Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Doug Gabriel: Story or Non-Story?

As far back as late May, I thought Doug Gabriel would be our number two wide receiver for the start of the regular season. Ronald Curry’s recovery was a work in progress, and Jerry Porter was starting to flap his gums about Art Shell.

We all know what happened next: Porter flapped his gums all the way to the doghouse, Gabriel was traded just prior to the start of the regular season, Alvis Whitted replaced Gabriel as the number two receiver, and Ronald Curry, despite a full recovery and flashes of brilliance on the field, has been unable to supplant Whitted for reasons that remain mysterious and frustrating to most of the Raider Nation.

Gabriel’s sudden release by the Patriots yesterday generated an outpouring of discussion and rumor. Never have I seen the release of a player on another team in December generate so much intrigue in the Raider Nation. In this context, the signing of Gabriel today by the Raiders seemed inevitable.

Personally, I’m happy to have Doug Gabriel back. There’s one hitch to this heartwarming story: it probably won’t make a bit of difference. Think about it. Ronald Curry, who is superior to Doug Gabriel, is still fighting for playing time. By that logic, Gabriel is our new number four or five receiver. Not exactly an earth-shattering development.

Then again, when your depth chart has become so dyslexic that Alvis Whitted starts ahead of Ronald Curry and Jerry Porter, you never know what might happen.


In any case, welcome back to Oakland, Doug Gabriel. I hope you still recognize the place. A lot has gone down since you left.

49 Comments:

Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

Welcome back Doug Gabriel. I don't think you should have left in the first place.
I also know that Freddy B has the solution to help your "dropped passes." It's called stickem, he made a career with it.
I think this is a great move on the Raiders' part. Now we can rid of the 2 real problems, by trade (Moss and Porter) picking up a first rounder for Moss, on top of one we would already have, and pick up Dwayne Jarret, Ted Ginn Jr, or Limas Sweed, and we have a powerful (and legitimate) 1-2 punch again; with Curry in the slot.

6:17 AM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Having Gabriel back is definitely a plus in my book, however, it reduces the chance that we'll see Morant, if only by default (due to Moss injury and Shell's reluctance to play Curry). Most of us have been lobbying for Morant all season. On the other hand, maybe the coaches should stop pretending Madsen is a TE and play him at WR. Bottom line: the handling of WRs this year has been nothing less than mindboggling.

6:20 AM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

I, too, welcome Gabriel back. He works hard. But, still, for my money, folks around here give him way to much credit. The Raiders traded him, and the Patriots (in the middle of a playoff run) released him with only four other receivers on the roster (one of them injured). Apparently Gabriel established a habit of fumbling and dropping. Same problems he was identified with here.

This is why I think it possible that Biletnicoff identified him for a trade. It wasn't Shell, because the Raiders were trying to trade Gabriel last year, before Shell got here.

As for Whitted not allowing enough playing time for Curry, I wonder if anyone has noticed that Curry has 10 more receptions than Whitted this season, and only a few less than Moss. The Raiders run 3 wides A LOT, so Curry has almost been a starter anyway.

As for Porter, he's taken himself out this season, not Shell. Shell gave him the chance to work his way back in, and Porter came up with a "HIP FLEXOR" that has kept him out of the line-up for the last 3 weeks, and likely the rest of the season.

I've seen the statement that Jett never showed any promise. The person who said that must have missed Jet's rookie season. He showed blinding speed, and made some outstanding catches. We can argue Jett's status beyond that, but it simply isn't accurate to say that Jett never showed any promise. One catch Jett made in his rookie year is still burned into my memory. On a deep pass the ball was horribly inaccurate (ten yards to Jett's right as he raced up the middle of the field). Jett made nearly a 90 degree turn at full speed, caught the ball, made a nearly 90 degree turn up field (still at full speed) and ran it in for the TD. The play seemed to defy natural law. That catch alone was worth a year on the roster to see if he could do it again.

I don't think Whitted is a starter, but I do think that he is highly effective at stretching the field in a 3 or 4 WR set.

Curry, all year, has been Moss' back up in a two WR set. While Moss sits, Curry will not be the number 3, he will be the number 1. I wouldn't expect Gabriel to start over Whitted. At least not this week. Gabriel, while he's been active, has been away from the Raiders' system for 13 weeks. One of the reasons stated for his release in the Boston press is his failure to learn the Pats' system. But I would not be surprised to see Gabriel in on 3 WR sets. I also think we're significantly better with Moss out of the line-up.

10:11 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

#1: Curry has 10 more receptions than Whitted and is closing in on Moss numbers IN SPITE of limited playing time.

#2: Curry has NOT "almost been a starter". I don't have the data in front of me but a reasonable estimate would be that Curry has been on the field approx. 20% to 30% of the total offensive snaps. This hardly qualifies for being a starter.

#3: The 3 WR set has NOT been a regular staple of the Raiders offense this year. This is especially true in the Raiders first 11 games (with Walsh as OC). We hardly ever ran 3 WR sets.

11:02 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

I am posting the following take on behalf of EKGRaider, who sent it via email:

"This topic has shown me a lot about the Raider Nation. Here is a guy
that i have referred to as stone hands for the last two years, i thought at best he was our #4(at least whitted can run a slant or find a soft spot in zone
coverage).

I became depressed when i found out he was to be our starter and estatic
when he was traded for the same pick we used to get him, a 5th rounder.
12 games later he is cut by a team desperate for help at WR, with a great QB and running game. We snatch him up like the Pats made a mistake. When obviously the mistake they made was giving a pick for him in the first place. Now hey if we can trade him for another pick again then im all for this move. However him on the field will be no help, it will hurt because it will put younger recievers who haven't had a chance reach their potential that much further on the depth chart.

Many from the raider nation did hand springs screaming lets sign him
again!!! I will never understand the infatuation with this player."

11:39 AM  
Blogger PantyRaider said...

"WelcomeBackGabrial" sounds like a TV soap oppera...."As-da Raiders-Trade"....stay tuned for the next episode..."The trade that was illeagle"....

OK! Here is my "Ileagle" trade

The Raiders release Porter and the Pats sign him and up the value of the Gabrial trade to a #2 draft pick...sense the value of the Gabrial trade was never specified it will be difficult for the NFL to resolve the issue...or the value becomes a #3-n-#5....would that be an interesting way to trade beyound the trade deadline....Just do something Babe!!!

"Upon Further Review"....I think the evidance is very strong that there was a "Mole" involved in the Gabrial trade....and that the trade was "Malicious"...and look at how we all blamed CoachShell for the stupidity of it all....and really...how often is the coach the one who makes trade decissions....just like in SD where the GM traded away DrewBrees from Shotty....but Shotty spoke out so we knew it was not him....but you see...CoachShell has never spoke out...NO....he followed his own advise and kept it in-house...the only things he has spoken outside about are the things which someone else took outside....Right!!!...so can we please start to give Shell a break here....the man is following what he preaches and teaches....the learning curve is definately a problem....that is the "SmokinGun" that tells me there be a "Mole" in our midst....and a "Conspericy" on the "O"

PantyRaider...SettinDaMoleTraps!!!

11:44 AM  
Blogger nyraider said...

BR: I agree with you that Porter has taken himself out with his mystery injury, but I disagree that Shell was working him back into the lineup. Shell hasn't even communicated with Porter (nor has he asked Trainer Rod Martin) what the source of the injury was. Fact is, Shell could care less and has no intention of bringing Porter back. Porter is "dead" to Shell.

For that matter, the Raiders have at least two players taking up roster spots that should be placed on injured reserve, Jordan and now Porter. Why aren't these moves made in order to get a closer look at other available talent?

And, if we are to rely on Belichick's judgement of talent over our own, doesn't that speak volumes to the negative quality of our personnel leadership. Who knows Doug Gabriel and his talents better than the Raiders?

12:11 PM  
Blogger PantyRaider said...

NY Raider::
I agree we only see a portion of the actual tallent of a player and the Raider's personel leadership see's alot more....so we make a judgment bassed only on what we see in a preseason game or the plays in game time....the thing about Gabrial was his great tallent in his first year in preseason games....he was the rooky leader in camp that year like Morant and Madsen were this year.....he made spectacular TD catches and we were very excited about him.....what we do not know is how he is in practice....how much trust the QB's have in him....but I like the guy and somebody must think he has value or he would not have been brought back....but than again....he had to clear thru the wire with other teams before the Raiders were able to resign him so there did not appear to be compitition to aquire him....so go figure...to me the big question is why was he traded and by whom...because this has the most long range impact on our team...is there a "Mole" who is undermineing the coaches or was it a "Stupid" move by the coaches or another "Stupid" move to bring him back....How do we get that info is the real question.....

PantyRaider...AskinForAnswers!!!

1:19 PM  
Anonymous raider00 said...

I'm sorry, but I'm having a hard time getting excited about a player who was not good enough to make it on a Super Bowl contender.

Shouldn't the Raiders be trying to become SB contenders ??
How can you do this with so many lateral moves ??

Blandarocked,

I was the one who said Jett never showed any promise. This was/is my opinion. He never showed any promise to me. I'll stand by that.

If you saw promise, that's fine. Obviously, the Raiders saw something for a long, long, suffering period of time. God, I still have a pain in my gut when I think how long that loser was stealing paychecks, and taking up space on the Raiders roster.

I wonder how long Jett would have lasted on a SB contender ??

Probably less time then Gabriel.

1:26 PM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

I think you guys are not giving Gabriel enough credit with the Patriots.
First, he was traded at the end of the final game of the preseason, and did not play until Week 3 so he could somewhat learn a new system.
Second, he had limited playing time, which was split with Caldwell, who had won the starting job entering the season.
Third, he didn't fit the Patriots style of offense. With Gabriel's speed it makes it hard for a QB to hit him on a quick slant. If you go back and look, you will see that the reason he has so many "dropped" passes is because on the slant, Brady was throwing behind him, because he did not have the timing of Doug's speed down. Plus, when he did do well, was the few occassions when the Pats opened it up and let it fly downfield. Sure, he probably had his share of passes that hit his numbers, only to fall on the ground, but at least he tried, unlike an unnamed receiver we have (Randy Moss) who lets them fall because he's not happy.
Finally, for the limited amount of time Gabriel spent on the field, he made quality production for that Patriots. I think the Patriots did not play him anymore because they were on the verge of having to give up a higher pick to the Raiders. They completely stopped playing him! Then they cut him. I think it was a good choice by the Raiders. Not only do we get a dangerous receiver back; we still have a pick from the Patriots.

1:28 PM  
Blogger PantyRaider said...

Another Related Subject: Players not teachable:

At the begaining of training camp there was alot of talk about returning to the "Raider" style of play..."SmashMouth"-n-"Intimidation" and several players were not buying into it...Porter was NOT and was vocal about that....but it seems that the "D" has bought into it...and yes we need to give credit to RobRyan for the "Great" coaching job he has done with our "D"...NO-Doubt...but there is more to it than that...it is a change in "Attitude" that I now see over what I saw last year...and I belive that came from CoachShell...also Shell got rid of the old unhappy voice of leadership on the "D"...CharlsWoodson...and it has been replaced by a more positive voice in Sapp-n-Company...

The "O"...here is the problem...where is the voice on this squad....the WR's...Lord help us....a young QB...a new QB "Flop"...the OL...a RB...what TE could be a "Voice"....where is the "Positive" leadership on the "O"....I don't see it and I don't see the players buying into the "Raider" style of play....but maybe a returning Gabrial will have something "Positive" to add to this team....he got to play for a winner for most of the season...could he become a "BrightLight" in a "DarkSeason"...I hope so....

So here is the problem...the coaches are trying to teach an old system to the "O" and at the same time trying to teach an old syle of play to the "O"....a style where you attack the "D"...."SmashMouth" "O" football...take what we want not just what they give us....like Shell-n-Upshaw-n-Otto played...."StudentBodyLeft" and you know it is comming so try to stop it and we will strike deep on you and burn you for an easy score....is that style of "O" a lost hope....Ya see it is not just the "System"...it is the "Style" of play that made it work....so the question is "Can today's players be taught the "RaiderStyle" of play"....Answer!!...Only if they want to be physical players like we had in the past....can Moss do that....NOT likely....but not so long ago we had SteveWeisnusky and BarretRobbins who could play that style....is it posible to find those players today or to teach that agressivness to todays young players....you tell me....but I think it can be done if we give these coaches the time and the support....to me the system of changing your coaching philosaphy to fit your players is a loosing battle....you will have to modify it with every trade and every new year and the players are running the "O"....

PantyRaider...AskinForAnswers!!

1:59 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Raider00: I think you have to look at our options at WR to better appreciate this acquisition. Namely, an injured and moody #1 receiver who has had a bad case of alligator arms; a #2 receiver who is at best a #4 or #5, a real #2 receiver who his coach refuses to acknowledge even exits, a #3 receiver who should be #2 but has been played sparingly at best, a #4 receiver who is wasted on the bench. Am I missing anyone? Whether Gabriel stays or goes next year, this was a smart move given the present circumstances. Who knows, maybe we trade him again for another 5th rounder.

3:23 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

NYRaider, that's a classic analysis!

3:55 PM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

You know, I really love talking to you guys! The Raiders always make themselves a mystery (which is part of the fun - just not to the media) and I think that, burried in all of our comments, are the answers to many of the mysteries. Only time tells us the real answers.

I have no idea whay Whitte remains a starter this late in the season. But I do know there must be a reason, and I don't think it's just because Davis likes speed. Davis likes far more than speed, and anyone who thinks he's limited to that hasn't watched him over the years. Biletnicoff had zero speed, but he was the shiftiest WR of his time, with unbelievable hands. Certainly Hubbard, van Egan, etc. weren't fast, just powerful. Todd Christiansen, no speed there. Marcus Allen wasn't even fast, which is why the Raiders were able to get him in the draft. The earlier pickers thought he was too slow for an HB.

All I can think is that Shell went into camp to prove that those who work hardest get the jobs, regardless of who might have more talent. If this is so, it might be said that he gave up on this season when he came in, determined to change the culture first and foremost. But then that doesn't fully explain Moss, does it. Well, it could be that if Shell tried to bench Moss, Davis would intercede on that one because of the money Moss is getting.

4:07 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

BR: No doubt, it's tough to rationalize. If the money was an issue requiring Shell to play Moss, despite his antics, then shouldn't Porter have played as well? BIG $$$$ wasted!!!

Honestly, listening to player interviews (e.g., Sapp, Walter, etc), it doesn't sound they even know what the hell is going on with the receiver situation. It might be that Art is trying his best to change the culture, or that he is too stubborn for his (and the Raiders) own good.

I hope you guys supporting the culture theory are right, because if this has been simply a matter of "I'll show you who's boss," then we're in deep S@#%.

Needless to say, we're all going to need psychoanalysis after this season.

4:59 PM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

Another thing that's interesting is that, if you'll remember, Curry was slated as #3 from the pre-season while they waited for him to fully heal. Whitted was slated as the #4. When they traded Gabriel, Whitted was promoted to #2 and Curry was left at #3. (Although Whitted was the designated back up to Gabriel on the depth chart.)

Initially I figured that Curry was just set back temporarily because of his lack of playing time in the preseason, and that after two or three games he'd move up to #2. Did Moss lobby for Whitted because he felt more passes would come his way? Doesn't seem likely, but what is? Did Shell put Curry right behind Moss on the depth chart in an effort to motivate Moss? Well that certainly didn't work. Is there something more to Whitted that we haven't seen, which we might if we had better QBs? Is he the WR version of Mark Wilson - great in practice but not in games. Maybe Curry is the reverse Mark Wilson - looks crappy in practice but great in games?

Shell and Davis are very bright men. They didn't just get stupid. There's got to be a method here somewhere.

5:54 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Interesting takes & varying opinions about the "state of the Raiders receivers".

After reviewing the comments & digging up some cold hard facts, these are some of my views. The actual statistical comparison I just posted on my blog.

raider00 said...
"I'm sorry, but I'm having a hard time getting excited about a player who was not good enough to make it on a Super Bowl contender."

Sorry you aren't excited about Gabes Raider00 but the truth is that Gabriel is having a better season than both Moss and Whitted.

Raider Nate 75 said...
"I think you guys are not giving Gabriel enough credit with the Patriots. First, he was traded at the end of the final game of the preseason, and did not play until Week 3 so he could somewhat learn a new system."

Good point Raider Nate 75. The bottom line is that Gabriel is/was more productive in 06 than Whitted even though he was learing a new system.

EKGRaider said:

"Here is a guy (Gabriel) that I have referred to as stone hands for the last two years, I thought at best he was our #4(at least whitted can run a slant or find a soft spot in zone coverage)."

The bottom line: Gabriel has a higher catch % than both Moss and Whitted this year.

nyraider said...
"I think you have to look at our options at WR to better appreciate this acquisition. Namely, an injured and moody #1 receiver who has had a bad case of alligator arms; a #2 receiver who is at best a #4 or #5, a real #2 receiver who his coach refuses to acknowledge even exits, a #3 receiver who should be #2 but has been played sparingly at best, a #4 receiver who is wasted on the bench"

I agree with most of your points NY Raider but to take it one step further, my depth chart would be as follows:

1. Curry
2. Gabriel
3. Moss
4. Madsen
5. Whitted
6. Morant

BR said...
"Initially I figured that Curry was just set back temporarily because of his lack of playing time in the preseason, and that after two or three games he'd move up to #2. Did Moss lobby for Whitted because he felt more passes would come his way? Doesn't seem likely, but what is? Did Shell put Curry right behind Moss on the depth chart in an effort to motivate Moss? Well that certainly didn't work. Is there something more to Whitted that we haven't seen, which we might if we had better QBs? Is he the WR version of Mark Wilson - great in practice but not in games. Maybe Curry is the reverse Mark Wilson - looks crappy in practice but great in games?"

This is analysis by paralysis. Interesting theories but the only thing that truly counts is how well does Curry perform in games. Whatever the reason for Curry not starting, it was a BAD decision any way you slice it.

I think when all of you check the statistical comparison analysis you will realize that perception and reality are 2 very different things when it comes to the value and productivity of the Raiders receivers.

Based on what I've seen this year, I would be very comfortable having Curry and Gabriel are #1 and #2 receivers, releasing Whitted, trading Moss and Porter, developing Morant, and reassigning Madsen as a WR.

8:35 PM  
Blogger RaiderRealist said...

Food for thought gentlemen:



Moss: 13gms 42rcpts 553yds 3TDs

Gabriel: 12gms 25 rcpts 344yds 3TDs

Whitted: 13gms 27 rcpts 299yds 0TDs

Moss is averaging 42.5 Y/G, 13.2 Y/C, with 3.0 YAC.

Gabriel is averaging 28.7 Y/G, 13.8 Y/C, with 5.4 YAC.

Whitted is averaging 23 Y/G, 6.8 Y/C, with 1.0 YAC.

Source: Yahoo Sports

Gabriel is having a better season than Whitted and it makes you wonder why Whitted is still starting.

I'm sorry, but neither Moss nor Gabriel is having a season to brag about in my book, and I LIKE Gabriel. If you check out his stats at the aforementioned site you'll notice an eerie trend.

In '04 Gabriel played 16gms, started 5, had 33rcpts for 551yds, 2TDs, 26 1stDs, 34.4 Y/G, 16.7 Y/C, and 3.5 YAC.

In '05 Gabriel played 14gms, started 2, had 37rcpts for 554yds, 3TDs, 31 1stDs, 28.7 Y/G, 13.8 Y/C, and 2.2 YAC. He started 5 games for the Pats this year.(I got the # of starts from NFL.com)

My perception was that I thought Gabriel put up higher numbers than that, but now I'm wondering if he'll be more than a 550yd, 3TD WR.

5:09 AM  
Blogger StickUm25 said...

I think the question of Gabriel's production this year is overrated. Assuming Moss, Porter, or Curry had been the one traded, and Gabriel stayed and received playing time, the numbers would be skewed much more in favor of the player traded. The question is, are we a better team with him? I think the answer is yes, but the flip side is I don't think it will matter.

I believe Whitted plays because he has been the most professional of the veteran receivers, aside from Curry. I also believe that Curry was destined for the 3rd receiver slot to maximize the chances of him getting through a full season healthy. I don't have a problem with either of these decisions if the goal for this season was to turn around the attitude of the team and get everyone moving in the same direction.

The thing that bugs me the most is that it appears Shell doesn't communicate well enough to the team, and the only coach on the offensive side of the ball that does just recently got that responsibility. If the decision was made to only use Curry as a 3rd receiver for health reasons, then tell him. The situations with Porter and Moss are obvious. We don't have these problems on the D because the lone dissenter is now gone, and Ryan appears to have an excellent rapport with his players. Walsh was like Shell - hands off. For next year we not only need a more creative coordinator, we need someone who will communicate why things are being done to the team. I'm not at all concerned that they don't tell the media, but when the players don't know why things are being done that's going to be another barrier to success

6:57 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

Raiderrealist gave us this:
"Moss: 13gms 42rcpts 553yds 3TDs
Gabriel: 12gms 25 rcpts 344yds 3TDs
Whitted: 13gms 27 rcpts 299yds 0TDs
Moss is averaging 42.5 Y/G, 13.2 Y/C, with 3.0 YAC.
Gabriel is averaging 28.7 Y/G, 13.8 Y/C, with 5.4 YAC.
Whitted is averaging 23 Y/G, 6.8 Y/C, with 1.0 YAC."
But he's forgetting a key difference here. Moss and Whitted have started more games than Gabriel. I think if Gabriel was a starter in NE, he would have better numbers than Moss. That's a HUGE difference, and that is pretty amazing #'s from a guy who didn't start.

7:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Food for Thought" on Alvis Whitted and his playing time. The year after the Raiders played (and lost..ugghh)in the SuperBowl, my son and I flew out to Oakland so he could participate in the Raiders Youth Skills Camp. (And I'm very proud to say he is now a starting WR on his HS freshman football team...reminds me of Freddy B) Anyway, on the last day of the camp, we stuck around the practice field and threw the ball around, met Al LoCasale, Chuck "Village Idiot" Bresnahan (he was a nice guy though) and a few of the other coaches. One of the guys I talked to for a while was the strength and conditioning coach Tim Adams (he only lasted 1 year). He was nice enough to take us (me and my son Matthew) on a personal tour of the Raiders weight room. I asked him who was the strongest and hardest working player on the team. I was surprised when he told me that the most impressive person to him on the team in terms of strength, conditioning, attitude and pound for pound toughness was Alvis Whitted. I expected him to say some lineman or linebacker, but it was Whitted that impressed him the most of all the players on the team. Having said all this, I am not an advocate for Alvis Whitted starting over our other WR's. I too believe that Curry should be starting. I thought that this story backs up BlandaRocks theory that Art is rewarding those players who work hard and give it their all. Whether we agree or disagree with that philosophy, it seems like a believable one. Footnote: Tim Adams came over from the Donkeys, and was only on the staff for one year....so we can only take his opinion for what its worth.
Go Raiders!!
AZRaider63

8:56 AM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

Calico:

"This is analysis by paralysis."

I agree, as the questions were rhetorical. However, I don't agree with this. "Interesting theories but the only thing that truly counts is how well does Curry perform in games."

That may be the way you look at it, but I don't think this is the way a majority of HCs do. Shell this weekend, "We looked good in practice..." Holmgren last night after being taken apart by SF, "We practiced well all week..."

I watched Wilson blow game after game because of his inability to sense the rush, but he kept playing because he looked great in practice. That was the inside info at the time.

From high school I can remember practice as being the dividing line. You could do great things in a game one week, but if you didn't step up for practice the following week, you were sat down for the game.

At the pro level, the difference between a starter and a journeyman is slight, not large.

But to me, the question remains rhetorical. I don't know if that is what's going. What I'm asking for is a suggestion from you. Why?

I don't believe that Shell and Davis have suddenly become "out of touch" in the NFL. I don't believe that they just can't recognize good talent. I think I can take such an argument apart piece by piece. But I can't provide an alternative answer.

We don't know what's being said inside the Raider facility. We don't know what explanations are provided to players, and players aren't always the best source of information. An injured player will frequently say an injury is not a problem. When a team lays out a multi million dollar salary, they don't care what the player says, they listen to the doctor and the trainer. Period! I've heard Curry say his prior injuries are no problem. I haven't heard his doctor or trainer say that. But I have heard Shell say that he wants to bring Curry along slowly because of his prior injuries.

9:13 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

BR - No one knows (and will probably ever know) why Curry hasn't started. It will go down as an unsolved mystery.

I stand by my comment "Interesting theories but the only thing that truly counts is how well does Curry perform in games."

The reason I stand by this comment as it relates to Curry is for a few common sensical, very simple reasons.

By all accounts Curry practices hard, is a very hard worker, and a team first player. (Show me one article or quote that says otherwise).

This leads to my basic deduction:

If a player works hard in practice AND performs very well in games, doesn't this warrant a starting position over Whitted?

10:28 AM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

Well, at least for this week, Curry will be starting over Whitted (in Moss' #1 spot). I'll also tell you this. If Curry plays as well as he did last week, Moss will likely be "injured" for the rest of the season.

10:45 AM  
Blogger PantyRaider said...

AZRaider63:
Great story Bro....insider info always helps....and this is what Shell talked about when he was with the team as caoch the first time...Reward those who perform and show loyalty.....I got to work security in "93" for the team as a "BousterClub" member durring training camp and it was great and insiteful....you come away with a whole new understanding when you get to meet and talk to these people....and it builds a great deal of trust in you for the team and their desire to win...and you never forget the expireance....nor will your son...


BlandaRocked: About MarkWilson....he was married to AlDavis's neice...so he was family and there were several people who wanted to sit him but Al would not let that happen.....not until it was too aparent that he was a "Flop"....In our BousterClub in SanDeigo one member had been married to a player and was full of "Insider" info....also MarcusAllan's mother was a member....it really helps to get some insite...I wish I had that situation now because we are all trying to understand the "Un-Understandable"....While in OakTown with the "BoosterClub" JimOtto would come in and meet with us and answer many of our questions....a Great help at the time....that was durring the "Oakland law suit team moving propaganda"...and he spoke the truth as we found out thru time...

CalicoJack: I agree but the problem becomes when you want to reward one player but not discourage another player....a torn position to be in but that is better than not having good players to chouse from....I think Shell will reward Gabrial quickly because he was already the #2 WR before the trade and Shell will want to restore that to him....and Gabrial never spoke out against the Raiders when he left...nor does he complain when brought back....a good example to the other young WR's...who need to see the way to get "PlayingTime" is thru Cooperation...HardWork....and Loyalty....along with "RawTallent"

PantyRaider..LookinForInsite!!!

11:20 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

The odd thing about Gabriel was that he was playing well for the Patriots until he committed a fumble in a loss to the Jets.

After that, he was largely ignored, then released. Following is a summary of events from the Boston Globe:

"The 26-year-old Gabriel played in 12 games, starting five, and caught 25 passes for 344 yards and three touchdowns. His 13.8-yard average was tops among Patriots pass-catchers with more than 10 receptions...But things apparently began to spiral in the wrong direction during a 17-14 loss to the Jets Nov. 12, when Gabriel lost a second-quarter fumble and didn't get on the field the rest of the game. His playing time was limited thereafter."

The whole thing sounds rash and harsh and unfair (after all, fumbles happen). At the same time, I can't argue with Belechik's results over the past five years.

On the Raiders, guys like Randal Williams continue to play after TWO CONSECUTIVE fumbles. Guys like Randy Moss continue to play after clearly half-assing it on the field.

I'll bet no one is take fumbles lightly on the Patriots right now. Can the same be said for our team?

11:54 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

BR: WTF does "Well, at least for this week, Curry will be starting over Whitted (in Moss' #1 spot)" mean?

How is Curry starting over Whitted if Whitted is still starting? Hate to say this but that is some very twisted, roundabout logic.

Being a former Marine, the old K.I.S.S. acronym applies.

Curry is starting in place of Moss.

Curry is starting only because Moss is injured.

11:57 AM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

Really kind of simple, Calico. If Curry is in Moss' spot, it's the #1 spot over Whitted's #2. Not a huge differnce, but the Raiders do sometimes run a single wide. No? And it would be kind of hard for Curry to play both the #1 and #2, wouldn't it? So, yes, Whitted will still be starting. Whitted wasn't my point. Curry was. Nor was it an attempt at a major point, it was just a comment.

Actually, "starting" is basically an honorary title. Playing time is the issue. I don't know how many people here would be complaining too loudly if Whitted "started" every game, but Curry got far more playing time.

I question why Whitted starts over Curry (and I can only seem to come up with that they pre-determined that Curry would play #3 so that they wouldn't stress his prior injuries). I wouldn't question Whitted starting over Gabriel. Yes, Gabriel would get open more often, and get more receptions. But some of those extra receptions would have fumbles tacked on to the end of them - turning the ball over. Whitted fights for the ball (preventing interceptions) and he doesn't fumble. The one at the top of the game last Sunday was marginal. I don't think he ever fully had possession (but I don't think the call would have been overturned on review). Whitted also blocks downfield.

As for Williams making fumbles and still playing, what's their option there? Brickhands Anderson? Madson is getting more playing time, but he can't block yet. I don't suppose I need to go over the reasons why we need the blocking.

12:41 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Good point, BlandaRocked, but the Patriots don't have too many options at receiver right now, either. There are many good reasons why they shouldn't have shunned and released Gabriel over a fumble, but they did.

My point is that their system of accountability seems to work. Maybe Anderson would have worked harder to cure his "brickhands" if the consequences were a bit steeper, if we didn't keep coming up with excuses for playing players who don't deserve to play?

As for blocking, what blocking? Could we have done any worse this year on the blocking front? Madsen's blocking wasn't a problem when he was streaking downfield with the ball against the Chargers.

12:57 PM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

RT:

Yeah, but it (Madson's blocking) may well have been a problem when the Raiders were trying to run against Cincy.

But back to Curry and his injuries. It seems to me that even donkey fans ought to be able to understand this.

Say I'm the team doctor, and you're Art Shell. I come to you during training camp and say, "you know, Art, looking at the Xrays and the MRIs, while the injuries have healed (and I'll clear him to play), they are still weakened. I don't think you should push him very hard this season or you might just lose him for good. Next spring we'll take another look and see how he's doing then."

Now, of course Curry, who doesn't know an Xray or an MRI from his Aunt Matilda, is saying, "I feel fine, I don't know why I'm not playing more." But Curry is going to say that anyway. And Shell isn't going to say, "we're not playing Curry as much we want because his bones and ligaments are still too weak." Why aren't they going to say that? Because, if they do, every time Curry becomes a force in a game, THE OTHER SIDE IS GOING TO TAKE SHOTS AT THOSE INJURIES TO TRY TO GET HIM OUT OF THE GAME.

1:18 PM  
Blogger RaiderRealist said...

raider nate 75-

Just talking about Gabriel here. Did you notice that Gabriel started 5 games in '04, 2 games in '05 and 5 games this year, yet the numbers are strikingly similar?

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the exact details of the draft pick we are receiving from NE?

It seems like it's a mystery, so I'm assumming there must be some kind of conditions / thresholds etc. that will determine the pick.

I wonder if NE released him to avoid giving up a higher draft pick....

Such as, if Gabriel is on the season ending roster it's a 5th rounder, or if Gabriel plays in 30% of the offensive snaps it's a 4th rounder, or has 30 catches.....something like that?

If Gabriel doesn't meet certain criteria it's a 7th rounder.....

1:39 PM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

Anon:

I think that is exactly the case. And I think that it had to do with whether Gabriel was on the roster at season's end, or a certain number of catches. The line from the Pats is, "we just don't think he fits our system." I've seen some indications from the NE press that what you say is true. My feeling is that the 5th rounder moves up one if he was still on the roster at season's end, and another spot up if he had so many catches.

Typical compensation for a potential starter would be a 3rd round pick or higher.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

BR -
Just curious but how many 1 WR sets (plays) do you think the Raiders run in a typical game? Maybe a 4th down and inches play or possibly a goal line play or two, right? The point being that it is pretty much irrelevant whether Curry is labeled the #1 WR or the #2 WR. What is relevant is that the Raiders (like most teams in the NFL) run a 2 WR set the majority of their plays. Curry should have been one of these 2 WRs over Whitted.

Also, I guess we can agree to disagree but I have to laugh (and wonder) about your statement:

"I wouldn't question Whitted starting over Gabriel. Yes, Gabriel would get open more often, and get more receptions. But some of those extra receptions would have fumbles tacked on to the end of them - turning the ball over. Whitted fights for the ball (preventing interceptions) and he doesn't fumble. The one at the top of the game last Sunday was marginal. I don't think he ever fully had possession (but I don't think the call would have been overturned on review). Whitted also blocks downfield."

Really? You would start Whitted over Gabriel? On what basis? Gabriel has 1 fumble, Whitted has 1 fumble. Gabriel is across the board, hands down a superior WR in every possible area including blocking. You do realize that Whitted was one of the lowest ranking WR in the NFL this year. Out of a possible 80 WRs, Whitted ranked 76. Gabriel was 48. I just don't get it, BR. You sound as stubborn as Shell even when all of the facts and common sense are as clear as day.

The majority of Raider fans genuinely like Whitted. He seems to be a good guy. But let's not confuse liking a player and who deserves to start. Whitted is a #4 or #5 WR at best.

3:48 PM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

Calico:

Statistics never tell the whole story. Yes, they support your agurment. But the statistics do not show all of the intangables. There is an old saying. "There are lies. There are damn lies. And there are statistics." There are receivers I would choose over other receivers based on their work ethic and attention to detail, even though their statistics are not as good.

I don't know how many times I've said around here that I don't think that Whitted is a starter. I'm not sure I understand this game of "gotcha" because I've chosen to defend him as a player. But, frankly, I didn't think that Gabriel had earned that #2 spot going into the preseason.

4:52 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

BR - This isn't any sort of game of "gotcha".

For the life of me I just don't understand how you can under any circumstances justify having Whitted start over Curry or Gabriel.

I totally agree with your point about some of the intangibles being important but above all, performance trumps any intangible on any given Sunday. As you know, the NFL is a cut-throat, performance based, "what have you done for me lately" business. Any reasonable discussion start and ends with performance.

I'm not suggesting that statistics are the end all of any debate but I would venture to say that 99 out of 100 knowledgeable Raider fans would agree with the following statement:

"Alvis Whitted is a journeyman WR who has no business being the starting WR for the Oakland Raiders".

As a matter of fact, I think I could make a pretty compelling case that ALL of the receivers on the depth chart would be better than Whitted as a starter including Johnnie Morant but we can save that for another day.

5:09 PM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

I don't disagree with this statement with one caveat.

"Alvis Whitted is a journeyman WR who has no business being the starting WR for the Oakland Raiders".

The caveat is, "under normal circumstances."

Obviously Whitted started over Gabriel because it's hard for Gabriel to start for the Raiders when he's playing for the Pats. The logic of the Gabriel trade is another issue.

Starting over Curry, I'm sticking with this earlier post...

"But back to Curry and his injuries. It seems to me that even donkey fans ought to be able to understand this.

Say I'm the team doctor, and you're Art Shell. I come to you during training camp and say, "you know, Art, looking at the Xrays and the MRIs, while the injuries have healed (and I'll clear him to play), they are still weakened. I don't think you should push him very hard this season or you might just lose him for good. Next spring we'll take another look and see how he's doing then."

Now, of course Curry, who doesn't know an Xray or an MRI from his Aunt Matilda, is saying, "I feel fine, I don't know why I'm not playing more." But Curry is going to say that anyway. And Shell isn't going to say, "we're not playing Curry as much we want because his bones and ligaments are still too weak." Why aren't they going to say that? Because, if they do, every time Curry becomes a force in a game, THE OTHER SIDE IS GOING TO TAKE SHOTS AT THOSE INJURIES TO TRY TO GET HIM OUT OF THE GAME."


Now, I grant you that I don't KNOW this to be the case. But it seems logical based on what I know. They are not going to announce that Curry is still not a 100% because it puts a target on his back.

I've also put out the question of whether anyone else has a better explanation (other than Shell is stupid), but no one has offered one. As for Morant, he hasn't shown anything yet. We only know he's fast.

5:25 PM  
Anonymous raider00 said...

Good debate between Blanda, & Calico.

The only thing I would add is, once Shell saw that Whitted was not producing during games, why not give Johnnie Morant a look in this lost season ?

You guys talk about earning a spot, & earning a chance to play.

Well Morant had as good, if not a better, preseason then Whitted, and all it "earned" him, was a seat on the bench all year.

Not fair to Morant, and makes Shell look like he's talking out of both sides of his mouth.

8:05 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Raider00: when it comes to handling of WRs on this team, I'm not sure it's Shell's mouth that he's "talking out of both sides."

It would be extreme to think one fumble (and maybe a couple drops) got Gabriel booted off the Pats. I believe the mystery about his compensation package probably goes no further than the evidence at hand. Gabriel was probably at or near a threshold of playing time before they would have to penny up a higher draft pick. Considering how thin the Pats are at WR going into a playoff run, it's the only thing that makes sense. They chose to let Gabriel go rather than up the anty.

I question why the Raiders were even involved in a trade with the Pats in the first place? Are we that far removed for the "Tuck" game and the days of Patrick Sullivan, whom the Raiders despised?

The god news is, we have Gabriel back and the Pats 5th round pick. Now, we can only hope that it's the lack of WR depth that causes them to miss or at least stumble out of the playoffs.

Ain't irony grand?

8:52 PM  
Blogger PantyRaider said...

#1-n-#2 Wr's...could it be according to the position on the depth chart....Curry backs up Moss and Porter now backs up Whitted....but before the Gabrial trade Gabrial was the #2 and Porter was his back-up....Whitted was behind Porter but jumped over him apearently because of the Porter problems.....Now Morant is behind Porter but would jump him for the same reasons....but Curry would still replace Moss....I think now Gabrial returns to the #2 position and maybe Whited becomes the #3 who is in the game "PartTime" but still backs up the #2 position....

In practice the #1 WR lines up to the Right and the #2 on the left...but on differant plays they move around and with the #3 in the game there are other formations...so it seems to me to be more related to "PracticePosition" than to who is the "Favorite"...just a thought..I did not play WR....I played Corner but we played it the same way on the corner position....you had the strong side and week side corners and that is how you pratice and how you normally play.....

In the "RaiderWay" they played a speed guy on one side and a posession guy on the other....Gabrial has the speed to be the Speed WR but maybe not the consistant hands to be the posession WR.....Just a thought....

PantyRaider.....JustTrying!!!

9:21 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Everyone makes good points and at the end of the day, it seems that we are all scratching our heads about the way the WR corps has been handled.

On your point about a speed WR and possession WR PR, it would be safe to assume that Moss was our designated speed WR. This leaves the obvious question of why on earth Whitted would be lined up as the "possession" WR. His only real strength is speed. It certainly is not route running, moving the chains, and catching passes in traffic which is the hallmark of a "possesion" WR.

If you use the speed/possession WR formula it would make more sense to go with Moss/Curry, Moss/Gabriel, Moss/Morant.

Further if you were to toss the formula on its ear and just put the 2 best WRs on the field it would be same combinations listed above.

Finally, if you are talking about 3 WR sets, this is where it makes good football sense to use Whitted on ocassion as the 3rd WR. This way you can have both speed WRs split wide on each side with the possession WR in the slot.

9:54 PM  
Blogger PantyRaider said...

CalicoJack:
Yes-n-No....I mean I think Moss was suppose to be a posession WR with speed but now he is droping the ball too much to be anything but a over paid "Bust"....Curry would be the #1 posession WR who also has speed but he may be held back for the injuries....I just don't know why for sure....Gabrial and Whitted and Porter were known for speed but Porter was also known for catching the ball and being physical....which should have made him the starter....but his head was causing him problems so what did we have left....No Gabrial and a young un-tested Morant.....or Whitted....but I agree if we do not see Gabrial retake the #2 WR spot there is something wrong....and Whitted should become the #3 and back-up #2.....and I wish they would get Morant into the mix....but there is still so much we don't know or understand about the "O"....how do we make sense of it all????

PantyRaider....JustGuessing!!!

10:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

panty you say...playing time is made through cooperation,hardwork and loyalty...tell me the hell was moss playing when he speaks out against the organization and dogs it during the games?????? just another example of how one thing is being preached,when in REALITY,it is not like that at all....br...you say that there wouldn't be an uproar if whitted was the starter and curry had more plaing time??????? well then why the hell would you even start whitted then if the purpose was to play curry more??? you and panty should get the game TWISTER for christmas or do you already have it???? everything you write is" it might be the case but i don't really know"... the case about curry is he looks very healed thank you and he is our BEST wr,have you heard one comment about his health????you say if art spoke about his leg that everyone would be taking shots at it... wow,you are goofy,if another player playing against curry knows his history and wanted to hurt him,he wouldn't wait for art's analysis to take a shot at him...he has handled the work load and he knows and the rest of the world knows except for you and mr conspricy that he should be starting over whitted,thats an easy one...you say shell has given a porter a chance to work himself back into the lineup??? what???lets see,he wouldn't let him dress,played him at LB on the scout team in practise and then suspended him for saying "are we going to be out here for 3 hours" and then told by the league to reinstate him and then plays him 2 plays since... yeah that really looks like he gave him a chance.... as far as compensation for gabriel ,there were no clauses it was a straight up 5th rounder.... panty says... moss is supposed to be our possesion guy??? you can't argue with this kind of logic,may as well talk to my 6 yr old,he just says anything too and passes it off as FACT,just have to smile and say WHATEVER...

9:16 AM  
Blogger PantyRaider said...

Annous:
Did you ever strap on a "Jock" Mr "HateTrip"

PantyRaider....JustLaughing!!!

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes i have strapped one on many times "sunshine" and i never wore one for football.what relevance does it have??? would you like me to mail it to you??? hasn't been washed since last time i had it on,you might like it...

anno...just shakinmyhead

2:07 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

PR -

Moss has never been a "possession" WR in his 9 year career. Whitted has never been a "possession" WR in his long, indistinguished career. This is another reason among many that it was a HUGE mistake to pair these 2 as the starting WRs.

Porter, Curry, Gabriel, and Morant are all capable of stretching the field vertically but also moving the chains w/short to intermediate routes in traffic in the middle of the field.

This is the scouting report on Gabriel:

"Gabriel is big, athletic and fast. He can stretch a defense and has true deep-ball ability. He is tall, long-armed and muscular. He has a good catching radius and can pluck the ball away from his body. He has exceptional pure speed for his size and can simply run by some defensive backs. He has a rare burst and second gear for a big receiver. He catches the ball cleanly, has reliable hands and can make the spectacular grab. He has very good body control. He can go up and get the ball at its highest point. He is smooth, fluid and has a deceptive running style. He reaches full speed very quickly but almost imperceptibly. He is tough. He will go over the middle without fear and is an above-average blocker. But Gabriel still is a little raw and has had trouble staying healthy. His routes still need work. He isn't particularly elusive or shifty."

Assuming Moss & Porter don't return for 07, to me it would make perfect sense to pair Curry with Gabriel as the starting WRs. Both Morant and Madsen could fill the role of the 3rd WR.

2:25 PM  
Blogger PantyRaider said...

CalicoJack:
OK, I understand Moss was a speed WR in Minn....but I was saying I think this year he was being used like a posession WR with speed...he has been going over the middle which he did not do much before.....and the plan was for Curry to be used that way also....because he has good hands with speed....that is to fit the old style "O"....we don't have a TimmyBrown or FreedyB on our team...

I agree about who should play....I think it should start tomorrow....Curry at the #1 and Gabrial at the #2....with Whitted and Morant at the #3 and back-up for the #2....but it probily won't happen...but I agree it shoud be that way now....

Annous:
If you think you really want to get square with my dammn ass let me know....we don't have to do it from a distance hideing behind a computer....You have shot your mouth off enough.....

PantyRaider....GetOffTheHateTrip!!!

4:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh panty...settle down,it's just football...

10:41 PM  
Blogger AngelicRaider said...

Seems A guy named Calvin Branch from Georgia Tech is on rated best WR coming out for several years. Do we dump Moss & Pouter go with Curry Gabriel, Morant and the Rookie. Use free agency for the O-line?

3:57 PM  

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