Monday, March 11, 2013

Guest Take: A Look Ahead

The following guest take comes from longtime Raider Take community contributor BlandaRocked:

From what I’m hearing McKenzie and Allen have all but flatly admitted that they gained almost no knowledge of Raider personnel from watching tape of the team after being hired in 2012.  What the two produced last season was almost a complete roll of the dice.  While Saunders and Wisniewski were retained with the idea of providing input regarding continuity, apparently both were ignored, leading to the early resignation of Wisniewski and the complete disappearance of Saunders (not to mention one PO’d Mark Davis).  One must certainly believe that, this season, the employment of both is on the bubble.

So where are we headed this season?  I believe that the clearest evidence is to be found in the selection of our new Offensive Coordinator, Greg Olson.  Some credit Olson with helping to develop the way the Wildcat formation is currently used in the NFL.  Olson spent time working with Jon Gruden, and it is believed that Olson prefers a Gruden style offense.  The Gruden offense is a North/South power running game, accompanied by an East/West (West Coast) passing game.  But there is a new wrinkle in passing games learned by the entire NFL during the 2012 season.  This involves what has become known as the Wildcat, but in reality is a recreation of the ancient Single Wing.  The modern twist puts a ball carrier that can sometimes pass in the “Tailback” slot to protect the signal caller from being pummeled down field or between the tackles.

A bit of history in football trends is required here.  In the “old days,” football teams most commonly ran the Single Wing.  This was a run based offense where the Quarterback (then called the Tailback) would run the ball on his own as often as he would throw it, as the forward pass was still relatively new.  In professional football that exposed a team’s field general to brutal defenses without the benefit of rules designed to protect the player’s safety.  Quarterbacks went down with injuries on a regular basis.  In response, teams began designing formations which formed a protective “pocket” around the signal caller in order to keep him in the game.  Quarterbacks were less and less likely to run the ball, exposing themselves to injury, unless they could first prove to the coaching staff that they knew how to avoid the hits and get out bounds.

Over the years, however, defenses learned to target Quarterbacks in the pocket.  Injuries, again, were on the rise.  With public demand to reduce injuries on the field, the NFL began to instill rules that would protect the Quarterback (and other ball carriers) whether in the pocket or breaking down field.  In the wake of expensive class action law suits, the NFL has instituted every rule committees could think of to protect players’ health and to keep them from being targeted for injury.  The result is that Quarterbacks can once again run with the football.  The old Quarterback option plays are fully back into play in the NFL and aren’t just for high school and college teams anymore.

With the Raiders, every fresh look is now being given to Quarterback Pryor.  Pryor is perfect for this retro format in that he can move freely in the backfield and wait for a receiver to open, or he can keep the ball and run for significant yardage.  Having shown himself to have a good and accurate arm in college, the questions that surround Pryor are his decision making skills and his sense of passing “touch.”  Those questions cannot be answered until the Raiders have taken the field in the 2013 preseason.  The Raiders only alternative to Pryor, at the moment, is Carson Palmer, an excellent pocket passer in the old Raiders tradition.  However, Palmer may soon be a dinosaur if the new NFL trend comes to complete fruition.

The Raiders have discussed the possibility of going into the 2013 season with a package of plays for Pryor and a package for Palmer.  The Raiders would not only have two Quarterbacks in competition with each other, they would have two systems in competition with each other.  While the concept seems strange, if the Raiders want to pursue the new trend, they have few options.  If Pryor doesn’t work out there are no more experienced Quarterbacks with Pryor’s skill set in free agency, and Palmer is far superior to any other pocket passer on the open market.  It makes no sense to draft a pocket passer if they are intent on following the modern trend.  The only other option is to go “all in” on the modern trend and to spend a high draft pick on a Quarterback with Pryor’s skill set who will have less NFL experience, and far less experience with Raider talent than Pryor.

My bet is that the Raiders will indeed begin the preseason heavily relying on a power running game with two different passing systems, run by two different Quarterbacks.  Palmer’s contract will be renegotiated with incentives to free up cap room.  They will use a latter round draft pick to bring a rookie with a similar skill set to Pryor and get a pocket passer in free agency.  If Pryor shows he’s ready, Palmer will be traded or released. 

I think what will happen is that Pryor will come through.  He’s shown himself to be far hungrier than any Quarterback we’ve had here since Rich Gannon.  If he does, the Raiders will transition fully to the new offense as the season progresses.  If he doesn’t, the Raiders will either be forced to transition back to Palmer or be caught struggling between two systems.  In that case, the whole season will rest on McFadden’s injury prone shoulders.

Thanks BlandaRocked! Let BR and the rest of us know what you think in the comments section...

52 Comments:

Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

No more Veteran QBs with Pryor's skill in Free Agency? Are you kidding me? Have you heard of Vince Young? We could sign him for Vet's minimum, and have a WINNING QB, who's skill is ABOVE Pryor's when it comes to a run/pass QB! Unbelievable!

In fact, I am willing to say that if Palmer gets cut, and we go with the "trend" in the NFL; we will sign Vince and have him mentor Pryor into that a starter's role.

I know, I know; VY has work-ethic problems; blah-blah-blah! He will be the QB tossing to the UT Receivers at the pro workout day. He has worked hard to get the chance to try and make it back to the NFL. He didn't get a shot with the Bills, he only kept the Eagles in it while Vick was injured. The guy has unbelievable talent; and I'm sorry but Andy Reid and Jeff Fisher are known to get in a player's head and put stress on him. All Vince did was win for those 2 idiots, and they cut him and went to the media and say he was a nut job.

What VY needs is a coach who will be relaxed with him (like Mack Brown) and let him play. I think Dennis Allen and Greg Olson are those types of coaches that Vince will excel under.

JUST WIN, BABY!

7:58 PM  
Anonymous gary said...

Blogger nyraider said...

Gary -

The media had reported (and I believe Reggie or Allen stated) Brisiel was injured for much of last year.

The way I see it, in no way is he guaranteed to start; and just because he's signed doesn't mean he won't get cut if a replacement is identified.

>>>>


I subscribed to PFFs premium stats, and they offer game by game metrics... I think Brisiel has been injured since well before Atlanta cut him loose. They knew he was damaged goods. He had three games with positive metrics the entire year for us.

With Atl, he had 6 of his first 8 games with positives, and not a single one after that. His metrics in 2010 were mostly positive.

To review... he had 3 positive metrics in his last 24 games, and 6 of 8 before that?

You blame that on an ANKLE? Thats one screwed up ankle!! I'm guessing his knees are shot too...

And you cannot cut him now. After restructuring it is too much of a cap hit. You never restructure any player you do not plan to keep. NFL GM 101.

9:44 PM  
Anonymous gary said...

VINCE YOUNG is going to teach Pryor?

What? He is prolly the only pro besides maybe Tebow with worse mechanics.

Lets bring in all three!!

9:46 PM  
Anonymous JONES said...

BR's post was almost unreadable, long and BORING. Whole lotta babble with no point. Hey Balanda, I thought you had your own blog? Nobody reads there, wonder why, with such an outstanding piece as this one here at RAIDER TAKE?

Hey G-Dog, Briesel came from HOUSTON.

JONES

10:12 PM  
Anonymous JONES said...

Vince Young, who is he? Is he any relation to Marcus Dupree?

JONES

10:14 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

If Pryor uses his athletic talents to buy time, survey the field, and be a pass 1st, run 2nd QB, he can be a succesful QB

He is every bit as athletic as VY but more importantly, he has proven to be a solid, hard working professsional w/o the entitlement attitude.

The trend in the NFL might be going more towards an athletic QB but until proven otherwise, to hoist the trophy, a traditional pocket passer is your best bet.

10:17 PM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

Vince is a proven vet QB with a winning record! Sure he has an attitude, but I'm telling you first hand, it has changed. I live in the ATX, and have since 2001; and I can say this, Vince has changed; he's a different dude.

His problem is he came from the slums of Houston, and was unwilling to change his "surroundings" in Tennessee, a lot like McClain has done. The only difference between he and McClain, was he didn't consistently do stupid things like McClain. Yet, he's finally put that behind him, and he showed in Philly that he is willing to work hard. I would take a chance on him, IF (and that is a big IF) the Raiders are going the route of the "trend" of running/throwing QBs. AND it would be cheaper than Palmer.

Shows what you know Gary, VY had little to no problems with his mechanics as a QB. He had 1 off the field issue while in Tennessee; and a cocky-entitlement attitude with Fisher that cost him his job. Fisher tried, and is still trying, to ruin this man's career in the NFL.

He has 50 career starts, is 31-19, 57.9% on his passes, 46 TDs, 51 INTs (which happens to a lot of young QBs in their first 50 starts), and has 1,459 rushing yards. My point with Vince Young is to argue the claim that Blanda made, "If Pryor doesn’t work out there are no more experienced Quarterbacks with Pryor’s skill set in free agency."

6:59 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

Calico said, "The trend in the NFL might be going more towards an athletic QB but until proven otherwise, to hoist the trophy, a traditional pocket passer is your best bet."

I agree Calico, look at Flacco, Rodgers, Brees, both Mannings, Rothlesberger, and Brady. They are athletic, but they are pocket passers who are smart with the football. They are film junkies, and that is what it takes to be a smart pocket passer; even in the offseason, these guys spend their time working out and watching film.
This is the way I believe the Raiders are going to go; even with a power running/West Coast philosophy (much like Green Bay, SF, Baltimore, and New England).

I really don't think the Raiders are going to go with a trend. I don't think the Raiders are going to go after VY. I think a better solution for the Raiders at QB would be Alex Smith.

If we want to run a West Coast offense with power running game, trade for Alex Smith. Here's a guy who has proven that he is a fighter, and has become a hard worker. Trade our #3 for Alex and the 9ers, 1st and 2nd round picks. It is doable.

7:09 AM  
Anonymous JONES said...

ahhhh, Smith was already dealt to the Chefs.

JONES

8:50 AM  
Anonymous JONES said...

I see Raider fans are up in arms that Reggie didn't make a play for Boldin.....looks like that was an inside deal, how many other teams would of offered a higher draft pick for him? And San Fran gets him for a 6th?...why isn't the league looking into this deal? Looks like an insider trading deal from Wall St.

JONES

8:54 AM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Blanda - I believe your first paragraph is an assessment shared by many fans. It is a bit of a head scratcher but circumstances were beyond reasonable, so we need to move on and focus on the now.

Not sure I buy into the Raiders playing a 2-QB system. If they draft a QB we will probably have our answer which direction they plan to take, because Pryor and Palmer have completely different skills, as you point out.

Free agency starts today. McKenzie’s play last year was to wait and pick up players on the cheap. We know he was strapped for cash last year, but maybe that’s his M.O. That model is partly what’s made Belicheat so successful.

3:31 PM  
Anonymous memdf said...

Agreed BR -
How DA and RM could not have at least acted as caretakers for what Hue Jack put into place - until they came up with something better- is beyond me. Plus why would they admit their ineptitude, which is what it is to me.

A 2 qb system seems a stretch to me. Getting down a single new system with a new O coordinator will be challenge enough. I hope that system has Pryor and a healthy McFadden giving teams fits.

I hope we can resign Wheeler and Bryant.
I don't see Wheeler coming back which is a shame. I enjoyed his play. Moving Burris to the middle does not seem a good fit. I actually thought Gaither was serviceable. I am not sure what NOT tendering offers to any of the 17 free agents means.

4:48 PM  
Anonymous memdf said...

Gone-
Wheeler
Bryant

Cut
Tollefson
Huff
DHB

On the way out
Goodson

6:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Raiders will be the worst team in the NFL this year. What the hell is McKenzie doing we have like one d-lineman (Houston) under contract and one DB (Branch). What a joke? Have been a Raider fan sine 76 and I have never felt the situation has been as hopeless as this.

7:02 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Nnamdi cut by the Eagles.

Whatever.

7:57 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Cutting DHB was a prudent move. No way the guy's production and value to the team is worth the sticker price. I was disappointed that Wheeler was allowed to leave but in all honesty, he struggled the 2nd half of the season. I'm pretty indifferent about Huff being released. Decent jack of all trades DB but nothing exceptional about the guy to include tackling. Plenty of nec. bloodletting to create space, clear the deck chairs, and build from scratch. Hate to say it but ... the 2013 season feels like alot like an expansion franchise and seeing about building through the draft for the long term.

9:42 PM  
Anonymous JONES said...

so much for keeping as many as they can. writing was on the wall a short time into last season. the new regime wasn't to impressed with what was left behind by the past regime and who can blame them? the core is being dismantled and a new beginning is beginning. patience, it's all we got.

JONES

10:29 PM  
Anonymous scorpio said...

this "gutting" should've happened LAST YEAR! now we've wasted an entire year and off season...

this is gonna be almost an entirely different team.

11:34 PM  
Anonymous scorpio said...

roger goodell steps up to the podium... with the FIRST pick in the 2014 nfl draft, the oakland raiders select...

that's what this season is gonna be - a set-up for the 1st pick 'cause the way they're going, we won't even be able to field a team...

11:38 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

I can understand letting go most anyone on the roster, but it seems as though the Raiders are allowing some of their most productive players to walk, e.g., Bryant, Wheeler, etc.

With the kind of money the Raiders have to spend (to essentially replace their entire roster), they'll be lucky to come out whole on those losses.

Looks like a ground up rebuilding process.... and potentially another 4-12 season.

4:49 AM  
Anonymous Raider00 said...



The Raiders will not miss Wheeler, Bryant, DHB, Huff, ect.

They were Ok players on a bad team.

It's time for the Raiders to set their sights much higher.

The Raiders need players that want to be great.

This may take some time, but I believe it will be worth the wait.

I would like to see the Raiders resign, TE Myers. He is a young, productive player, that only needs to improve his blocking.

5:27 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

We may be re-signing Huff and DHB to cheaper contracts. Releasing them gives them that opportunity. But even if they don't, that was a bold move.

Nnamdi and C-Wood are free agents, here's to hoping we can get them back. C-Wood is visiting SF today, it's just a hop-skip-and-a-jump away. Again, here's to hoping.

We could pick up Karlos Dansby on the cheap to replace Wheeler. Cary Williams would be a good pick up at CB from the Ravens. Maybe we can even get away with Brent Grimes, depending a physical.

We can pick up Glenn Dorsey at DT for cheap, Alan Branch (DT, SEA), or Ricky Jean-Francois. A sleeper back up is Amobi Okoye (DT, CHI).

At DE, we could be waiting to see what Denver does with Dumervil. That would be money worth spending. As well, Michael Bennett of Tampa.

David Carr would be a nice back up QB, so would Ryan Fitzpatrick and Byron Leftwich.

Shonn Greene would make a great backup to McFadden, and possibly Chris Ivory.

There are a plethora of safeties that we can pick up cheap that are young. Corey Lynch (SD), Quentin Demps (Hou), Josh Barrett (NE), Sharrod Marting (Car); to name a few.

Not too many WRs available that stand out in Free Agency, nor O-Lineman. I think there are still ways we can spend smart with the Free Agents out there, without having to take a gamble, but I do think that the Raiders need to sign someone before the week ends.

I also think Tommy Kelly and Rolando McClain will be gone. I'd like to see us sign Bryant McKinnie, but he may be asking too much $$.

7:03 AM  
Anonymous JONES said...

the gutting wasn't feasible last year, needed the roster filled because of 30 mill of dead money. The losing of Wheeler and Bryant....did you see their contracts? Can you say "out of whack"? I don't think that will be going down in Alameda anymore. Plus, they wanted the money and a different address, not much can be done about that.

This whole mess is at the feet of the past regime, this isn't on the new one. The culture had to be changed and it will.

JONES

7:41 AM  
Anonymous JONES said...

You can look at Reggie's options...keep hanging on to over priced players that are going to bring you mediocre results....or clean it out and bring in HIS PLAYERS. I am glad to see these players getting cut, it's been a long time coming. I'm willing to wait.

JONES

7:44 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

Pro Football Talk is reporting that the Raiders are in preliminary talks with VINCE YOUNG about a workout with the team!

Though this does not mean that they will sign him, it does give them leverage with Palmer to restructure. Remember you heard it here first that this was a possibility on Monday from your's truly.

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

Bernard Pollard (S, Baltimore) is now an unrestricted Free Agent that we could get cheap. He was set to make $2 million, we can probably get him for $1.5

10:27 AM  
Blogger OakTown Blues said...

Is done. Fare well. No longer wasting time with this thing called Fandom. Good job take. Sold all raider junk on eBay, scored hundreds, while in hibernation. Love it... Oak will always be my AFC West team, but won't ever claim to be a fan, because thats moronic. They can't even manage to know their own roster, and you are all discussing helmet colors? Ladies, listen to Gruden, I left when he did. Peace Out, bitches!

11:06 AM  
Anonymous JONES said...

OTB = douche, who cares OTB = nobody...now go diddle your Tom Brady doll.

JONES

12:05 PM  
Blogger bazjoz said...

Is there a 'For Lease' sign on our building?

The usual deafening silence coming from Oakland is a little more disturbing this year as we seem to be giving away anything of value...

From the grapevine: Raiders have managed to restructure the cleaning staff's salaries, and now have enough money to buy an extra coffee maker.

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

I wonder if Palmer doesn't take a pay cut, if the Raiders could trade him, and if anyone would take his salary (Arizona, Buffalo)?

I am concerned with Pat Sims, who is listed on the PUP with Cincy. He's a big guy, but is oft injured.

2:25 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Jones - you suggest above that Wheeler's contract was out-of-whack? Wheeler was brought in by McKenzie.

No matter; I agree this is going to take time. It will be very interesting to watch them shape the roster with so many holes to fill.

I would agree that NO player on the 2012 roster is irreplaceable.

I read that the Raiders have about $32mm in dead money this year, and right now they're about $16mm under the cap. Not sure if that includes a carryover, which I believe the Raiders had about $4mm.

4:42 PM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

According to the Raiders, they have signed linebacker Kaluka Maiava (Cleveland), defensive tackle Pat Sims (Cincy) and defensive end Jason Hunter (Denver).
Sims has only 1 start in the last 2 years, and Hunter did not play last year. Maiava is an interesting move

4:46 PM  
Anonymous JONES said...

No NYR, I am saying Bryant's and Wheeler's contracts are out of whack, RIGHT NOW, their NEW contracts, are out of whack...

JONES

5:44 PM  
Anonymous memdf said...

Sold all my Raider stuff on eBay made thousands because that's how much stuff I have. Actually have dirt from the end zone when the field was re-sodded in the mid 70's, in a Tang jar no less. Brought back by a friend who understood my Raider madness-got $20 bucks!
I'm out bitches...
WTF was that.
(Actually do have the Tang jar with dirt)

From another Raider site- interesting at the very least-
"Raiders have cleared cap space and are working on a trade. Raiders will send Carson Palmer to the Jaguars in exchange for their 2nd round pick #33 overall. The Raiders will be hit with $9.4 mil cap hit. Deal is contingent on Palmer agreeing to a restructured contract with the Jags."

5:50 PM  
Anonymous JONES said...

Palmer for a second/almost 1st sounds good...the cap hit is ridiculous. If it really is that big of a hit....damn Hue really screwed the pooch, good thing he isn't the GM.

JONES

6:00 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Well, the housecleaning has begun. But the house building? Sounds like we'll need to be patient there.

7:54 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Gents, I also have a small favor to ask.

This site currently generates no revenue, it is a labor of love.

That said, there's something you can do to help the site earn a little spare change, at no cost or real effort to you...

If you ever shop on Amazon, just enter Amazon.com via the Badasses Raiders book link at the upper right on this site. Then, you can simply shop as you always do, for whatever you want...and Amazon will cut RT a small affiliate percentage.

No pressure, but appreciated if you can make a note of it.

7:57 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

I like the signing of Kaluka Maiava but DT Sims (Cincy) and DE Jason Hunter (Denver) are bargain basement, roster fillers/projects at best.

Need to see some quality signings/useage of cap dollars plus an above average draft to get this ship off the rocks.

9:42 PM  
Anonymous JONES said...

Hard to attract F.A's to a situation that is in heavy transition...it's the draft where Reggie really needs to score big...Raiders don't have big money to throw around and they are in full mode rebuild...tough sell for Reggie in getting high quality. Once the Org is establishing that they are on firm ground....THEN comes the quality.

No sense throwing big money at a name to satisfy the critics, right now, it's all about DEPTH. Lots of picks, taking low risk chances on players who can add depth. At least the fire is almost out and the rebuilding can move forward. I think we were all hoping that it wouldn't have to be this way, but it does.

JONES

10:15 PM  
Blogger OakTown Blues said...

...think I'll buy some Bears gear on Amazon thru your link, Take. You're a class act. Adios, amigo. Just did a quick flyby to see if Jones was as predicatable as the Oak front office. Indeed! Late.

10:46 PM  
Blogger OakTown Blues said...

Gruden was right

http://www.silverandblackpride.com/2013/2/6/3960602/coliseum-lease-ending-raiders-with-final-attempt-to-stay-oakland

Where they going now? They cant even GIVE tickets away. Sell your dirt while you can! The Barstow Raiders

10:59 PM  
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2:13 AM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Wheeler - Miami paid $26mm for 5 years
Bryant - Cleveland paid $34mm for 5 years.

Yeah, those deals seem a bit out of whack!

It's unfortunate the Raiders can't even retain marginal players... not that it's critical to do so but it just creates more holes to fill.

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6:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SCAR

OTB, you come off as a deush bag! You are a provacatuer. Take your bitchin and whining somewhere else.

Back to regularly scheduled programming...

SCAR

7:56 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

Raiders are hosting Terence Newman (CB, Cincy), Dan Connor (LB, Dallas), and Corey Williams (DT, Detroit).

9:33 AM  
Anonymous JONES said...

NYR, it's going to happen. Every year you lose a few and gain a few. Reggie has already replaced those players at a much cheaper cost. Crying about Wheeler is insane, he ain't all that. Bryant was good but he was also part of that 'culture' and he cost too much, ADIOS.

JONES

10:15 AM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Jones - I'm not suggesting the Raiders should have paid to retain Wheeler or Bryant. I'm shocked at what deals they were able to get. Wheeler was signed last year for $700k.

My concern is how deep the wounds are becoming (or now being revealed).

Raiders are like ground zero fresh after the blast.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous JONES said...

Just shows how sick the Org was...it is having to be stripped bare to the bone to come back to life.

JONES

1:49 PM  
Anonymous memdf said...

Goodson close to signing w/jets, Shaughnessy and the cards. Did the Raiders try to keep anyone?

7:11 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Valuing draft picks and not paying funny money to avg. performers is how Reggie intends to rebuild the franchise. This is as close to blowing things up and starting over -- the equivalent to an expansion team. Tough to swallow for fans w/little patience after struggling the past 10 seasons. The way things are shaping up, my perspective on our QB situation has shifted. I'm now inclined to give Palmer the blade, sign a cheap veteran QB, and give Pryor a shot.

7:48 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

New take is up: The Awakening is upon us.

8:27 PM  

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