Sunday, January 11, 2009

Nnamdi Asomugha Likely to Remain an Oakland Raider

By Rick Richardson

Make no mistake about it. Nnamdi Asomugha is a top tier corner. He possesses superior coverage skills, above average intelligence, and comes with great character to boot.

What more could you ask for in a player.

So let us put this rumor to bed once and for all. There is no way Al Davis lets Nnamdi wear anything other than silver and black next year. Mark it down. Put it out of your head, and begin to think of more sane topics like a possible relocation of the Raiders to Gnome, Alaska.

Many draft speculators have formed a consensus that the Raiders will select CB Malcolm Jenkins with the 7th overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft, because of the presumed certainty that Nnamdi is fed up and will walk.

First, I don’t think Asomugha is as fed up with the Raiders as he is fed up with losing. Just the quality you are looking for when you are trying to turn around a floundering franchise.

Second, Asomugha will be franchise tagged if he doesn't sign a long term contract.

The only way Nnamdi Asomugha wears another jersey is if he is traded, and the asking price will be steep. Much too salty for another franchise to bite. By trading the all-pro cornerback, the Raiders would open a huge hole in their roster.

The last time I checked Al’s prized slogan was “just win baby”. If there is any way that Mr. Davis can stomp Asomugha's contract under the salary cap he will do it. Al may have his detractors, but they can‘t say he doesn‘t try to sign the best players.

Nnamdi Asomugha certainly fits that description.

So buy your Asomugha jersey with confidence Raider fans. The chance of being stuck with the equivalent of a Moss jersey is between slim and none.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Raiders Ship Gets Lighter as Ryan Jumps Overboard

By Rick Richardson

It looks like the winds of change are blowing gale force for the Raiders once again.

Per Adam Schefter of, Rob Ryan has jumped ship and landed in the Dog Pound. Cleveland to be exact. Pending Cleveland Browns coach Eric Mangini is reportedly ready to snatch Rob Ryan away from the Raiders at the first chance. The change in address for Ryan is most likely a relief for Al Davis, saving the Raiders owner the awkwardness of terminating him.

The Raider’s defensive coordinator for the past five years; Ryan has outlasted Norv Turner, Art Shell, and Lane Kiffin despite having basement dwelling defenses four out of five years.

Ryan’s defenses ranked 27th, 22nd, 3rd, 27th, and 30th driving many Raider fans to the conclusion that his dad Buddy Ryan’s Chicago Bear defenses would be the closest he would ever come to seeing a really good defense. Despite some talent-laden defenses, none of Ryan’s defenses measured up. This includes the lone bright spot when the Raiders defense was ranked 3rd during the 2006 season.

That season should have an asterisk next to it because teams rarely had to test the Oakland defense with anything other than conservative play because the Oakland offense was so bad. One score and you were ready to run out the clock.

Offensive coordinator Gregg Knapp and running backs coach Tom Rathman have also found employment elsewhere. Coach Knapp has found a new home with Seattle and Coach Rathman has gained employment with his former employer as a player, the 49ers. Of the two, only Rathman had any kind of a future with the Raiders.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Raiders Should Add a Tiger in 2009

By Rick Richardson

It is very apparent that the Raiders desperately need to upgrade the offensive and defensive lines in order to return to the playoffs next year, but a case can be made for taking a wide out with the first pick.

The progress the Raiders made in the last two games of the season was nice. An impressive win versus an up and comer in Houston, and a come from behind win against a team fighting for its playoff life helped inject a little hope in the Raider Nation. There was something positive to take from just about all aspects of the two victories. The line played solidly and the youth movement at wide receiver paid off with some needed if not too late production from someone other than Tight End Zach Miller.

Building on that momentum for next year the Raiders now start the daunting task of making the right selection in the 2009 NFL draft. Michael Crabtree might be the consensus top wide out in the draft by most scouts, but the Raiders may be inclined to lean toward Jeremy Maclin’s unmatched explosiveness when they begin to breakdown game film, even if Crabtree were somehow still available. Maclin has very good hands and will shoot up draft boards after teams get a gander at his combine workout. He has a rare gliding, controlled explosion not often seen. With Johnnie Lee Higgins outstanding production in the punt return game this year it is hard to imagine, but Maclin would probably step in and unseat Higgins as the Raiders punt returner day one. Maclin is that special. If you haven’t had the pleasure of viewing this kid’s jets, think Devin Hester of 2007 in the return game. Imagine a kick return team with Maclin and Miller/Higgins keeping opposing special teams coaches up at night.

Maclin is more than just a special teamer. The red shirt sophomore ended the season with 102 catches and 1260 yards and 13 touchdowns to follow up last years 1055-yard performance. Maclin can make all of the catches and would bring the deep threat back in an impressive way with explosiveness that will make match up problems at the next level an every Sunday occurance.

The Raiders are closer than most might think, and adding a special talent at the number 7 spot in the 2009 NFL draft is a must. Mr. Davis loves speed and explosiveness, and Jeremy Maclin fits that bill. Many people speak of the big three turning a team into an offensive dynamo. Great quarterback, great running back, and a great go to wideout. Maclin could complete the trio.

Player profile courtesy of the official athletic site of the University of Missouri.