Like I've stated time and again, a healthy, Daunte Culpepper is a top 5 QB in the League.
Josh McCown is as good of a back-up as there is in the NFL. I think he is a starting caliber quarterback who will get a chance to play some this year and IF Daunte goes down he has a good grasp of the offense and will be able to run it effectively enough to win some games.
Andrew Walter has looked good this preseason and is showing flashes of being the quarterback that we drafted who broke John Elway's Pac-10 touchdown record.
JaMarcus Russell, if he signs, would give us the deepest pool of quarterback talent in the NFL. That being said, he is killing himself by not signing. He could spend a year learning the system and taking all of Daunte's tutoring in and becoming a better NFL quarterback. JaMarcus and his stupid agents are being dollar foolish.
Once again, health is the question mark with regard to LaMont Jordan's value. If he is healthy, he can be a 1,200/700 back. Heck, he could even be a 1,000/1,000 guy in the right system.
Rhodes is an agressive and "angry" runner who is a great change of pace back for Jordan. He is also capable of being the #1 guy IF Jordan does go down. He is a HUGE upgrade over last year's mix of Fargas/Crockett/Lee.
"Joe" has been the biggest surprise of training camp. He has not only shown the ability to square up his shoulders and run through people he has shown great cutting as well as breakaway ability. I know that it IS preseason, but, "Joe" is leading the NFL in rushing.
Fargas is on the bubble until Rhodes comes back and then I see him being gone. IF it comes down to keeping Justin or Zach, I'd take Zach all day long.
Bush is the best pure talent in the offensive backfield. I love how he is on the PUP list. This makes him available to be activated between the 7th and 10th week of the season. As long as nobody gets hurt against SEA, he will be a breathe of fresh air and a big boost in week 10.
Griffith is everything you want in a fullback. He is a punishing blocker and I can't wait until we start running some draws with him.
O'Neal has also shown to be a punishing blocker and has, recently, shown the hands that the Raiders thought he had when they drafted him.
Crockett is a a one yard touchdown or first down guarantee who can spell HB or FB. He is also a good special teams player and team leader.
Miller has shown the ability to make the tough catches over the middle. He is also an exceptional blocker. He has the look of a cornerstone tight end. There will be a learning curve, but he has all of the tools.
Madsen is my second biggest surprise of the preseason. A converted wide-out, he is grasping the tight end position very well. He has sat up well in open spaces and has made some really good blocks.
Stewart is a great blocking tight end. His injury status is a bit concerning and would leave us VERY thin should anything happen to Madsen or Miller.
Santiago is training camp filler. He looks to be nursing a hammie at just the right time to get an injury settlement.
I expect all three of these Centers to make the team. In fact, Morris was getting some reps at Right Guard against the Rams.
I think that the most difficult decision for the Raiders is going to be who starts at Center.
Jake Grove is the incumbent and has had a decent exhibition season. Although he did have a terrible game against the Niners.
Jeremy Newberry looks to be healthy enough to dominate once again and since that is the case I have to give him the nod over Grove. After last season I wrote about the offensive line needing a "Wiz" type of guy. Someone who is a mean enforcer and a veteran leader who will help the young O-Line gel. jeremy is exactly what the dctor ordered in that regard. IF Jeremy goes down then Jake will be able to step right in there.
Chris Morris is an intriguing prospect who is capable of long snapping and is versatile enough to play Center and Guard. I see him being on the practice squad, or MAYBE the 53rd man. The only problem with putting him on the practice squad is that we take the chance of losing him to any team that wants him because he would be, in essence, a free agent.
This is also a HUGE strength for our team. Lane Kiffin stated that the O-Line was a strength for this team, even though they gave up an insane number of sacks last year. You know what? He was right!
Cooper Carlisle has been all he was advertised to be. After starting 32 consecutive games for the Donkeys he chose the Raiders over many other teams because he believes in Kiffin and Cable's system.
He has opened up holes everywhere and leads the pull to the left very well. On top of that his pass protection has been the best on the team in my opinion.
Robert Gallery is a serious "Hoss" who is opening GAPING holes on the left side of Center. the runs to the left have been the most effective this exhibition season mainly because of Gallery and also Zach Miller taking care of business. Now is the time to start judging Gallery. If he does not succeed under Cable, then he is a bust. i seriously doubt that he will fail though.
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