The NFLPA* held their equivalent to the yearly NFL Rookie symposium this week. The NFL had canceled their mandatory version of the event due to the extended lockout so the NFLPA* stepped up and held their own non-mandatory version. A lot of NFL rookies were not in attendance, including Raider rookies Joseph Barksdale and Denarius Moore.
When the Raiders drafted LSU offensive tackle Joseph Barksdale back in April, his biggest criticism was that he had a tendency to do the bare minimum. Well, before a single NFL game has been played we are already seeing signs of that philosophy and it can't be too comforting to his fellow players and coaches.
Denarius Moore suffered from similar criticism. The biggest knock on him, and the likely reason he dropped into the fifth round, is that he would "disappear" in games. He would have great games with big yardage and then have games without a catch. He had five games in his senior season in which he caught two or less balls.
"Disappearing" is a perfect word to describe the actions of these two Raider draft picks thus far. Not only were they not at the Rookie Symposium, they also were not in attendance for the player organized camp last May.
These two aren't the only Raider rookies not to show up for the symposium -- Stefen Wisniewski was also not in attendance. However, Wisniewski was at the mini camp with his new teammates. On top of that, there has never been a question about Wisniewski's commitment or work ethic.
Four other Raider rookies were in attendance at both the camp as well as the symposium -- Taiwan Jones, DaMarcus Van Dyke, Chimdi Chekwa, and Richard Gordon. So why can't Barksdale and Moore find time in their busy schedule for either of these events?
Work ethic is a term that has become very important to the Raiders of late. They saw firsthand just how easy it can be to squander talent and destroy a promising career through lethargy. So far, Barksdale is quite literally following the same path as former LSU Tiger and Oakland Raider JaMarcus Russell. Better check his tongue to see if it is purple.
Moore "taking plays off" is something former Raider cancer, Randy Moss, was known to do.
Before anyone starts making excuses for these two, we all heard the same excuses for Russell. He was late to camp because he was "closing on a house," he missed the final team meeting because he "had a family emergency," while he was spotted drunk in Vegas.
These might seem like big leaps in character judgment for these two, but not showing up for any of these player organized functions shines a light on some red flags they already had. People like to say it is "too soon" to judge them on their actions, but I disagree. Once a player leaves high school, there is no such thing as too soon. The problem is that once it is no longer "too soon," it is more likely too late.
This team needs high character, hard working players if they hope to continue to improve. These two have shown neither.
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Maybe you should have at least tried to investigate the reason for them not showing up at either event. For all you know, it could be financial difficulties or worse!
Why are we so quick to judge each people. Maybe they had very good reasons for not attending the symposium. Maybe they were advised or misadvised by their agents. Maybe they could not afford the travel expenses involved. Maybe something more serious like an illness or death in the family, god forbidding. Lets not just assume it's because they're not committed. Lets give them the benifit of the doubt at least until we know all the facts.
The rookie symposium is important, but as far as OTA, they may have been advised not to go like raidersdiehard said. Remember, they are not under contract and if they get hurt, that's it.
Tried to post below comment on another article bit it wouldn't work. I wouldn't be surprised if their agents advised them against attending, this hurts Moore more that it does Barksdale because of the familiarity that he could have been gaining with Soup. He is a speed guy that did have a very impressive collegiate year until his senior season in large part due to spotty QB play, the chemistry he could have established with our incumbent stater is invaluable. Barksdale started 3 years in the SEC, facing guys like Dunlap and Bowers on a consistent basis, I have little worry about him.
@LDizzle @Spartacus No offense but who ever thinks that DHB is as bad a pick or even nearly as bad a pick as Jamarcus is either smoking something or knows very little about football. With Russell the raiders had several alternatives to picking him, one of which was Brady Quinn who could have been a different player in Kiffins style of offense. The player I actually wanted was the best WR prospect in the last decade-a near prototype for the position, Calvin Johnson. In all actuality had we drafted Megatron instead of Russell there would be no need for the DHB pick, so theoretically Jamarcus is responsible for two bad picks. With Jamarcus we passed on a top 5 WR in the league, arguably the best RB in the league, an elite OT, and arguably the best corner which were all positions of need. Russell was projected as a late 1st early second round pick (exactly what DHB was projected as) until he embarassed a terrible Notre Dame defense on national television and even then was only in the conversation as a top 10 pick because Al Davis is a fan of cannon armed QBs and because Russell had a relationship with some of the decision makers in Cleveland. I was convinced that we didn't have enough weapons for a young QB to survive and we'd be better served taking a near sure thing in Johnson, giving our next QB a reliable weapon to grow with, instead of a high risk pick like Russell. The fact that we needed more weapons was a conclusion the team immediately came to, drafting run DMC and DHB the next two years. Russell was not a need pick but rather a luxury pick, especially considering that we had drafted Walter in the 2nd round and had not given him a fair chance to prove himself, signed McCown and would sign Cullpepper a month later. DHB was drafted to provide Russell with another offensive weapon and having already drafted a RB and a TE the only logical choice would be a WR. DHB was chosen ahead of Crabtree who was a holdout headache and has been a prima donna in SF, Jeremy Maclin who IMO is only marginally better than Ford, Percy Harvin who at anytime could have to sit out a game due to the type of migraines that could very well cut his career short, and Kenny Britt and Hakeem Nicks who many DHB had projected ahead of or on par with anyway. The guy has a superb work ethic and outstanding physical tools, is a solid blocker at WR, and is a much improved route runner. He may never be a star or justify his top 10 draft status, but to call him a worse pick than Russell is downright foolish.
very possible diehard.
but i did share the same worry about Barksdale.. i had heard he had problems getting motivated, and when he wasn't among the rookies, it scared me. if he comes in and makes an impact as a rookie at RG, then i'll write this off. if he's behind and sits on the 3rd team all day long, then he very could be a JaBlubber. Lets hope Wiz and Wiley can do something with this guy. he's a beast of a guy... if he can be a pulling guard, there's potential there in the power blocking game.
Moore i didn't think about. It could have been that he disappeared in games because he's not very fast.. and couldn't create separation from his defender. That's why i think we need someone else except Sanjay Lal to coach these receivers...
@Raider4life I'm not quick to judge ... i am just hoping it's not a bad sign .... training camp it's rearing it's head ... lets hope these kids have a chance to prove themselves ...
@severeraiderz @LDizzle @Spartacus I'll tell you this much... if he gets playing time on the field when he's just as bad as he was last year, then Al Davis is an idiot for doing it. He had better give Hue the right to pull the guy any time he wants. It hinders this offense in a big way when a guy cannot get open.
You talk about his "speed" ... you OBVIOUSLY do not know much about football either. THERES A HUGE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GAME SPEED AND TRACK SPEED. thank you.
Okay, so let DHB prove himself! I haven't seen a whole hell of a lot of improvement in his route running skills, I think you're trying to explain Ford's progress in the NFL. you can talk up DHB all you want there son, but there's a lot of intangibles that you are not seeing here that make you think highly of him. He hasn't shown the ability to catch completely with his hands and NOT his body. I have not seen him make a spectacular catch yet with his hands only, have you? if so, please show me as i might be missing something here... but from what i've seen, he only catches balls thrown right to him in the chest or the gut.
He also hasn't been able to hold on to those easy throws to his body ... tell me i'm lying about that.
If he is vastly improved because of all his time spent with Jason Campbell in the offseason throwing to him, then we'll know real quickly whether he's got it or he doesnt. My money is against him at the current moment. I hope he proves me wrong.