Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Believe It or Not

What if Aaron Brooks walks away from Oakland without a deal? Can you believe that this question has become remotely vital to the Raider Nation?

Anytime I start talking about filling a hole at QB, people start screaming at me: Start Walter! Hey, if Walter steps up into the starting role, that's fine by me. But Walter is not a depth chart. It’s just not that simple. We cut Collins. That opens up a spot on the chart. That spot needs to be filled, presumably by someone with NFL experience, right?

Perhaps things are truly pointing to a first-round QB draft pick, such as Leinart or Young. In which case, it’s probably still advisable to sign someone with some NFL experience to bolster the depth chart, unless you propose a depth chart that looks like this: Rookie, Walter and Tui. Anyone out there who wants to sign off on that one? Not me.

In review: We can’t start Walter without adding at least one QB to the depth chart. If that QB comes via free agency, then we are facing some mighty slim pickings. On the other hand, if that QB comes from the first round of the draft, then Walter instantly becomes an afterthought (you don't pick, and pay, a Leinart or Young without him being your presumed long-term starter).

So Walter is either the starter or an afterthought, depending on how you read the tea leaves. That’s quite a contrast.

Into this strange picture walks Aaron Brooks. He could provide some veteran insurance no matter what we do in the draft. If Aaron Brooks walks away without a deal, we'll know that our QB sweepstakes boils down to the draft plus some truly scary names like Maddox, Griese and YOU KNOW WHO (hint: KFC).

And this is why I suddenly, somehow find myself hoping for the Raiders to sign a QB castoff from the New Orleans Saints.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree this puts us in a good situation. BROOKS wont cost much it's a good insurance policy!

1:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aaron Brooks threw a ball 73 yards during an NFL QB competion, so he can sling it as far as KFC can.

The good news is Brooks is much more mobile than KFC, though that is a bit like saying a guy can outrun the Golden Gate Bridge.

The bad news is Brooks decision-making skills are as much under fire as KFC's.

We get an upgrade on mobility over KFC (if nothing else) and a new face, if/when Brooks signs.

6:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sandblack said;

i just worry that all this is passive and aimless which is my worry re art and his crew.

but yes get brooks without pretending he is the answer.. as happened before...

7:13 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

RT - Frerotte was signed to a 3 year deal by St. Louis a few days ago.

I hate to sound like a broken record but ... I sincerely believe that Brooks could really benefit from a change of scenery. How many offensive drives were killed by KFC's lack of mobility?

Sad to say but if Brooks walks away from Alameda without a contract we would be left with the enviable choices of Tommy "Pop Gun" Maddox or Tin Man Collins. (Assuming Griese goes to Chicago or Cincy).

7:14 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Thanks for the reminder, I did see that about Frerotte (and was elated, because it removed him fom the mix), but forgot.

I must have had temporary amnesia from banging my head against an endzone retaining wall. I have corrected it in the take.

7:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We could do much worse than Brooks. LAst year was rotten for him but the Saints basically played every game on the road with a head coach who would know offense if it bit him.

I would happily take him over Collins.

7:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm just glad we grabbed Gibson at safety instead of that loser Milloy.

8:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would take Brooks over Harrington and Brooks would be a good back-up if a] we do draft a QB or b] we don't and Walter excels. He might be a serviceable starter using the 'change of scenery argument' for the reasons people have already stated. He is far superior to Maddox/Griese. Something should break today...

8:46 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Personally, I'm not sold on Harrington. His mechanics are shot, from what I hear. Word was that Martz intended to tear the guy down to the chassis and rebuild him. Turns out Martz later decided to simplify his life with Kitna and McCown. Meanwhile, the new Raiders QB coach has never been a QB coach before (as far as I can deduce) and the offensive coordinator has been managing a guest ranch in Idaho for the past five years. I'm not sure they're up to the task of rebuilding Joey Harrington.

It's kind of funny that we even find ourselves anxiously awaiting news about castoffs from the Cardinals, Saints and Lions, perhaps the three worst teams in the history of the NFL.

On the other hand, these teams are famous for their boneheaded moves, so it stands to reason that one or two of these castoffs will turn into a gem.

8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brooks could be a good QB for a couple of years. He has always been OK on a perpetually rotten team. He has never really had a quality receiver (Joe Horn, anyone?). Maybe the change will do him good.

I'd take him over Collins, Maddox, Harrington or Griese. If the Raiders take Young in the draft, Brooks could help transition the offense to one that plays to the strengths of a mobile QB.

8:51 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

anon 8:20am - I hope for your sake that your comment is in jest.

Let's see, who would I rather have at safety?

A durable, proven leader who is excellent in coverage and has a solid track record


A 1st round bust who is constantly injured and couldn't cover a TE if his life depended on it?

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

any word on why mccown left town without an offer?

12:39 PM  
Blogger js said...

I agree with the consensus here. I don't think Brooks is the answer, but he can do a lot to help us out. I share RT's unease at having three tyro quarterbacks on the roster. Brooks has starting experience. He's mobile, and his career TD/INT ratio looks better than Collins's did when he showed up. As with most scrambling quarterbacks who reach Brooks's age, Brooks has durability questions; but he still has something to offer. As RT points out, our QB coach hasn't played that role before. If we draft, say, Vince Young, who will need some help adapting to a pro style offense, Brooks could help us out by giving Young a model to follow. It could be a good fit.

12:49 PM  
Blogger js said...


As I hear it, McCown left for Detroit because he got the impression that the Raiders were going to spend their top-10 pick on a QB, which would have made him a transitional figure in Oakland. McCown wanted a chance to be a long-term starter, and the Lions offered him that.

12:54 PM  
Blogger TheFreakingPope said...

Since Young is linked to Oakland in almost every article you read these days...

I could be totally off base here, but does anyone honestly believe that Young is going to flourish in the NFL? It is by far the hardest college-to-pro adjustment. So many promising QBs have failed to make the cut. Add to that a playing style that involves more movement beyond the line of scrimmage than I'm comfortable with, and I'm of the opinion that Young will be yet another disaster.

I'm sure I've said this before, but it can't hurt to repeat it, all it is going to take, in my humble opinion, is for Young to get hit a couple times in the pros to decide pocket passing is more to his liking. At best, he's only an average pocket passer.

Hell, Ted Washington is larger than most starting college defensive lines. It’s a much smaller field when you factor in the size up front and the speed/power in the secondary.

My prediction is that any team who picks him up will, in the long run, regret it. Just a hunch, but you heard it here first (ok, maybe not first).

To borrow from Dennis Miller, “It’s just my opinion. I could be wrong”.

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TFP--If Young can think on his feet and read an NFL D, he'll be an elite QB. I'm not worried about his motion or that he played in a shotgun offense. I'm worried about his brain. My sense is he'll be fine--a taller McNabb or a speedier Hasselbeck. Leinart though, I have no worries about, not even as a first year starter. So if Al is thinking first round QB, I hope he's on the phone with NO/OK/LA....

1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I personally can't figure out why everyone is talking about the Raiders taking a QB in the draft. I believe that Walter can eventually be our starting QB...just not this year. I watched him break Elway's PAC10 records at ASU. He will be fine. My opinion (right or wrong) would be to focus on a journeyman free agent QB like Brooks to hold down the fort for a year...then trade up in the draft for DE Mario Williams, LB AJ Hawk or the DT from Oregon. Having said that, if the Raiders are going to draft a QB in round one, I would want (in order) Leinart or Cutler. I do not believe that Youngs "college talent" will translate very well into the Pro's. Go Raiders!

2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RT: I kind of like the sound of "Rookie, Walter, Tui". Why should that bother me anymore then going into last season with, Collins, Tui, Walter ? We know how that one worked out. What if that rookie turns out to be Leinart, or, Cutler ? That doesn't sound to bad at all. Didn't Brady, & Rothlisberger win championships in their 2nd seasons ? We have to change our thinking when it comes to Qb's. I don't want to be sitting here 5 yrs from now saying, I wonder if Walter would have been a good Qb ? That's what I think about Tui all the time. Why do bums like Radio Gibson, James Jett, etc, get chance after chance, and our young Qb's can't even get on the field ? Unless Al can find another Plunkett,we have to change.

3:50 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Raider00, that's exactly where the Raiders might be headed if Brooks walks out of town without a deal.

As you say, it might work. I'm open to it. Here are my concerns:

1. We would be the only team in the league (and in recent history?) with a QB depth depth chart whose collective experience is two total NFL starts.

2. Is now the time for such an experiment, after three straight losing seasons, with a restless Raider Nation and a new coaching regime?

3. A first-round QB would immediately turn Walter and Tui into long-term backups. I don't think Tui's going to be too thrilled to stick around and hold a clipboard for two guys who've never started an NFL game. And Walter, he would go from presumed inheritor of the starting role to an afterthought.

I could be off base, but this scenario just seems weird to me.

Many in the Raider Nation are screaming Start Walter! and others are saying we should pick a QB in the first round. Yet thse are two totally opposing courses of action.

4:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RT: If it's done the way you suggest, Brooks, & Walter, then that puts all the pressure on Walter, with no margine for error. Walter would HAVE to succeed, because there is no future with Brooks. However, if the Raiders draft, say, Leinart, they could play Walter next season. If Walter plays great, that would leave us in the great position of having Leinart to shop around. If Walter flops, then we turn to Leinart without missing a beat. Seems like the way to go.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Raider00, good points, but I think there's a $$$ factor that complicates this scenario...

There is so much up-front bonus money that goes into signing a high first rounder these days. The simple act of signing a Leinart would trigger a massive financial investment. He would have to be the presumed long-term starter. Shopping him a year later would result in a financial disaster.

Therefore, while Walter could start off the season, he would be a lame duck from day one.

In which case the depth chart would consist of a rookie and possibly two disgruntled QBs in Walter and Tui. I could be wrong, but it just seems weird to me.

5:07 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

RT, as you know I echo your sentiments 100% re: your response to Raider00 and your comments just stole my thunder.

With high priced (and vocal) veterans on this team ready to win now, we're looking at potential unrest in the clubhouse if we leave this team's future in the hands of three untested QBs.

Although you have examples like Roethlisberger and Tom Brady, they are exceptions to the rule...those people would have never played those championship seasons if it weren't for injuries to the starting QBs. You can hope to rely on them to fill in, but you can't gameplan around them to start a season if you expect to contend that year. The only way I would concede to three unproven QBs is if the Raiders purged all of their veterans in the offseason for draft picks and were planning to rebuild.

That's not Al's way.

I think Stick'em may have uttered the seven magical words when he said "Aaron Brooks threw a ball 73 yards". If Al's looking for a KFC alternative who can chuck the ball downfield, Brooks may be the only alternative left.

As I mentioned before, I'm thinking that there's only going to be one inexperienced QB left standing on this roster, with Tui and/or Walter being the odd men out.

I'm thinking:
1. Brooks/KFC
2. 1st round QB/Walter
3. Reliable veteran (Jamie Martin, Maddox, Detmer, etc.)

5:42 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Thanks, Doobie...Great points, and interesting take on the potential depth chart. I'm in hot water just suggesting one veteran pickup, and you're suggesting two pickups might be in the plan. I appreciate having good company out on the limb with me!

5:53 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

Thanks RT.

One clarification before I get hammered...Rothlisberger won the Super Bowl in his second year and was the unchallenged starter that season. However, it was the injury to Maddox the year prior...and the subsequent Cinderella-like success he had filling in for him...that they knew he was ready to be the starter in 2005.

If Walter or Tui had similar success last year, I'd be happy to trust them with the football in 2006. But Tui was on the field in only one game (with a 47.6 passer rating) and Walter was mostly injured.

As for needing two veteran QBs on the roster, look at it this way...we can either choose between QB-of-the-Future 2001 (Tui), QB-of-the-Future 2005 (Walter) or QB-of-the-Future 2006 (Leinart, Young or Cutler). it doesn't make any sense to have that many "future" QBs on the roster. I think we're going to go with either the 2005 or 2006 model and backfill with two veterans.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doobie, & RT: What if the Steelers had yanked Rothlisberger after one game, where would they be now ? The only reason Tui got pulled so fast, is because Norv Turner had no guts. That's what I mean when I say the Raiders must change how they approach the Qb position. Yes they have a lot of vets, not to mention an owner, who want to win now, but it's old thinking that a young Qb will take 4, or, 5 yrs to develop. It can happen in 1, or, 2 these days. I'll stick my neck out. If Walter starts 16 games next season, I predict the Raiders will be 8-8. Do you think Aaron Brooks can do better ? I don't.

6:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually think Art should give Tui a shot.

Art is going to demand people respect the Raider traditions and challenge the players to create their own history and place in Raider lore.

Tui is a fighter, actually I believe with an improved offensive line he could flourish as our QB.

The Jet game was a joke, I was there...Norv did nothing to give Tui a chance to be successful or use his strength or mobility. We were shot and our o line was a sieve and Norv showed how gutless he was when he decided to go back to KFC.

I hope we are a 1 year turnaround but its far more likely it will take a bit longer to become the AFC west leader like we were just a few years ago.

The cap space we could save by not signing a big name QB could allow us to spend money in other areas like O Line or Defense...which heretofore we have not done.

Walter is an unproven commodity...which we will certainly learn a lot more about this year in camp and preseason. If he is all that - he will win the job...if not, to me, he has to prove he is worthy to be the number 2 not the number one.

Griese or any of the other guys like Brooks to me is a stop gap and I would rather find out about Tui before he leaves next year.

He is just a guy I have a feeling about...one I think we flourish somewhere else if he does not make it big with us this year as a starter.

I would say spend some money to beef up BOTH lines and LB - try and get D'Brick in the draft unless somehow Leinert falls to us at 7.

6:36 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

Another one bites the dust. Griese signed with the Bears.

At this rate, they may *have* to go with three unproven starters.

6:54 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

If Walter steps up into the starter's role, that's fine by me.

I haven't said that Aaron Brooks, if signed, should start ahead of Walter (that remains to be seen). All I've said is that we need to fill a spot on the depth chart after cutting Collins, and Brooks is by far the best available free agent choice, in my opinion.

On the other hand, if the Raiders choose to pick a QB high in the first round, then the whole dynamic changes, as explained above. Can anyone say for certain that the Raiders are NOT planning on picking a QB high in the first round?

The bottom line is that I am simply trying to prognosticate our QB direction from the available (and narrowing) options.

I agree that picking a QB in the first round would come at a tremendous cost. We need depth on both sides of the ball. Even if we don't send a bunch of draft picks to the Saints to buy the #2 slot, we would still sacrifice the opportunity to get a potential difference-maker like AJ Hawk.

As for Tui, I just don't think he's in the plan. The Raiders signed Collins in 2004 instead of elevating him to Gannon's inheritor. Then they yanked him after one game (fair or unfair) in 2005. Now they have shown no indication that he is remotely close to being their starter for 2006. Tui is a class act, but I see no evidence that he is being considered as starting material for the Raiders.

6:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow. i agree with take for once re: the comment about the #2 pick and hawk. i for one would LOVE for the raiders to get hawk.

wait a minute - i just deleted something negative i was gonna post about my buddy, my pal, al davis. like i said before, i want hawk so i won't say anything negative at the moment to jinx the man. i just hope he does the right thing.

dang draft can't come soon enough!

7:22 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Tui has been a model citizen and good soldier but he clearly isn't in the plans to be the potential starter. He is a #3 on the depth chart at best. It isn't just because he failed miserably in his 1 game tryout vs. the Jets. Regardless of whether or not Turner dealt Tui a bad hand by not modifying the game plan to fit his strengths, Tui's poor play (2 fumbles + 2 interceptions, sub 50 QB rating) put the final nail in his coffin. Tui simply is not suited to run the Raiders offensive scheme because of his lack of arm strength. When Gruden picked Tui it was with the west coast offense in mind. With no Gruden and no west coast offense, Tui is a fish out of water.

I will put myself on a limb. If the Raiders sign a veteran QB(Brooks, Maddox, or a vet to be named later) I don't think the Raiders should draft a QB. A combination of the below depth chart would allow for the most flexibility in terms of our 2006 cap space and 2007 QB alternatives.

1. Brooks vs. Walter (best man wins)
2. Brooks or Walter
3. Maddox/Tui

If the Raiders draft a QB it limits what we can do to sign other players in our other need areas. It also means we have 2 "Future Franchise" QB's on board. Both unknown and unproven. If a QB is drafted, will Walter ever be given a fair shot at becoming the starter? Probably not. Also, is there any certainty that a drafted QB would fare any better than Walter? Who knows but that's the point. The organization will probably never know if it truly has its franchise QB in Walter as long as it picks a QB in the 1st round.

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

all this talk about a drafted qb JUST DOESN'T MAKE SENSE!!!!!

if they do that, they MUST trade walter, release tui and get a veteran backup. and yes, all cap $ would be tied up into that new QB. this would surely show that davis clearly doesn't know what he's doing any longer.

we'd still have many other holes and no answers. i would think shell and davis have got SOME kind of a grand plan YA THINK? i am SO sick and tired of hearing about vince young. i just hope he IS NOT the plan!

maybe we can trade up to get one of the top 2 defensive players in this draft: hawk or williams. getting another qb just doesn't seem like the smart way to go! i'm a fan of leinart but i hope it doesn't happen.

9:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LB not a position of need?

Which games did you watch last season (I wouldn't blame you for not watching, BTW, a pure T train wreck)?

The Raiders fielded a nickel defense with only two 'backers last season. There simply aren't 3 or more starting LBs on the team (Morrison, Clark, and...)

The Raiders experimenting with every one from Radio Gibson to Tyler Brayton to Renaldo Hill trying to play mutant LB positions speaks volumes about the very real lack of depth.

Ryan Riddle has exactly zero starts at LB and Sam "I am" can't stay healthy long enough to be counted on. Both played DE in college and are projects, not players to pencil into the LB lineup without an eraser on the end of the pencil.

Hawk in the 1st round or Manny Lawson in the 2nd would help...a lot

At least then our lack of personnel wouldn't dictate the scheme.

4:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey! Larry Allen is now a FA!

IMO, Allen and the KY Cowboy O-line is the reason for their success in the '90s. Irvin, Aikman, and Smith are over-hyped.

Allen played college ball at Sonoma St. and needs to come back to Cali. The man is literally the strongest player in the NFL.

You see him at the Pro Bowl? Dude benched 44 and all the other players just walked away from the bench without even trying. No Point. I think Allen went first 'cause his name starts with "A".

Classic Al Davis signing; Allen is past his prime but has two seasons or so left in the tank. Al can claim to have another HOFer Raider with this signing, just like Eric Dickerson and Ronnie Lott. LOL!

Allen would fix a whole lotta O-line problems and gawd knows, Al hasn't signed ANYONE yet.

Allen Davis signing Larry Allen would prove to me the Raiders are not just asleep at the wheel during FAgency...and I'm starting to wonder...

4:47 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Great points Stick'em.

Without question, one of our weakest position groups is the LB corps. We need depth and playmakers. The Raiders need to find a solid, playmaking OLB who can be written into the line-up in pen. If Sam "IR" Williams can play a complete game this season without getting dinged up it will be an added luxury and bonus. Our best bet on a LB would be to either (a) trade down in the 1st round of the draft and pick up Ernie Sims, Chad Greenway or Demeco Ryan or (b) pick up a LB in the 2nd or 3rd round. I also agree with "bleedsb" in terms of DT. Ngata would be a solid choice. Other DTs to consider would be Broderick Bunkley, Gabe Watson, and Orien Harris.

I would be pleased if we sign Larry Allen but I think it also would be wise to draft another OG. Darvin Joseph (Okl) would be a good pick since he is versatile enough to play both OG and OT.

Drafting a LB, DT, SS, and OG in the 1st 4 rounds would help plug some holes.

7:24 AM  
Blogger TheFreakingPope said...

This article is unbelievable!


12:24 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Wow. Folks, if that link doesn't work for you, go to www.si.com and click on the Jeffrey Chadia link at the right.

This guy's take is both incredible and horrific. As I've said before, this media obsession with praising Collins as a great QB for the Raiders, then and now, is part of some sort of mind-trick conspiracy. They can't be serious, can they?

Thank you, The Freaking Pope, for alerting us to more News You Can't Use.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:30 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

Here's the link for those of you who can't view it.

If the Raiders bring Collins back, I don't know whether I should be happy that I prognosticated it correctly or upset for the simple fact that Collins is coming back.

Although...as I've mentioned ad nauseum...at this point of the game where they've just about run out of options, bringing KFC back wouldn't be a horrible move. It especially wouldn't be a bad move if they made it clear that he's only a stopgap for either Walter or Leinart/Young/Cutler, even making it an open competition during training camp.

1:43 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Mark my words, if Collins comes back, all hell will break loose.

People will set themselves on fire and swallow rat poison in the Coliseum parking lot. Street preachers will gather on on the 66th overpass to declare that the end times are upon us. Fans will pile up their Collins jerseys for a protest bonfire (a small bonfire, of course).

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I could be totally off base here, but does anyone honestly believe that Young is going to flourish in the NFL?"
I think he may, depending on his situation. If he winds up with a team (like Oakland) that has a solid WR core, he may do well. With WR's like Moss, Porter, and Gabriel, that may take some pressure of any LB and Safeties that may want to blitz him.
If Young ends up with the Saints, or some other team where they lack good WR's, then his time in the NFL is going to be as hard as Michael Vick's. He'd be decent, but never win when necessary.

3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...



4:40 PM  

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