I took a couple of week sabbatical to catch up on life but the world of football keeps churning. I wanted to weigh in on some of the recent actions, etc, taken by the Raiders in the meantime.
-Signing of Matt Leinart – those who follow this site consistently know that I felt that Pryor was unlikely to be ready for the primary backup spot. If he is, that's icing on the cake. If not, Leinart can be a functional backup.
Leinart has not met his top 10 draft status but hasn't been as bad as many believe. He was beat out by Kurt Warner, who played at a very high level in his time in AZ and moved to Houston as a backup. The Houston coaching staff was very confident in him last season when starter Matt Schaub was injured but he, also, was injured, suffering a shoulder injury almost immediately in his first game.
However, the Raiders new offensive coaching staff has familiarity with him and he will be familiar with the protection schemes of the Raiders. He also is comfortable with Palmer having been behind him when they were both at USC.
-The Raiders have announced the signings of multiple UDFAs. Of them, WR Rod Streater – who is 6'3" – has been singled out by both Head Coach Dennis Allen after the rookie minicamp and Carson Palmer after the second day of OTAs as being someone who has really stepped up.
Streater is likely competing for the 1-3 WR spots that are up for grabs on the team. My guess is that there will be 6 WRs on the team but probably not 7. I see 4 WRs as locks: Darrius Heyward-Bey, Denarius Moore, Jacoby Ford and Juron Criner.
Other UDFAs that seem to have a better shot than others are DT Dominique Hamilton, LB Kaelin Burnett and, just based on lack of depth at the position, S Chaz Powell.
Reporters only had a small window in which to view the players so there was precious little info to come out of there. As mentioned above UDFA Rod Streater was singled out by Allen as having stood out. LB Burnett also received praise from Allen after the minicamp.
Media access lasted for a couple of hours on Tuesday and the talk was all of 5th round rookie WR Juron Criner. He made 4 spectacular catches including one in double coverage in which he rose above two defenders to get a long TD catch and a reception on a ball from Pryor that was thrown well behind him but in which he was able to stop and reach back to catch it. His athleticism was on display throughout the session and he also showed great hands.
DHB was DHB, not standing out but not doing terrible, either. He dropped one pass that was a great ball from Palmer simply because he didn't get his hands on it well. His work throughout the years show in his production but is not a natural "hands" receiver.
Denarius Moore was solid if not as spectacular in this session as Criner.
OTAs do not allow contact so it's virtually impossible to get any accurate assessment of defensive acuity. LB Aaron Curry ended up with an INT on a pass that was hit at the line of scrimmage, batted around by several other teammates and ended up right in front of him. He returned the INT for a TD for whatever that's worth in a non-contact drill. Curry also had a "sack" of Palmer – again, no contact and the O-line is learning the scheme and not cut blocking so there, again, isn't much there.
OTAs are a time to learn and the offense should be able to destroy a defense that cannot hit. However, OTAs under JaMarcus Russell, Kerry Collins and even Jason Campbell were not as crisp as this so the Raiders should be able to field an offense that is better than any since Gannon's.
Another bright spot: Raiders star RB Darren McFadden looked at full speed and was making plays in both the running and passing game (again, no contact). Taiwan Jones also looked fully healthy and at speed and new RB Mike Goodson showed good burst.
McClain was not at OTAs as he was prepping for his trial which begins today. Yesterday, an edited video broke which allegedly shows the night in question in which he fought with a former friend and allegedly fired a gun next to the victim's ear. The video appears like it may be out of order although it's unclear. There is no footage of the alleged gun shot. There are sections of audio missing.
It is a poor PR look for McClain but, in terms of his legal battle, is unlikely to make any difference unless the unedited version is located. I'm not a lawyer but have some experience with litigation with my work and my limited understanding is that this version, as is, is unlikely to be admissible.
For more Raiders news and analysis throughout the day, follow me on Twitter @AsherMathews
The signing of Criner, to me, was one of the steals of this draft. Having watched him play in college, and being very familiar with his incredible ability, I was stunned that he fell into the 5th round. The draft pundits did not do their homework on this guy. I really thought Criner would not last beyond the second round..... Obviously, I am very partial to the Pac-10, but beyond all that, I really think he was one of the most overlooked players in the entire draft. The Raiders signed an absolute gem....
I would not give up on McLain just yet everyone: first- going to trial by jury, so no jail time as of now, second- kids sometimes learn from incidents like this, third - new staff may just get him to play to his potential and lastly, some have a longer learning curve before making an impact ie Mc Fadden, DHB....legts give the kid some love!!!
I was anticipating that he would be with the Raiders this year and that this year would be the make or break year, Either he steps up or he is shipped out. I would still be alright with that if he does in fact get the chance to finally prove himself. But if this situtaiton is going to keep him off the field for any time what so ever, then I say f___k him. With all of the personnel shuffling going on, I have only started to believe that we might actually have a chance to be competitive THIS YEAR. If he is not available to be on the field and play a part in that due to his off field issues, then we need someone who can take this role in his place. We don't have the luxury of dealing with a rogue players side issues anymore.
McClain got 180 days which is fine by me. Time to find a real MLB, obviously McClain is far too stupid to be calling the shots as a defensive play caller anyway. I'd move Curry inside myself. He's got all the hustle McClain hasn't.
You missed the signing of Owen Schmitt. This may not be considered by many as a big signing, but Schmitt is a punishing blocker like Jon Ritchie and I would not be surprised at all to see him making the final roster taking Tonga's roster spot. Maybe I am just biased because I love this guys intensity so much!
Also axe McClain. Forget about him and move on. I know this may put the team back a bit more but McClain has not shown enough to be worth this trouble. Burris I think can transaction to MLB or I would love to see us make a move for Pat Angerer from the Colts. I think he will be able to be pryed away because he is just too small for the Colts new 3-4 but is a great tackling MLB iun the 4-3.
You're right, I meant to include Schmitt. Interestingly, the Raiders have him as a RB not a FB in their materials. I don't know if that means anything, but it's interesting.
McClain's contract makes it unlikely he's going anywhere - the cap hit would be huge.
If the team were to cut McClain it's been reported elsewhere we would save $1.22 million against the cap this season but absorb a $7.26-million cap hit in 2013. But it would save a combined $13.445 million in base salaries for the remainder of his contract: $970k this season, $4.005 mil in 2013, $5.805 mil in 2014 and $2.665 mil in 2015.
That is very interesting. I can't see him as a RB though. He has never really been knowing for his running ability. A great blocker and a decent pass catcher out the backfield. He is also familiar with Knapp from their time with the Seahawks.
As for McClain the cap hit will be high, but I still think it's better to cut our losses now. Give the starting job to Burris, Stupar or Goethel (if he can stay healthy) and let whoever have a year to grow.
My point exactly. And in my opinion he has not shown enough from a player who was so highly regarded in the draft to gamble with keeping him on the roster. I would rather see his roster spot given to a guy who may be a little less talented but will be playing hard every time he is on the field giving it everything.
@nilbymouth @AsherMathews If McClain serves the full sentence, he is gone for the season. Even if he doesn''t serve the entire sentence, he most certainly will be suspended by the league. Bottom line, he will do us no goood this year. I was looking at this year as his time to finally step up or move out.
McClain has now received a 180 day jail sentence. Even more reason to cut his sorry arse now!