Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Depth Chart

The Raiders have posted the first depth chart of the season here.

Things will certainly change between now and opening day (they always do) but here are ten things to ponder for now:

1. Jerry Porter is listed as second string WR. 'nuff said on this subject. On to more important matters.

2. McQuistan is listed as the starting RG. This is a big adjustment to go from playing LT at a small college to RG in the NFL. Lots of folks just assume that if you can play left tackle, you must be good enough to play anywhere else on the line easily, including RG.

It doesn't work like that. On the right side, the hand and footwork will be reversed in mirror image. Think this is easy to pick up? Try brushing your teeth or writing McQuistan a fan letter with your left hand (presuming you are right handed. If not, reverse directions).

Also consider the closer you are to the center, the bigger the sasquatches get. Guards have to explode off the snap quicker than Tackles. They also have to play with more leverage and get lower than Tackles. This explains why most teams don't have their 6'8" bigfoots as interior linemen.

The Raiders have been missing anything resembling a push up the middle since Barret Robbins went off his meds. Can Grove and McQuistan be nasty roadgraders? Here's believing in both of 'em.

3. Andrew Walter has passed Tui at QB. The Tui experiment is officially over. Walter will be the next big thing, according to the Raider organization. This explains why Matt Leinart was passed over in the draft. Let's hope they are right and Walter plays sooner rather than later, 'cause Aaron Brooks is not the long-term answer.

4. Chad Slaughter is listed as the back-up LT. I had hoped Slaughter would be battling Langston Walker for the starting spot at RT. Slaughter is nasty (just ask Michael Strahan) and Walker is soft (just ask Langston’s belly). The problem is Slaughter just does not have quick enough feet to deal with the speed rush ends he'd see at LT.

5. Huggy Bear, Jr. is listed as the second string RB. If this development doesn't immediately wake you up and cause you to scream "Don't f'ing fumble, Fargas!!!" in the middle of the nite, you haven't been paying attention.

6. Tyler Brayton is listed as a starting DE. Ding dong, the witch is dead. Somebody finally poured a bucket of water on Ryan's Frankenbacker experiment. Brayton displays a good upfield motor and aggression; my question is can he stay home on running plays?

7. Tommy Kelly is listed as the starting DT. Much love to Kelly. The questions are, does Warren Sapp have enough gas to be half the player he has been as a Raider after becoming half the player he was in Tampa? A bum shoulder is not a good thing in the trenches. Anyone ever seen Sapp play NT?

And who the hell are Anttaj Hawthorne, Donnell Washington, Terdell Sands, and Rashad Moore? I've got 20/13 vision, but I can't remember ever seeing any of these guys make any impact in the NFL. Quite a feat considering each weighs 300+ pounds.

In a division where you face Larry Johnson, LaDanian Tomlinson, and the Donco RB flavor of the month twice each per season, all I can say is, "Be afraid. Be very afraid."

8. Danny Clark is listed as the second-string MLB. Much love to Kirk Morrison. Clark is needed because of his heart. He's got one. The Raiders collectively haven't had one for three seasons.

Questions are, can Thomas Howard play? He's got the dreaded "potential" label written all over him. And can Secret Sam Williams prove he's not a potato chip and finally justify Al Davis moving up to draft 'em? Here's hoping...

9. Derrick Gibson is listed as the starting SS. This is decidedly a fit of temporary insanity on Art Shell's part. Huff will puff and blow 'em down by the start of the regular season - guaranteed.

10. A fat, drunk Polish kicker is still listed as the starter. Seabass hasn't done a thing to justify his #1 draft slot (George Blanda he ain't). Question is, can some 7-foot tall, former swimmer, current hoopster from the Virgin Islands beat 'em out?

Word is Shell makes all the players run laps every time Seabass misses a FG in practice. That oughta sober 'em up.

Your feedback is welcome as always.


Blogger The Analyzer said...

RT's Glass Half Empty week is over. You should be more optimistic about a couple of those things. Especially Sapp, I think he is going to have a good year.

August 03, 2006 2:59 PM  
Blogger Stick'em said...

Analyzer: I don't really tend to look at things as 1/2 full or 1/2 empty.

It is what it is.

In the end, all that matters is wins, and this team hasn't won for the last three seasons.

I like the direction the team is moving in, as Art seems to have gotten things back to The Raider Way. I have no real complaints about things since Shell took over, but remember, he inherited a serious mess to clean up…

While I go into every season believing the Lombardi is the only goal, and have no doubt an 8-8 record in ’06 is realistic, the truth is this team is weak in the middle.

The interior O-lineman and D-lineman have been the root of what ails us, methinks.

Does Warren Sapp at NT really help you sleep at nite? I remember him being a great under tackle at Tampa, a terrible 3-4 DE in Oakland, and an average 3-technique last season, before his rotator cuff snapped like my fan belt.

Verily, Sappaluffagus' switch to Ted Washington’s NT spot speaks more to a lack of quality depth in the Raider roster than to anything which might inspire me to cheer my sticky @$$ off.

I hope Sapp goes to Hawaii. I hope they ALL go to Hawaii. But lately, the punter is the only one who seems to get lei-ed.

August 03, 2006 3:59 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

I can't help but note that we have a guy named Alvin to complement Alvis. Aren't those the names of the talking chipmunks?

The linebacking situation seems a bit unsteady. I sure hope Howard can rise to the occassion.

The Chiefs just added Michael Bennett, bolstering an already stout running attack. Shutting down the run in this division is going to be a tall order.

August 04, 2006 8:29 AM  
Blogger Rum Runner said...

Your analysis of the DT spot is a little misguided my friend. Terdell Sands was the man that put LT out in our second matchup with the Chargers. He pretty much single-handedly handled the Chargers rushing attack.

Antaj Hawthorne was an valuable asset to the World League champs and had he not tested positive for marijuana use prior to last year's draft, he was slated as a first or second round DT.

I think that the team is going to be in a great situation this year. The Chargers have a rookie QB, the Chiefs lost both of their OT's and don't have a QB or WR's that can carry the team, and the Broncos will finally see what the Browns did with their DL now signed to longer contracts.

August 04, 2006 8:31 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

My 2 cents worth ...

The Raiders don't have the monster NG to play a 3-4 D effectively.

It is a foregone conclusion that Huff will start over Gibson. However, the one interesting wrinkle could be that Gibson might seem some action at SS in the Big Nickel/Wolverine defense with Huff playing Rover.

My gut instinct is that Big #78 (Slaughterhouse 5) plus his pre-requisite mean streak will find a way to start at RT over Walker.

Porter for TJ Duckett swap...does this rumor have an substance to it?

As always, my day is more enjoyable when their is a fresh, Sticky post to read!
Calico Jack

August 04, 2006 8:32 AM  
Blogger Stick'em said...

RR: I understand you giving Sands and Hawthorne the benefit of the doubt...

I would like to do the same (especially to Sands, who seems to have a good motor for a pachyderm).

However, Terdell only played in 9 games last year, while starting in none. He hasn't started at all as a Raider.

Hawthorne only played in 2 games last season, starting in none.

This is why I say, "Have you seen them make a play?"

Here's hoping Sands becomes the next run stuffer, 'cause Kelly and Sapp's specialty is rushing the QB.

This lack of experience just doesn’t leave me feeling solid in the middle. Time to throw ‘em in the mix and get ‘em some reps…but methinks we will miss Big Ted.

August 04, 2006 3:05 PM  

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