89 11.3
5 Defensive Tackle 81 10.3
6 Cornerback 75 9.5
7 Tight End 54 6.8
Who are sure first rounders and the deals from pick fifteen to sixty....take it for what it is worth.....

Is the draft logic starting to shape up?

Pat Kirwan

INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 27, 2006) -- The draft is two months away, and lots of things will change along the way, but I did ask a number of club executives and coaches what their impressions of the draft class was at this point in the process. Remember the old adage: "You can only make a first impression once." Well, the Combine is the first impression for many of the 300-plus participants.

I got three strong opinions from people who sat through countless hours of evaluations, interviews and discussions with their staff members, and there is a pattern of opinion that is worth mentioning and then a plan that should follow -- if the impression of this draft holds water a month from now.

One GM got the ball rolling for me as I sat in the stands with him during the workouts and said, '"This draft class looks like it will not have more than 15 players with a real first-round grade." I ran that concept by another team's personnel director and his response wasn't much different, but it had a plan behind it. He said, "I would love to have four picks between 33 and 60." The third guy I spoke with was a head coach whose team has a ways to go, and he felt there were only a handful of difference makers and wants very much to move down in the draft, or as he said, "way down and get some extra guys to build up the core of this team." I proceeded to watch the workouts and interview players all weekend with an eye on the concept of second-round players who could be great bargains.

As I look at the draft class from this perspective, I start to get excited about the talent pool that should be available in the second round. With all the guys working out as well as they did in Indianapolis, and when you consider the cost difference between a first- and second-round pick, you quickly realize that the money difference may be a lot greater than the talent difference. Before I get into the potential second-round players, let me just show the difference in the money for a first-round guy over a second-round selection based on the 2004 draft class.

Round - Avg. sign bonus - First yr. base salary - Pct. of rookie pool

1 $2.795 million $440,800 35.7 percent
2 $1.333 million $237,000 15.2 percent

So as you can see, if a smart club executive walks out of the Combine with the gut instinct that after the top 15 picks the next 45 players are all about the same, it makes a lot of sense to have four picks between 33 and 64 (which is the second round) rather than one pick in the first round and one in the second. What these clubs might also be thinking about is getting up into that range of picks by moving their third and fourth to grab a second. Still, now is not the time to worry about draft day strategy, but rather to study the talent pool and arrive at a decision about where the real value is going to be.

For the moment, let's eliminate the obvious players that have little to no chance of ever dropping out of the first round. One or two might slip, but for the most part, this is the core of the first round:

QB -- Matt Leinart, Vince Young, Jay Cutler
RB -- Reggie Bush, DeAngelo Williams, LenDale White, Laurence Maroney
WR -- Santonio Holmes
TE -- Vernon Davis, Marcedes Lewis
OT -- D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Winston Justice, Eric Winston
OG -- Max Jean Gilles
C -- Nick Mangold
DE -- Mario Williams, Tamba Hali, Mathais Kiwanuka
DT -- Haloti Ngata, Broderick Bunkley, Rod Wright
LB -- AJ Hawk, Chad Greenway, Bobby Carpenter, Demeco Ryans
S -- Michael Huff
CB -- Jimmy Williams, Ty Hill, Alan Zemaitas

With these 29 names eliminated from the list for the time being, I went through the rest of the top draft picks, watched some of them workout and talked with coaches and scouts about the differences between the first-round names and who was left to select. Three days in Indianapolis led me to believe the NFL decision-makers may be on the right track about this draft class. The more athletes who run sub 4.4 times, bench press weight through the roof and impress in their position drill,s the more I like the band of players working their way into 30-60.

As for quarterbacks, look at Brodie Croyle in this range. Running backs are led by Joseph Addai who tore up the 40-yard dash and was versatile at the Senior Bowl. There is excellent value in the wide receivers in the second round, and it is probably safe to think at least three of these four will be sitting there waiting for a team: Sinorice Moss, Chad Jackson (4.32 40), Maurice Stovall, or Derek Hagan. The tight end population is intriguing with Leonard Pope and Anthony Fasano. Want a guard? The second round should have Davin Joseph and Deuce Lutui to pick from, and they can play right away in the NFL. The tackle list will still have Marcus McNeil (6-foot-7 and a 5.08 40) along with Jonathan Scott, Ryan O'Callaghan and Andrew Whitworth, who really helped himself in Indianapolis. At center, Greg Eslinger is an excellent selection.

Brodie Croyle will get strong consideration at the end of the first round.
On defense, start up front with Gabe Watson and OShinowo Babutindi at tackle. The defensive ends are a decent looking group also with Kamerion Wimbly, Darryl Trapp, Victor Adeyanju and Ray Edwards. The coaches have told me the linebacker list in the second round is their favorite group with probable players Ernie Sims, Thomas Howard, D'Quell Jackson and Abdul Hodge who could all be first-round guys -- but some of them have to be taken here. The corners with real good grades are Kelly Jennings, Ashton Youboty, Dee Webb, Jonathan Joseph, and the safeties could be Ko Simpson, Darnell Bing and Donte Whitner.

Finally, I hope all of these second-round probables go in the first round for their sake, but the GMs, coaches and scouts usually sort the draft out pretty quickly and get parameters to go by as they plan for their teams' drafts.
Take it for what it is worth....

More time for Brees deal?

Rivers excited for his chance at running Chargers' offense

By Kevin Acee

February 28, 2006

The Chargers and representatives for quarterback Drew Brees got together at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis in recent days, though it is not believed anything significant came of that meeting.

But even as the deadline nears for the two sides to reach an agreement or have Brees become a free agent, there may be extra time.

The players' union and owners are reportedly close to an extension of the collective bargaining agreement. An imminent accord would mean the new league year (and, thus, free agency) would be pushed back from its scheduled Friday start.

That would not only give the Chargers and Brees another week or two to find common ground but give other teams a chance to assess their interest in Brees. While teams are not officially allowed to speak to free agents until the new league year begins, it is believed the Raiders, Packers, Lions and Dolphins have interest in Brees.

Meanwhile, Brees' heir apparent in San Diego watches the proceedings eagerly, if somewhat reluctantly.

“I'm excited either way,” Philip Rivers said. “I know I'm going to get a chance to run this offense.”

Rivers referred to the offseason coaching sessions and minicamps, in which he will run the No. 1 offense. Even in the unlikely event Brees remains a Charger, his surgically repaired shoulder will prevent him from throwing in those workouts.

Rivers has heard the reports that Brees is as good as gone. But as he has since the end of the season, he is attempting to focus on what he can control.

“I've tried not to get too far ahead of myself or get caught up in what is being said,” Rivers said.

Still, Rivers knows this is his greatest opportunity to take over since he signed his contract shortly before the 2004 season. And he plans to be ready.

Rivers spoke over the weekend by phone from North Carolina, where he has been working out.

“I wanted to get a little head start,” he said. “That way I can hit the offseason full speed and be ready to roll come August. I'm excited for this opportunity.”

Rivers couched everything he said with this caveat: “These are all 'ifs.' ” But his excitement over the possibility of playing was evident.

He is not naive to what it will take and the fact people wonder whether he can immediately maintain the Chargers' playoff aspirations.

“People say it will be like my rookie year,” he said. “But I really think I've benefited the last two years from the preparation, from game-planning, from watching a guy like Drew play and the few snaps I did get. The half against Denver is going to be huge as I progress.

“If I'm given the opportunity and given the whole offseason, I am confident I will be ready to get us where we need to be. I also know it takes 10 other guys on offense and a heck of a football team, which we have.”
Collins roster bonus is due March 7, not on March 3...

But Collins, whose cap figure is $12,897,668, has a $2.5 million roster bonus due on the fifth day of the league year, which starts at 12:01 a.m. on March 3 and is the first day of the free-agent signing period.
Here is a summary of our game against the Broncos on January 2, 1994 where Art was our head coach and Walsh was our offensive coordinator...

January 2, 1994

Raiders Drop Broncos into Playoff Pressure Cooker

The setting was perfect. Hazy sunshine, temperature at 76 degrees, little humidity. No wind. A new year, a renovated Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. A complete sellout. A huge national and local television audience. This should be pressure football at its best—and it certainly was.

The Raiders and the Denver Broncos, both at 9-6-0 going into this final game of the 1993 league season. On the line—a berth in the playoffs and home-field advantage, step one in the chase for the Championship and the road to the Super Bowl.

The Raiders were at less than 100% for this crucial contest. Leading rusher, rookie Greg Robinson, was out with a season-ending knee injury. Talented you defensive back and special teams star cornerback James Trapp and safety Patrick Bates were also sidelined by injuries.

But outstanding head coach Art Shell, who had already taken the Raiders into the playoffs in two of his three full seasons on the job, stressed who was available, not who wasn't. And this was a talented squad, meticulously personnelled by owner Al Davis, who was now in the playoffs his 20th time.

The Broncos had lost seven of their last eight matches against the Raiders—professional sports' winningest team—including an earlier game this season in Denver, 23-30. Rookie head coach Wade Phillips and veteran quarterback John Elway had vowed to change this damning pattern to a more favorable one.

The visiting Broncos came out in high gear, taking a 10-0 lead in the first quarter, and stretching it to 13-0 early in the second stanza. Place kicker Jason Elam first put Denver on the scoreboard with a booming 52-yard field goal to conclude the Broncos' initial possession.

The opportunistic Broncos then converted a Raider fumble into seven points, when Elway hit wide receiver Cedric Tillman from 27 yards out with 10:41 elapsed in the first quarter to open a ten-point lead.

Elway's arm and his feet moved the Broncos into scoring territory at the top of the second quarter. The Raider defense stiffened, with big plays by defensive linemen Howie Long and Greg Townsend. Elam popped a 24-yard field goal to go up, 13-0.

Quarterback Jeff Hostetler then took the Raiders 82 yards on eight plays, with runs by Tyrone Montgomery and passes to world class sprinters Alexander Wright and James Jett finally putting the ball inside the Broncos ten. A Hostetler pass to Pro Bowl-bound wide receiver Tim Brown covered the last four yards. The Raiders now trailed by six, 13-7.

John Elway found tight end Shannon Sharpe for 54-yards and a touchdown on Denver's next possession, to put the Broncos ahead again by 13 points, 20-7.

The Raiders stayed within striking range, with a 43-yard field goal by team-scoring leader Jeff Jaeger at the end of a 53-yard march. Passes to Jett and Brown were the big ground gainers.

But just before halftime the Broncos capitalized on a 49-yard kickoff return to spark another touchdown trip. With just 26 seconds left in the first half, Elway passed to Sharpe from one yard out to earn Denver a 27-13 lead as the teams headed for their dressing rooms at halftime.

The third quarter opened with the Broncos widening their lead to 17 points on a 27-yard field goal by Jason Elam.

"We had a lot of adverse things happen early," noted Raider quarterback Jeff Hostetler. "But we kept plugging away, plugging away. Coach Shell challenged us to show our character and we did. We showed a lot of character."

Yes, they did.

With help from the crowd of 68,000 who never quit on their team, the Raiders began a rally after the Denver field goal. Hostetler opened the drive by scrambling for seven and later completed passes to Tim Brown for 26 yards and 15 yards before finding Brown open for the final 24 yards and the touchdown. The Raiders now trailed by ten with 9:34 elapsed in the third quarter. On Denver's next possession the Raiders overcame a 15-yard pass interference penalty to keep the Broncos at bay. The Broncos did the same however, and the final quarter opened with the visitors ahead by ten and in possession of the football.

Raider defensive mind and muscle rose to the challenge and the Broncos had to punt. Tim Brown scampered back 13 on the return and the Silver and Black offense settled down to work on their own 49. Hostetler went to Brown for 25 yards on a third-and-seven to keep the drive alive. Then, on a third-and-11, the "Hoss" got nine yards on a strike to wide receiver Alexander Wright. A penalty moved the Raiders back to the Denver twenty and Art Shell took the three-point opportunity, with Jaeger delivering from 39 yards. Denver Broncos 30 – Los Angeles Raiders 23, with 9:23 left in this season finale.

Aundray Bruce partially blocked the Broncos next punt, but the Raiders were unable to capitalize. The Broncos regained the ball on their own twenty, with 5:14 left and a seven-point lead. Linebacker Winston Moss—the Raiders defensive captain—made one stop. Big defensive tackle Chester McGlockton made the next. And, on third-and-six, safety Eddie Anderson dropped the Broncos ball carrier for a loss of one. But a long punt of 54 yards pinned the Raiders back on their own thirty.

"It got to the point where it was now or never," said Raider tight end Ethan Horton. "And we'd have the whole off-season to think about it.

"Nobody panicked," added Horton. "We had to get it, but if we didn't we were going to go down fighting."

Raider head coach Art Shell, his able staff, the Raider squad and the thundering crowd all had confidence in the offense and quarterback Jeff Hostetler.

"He's the most determined individual I've been around," exclaimed Raider head coach Art Shell. "You can't knock him down, but if you don't cut his legs off, you're going to regret it, because he's going to jump back up and be ready to go again."

Hostetler and company faced 70 yards with 2:59 on the clock, the two-minute warning time out to come and three time outs of their own. The Raiders—with pro football's best record in tight games and frenzied finishes –were ready, willing and able.

Receptions and runs by versatile tailback Tyrone Montgomery moved the Raiders out to the Denver forty. Then a 13-yard pass to Tim Brown put the Silver and Black on the Broncos 27. Thirteen more through the air from Hostetler to Brown and Napoleon McCallum reception for three set up a second-and seven from the eleven. A seven-yard strike to Tim Brown made it first and goal on the Broncos four.

The final time out was used and two incompletions brought up a third-and-four from the four, with just eight ticks of the clock remaining.

Hostetler took the snap from Don Mosebar, set up quickly, looked left for Brown, who was covered, then checked the middle but saw no one open. The clock was running out. This would be the final play. The season was on the line.

Hostetler then looked right and spotted Alexander Wright open just inside the goal line. Hostetler fired right; Wright went tall for the ball and came down with it in the end zone as the thrilled crowd—and the Raider sideline—exploded. Jaeger drilled the point-after and the game headed for overtime, 30-30. The Raiders had twice come back from 17-point deficits to earn the tie.

Denver won the coin toss and chose to receive to open the "sudden death" period. The Broncos worked their way downfield, then missed a 40-yard field goal that 68,000 fans willed wide left. The Raiders took over on the Los Angeles 22.

A 19-yard scramble by Hostetler, a 20-yard completion to tight end Ethan Horton and the Silver and Black surged into Bronco land.

With fourth-and-seven from the Denver 29, Coach Shell sent in the field goal unit.

"It always seems to come down to the last minute, or some kind of kick, noted Raider defensive lineman Howie Long. "It's been that kind of a season."

The Broncos called a time out to "ice" Raider place kicker Jeff Jaeger.

"When I first came into the NFL and they'd called a timeout, I'd think of everything but the kick," Jaeger said. "I like it now when they do that, however. It gives you time to acclimate yourself. It's like a putt in golf. You pick out a spot and try to hit it good."

And Jaeger hit it good. He hit it very good. The center snap was from special teams captain Dan Turk to holder Jeff Gossett. The ball was placed, it was kicked and it was perfect from 47 yards out. The Raiders triumphed, 33-30. The sellout crowd and the national television audience had witnessed another brilliant comeback, another example of the Raider tradition of greatness.
Regarding McNair....


Several Dolphins players have either talked or plan to talk to Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair about possibly playing in Miami if he is released by the Titans this offseason.

The latest was receiver Chris Chambers who saw McNair when both played for the AFC in the Pro Bowl this month.

''I talked to McNair, and the subject of him coming down here came up,'' Chambers said. ``I saw him there, and he looked strong, and he looked healthy, and he said he wanted to play a couple of more years. So I told him to think about coming to down.''

Chambers didn't need work too hard to sell McNair on the idea of playing for Miami.

''All he said was he loves the weather down here,'' Chambers said. ``He said that was already on his mind.''
Here is the boxscore of the playoff game we had against the Broncos the week following our win in the story above....

1 2 3 4 T
Denver Broncos....... 7 14 0 3 24
Los Angeles Raiders 14 7 14 7 42


1st Downs 26 19

Total Yards 387 427


Yards 331 291
Comp-Att-Int 32-54-1 13-19-0
Yards Per Pass 6.1 15.3
Sacked-Yards Lost 1-5 2-3


Yards 56 136
Attempts 18 32
Average 3.1 4.3


Interceptions 1 0
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 0-0


Punts 4 4
Yards 156 172
Yards Per Punt 39.0 43.0


Penalties 10 17
Yards 97 130


Time of Possession 31:09 28:51
I was at BOTH games. The most excited the L.A. Colliseum ever was for Raiders games. The only other time it got excited was when Dallas was in town, and then there were more Dallas fans (and gang members wanting to fight then) than Raiders fans.
We are playing the Eagles at the Hall Of Fame game....

Eagles could start camp a week early

Friday, March 17, 2006
BY nick fierro

The Express-Times

PHILADELPHIA | The Eagles may be present when their late star, Reggie White, gets inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer.

According to a report on their Web site, they will play the Oakland Raiders in the Hall of Fame preseason game in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 6. The game comes a day after an enshrinement ceremony for White and the other five inductees at the same site.

White, Troy Aikman, Harry Carson, John Madden, Warren Moon and Rayfield Wright comprise this year's Hall of Fame class.

The date of the game, traditionally the first preseason contest of the year for any team, means the Eagles may have to push up the start of training camp at Lehigh University by a week or more.

Last year, the Eagles' rookies and selected veterans began arriving at Lehigh on July 29, with full-squad workouts beginning Aug. 3. They did not play their first preseason game until Aug. 15.

To give themselves the same amount of time to prepare this season, they would need to begin full-squad workouts July 25.

Training camp dates have not been announced by the club, and director of football media services Derek Boyko could not confirm the report on its site. The NFL typically does not announce what teams will be involved in the game until late March.

The Eagles also are rumored to be headed to China next summer for a preseason game against the Denver Broncos.
Here is an article by Pompei...Hawk vs Mario...take it for what it is worth....

The Packers can't go wrong, right?

March 16, 2006

Dan Pompei

I am Ted Thompson.

I am tortured.

I have the fifth pick in the draft.

I need a defensive end.

I need a linebacker.

Mario Williams or A.J. Hawk?

A.J. Hawk or Mario Williams?

I can't go wrong.

But how can I go most right?

I dim the lights and turn on the N.C. State tape of Williams for the 200th time.I am awed. I see a beast who swats away 320-pound blockers as if they were flies. He can pass rush through offensive tackles or go around them. I see a huge, explosive end who will pose matchup problems for many offensive tackles. I see a powerful tackler-a player who can shed a blocker and make a play against the run. I see rare athleticism for a guy who is 6-7, 295. I see a bigger Julius Peppers.

But I don't like everything I see. I don't see the kind of instincts I look for. I see a lineman who doesn't always read the play correctly. I see a player who needs to develop an inside rush and learn to split double-teams. I see a player who doesn't go the same speed on every down. I see a player who performed unevenly last year and subsequently was pulled from the starting lineup for a game.

I see the physique of an alien and 14 1/2 sacks last season, but I also see a player who, according to a vote by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association, was the fourth-best defender in the ACC. Williams received four votes for defensive player of the year, compared with 31 for Maryland linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, 17 for Boston College end Mathias Kiwanuka and 14 for Virginia Tech end Darryl Tapp.

I see quite a contrast in Hawk. He led Ohio State three seasons in tackles, was named an All-American and the team MVP twice and, as a senior, won the Big Ten defensive player of the year award and the Lombardi Trophy.

But back to Williams for a moment. Ultimately, I see a player so gifted that no flaws should dissuade me. I see a freak who plays a critical position. Super Mario is what I see.

I should write his name on the card now.

But I owe it to myself to look at Hawk again, so I pop in the Ohio State tape. I see a player who is all over the field. I see someone athletic enough, fast enough and stout enough to play any linebacker position. I see a linebacker who has an uncanny feel for the game, who almost always reads plays as if he had designed them for the offense. I see a defender who can take on offensive linemen and disengage about as well as anyone I can remember-and then make tackles surely and violently.

I see a blitzer who is so skilled, he had only five fewer sacks than Williams put up last season. I see a linebacker who can make plays from hot dog vendor to beer stand. I see an intimidator, a leader. I see a player who is as safe a pick as any in the draft-and a finished product.

I see greatness. I don't think there is any doubt Hawk is the better player. It's the values of the positions that hang me up.

I know I should adhere to the old tried-and-true philosophies: You win games with your lines; the player who is closest to the ball is most valuable; you can't find special pass rushers; a great end creates opportunities for everyone else on defense. I know 90 percent of the teams probably would draft Williams.

I ask myself this question: Is it easier to neutralize a great end or a great middle linebacker? You can double-team a great end and control him most of the time if you are determined to do so. It's more difficult to account for a linebacker in the middle of the field.

I figure you can create a pass rush. The Steelers and Seahawks are proof of that. You can't create a physical force in the middle of the field who gives your defense identity.

I think about the great inside linebackers. Dick Butkus. Jack Lambert. Ray Nitschke. Ray Lewis. Mike Singletary. Bill George. Joe Schmidt. Sam Huff. Nick Buoniconti. Harry Carson. What do they have in common? Well, with the exception of Butkus, they've all won championships. It seems like great middle linebackers have that effect on teams.

I make up my mind. Hawk is my guy.

With the fifth pick in the draft, the Green Bay Packers select A.J. Hawk, linebacker, Ohio State.

I wake up.

I have been dreaming.

I am no longer Ted Thompson.

Never was.

Of course. Taking A.J. Hawk, it's a dream.
Julius Peppers....

Height/Weight: 6'6"-283 lbs
Arm Length: 33.75 inches
Body Fat: 6.1%
Long Jump: 10'5"
Vertical Jump: 36 inches
Bench Press: 225/24
40-Yard Dash: 4.69

Mario Williams...

Height/Weight: 6'7"
Arm Length: 34 inches
Body Fat: 6.5%
Broad Jump: 9'10"
Vertical Jump: 40.5 inches
Bench Press: 225/35
40-Yard Dash: 4.66
From A.J. Pierzynski, catcher of the Chicago White Sox...

"Some people call us the Oakland Raiders of baseball," Walker said. "Silver and Black. We take characters, and they have a way of fitting in here."
Here is when our offseason program starts....

OFFSEASON PROGRAM: March 27. Once again, the Raiders need to focus just as much on acclimating to a new coaching staff as they do their new teammates. This takes on added importance because the Raiders didn't hire Shell and Walsh until well after the Super Bowl, and neither has coached in the NFL for a while.
Another Raider fan...

The BIOFILES: James Toney

March 14, 2006
By Scoop Malinowski

James Toney knocked a gym opponent out at the age of 12. (Getty Images)

Status: Former middleweight, super middleweight and cruiserweight champion. Will challenge Hasim Rahman for the WBC heavyweight title Saturday night in Atlantic City.

DOB: Aug. 24, 1968 In: Grand Rapids, Mich.

Childhood heroes: "Ray Robinson. Sugar Ray was smooth. Great technician in the ring. Very classy guy. A great person, a great dresser. Tommy Hearns -- in the same league as Sugar Ray. Muhammad Ali."

Hobbies/interests: "Football, play with my children. Children [are] number one, of course."

Nickname: "'Lights Out' -- my friend and co-trainer Greg Owens named me that as a kid."

Favorite movies: "Scarface, New Jack City, all the gangster flicks out there."

Musical tastes: "Rap."

Early boxing memory: "My first day in the gym (age 12), I knocked someone out. He didn't wake up for a while. I went home and told my mom. I was ready to take on the world then."

First job: "Working at Burger King. I think I was 14. I quit the same night [smiles]."

First car: "1976 gray Ford Granada. My mom gave it to me."

Childhood dream: "To play in the NFL for the Oakland Raiders like Jack Tatum. I used to play defensive back and quarterback. I like sports with a lot of contact. I just wanted to crush people. When I got to high school, it was to be like (Detroit Lions running back) Billy Sims. I used to jump over piles of snow, practicing like Billy Sims."

Favorite meal: "Steak."

Favorite breakfast cereal: "Cap'n Crunch."

Favorite ice cream flavor: "Butter pecan."

Pre-fight meal: "Steak and potatoes."

Pre-fight feeling: "Ready to go. Can't wait. Try and hurt somebody."

Greatest sports moment: "After I beat Rahman."

Most Painful Moment: "Losing to Roy Jones, not training, getting prepared for it."

Favorite boxers to watch: "Floyd Mayweather -- smooth and technical, like myself. I raised that little kid. Jeff Lacy -- strong brute, like myself. Tries to rough everybody over."

Closest boxing friends: "Tommy Hearns. George Foreman. George is a really nice guy. I remember when I was on the way up, he's the only guy who sat down and talked with me. Everyone else was flying around. I like him a lot."

All-time favorite fight: "Hagler-Hearns. The war. Brutal. Brutal. I dream of being in a fight like that. Hagler did the job, he kept the pressure on Tommy. He got hit a lot, he kept coming on."

Favorite non-boxing sport to watch: "Football."

Favorite athletes to watch: "Shaq. Barry Sanders. Bonds. (NHL?) I don't like hockey. (Tennis?) Nope. (Golf?) Nope."

Worst injury: "Achilles, the bicep and tricep."

Favorite vacation spot: "Hawaii. Yeah, Hawaii is my spot. (Any particular spot in Hawaii?) No, just goin' out there, relaxin' and tryin' to work on my suntan [smiles]."

Embarrassing moment: "Losing to Roy Jones."

Fight(s) you were at your best: "Iran Barkley. (Why?) I wanted it like I want this. I'm hungry."

People qualities most admired: "Honesty. Can you trust 'em? It's hard to find that."
We were one of three teams scouting this player...

Summers’ dream alive but ticking

Former USC back displays power for NFL scouts but clocks a subpar time in 40-yard dash


More than a year after playing his last college game, former USC tailback Demetris Summers looked bigger and stronger Tuesday while working out for NFL scouts.

He will have to work on the faster part.

Summers overcame a sluggish time in the 40-yard dash to turn in an otherwise solid showing during a pro timing day at Plex Indoor Sports in Northeast Richland.

Scouts from three NFL teams — the Carolina Panthers, Oakland Raiders and Miami Dolphins — showed up with stopwatches and clipboards to evaluate Summers 16 months after his last action at USC.

The 6-foot-1 Summers weighed in at 214 pounds, up nearly 15 pounds from his USC playing days. But the extra weight might have acted as an anchor, as Summers failed to run the 40 faster than 4.6 seconds in two tries.

“He’s more of a power back now. I’m sure he was a lot quicker (at USC),” said Tony Softli, the Panthers’ director of college scouting. Softli refused to divulge Summers’ exact clocking, but he said “for his size he ran a decent 40.”
Summers, who was kicked off USC’s team a year ago after multiple positive tests for marijuana, said he was hoping to run a faster 40.

“I was looking for a 4.4,” he said. “It didn’t turn out, but I think I made up for it on my bench press and my shuttle drill.”

With his personal trainer, Emery Williams, yelling encouragement and spotting him, Summers pumped out 20 repetitions with 225 pounds on the pro bench. When Summers began working out at Williams’ Powdersville gym in June, he could do six reps at 225, according to Williams.

A few minutes after the bench press, Summers recorded a 39.5-inch vertical jump. Later, he ran through a battery of shuttle drills, then caught passes and showed off some of his trademark cutback moves.

“They said they were trying to tire me out, but I kept sticking with it,” Summers said. “There were a couple times I was back there gassing, but I couldn’t show them that I was going to give up on myself. I’ll give out before I give up.”

Five other area players joined Summers at the nearly three-hour workout, including former USC defensive back Brian Elam and Gaffney native Eddie Montgomery. A two-sport star at Division II St. Augustine’s in North Carolina, Montgomery is the younger brother of sprinter Tim Montgomery, a former world-record holder in the 100-meter dash who is serving a two-year ban for allegedly using performance-enhancing drugs.

Montgomery (5-10, 165), a receiver who averaged 21.8 yards per catch and caught 10 touchdown passes in 2005, turned heads with a sub-4.4 40 and a 43.5-inch vertical leap.

“He’s fearless,” said Kevin Parker, the agent for Summers and Montgomery. “We think he’s going to make it because he has the mentality of (Panthers receiver) Steve Smith.”

The 24-year-old Elam, whose final season at USC was 2002, is holding on to an NFL dream that he carried through one season of Arena League Football (AF2) and two years with the semi-pro Carolina Titans in Columbia.

“I feel I never got to prove myself at Carolina,” said Elam, a reserve cornerback who played behind NFL players Sheldon Brown and Andre Goodman at USC. “I feel once I get into camp they’ll see what kind of player I am. I just have to get past that barrier.”

Summers also has something to prove after a disappointing two-year career with the Gamecocks.

The state’s all-time leader in rushing (9,076 yards) and touchdowns (127) at Lexington High, Summers broke Emmitt Smith’s high school record with 46 100-yard rushing games. But Summers hit the century mark only three times at USC.

Softli thinks Summers has a chance to get drafted, but not as high as he might have had he not been dismissed from USC.

“For the Carolina Panthers, character’s huge. And I know it is for a lot of other teams,” he said. “It’s probably going to knock him down on the board a little bit. But that’s something that he’s going to have to handle on his own on a personal and professional level.
“The onus is on him.”
Hawthorne is now in NFL Europe....

Noteworthy: The Galaxy welcomed Anttaj Hawthorne to the team yesterday; a defensive tackle allocated by the Oakland Raiders.
When the moon hits your eyes....

FCC sheds moonlight

The Federal Communications Commission announced a ruling on Wednesday that said Randy Moss' moon dance at Lambeau Field on Jan. 9, 2005, was not indecent enough for the FCC to fine Fox affiliates.

Some viewers complained to the FCC that Fox showed Moss' gesture.

Moss, formerly of the Minnesota Vikings, scored a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers in a NFC wild card playoff game. Near the goal post Moss pretended to moon the crowd in that part of the stadium. Fox cameras showed the pantomime once for a few seconds and broadcaster Joe Buck denounced Moss for his decision.

"Assuming without deciding that the broadcast of a mimed 'mooning' depicts a sexual or excretory organ and thus falls within the subject matter prong of our indecency analysis, we nevertheless conclude that the material is not patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium and thus is not indecent," the FCC said in a statement.

"While we can understand why many viewers may have perceived the player's touchdown celebration as plainly inappropriate, we do not believe that his fully clothed display titillates or rises to the level of shocking behavior," it said.
They are going to do it our way....

Cavalry not content


Star-Tribune staff writer Thursday, March 16, 2006

Even a playoff berth last season wasn't enough to keep the staff of the Wyoming Cavalry happy.

During the offseason, coach Shannon Moore and owner/general manager Mike Layton went all over the National Indoor Football League recruiting, asking questions and trying to build an even better team.

"We went out and I think we made ourselves better at every position," Moore said.

The most important position on any team is quarterback, and the Cavs have an NIFL newcomer in Frank Borba taking the snaps.

Borba spent time playing in the Utah Indoor Football League and the Arena Football League 2 after playing at Division III Menlo College in California.

"I hope I can bring veteran leadership," Borba said. "The pressure is all on me. A lot of these guys have played here before, and I'm the new guy in this league and on this team."

A plethora of receivers will be on the receiving end of Borba's passes, including new additions Cory Grow and Jason Quinn. Both played for the Everett Hawks last year, the team with the NIFL's top-rated offense.

Quinn will double as the Cavs' assistant offensive coordinator, working directly with Moore to create a better offense.

"We brought in the best players of the old and the best of the new," Layton said. "There are a lot of quality players in camp right now. These guys came to Casper to be a part of something."

On defense, Wyoming not only has new players, but defensive coordinator Rodney Swanigan is also new to the team after running the defense for another NIFL team, the Cincinnati Marshals.

"We came out here to play, and I saw how great this community is," said Swanigan, who also brought at least 10 players from Ohio with him. "We are here for one thing only and that is to win a championship. We are going to change the way things are done.

"We're not going to do any of that 49ers stuff. We're going to play straight-up Oakland Raiders-style football. We're going after people and we're going to knock people down."

Defense always starts up front, and Swanigan has put together a massive defensive line.

Chris "Big Cat" Walker is huge at 6-foot-8, 310 pounds, and he is flanked by 6-6 Ernest Bentz and 6-3 Luke Scarborough on the ends.

"We're big for sure, but what this defensive line has that most teams don't have is speed," Bentz said.

The Cavs hope that speed will help their pass rush, which managed just 13 sacks last year.

"If we can not let the quarterback set his feet, then we will be in better position to make plays in the secondary," Swanigan said. "You can't play this game by sitting back and waiting. You need to dictate and speed up the game."

At least six or seven players will rotate in and out at linebacker and defensive back, almost all of whom are new to Wyoming.

Two players to watch are J.R. Ruffin, who also returns kicks, and middle linebacker Chris Cates.

Swanigan said Ruffin was the only player to return a kick for a touchdown against him all year, and he did it twice in one game, while Cates is a 6-3, 235-pound rookie from Urbana College.

The rest of the league is a ball of confusion, as is the case most years.

The league started with 21 teams last year and only had 17 when the season ended. Five of those final 17 teams folded during the offseason and 10 new teams have started up, giving the league 22 teams to start this season.

The Cavalry's first game is Friday at Billings. The first home game is Friday, March 24 against the Big Sky Thunder.
Here is what Moss is up to....

Pennington, Brown give back

By Anthony Hanshew
The Herald-Dispatch

RUSSELL, Ky., -- With an appreciative nod to his good friend, Troy Brown summed up Thursday's lucrative Boy Scouts fund-raiser.

"Chad really brings them in," Brown said of his fellow former Marshall University football standout.

An overflow crowd of more than 300 attended the Boy Scouts of America Leadership Luncheon at Addington Corporate Center. Supporting members of local Boy Scouts groups was the top priority, but keynote speaker Chad Pennington was the No. 1 attraction.

Pennington, entering his seventh season with the New York Jets, and Brown, a three-time Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots, signed autographs and mingled throughout the two-hour function. Thursday's event kicked off an extended homecoming for Pennington, who will host the second annual 1st and 10 Foundation Celebrity Bowl at Colonial Lanes next Thursday.

This Thursday, however, was about raising funds for the Boy Scouts Tri-State Area Council.

"The Boy Scouts have always had a good support system, but it's important to do your part to help them in what they're trying to accomplish," Pennington said. "What we're trying to do is accentuate what they're doing for young people in the Tri-State."

Those in attendance responded with donations of more than $54,000.

Pennington has remained active in the Tri-State following his time at Marshall, but his NFL career has been interrupted by consecutive shoulder injuries. He recently re-negotiated his contract, but expects competition for the starting job this season, either through free agency or the NFL draft.

"They have to (bring in someone)," Pennington said. "We only have two quarterbacks on the roster."

WELCOME BACK: Pennington, Brown and numerous former Thundering Herd standouts will make repeated Tri-State appearances during the coming months.

In addition to next week's bowling event, a reunion of Marshall's 1996 Division I-AA national championship team is being developed for the weekend of April 22, which coincides with the Herd's annual Green-White Game. Randy Moss, a Marshall Heisman Trophy finalist in 1997 and current Oakland Raiders wideout, is organizing the event, which will include a golf outing.

On May 20, the annual Bartrum and Brown Football Camp moves to Marshall's Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Along with Brown, Mike Bartrum and Pennington, numerous former Marshall players and current NFL standouts are scheduled to attend.
That was an intersting piece on Hawk & Williams. Thanks AP.

I'm still enamored with Mario. with a little coaching and NFL game speed experience this cat can be the next Julius Peppers (whom I prayed Al would move up to get)...I've wanted a stud DE for so long I forgot when I started wanting him! :eek:

Sadly I try and find a way for Mario to fall to the Raiders at 7 and frankly I don't see how it could happen. If the Raiders want Mario badly enough they probably have to move up to #2 to be sure. I don't think the Raiders have the horses to move that far. It'd probably be way too expensive in terms of future draft picks etc. :(
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