Happy Memorial Day to all, and a big thanks to those who have protected our freedom to care about things as trivial as football and Oakland Raider news items like the ones I have for you in this edition of Pirate Booty. It appears some members of the mainstream media may be learning of our little silver and black secret. Needless to say, the Raiders will not be sneaking up on people this year.
We also have the obligatory lockout articles. And it is beginning to appear likely that Eagles will be one of the main suitors of Plaxico Burress. Jump over for all the wonderful details....
Main Stream Media Love for the Raiders
Raiders fans have reason to smile | ProFootballTalk
In a weak division that includes an underachieving Chargers franchise, an overachieving Chiefs team, and a rebuilding Broncos roster, the Raiders have a great chance to succeed, especially with Hue Jackson, who kick-started the offense in 2010, now taking over as head coach. So take heart, Raiders fans. Whenever this labor mess ends, your team looks to be on track to be something other than a mess on the field.
Consider it heart taken Mr. Florio of Pro Football Talk. However, I think you are preaching to the choir on this one. Raider fans already know this squad has progressed past mess standards. Below Jamie Dukes talks up the Raiders chances in the AFC West. Normally, I consider an endorsement by Dukes as a kiss of death, but even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes.
NFL Videos: AFC West surprise?
What will be the biggest surprise coming out of the AFC West in 2011? "NFL Total Access" debates
Raiders Grab Bag O' Booty
Jerry McDonald praises Richard Seymour while putting the onus on him to bring his dominance with more consistency.
Seymour’s play must equal ability to lead - Inside the Oakland RaiderS
Much of Kelly’s success can probably be attributed to the man he calls "Big Rich." Seymour helped prod Kelly into getting in better shape and by example demonstrated what it was like to be a pro. It would be hard to overstate his effect on young linemen such as Matt Shaughnessy and Lemarr Houston. But make no mistake, the Raiders didn’t extend Seymour two years and $28.5 million in guaranteed money to be a coach on the field. They need those last two years to be Seymour at his dominant best as often as possible as they attempt to eliminate the periods of defensive inconsistency which have plagued them since 2003.
Greater consistency is not the usual trend as players age. I think Seymour's consistency can be linked to an increasing susceptibility to injury, and that is not a trend I expect to change.
As key as Seymour's play will be to the success of the 2011 Raiders I don't think it will play as big a role as the unit functioning under the guidance of this next individual.
Oakland's Running Question: What About Bob? | Football News Now
With all of that inexperience and the departure of head coach Tom Cable and last year’s offensive line coach Jim Michalczik, will the Raiders be able to duplicate their running success? The answer to that question lies in another one…who is Bob Wylie?
Around the AFC West
One of my favorite lesser known analysts is Andy Benoit. He does some work, such as the articles listed below, for the New York Times. He breaks down the strength, weakness, misconceptions and bright spots of each team from the 2010 season. I'll have more on his Raiders break down in a bit, but here is his take on the teams that were a combined 0-6 against the Raiders in 2010.
2010 Broncos: What the Film Revealed - NYTimes.com
Don’t get the wrong impression – this was a good passing attack. Kyle Orton made quick decisions from the pocket and was fundamentally sound (and that’s not meant as some sort of euphemism). The acrobatic Brandon Lloyd was arguably the most sensational wideout in the league.
Brandon Lloyd is going to have to be far more acrobatic and sensational if he wants to duplicate his numbers with Tim Tebow throwing him the ball.
2010 Chargers: What the Film Revealed - NYTimes.com
On the ground, the Chargers were adequate. The mauling offensive line was particularly dominant behind star left guard Kris Dielman and left tackle Marcus McNeill (an O.K. pass blocker but really good run blocker).
The Raiders defense dismantled above mentioned adequate run game, and mauled what is called a mauling offensive line.
2010 Chiefs: What the Film Revealed - NYTimes.com
This offense found its identity late in the year. That identity was predicated on running the ball. Jamaal Charles was the best running back in the A.F.C. in 2010.
I don't know that it took the offense that long to find its identity. They knew they were a running team from week one.
Around the Lockout
Plax to the Eagles?
More rumblings that Plax could land in Philadelphia | ProFootballTalk
A personnel source tells Caplan that Eagles coach Andy Reid "has always been impressed" with Plax’s "ability to beat coverage with his size." The source predicts that Philadelphia will indeed make an attempt to sign Burress.
The Eagles’ have a highly explosive, young receiver corps. What they don’t have is a true red-zone playmaker with the size Burress can offer. On NFL.com, he is listed at 6-foot-5, 232.
You could seamlessly switch Raiders for Eagles in that second quoted paragraph. I think the chances of him playing for the Eagles next year dwarf the odds of him wearing silver and black.
If you were hoping that Aqib Talib's recent legal transgressions would lead to the Bucs releasing him and the Raiders signing him for DB help in 2011 may be rendered moot. I'm not sure Talib is going to be eligible to play many games in 2011.
Despite the lockout, commissioner Roger Goodell has said players are still subject to the league's personal conduct policy and that disciplinary action can be taken after the labor situation is resolved.
Below is a great, concise and quick article on all the key points of the lockout. Among other things, the author says there is a 70 percent chance of at least one regular season game being missed.
NFL owners have more time to consider than players in labor matter - latimes.com
...key date is three weeks before the Sept. 8 kickoff game between New Orleans and Green Bay — say Aug. 15. At a minimum, teams would need that much time to train for the start of the season. If camps are still closed at that point, you can bet games will either be pushed back or scrubbed.
My name is Rich, and I approve this next message:
Lockout paycuts show "suffering" by folks who don’t need to be | ProFootballTalk
Meticulous planning occurred in advance of the lockout. For plenty of teams, the staff apparently weren’t regarded as sufficiently important to be included in that meticulous planning.
The majority of the owners seem to regard regular people (fans, low-level employees) as pawns in their game to gain more for themselves. There are few legal things more despicable.