Sunday, 16 March 2008


I was contacted last week by one of the guys who runs a Raider website that seems to be in it's infancy, but has been well designed and seems to be one to keep an eye on for the RAIDER NATION.The reason that the site deserves a special mention here is that the guys are also based over here on this side of the Pond.Oh yes, the Limey RAIDERS are on the increase.The enthusiasm shown by RAIDER fans worldwide is one of the things that makes the NATION what it is.
All the RAIDER fans out there that read the Black Flag Network please take a look at and give the guys some support .


Saturday, 8 March 2008


Looking at the RAIDERS prior to the FA market opening up, the main areas of need for the team were pretty clear.DT/DE, WR, OL, S.

So far with Wilson, Walker, Harris, Carter and the re-signing of Tommy Kelly and Cornell Green, it seems like the terminally dysfunctional Silver and Black have spent their time actually dealing with stuff.Maybe, and this is only a maybe, Lane Kiffin has been so quiet with the media since the season ended because he has been busy planning for next.Maybe, just maybe, that "senile old goat" Mr Davis hasn't lost it completely yet, they have even been able to come to a mutual compromise on Dominic Rhodes' contract, this is getting plain weird.

That's what got me thinking, and that isn't always a good thing.If indeed the RAIDERS have a plan, and it seems that they do have some sort of plan to get better, then what have they got up their sleeves?

I have no doubt in my mind that Al would love Chris Long to be a RAIDER, but it seems increasingly unlikely that he will still be there when pick number four comes around, and with the most glaring of team needs seemingly dealt with in free agency, it's becoming increasingly intriguing as to where we will go in the first round of the draft.

The D-line, specifically at DE seems to be an area that could be strengthened further, and with Long gone that would possibly open the way for a pick spent on Vernon Gholston, whose stock seems to be on the rise following impressive showings at the combine and the subsequent Buckeyes pro day.Dorsey and Ellis could still be there at four, but DT looks pretty solid if Sands, Kelly, and Warren are ready to step up.The drafting of Gholston would possibly hint at a switch to Rob Ryans favoured 3-4 scheme.The last time that he tried to implement it the personnel was wrong, but the present D has players that will fit this time around.

With the news that the RAIDERS may be bringing in DeAngelo Hall, giving up our second round draft pick in the process ( which I can't decide is a good thing or not ), the impact of our first round pick becomes almost the final piece in this off-season jigsaw, with us then having no pick until round four.I have two theories on this first round pick right now, I say right now because just when I think I am settled on what the RAIDERS strategy is going to be, they go and sign someone else.As of right now, I am firmly and resolutely, without a shadow of a doubt believe that two things may happen, which automatically means lump your money on exactly the opposite.Either A) Lane Kiffin has persuaded Al to trade down and acquire some picks to load up on more talent, which seems a possibility with Kiffin's college recruitment background, or B) The Raiders will give it one more check out the size of our Silver And Black nuts move, and take Darren McFadden at number four, regardless of need.After all RAIDER NATION it would be hard to begrudge Al his athlete/speed pick after such an aggressive free agency period.

The off season that the RAIDERS have put together so far has been a surprise to me in the level of its aggressiveness, and regardless of the critics, who we will have whatever we do, no-one can deny that we will be better equipped to compete in 2008.The team is improving with the draft to come, and we split games with Denver and KC as it was last year.The raising of the game by the RAIDERS should put us in a position to challenge for the division, and a division title would be a huge step after the last few years.

The OAKLAND RAIDERS of 2008 may just be as big a surprise during the regular season as they have been during the off.And wouldn't that be a smack in the bollocks to those who have been telling us that the sky has been falling for a few weeks now, whatever happens from here, against recent odds the season is something to look forward to with optimism.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Free Agency Picks Up Momentum In Oakland

OK, here we go RAIDER NATION, it's that time of year again, and things have started to happen already in Alameda.

First Tommy Kelly gets a whopper of a contract to sign a long term deal over seven years, a deal which seems to have got the NFL's collective knickers in a twist, due to its size and recipient, and the fact that the rest of the league will have to cough up big time to pick up a DT in free agency.Only time will tell if the Kelly deal was warranted or not, but Warren Sapp seemed to be pretty confident of the guy's abilities, and a fully healthy Tommy Kelly playing inside with a big contract in his back pocket is a positive move for a team that was woeful against the run last year, who cares what the rest of the league thinks, the stock of D-linemen was on the rise anyway after the job that the NY Giants did on Brady's bunch, and with the top of the draft expected to involve Ellis, Dorsey, and Long the likelihood is that if one of these went No.1 their agents would have been looking at Mario Williams $54,000,000 contract with their clients yet to play a down in the NFL.

The inside of the RAIDERS line now has Kelly, Warren, and Sands.The DE position only really has Burgess and Jay Richardson coming back in 2008 after the loss of Chris Clemons to the Eagles.Does this point to either a draft pick up of Chris Long ( if still on the board ), or Vernon Gholston, or maybe a a rumoured shot at Jevon Kearse?Whatever the scenario you get the feeling that there is more to come concerning the D-line's look before next season.

The other pressing need on the RAIDERS D was at safety.The position needed to be upgraded and with the signing of Gibril Wilson at SS, we get a good tackler, who can also make the interception, and at the same time Micheal Huff will get the chance to switch to FS and hopefully become the big play guy that he looked in college.Huff hasn't delivered as a RAIDER so far, but this just might be the change he needs to kick start his NFL career.

On the other side of the ball there are things happening too, and irons in the fire it seems.Jerry Porter is gone, and I will not be missing him anytime soon although the RAIDERS offence could do as he has the ability to put up numbers when he can be bothered.The receiving corps looks decidedly weak at the moment and Jamarcus Russell needs some weapons to go to work with.The rumour mill had the RAIDERS looking at both Bernard Berrian and Donte Stallworth, both players now elsewhere, the possibility of Drew Carter visiting Alameda, even though the upcoming draft seems to be a deep one at WR you would expect that Al Davis and Lane Kiffin would like to have an experienced new guy in to compliment Curry and Higgins.

It was bye bye to Barry Simms AND Josh McCown, unless of course the RAIDERS re-negotiate with Simms before the season if he isn't offered a spot elsewhere.With Robert Gallery seemingly settled at LG, the LT spot will be a position of need to help keep Mr Russell in one piece.If Michigan's Jake Long is still there at No4, and with say Chris Long already gone, it could be OL in round one again for the RAIDERS, which is slightly worrying after the ups and downs of the afore-mentioned Gallery.The RAIDERS were a running team first in 2007, and with a returning Justin Fargas and a healthy Micheal Bush, it would be fair to assume that this will be the case again in 2008, but there were hints from Lane Kiffin that next season would see the playbook open up the passing game.If indeed this is the case, obviously the receiver position is going to be important but so will LT with an inexperienced QB back there.
The loss of McCown will hardly keep me up at night, but that leaves the RAIDERS with Andew Walter backing up Russell at this point, and unless it is planned to bring back Culpepper, there isn't much out there as far as FA QB's go.

There are twists and turns between here and the draft, but the team has made moves in and out that seem to have steadied the ship some more.Although the subsequent moves will be the more important, we have made a start, and the fear that free agents would not touch the "dis functional" RAIDERS has cleared to some degree as the great leveller ($$$$$$$$$) has come into play.

A few days ago RAIDERNEWS posted a piece in the Boston Herald regarding the RAIDERS franchised CB Nnamdi Asomugha, comparing the position that he finds himself in as a franchised player with that of recently departed Patriot Asante Samuel.During the article where the Herald writer was obviously dreaming of #21 in a Patriot uniform, he referred to the RAIDERS as a "second tier team".Let me give you an example of what a second tier team's players do to those connected with mouthy east coast teams with no class.Take it away Matt.......................