By now we all know that names we were very familiar with, like, Treu, Crockett and Whitted have been released.
We also know that players we had high hopes for like, Darius, Quentin Moses and Kevin Boothe have packed their bags.
Rather than look at this as some sort of mistake, I am writing this to celebrate the NEW Raiders.
Guys like "Joe" Echemandu, Ricky Brown and Chris Clemons.
Here is the list of players that made an impact from OTAs to the final game of the preseason and made "Everything Count".
CB - John "David" Bowie - Bowie showed great tackling technique and also good coverage skills. He is also an option to return kicks should Carr or Higgins get hurt.
LB - Ricky "Bobby" Brown - He was undrafted out of Boston College in 2006. He signed to the Raiders practice squad and earned his way onto the Special Teams unit where he tallied 7 tackles last season. He played as hard and well as anyone this preseason and has played his way into the mix if the Raiders mix in a 4-3 at some point this year.
LB - Chris Clemons - This may be our best "Under the Raider" pick-up of the off season.
Clemons, like Ricky Brown, was an undrafted rookie free agent. He was signed by the Redskins and spent his first season, 2003, on IR with a torn ACL.
In 2004-05 he'd played his way onto the field where he was a good special teams tackler and developed into a quick pass rusher. He tallied 5 sacks in limited opportunities.
His development was cut short again when he endured a season ending knee injury and the Skins reached an injury settlement with him in 2005.
This preseason he has played his way onto this team. his quickness and sure tackling ability will make us stronger on Special teams and IF we run a 3-4 at some point.
LS - John "The Condor" Condo - Once again, a practice squad member that made the Big Team. I'm thinking of getting a #58 Condo jersey. He is my pick of this litter to reach "Cult" status.
RB - Adimchinobe "Joe" Echemandu - With every carry...Every yard...Every cut...And every bullbozing rush..."Joe" showed that he would not be denied. He is the story of camp as far as I am concerned.
No one here would have given him a shot to make the team, let alone beat out Crockett.
Now the player who was tabbed, "The Surprise of Camp", by Lane Kiffin will be joining his cousin, Nnamdi Asomugha, on the opening day roster.
LB - Isaiah "Ike" Ekejuiba - He is another hard working LB/ST player that started on the practice squad.
In the preseason he was all over the field on, both, special teams and defense. he will be a leader on special teams and also allows us to use the 3-4 at some point this year.
I am surprised that he was not placed on the PUP list with his latest injury. I don't see a broken heal healing in less than 6 weeks. But I am glad that he made the grade.
There is some interesting info on him in his bio:
S - Hiram Eugene - This is definitely a special teams call. He will be sharing time at the end of the defensive backfield with Chris Johnson so his importance to the team has to be making plays on special teams.
he is also a former practice squad player who has made the Big Squad.
T - Mario Henderson - It usually takes a good 2-3 years to develop an offensive tackle. At 22 years old, Mario, is not the exception.
He has great size and the Raiders are high enough on him that they traded up to nab him in the draft. If he develops over the next couple of years he may end up spelling Sims by 2010.
WR - Johnnie Lee Higgins - This rookie out of UTEP has already shown how special he can be returning punts. The Raider were one of the WORST punt returning teams last year. It looks like Johnnie Lee will be the cure for that.
Not only did he return punts for TD's in consecutive weeks, he also has shown above average hands that, combined with his sprinter's speed, will make him a threat in four receiver sets.
CB - Chris Johnson - Once again, like Eugene, it has to be his ability to cover on special teams that has him on the final roster.
I know that the Raiders are really high on his speed, but, he is REALLY the one that really has me scratching my head.
C- Chris Morris - Versatility is the key to having Morris on this team. He is the back-up long snapper, 3rd Center (Which, given Newberry's injury history is important) and can play Guard.
FB - Oren O'Neal - Drafted in the 6th round, Oren O'Neal worked his butt off and took advantage of Coach Kiffin's, "No Scholarships", philosophy.
O'Neal is a punishing blocker and is a good receiver out of the backfield. He will also be a solid addition on special teams.
DE - Jay Richardson - Richardson just flat out outplayed Quentin Moses. He is a late bloomer who will be starting somewhere on the D-Line this year.
There will be many teams kicking themselves in the pants for letting this guy slip to the 5th round.
The others, like, Gerard Warren (Top 8 in sacks from the DT position since he entered the League), Travis Taylor (An 8 year vet that is familiar with Daunte and seems to be on the same page), Zach Miller (Uber talented Tight End chosen in the 2nd round), Mike Williams (Lane's Boy), Josh McCown (2nd string QB that was the starter until DC showed up) and Daunte Culpepper (Our best QB, hands down) may be new, but they were never on the bubble.
You know one thing that most of the bubble players have in common?
They were either drafted in the 7th round or were rookie free agents that worked their ways up through the practice squad.
These, FORMER "Goon Squaders" beat out a former first round pick, a third round pick and the Raiders 3rd All-Time rushing TD leader.
I can't wait to be in the parking lot next Sunday!!!!
Let's go RAIDERS!!!!