Three Most Important Off-Season Moves...

Angry Pope

All Raider
Feb 2, 2006
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Take it for what it is worth...

June 24, 2006

The Raiders' three most important off-season moves.

1. Releasing Kerry Collins, signing Aaron Brooks.

Collins was in some ways a scapegoat for a 4-12 season, but there was no denying his play got progressively worse as the season went along. He had become a lightning rod for fan criticism as well as a symbol for all that was wrong with the organization.

It didn't help that Collins never had a healthy Randy Moss after he suffered rib, pelvis and groin injuries in the sixth game of the season.

Brooks, like Collins, has been prone to mistakes at the worst times. But he should have three things Collins did not — a healthy Moss, a coaching staff committed to solid offensive line play, and the ability to escape pressure with mobility.

Overall, it's a positive switch.

2. Drafting Texas safety Michael Huff.

There was concern that the Raiders passed on USC quarterback Matt Leinart to take Huff, but this is a team that needs help immediately and Huff is more likely to provide it.

Although not as physical as Pittsburgh's Troy Polamalu or Baltimore's Ed Reed, Huff has the sort of explosion and versatility which can work well with constantly changing defensive schemes.

The Raiders would have had to wait at least a year to play Leinart, under a new offensive coordinator and a new system. And if Leinart happens to be another Ken Dorsey — a so-so talent who excelled with a superior supporting cast in college — it would be a wasted pick.

Huff offers help immediately, which is a positive.

3. Releasing defensive tackle Ted Washington.

Although turning 39, Washington still had some value as a run-stuffer in a division that includes LaDainian Tomlinson, Larry Johnson and any running back Denver lines up in the backfield.

It appears the Raiders will move Tommy Kelly inside on a full-time basis, and while Kelly has largely put to rest all the questions surrounding his effort level in college, he is not the 380-pound anchor Washington was.


—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."

"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.
Shoot, if they hadn't released Collins, Raider Nation woulda started a Riot!! :p
No, they wouldn't have rioted. One of them would have "taken one for the team" and beaten him to death. I knew several who would have volunteered.
Rupert said:
No, they wouldn't have rioted. One of them would have "taken one for the team" and beaten him to death. I knew several who would have volunteered.
Well I kinda figured that...and who's surprised at Crow raising his hand>? :p
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