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Count Alex's Wins
07-04-2008, 01:31 PM
Just more of what we already know.

http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/2008/06/30/warren-sapp-refers-to-the-raiders-as-a-black-hole-and-not-in/

Warren Sapp Refers to the Raiders as a 'Black Hole', and Not in a Good Way

This seems fitting: now that Warren Sapp (http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/tag/WarrenSapp/) is retired (and Jon Gruden (http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/tag/JonGruden/) has agreed to chair his Hall of Fame campaign committee (http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/2008/06/30/jon-gruden-if-warren-sapp-doesnt-go-into-the-hall-of-fame-ch/)), he's free to speak his mind, and he's more than happy to tell you about his time with the Raiders. Short version: man, that place sucked. Slighter longer, more descriptive version, courtesy of an interview with the St. Petersburg Times (http://www.tampabay.com/sports/football/bucs/article643685.ece): Q: How would you describe your experience with the Raiders?

A: As dark as a black hole. Stuff went on in that organization that shouldn't go on in sports. I don't think there's one person who knows who or what is making the call. Let's just say the Oakland experience is unique. The phone rings quite a bit on that sideline. Insubordination is grounds for termination in any company. I'm pretty sure he's not using "black hole" in the laudatory manner usually reserved for the Oakland Coliseum on game days. With that cleared up, why is Sapp confused about who has final say on, well, everything? Isn't that the one thing we can all agree on? That Al Davis (http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/tag/AlDavis/) is still calling the shots, despite the occasional report to the contrary (http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/2008/06/29/raiders-al-davis-contemplates-retirement-unless-he-doesnt/)?

(That's not to distract you from the obvious: the organization is a monumental clusterfudge, just saying...) Hashmarks (http://myespn.go.com/blogs/hashmarks/0-7-684/Sapp-calls-Oakland--a--black-hole-.html)' Bill Williamson sees it differently, though: "the team has done a lot this offseason ... to help turn around a dismal past five years. It is clear that the Raiders have recognized what Sapp feels and are working to change the atmosphere."

Huh, I must've missed that, what with Mike Taylor's comments (http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news;_ylt=AsfDUHT1N.aRW34Rmy1RNZZDubYF?slug=jc-davishavingdoubts062708&prov=yhoo&type=lgns), and Davis trying to force Lane Kiffin (http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/tag/LaneKiffin/) to sign a resignation letter (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3214665) earlier this year.

Still, silliness aside, the Raiders should be a better team in 2008. And if I had to guess, it'll have more to do with on-field performance than improved organizational communication. I mean, it's not like Al Davis just started causing problems. The guy's been around forever.

88TG88
07-04-2008, 01:40 PM
Every year we can all count on Grampa Al signing someone on the team that won the super bowl. Two years later they're either booted out or traded for peanuts. I love it

Bowser
07-04-2008, 02:35 PM
Always good to see ex-Raiders flame the organization.

Buehler445
07-04-2008, 02:43 PM
Agreed. Sapp was a blockhead, but its nice to hear a dumbass say "WTF is this stupid shit?" about an organization. Expecially when it is the Faders.

Kerberos
07-04-2008, 07:34 PM
No much there that we didn't already know. It just shows how big of a pair Sapp has to come out and just say it.

What are they gonna do. Hold his last paycheck. ROFL

BTW: Nice Find Clayton.

blueballs
07-05-2008, 06:01 PM
Raiders camp preview: Did spending money save this team?
By Tristan H. Cockcroft
ESPN.com
(Archive)
July 5, 2008, 12:27 PM


Leave it to Al Davis to throw cash at a problem.

Coming off a 4-12 campaign, and having lost an NFL-high 61 games the past five seasons, the Raiders loaded up this offseason, spending $255 million to upgrade a roster that still might lack the talent to get back into the playoffs for the first time since 2002. Here's the problem: For every solution Davis seemed to fix, there's an accompanying question mark regarding the move he made. For instance:

• The team picked Darren McFadden fourth overall in the NFL Draft (listen to Matthew Berry's take on McFadden just to the right http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/football/ffl/story?page=nfldk2K8_oakcamp ), ahead of Glenn Dorsey, despite coach Lane Kiffin's frequent suggestions that the Raiders' most pressing roster need was upgrading the defensive front.

• The team signed Javon Walker to a six-year, $55 million contract ($16 million guaranteed) after the receiver endured a terrible 2007 marred by knee surgery. Plus, his status at the start of training camp is now somewhat uncertain after he was reportedly beaten, robbed and left unconscious in Las Vegas in mid-June.

• The team also signed Gibril Wilson to a six-year, $39 million deal, making him one of the highest-paid safeties in the league. Problem is, most NFL minds wouldn't place him as high in the talent rankings as he now is in the salary rankings.

You get the picture.

Not to mention the continued development of quarterback JaMarcus Russell. Kiffin took seemingly forever to insert him into the starting lineup in his rookie season, so he's effectively getting his first chance to shine as a sophomore. How quickly Russell can adapt to the NFL game will tell us a lot about how far the Raiders will go.

In other words, there's a good share of talent, improved talent anyway, on the Raiders' roster, but chemistry is the big question heading into 2008. And what better time to evaluate a team's chemistry than in training camp, right? Let's break out the microscope.


What to look for in camp


Oakland Raiders


The Raiders added veteran talent this offseason, but youngsters JaMarcuss Russell and Darren McFadden are the keys to this offense.
-----------------------------
Key Additions

S Gibril Wilson
CB DeAngelo Hall
WR Drew Carter
RB Darren McFadden
WR Javon Walker
Key Losses

DT Warren Sapp
QB Josh McCown
WR Jerry Porter

Probable Lineup

QB1 JaMarcus Russell
RB1 Justin Fargas
RB2 Darren McFadden
WR1 Ronald Curry
WR2 Javon Walker
WR3 Drew Carter
TE1 Zach Miller
K Sebastian Janikowski
--------------------------------------------

Key position battles: McFadden's arrival clouds a running back picture that actually seemed like it was gaining some clarity late last season. Not to knock McFadden's talent, but incumbent Justin Fargas did finish 2007 averaging 96.6 rushing yards per game, 4.1 yards per carry and totaling four touchdowns in a seven-start stint from Weeks 9-15. Fargas looked like the favorite to begin 2008 as the starter, but now McFadden and his game-changing talent will surely press him for the role. A timeshare could be the ultimate result of this battle, something similar to what we saw in Minnesota a year ago, with Fargas starting but McFadden getting a decent share of carries as the better big-play threat. How these two shake out during the preseason will have significant fantasy impact; McFadden could be a top-15 running back talent if he were the only guy. And all of this excludes deep sleeper Michael Bush, once considered a future standout but now a guy who might at best have to settle for the occasional goal-line carry.

Fitting in: Ronald Curry is firmly entrenched as the team's top receiver, but the Nos. 2 and 3 options are newcomers in Walker and Drew Carter. Assuming full health and no further distractions from his June incident in Las Vegas, Walker should be a clear starter, not that that guarantees him anything from a fantasy perspective. He was a disappointment in Denver a year ago, undergoing another knee surgery (he previously had one in 2005) and going without a touchdown in any of the eight games in which he did play. Check Walker's health during the preseason, as any setbacks from him might make Carter a sleeper in deeper leagues in the event he's asked to pick up some of the slack.

DeAngelo Hall and Wilson join the defensive mix, and combining them with linebacker Kirk Morrison and underappreciated cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha might lead some to think Oakland's defense is on the rise. Sadly, the talent dries up shortly after them, not that any of the three should be ignored in IDP formats. Morrison and Wilson represent solid IDP starters, and there's definite sleeper potential in the two cornerbacks, too.

On the line: The Raiders squeezed a lot of production out of little talent on the offensive line in 2007, and much of the credit goes to O-line coach Tom Cable and his zone-blocking scheme. Oakland ranked 11th in yards per carry in 2007 (4.1), and McFadden's arrival brings an added dimension -- a home-run threat -- the team otherwise lacked. Not that the Raiders should be considered one of the better teams in the league upfront, but you shouldn't worry that it'll limit the production of its backs, either. Fargas already demonstrated that last season; McFadden should be even better than that. It's pass protection that's the concern. This team was sacked 41 times in 2007, 11th most in the NFL, and things don't look like they'll be any easier for Russell this year.


Javon Walker has well-known potential, but can he still reach it?
On the mend: Again, Walker is the focus on the injury front. The Raiders fully expect him to be healthy in time for training camp, and all reports indicate he suffered no damage to his vision from his June assault. Still, adding that to his previous knee issues makes him someone who will need constant monitoring in August.

Another to watch: Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly, who is being asked to step in for the retired Warren Sapp but is coming off a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He'll be adapting to a new position -- he's shifting from defensive end -- as well as attempting an injury comeback, putting the team's defensive line at serious risk in the event of a setback. Fortunately, the team feels Kelly should be fine by the start of the preseason schedule.


The bottom line

McFadden and Russell represent the future faces of this franchise, so despite all the glitz and glamour of the team's winter signings, it's the two youngsters whom you need to watch most closely during training camp. McFadden has the talent, in the best-case scenario, to be an immediate fantasy stud, not unlike Adrian Peterson last season. Russell, meanwhile, is significantly less likely to be a fantasy asset in 2008, although a strong camp could put him in line for some matchups considerations in his sophomore season. More importantly, though, his performance will have a noticeable impact on the values of both Curry and Walker. Ultimately, both receivers could matter as fantasy options if Russell develops quickly. If he doesn't, it might be another loooooooong fall/winter in Oakland.

Tristan H. Cockcroft covers

Smed1065
07-05-2008, 06:06 PM
I appreciate the faiders, makes our woes seem less over the last 20 years.