After acquiring Rhodes, Cable and Knapp and with most of the coaching staff replaced the team and direction that "Son of Monte" was planning became clear. The Raiders are going to run more than they have in the past and more importantly Al's World was slowly being shaped into Al and Lane's World.
There may not be a greater football man ever than Al Davis.
Mr. Davis scouted, coached and/or ran the most successful team in pro sports for decades.
His Commitment to Excellence had him always building teams to "Just Win" each year.
In an interview last year that made it to the internet, "Lord Al", spoke in a state of dementia as he could not even name his players and he seemed to speak of the old days and of the little smurfs that are now his friends.
His mind is still 100% football, but it was apparent that he needed to find a successor and find one soon.
That successor is eager and ready to grow as a head coach and learn from Mr. Davis. This is a GREAT MATCH.
With Freddie B out the door, Lane's overhaul was complete and the next BIG signing was the re-signing of Terdell Sands.
Terdell was getting a lot of attention around the league and could have easily went to any team that he wanted. He, also, took the Raider's offer quickly and signed on to keep our 2006 D in tact. Well, except for Tyrone Poole and....Oh What Was Him Name...Oh yeah...Something...GIBSON...Yeah that's who it was...Debbie Gibson.
Like I stated in the first piece of "Lane's World"
the offensive line was using a blocking scheme from 1978 and they all underperformed.
The offensive line needed to be addressed and there was a hole open from the departure of Langston Walker.
The choice was Cooper Carlisle. And that was a GREAT choice.
Cooper gives us an offensive lineman that has experience in the zone blocking scheme and he started 32 consecutive games for our hated rivals, the Denver Broncos.
Cooper, along with McQuistan, Gallery, Grove and Simms give us an average line from the start.
Boothe and Newberry should be adequate back-ups and each may challenge for a starting spot under
"SOM's" every position is open philosophy.
With the defense in tact and Langston replaced the Raiders could use the draft to get offensive IMPACT players while most teams were trying to draft defense in the first two rounds.
In my predraft plan I had us taking JaMarcus and trading down, if possible, to take Zach Miller out of ASU and gain another pick.
If you are going to have a young QB, it is essential to his development that you have an outlet tight-end that can be an escape valve and also pick up big first downs. Our incumbent tight end, Courtney Alexander, has not shown an ability to be that guy at the NFL level...yet.
The best Tight-End in this draft was Zach Miller, even though he was outperformed in every way by Greg Olsen in the combines, because he is a fantastic blocker who has an uncanny knack for finding open spaces on the field and he has great hands. I take that back, he is not just the best TE that was drafted this year, but he has the ability to make a Todd Heap type of impact on the NFL.
The fact that we were able to draft the JaMarcus Russell and Zach Miller with the first two picks allowed us to address defense in the 3rd round.
That pick was used on speed rushing and run stuffing defensive end Quentin Moses from Georgia. Moses will help seal the ends and pressure the quarterback. Our strength just got stronger. Moses would have been a Top 15 pick in 2006, but he slid all the way down to us with the first pick in the third round.
Listed at 6-5, 249 Moses is extremely adept at getting into the offensive backfield quickly. In 2005 he regisered 11.5 sacks (2nd in the Nation) and 20.5 stops for losses (14th in the Nation). He chose to stay in school and with teams double/triple teaming him his numbers dropped significantly enough for him to be available to us . I would say that he is the steal of the draft if it we did not do one better a few of picks later.
With the 98th over-all selection (A pick we received form New England), we added Offensive Line depth with the 6-7, 310 lb Mario Henderson from Florida State.
I have stood next to him and believe me he IS all of that height and weight. Mario is HUGE. He is seen as a project with loads of natural ability. Once again, he was rated higher on our board so we grabbed him.
Our last pick on the first day is a speedy wide-out who returns punts, Johnnie Lee Higgins out of UTEP. Our punt return team was one of the worst in the league last year. It was embarrassingly bad, so it was great to see "SOM" address this pressing need.
At the end of the first day our team was already significantly better than it was on that dreaded 18th week of the season and there was still a BIG NAME/TALENT out there that had yet to be swooped up.
The next morning Lane's World cane into full view...Michael Bush was a Raider!!!