The writers here at Sports Blog Nation Got Together and voted on the Studs and Duds for 2008
Here is my list of Studs and Duds for the Raiders:
Interestingly enough, I have to give it to Mario Henderson. His blind or "Bling" side protection of JaMarcus Russell allowed Russell to have two of his best games as a pro. Heck, he was even able to run a two minute offense AND a four minute offense in the same game!!!
Runner up - Robert Gallery. As this ship turns around next season, I expect him to get plenty of run for the Pro Bowl. He has cut down on the penalties and is an absolute BEAST in the running game.
This one is TOOOO easy. Kwame Harris may be done in the NFL. His penalties were costly and his pass blocking was very "Holly Hobby" esque. He is actually leading a pretty packed group for Dud of the Year. He won't finnish in forst though, a certain wide receiver is closing in fast.
By default, NO receiver had even a 100 yard game, it goes to Johnnie "Stagger" Lee Higgins. His play making ability led to some very exciting offensive plays in 2008 and he seemed to become a better possession receiver as the season wore on.
I'm going to have to include Zach Miller here as he led the team in receptions for the first time since Todd Christensen, back when the team was in LA. An improved offensive line will allow this kid to really work into the offense next year, because he will not have to stay in and block so much. This year, he showed talent that can make him an All-Pro as soon as next season.
The cup has to go to Javon Walker. Those of you who said we should have just cut him after he got rolled in Vegas (I was against it) were completely correct. He is a soft man with NO passion left for the gridiron. I respect Al for trying to win this year, but this one REALLY backfired on him. If not for this obvious choice, Ronald "Butter Fingers" Curry would have ran away with it.
It is a draw, or rather an incomplete. Bush, McFadden, Fargas and Russell all had their moments and I'd have to say that Russell's performances in the final two games give him the nod, but, they are all so young and there was no clear cut winner.
The injury bug wins this one. Imagine how good this backfield would have been with a healthy O'Neal and Griffith!?!?!
I am going with the rookie out of Buffalo, Trevor Scott. In limited reps he still tied for the team lead in sacks with 5 and the sky may be the limit for this converted Tight End that the Raiders selected in the 6th Round of the 2008 Draft.
Honarable Mention: Tommy Kelly and Kalimba Edwards
It has to be Derek Burgess. He played like a man that didn't want to be here. he tallied four sacks. Four. For a man who should be in his prime he was FAR from his Pro Bowl form.
Thomas Howard is the REAL deal. I just wish that Rob Ryan would have unleashed him the QB more often. Whoever comes in next season needs to utilize his speed to disrupt passing offenses. His interceptions were down, but he still made MANY big plays.
Unfortunately, it was one of my favorite Raiders. I don't know if he was wearing Stuart Schweigert's underwear, or WHAT, but all of a sudden Kirk Morrison could not wrap up a ball carrier when it mattered. He still had a lot of tackles, ala Schweigert, but many of them came in the ankle wrapping variety. He HAS to fix that, because if we get a true Middle Linebacker next year, the Raiders could have a top of the line Linebacking Corp.
Nnamdi "Scrabble" Asomugha may be the best corner in the NFL. We just don't know that yet because NOBODY threw at him. It goes without saying that "Scrabble" will need to be retained next season in order for the Raiders to be competitive.
Honarable Mention: Chris Johnson
Take your pick between former first round pick Michael Huff or the guy who cost a shot at drafting DeSean Jackson, DeAngelo Hall. They were both pathetic.
Pickem'. Jano, Lechler, Johnnie Lee and Justin Miller all made Brian Schneider the pick for Stud Coach of the year.
Lechler broke his own record for Net Average, Jano kicked a 57 yard FG to win a game in OT, JLH ran three punts back for TDs and Justin returned two kicks for scores.
Brian Schneider may be able to write his own ticket pretty soon here, for the afore mentioned reasons.
"Lame" Lane Kiffin gave up the chance to coach a talent laden team, that was the youngest in the NFL, and ended up being torn apart to the National Media by the venerable owner and an overhead projector.