The offseason is officially off until further notice. Normally, if there were a CBA in place, we'd be gearing up for mandatory mini-camps. Of course, the leaders of the new era of football have taken it upon themselves to plan such a retreat. During this time of the year, there are small areas of interest that Levi Damien and myself have decided to give you our opinion on, in this one convenient article, the first ever edition of Four Down Territory. We'll talk about McFadden for Madden, J-Camp selling his east coast crib, Hue Jackson in the boxing ring, and whether or not the Raiders are all set at the free safety position.
1st down: Need to get McFadden on Madden Cover?
BA's take: I take this curse surrounding the Madden video game very seriously. I know there has never been a Raiders player on the cover and I don't see any reason why the fans would want somebody from the Raiders on the cover -- especially someone who has had injury problems like Darren McFadden. Why not just put Chaz Schilens on there, he's going to get hurt anyway. I say let the other 31 teams in the league have the curse bestowed upon them and just give the Raiders the highest ratings across the board. Just say no to Raiders on the Madden cover. And do due diligence to make sure that no dog murderers end up gracing the cover, either.
Dizzle's take: I think it speaks volumes of the kind of season McFadden had last year that he was in the running for the cover of Madden 2012. I don't believe in curses. Remember the Campbell's Chunky Soup curse? I think people find unfortunate coincidences in much the same way they find strange patterns in statistics. Peyton Hillis ended up winning the contest for the cover of Madden12 and now if he gets anything so much as a nagging sprain, everyone will be screaming "Curse!" like this is the Dark Ages. McFadden has suffered injuries all three of his NFL seasons and it had nothing to do with being the coverboy for a video game or a can of soup. I suggested when McFadden was nominated that he was certainly the closest candidate alphabetically. Just remove the "cF" and voila!
2nd down: J-Campbell sells his crib on the east coast
This info was captured in a Twitter exchange between Raiders special teams' stud, Rock Cartwright, and Raiders QB Jason Campbell. Campbell told Cartwright that he "sold the crib yesterday."
Dizzle's take: First of all, this just makes sense. He doesn't need a home in a place he would only live if he were playing there. He held onto the home he had until he was sure he wasn't just a one season stopgap for the Raiders. Second of all, Jason is from a warmer climate. He is surely happy to be playing in California and was more than happy to pack up and move. Third, it is good news because it means that he is no longer split between his work and his family. No more flying back and forth. He can drive back and forth from home to work which means more sleep, more time with his family, and more availability for his teammates and coaches. A happy relaxed Jason Campbell is good for him and the Raiders.
BA's take: I think it's good that he is selling his house on the east coast. That doesn't mean that he won't buy another one, if he hasn't already. Clearly, Campbell likes being out there on that side of the country. It is after all where he spent a majority of his offseason thus far. But at the same time, it also opens the prospect of Campbell leaving that part of his life, career, what-have-you in the past and moving on with this frame of his career. Personally, I think he moves out to Oakland and becomes a more permanent staple of the Raiders culture. Either way, you can tell he's excited for the upcoming season.
3rd down: Hue Jackson hops into the boxing ring
Hue Jackson watched from the corner of Oakland native Andre Ward on Saturday night. After Ward's victory, Jackson entered the ring and celebrated with the fighter.
BA's take: Jackson has done nothing less than impress with his outstretched arms to the community. It's no surprise considering that he is from that area, but what he is really doing is being a good role model for his young team. By stepping into the ring, he is showing support for more than just football, he's showing support of a young man who is trying to make his way through life. We could all learn a valuable lesson from Coach Jackson. And I'm sure that if we watch long enough, we would learn many valuable lessons from him. Truly a class act and I know that clearly what he is doing is recruiting fans for the Raiders to go out and support the team this fall. To come out and stand in its corner... so to speak.
Dizzle's take: I don't really know a lot about this or have much of an opinion. I would have to guess it was a combination of Hue supporting a local Oakland talent, getting the Raiders brand in front of potential fans, and simply being afforded, as head coach of the Raiders, the opportunity to do what any of us would love to have done. To be able to sit front row at a major boxing event and then hop in the ring and get photos with the champion, along with his championship hardware, would be an extremely fun experience. Besides, what else does he have to do these days? When you aren't working on your craft, you're promoting it.
4th down: Need to re-sign Michael Huff?
Dizzle's take: I would like to see the Raiders re-sign Huff. However, if another team steps up and offers him a big contract, he no doubt has the Raiders' blessing as well as mine. Huff is a high character guy who is great to the fans. He is criticized a lot on his coverage abilities and his tendency not to wrap up on tackles, but he has a lot of positive aspects in his game as well. I think the Raiders are better off with him at free safety than with the possible alternatives. The Raiders have a lot of free agency concerns this offseason and they have sewn up a lot of loose ends in that regard. But their strategy with Huff may be to simply see what the market bears, and if it is a manageable figure, match it. If not, then congratulations Michael Huff on your lucrative new contract, and I wish you the best.
BA's take: Need is not the right word for this. If they don't re-sign Nnamdi Asomugha, then I think there certainly could be a need in the secondary. Apart from Asomugha, Huff is the longest tenured Raiders' secondary player and he has the most starting experience. If they end up signing Asomugha, then they can officially let Huff go ride horses in Texas. Huff can be very good at times, but his open field tackling is horrible and eventually the referees are going to get on his case about all of his head tackling. Is he a great center fielder for the Raiders? Maybe, but I barely noticed when he was gone and Eugene was filling in for him -- kind of like Robert Gallery and Daniel Loper last season. That means that Huff is not a super star and only deserves a little something in the neighborhood of $2.5 million per year, right?