Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Destination Unknown

Please tell me that there's a master plan in place, and that it's just beginning to unfold...

Six weeks ago, if you told me that we'd re-sign Darren McFadden and lose Rashad Jennings, Jared Veldheer and Lamar Houston on the first day of free agency, well, I don't know what I would have said.

And now that it has happened, I still don't know what to say. 

It seems like you would begin rebuilding by first retaining the best building blocks at hand.

I'm not saying that Jennings, Veldheer and Houston are elite, but they were pretty darned good, especially by the standards of the Oakland roster.

Building is the act of adding, not replacing, is it not? 

Now we need to act swiftly and decisively on two fronts: replacing and adding. 

It seems like a tall order for a Raiders team that already on such an uphill climb.

We've supposedly taken care of Veldheer's absence by the signing of Rodger Saffold. Can he protect the blind side? We'll see. 

McFadden underperforms and stays, and Jennings outperforms and goes? 'K. 

So back to that master plan. There has to be one, right? So this is no time to panic.

That said, if you're getting nervous, it's understandable. The stakes are high, and the offseason game is on. Let's see how the Raiders play it out.

MASTER PLAN UPDATE: Raiders sign offensive lineman Austin Howard!


Blogger OakTownBlues said...

I would like to be able to say "Relax, they know waht they're doing, they are PROFESSIONALS and know how to build and sustain teams with momentum".

I really would.

2 0 1 6 *

(* = "at least, now, to hit 8-8)

8:44 PM  
Blogger x said...

Well written Take.

Frankly, don't know what else to say.

I'm very disappointed in our GM.


Instead of keeping the good ones and filling holes where they have weaknesses, they're creating more holes to fill.

Doesn't make sense.

Veldheer, at least, really wanted to stay and be a career Raider.

Maybe it will all become clear at a future RM presser (doubt it though).

Levi Damien also has a good wrap up of the depressing day here

9:33 PM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

Safford started at LT with the Rams before Jake Long was signed away from the Dolphins; and was moved to LG.

Sources in Oakland (according to several reports) are confirming that Safford is set to play LG; so my initial assessment of him replacing Veldheer is incorrect.

Which means one of two things:
The Raiders will sign a vet LT like Michael Oher; or
draft a LT at #5 in Jake Matthews; who has slipped down to #7 in most mock drafts.

RT Austin Howard (Jets) is set to visit the Raiders. Jennings and Tracy Porter are visiting the Giants tomorrow. Jonathan Goodwin and Alex Mack are still possibilities. Earl Mitchell (NT, Texans) is an under-rated possibility. Antonio Smith is reportedly coming to talk to the Raiders (DE, Texans). Also, Julius Peppers, Johnny Jolly, Anthony Spencer, Bret Keisel, Jared Allen, and Shaun Phillips are all potential DEs that the Raiders may sign.

Javier Arenas, Cortland Finnegan, and Walter Thurmond could be potential CBs.

It doesn't look like DeMarcus Ware will be in Silver/Black, but signing with the Doncos. Which how in the hell are they still under the cap after signing Aqib Talib to a 50+ million dollar contract, and TJ Ward? Don't look now, but they have made some significant moves, and are continuing to do so. Ware and Von Miller? I just puked on myself out of hatred and jealousy.

The Bucs are the other team that made HUGE splashes in Free Agency, and the kind of moves I was hoping the Raiders would make. But the thing with the Doncos and Bucs; I think they have overspent to get what they got.

So sure, the pundits are proclaiming Horse-face Elway to be the best GM since sliced bread. Although he has signed some pretty big defensive players; he also just lost Beadles, and may loose Winston Justice and Dan Koppen, though both were backups). They are also about to lose Decker and Knowshon Moreno. That's a lot of offensive weapons to lose.

10:15 PM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

Austin Howard has been signed to a 5-year, $30 mil contract, with $15 mil guaranteed.
Howard has started all 32 games the last 2 season, was penalized 3 times last year, and only gave up 2 sack last season with the Jets. Serious upgrade.
If we sign Oher or draft Matthews, I don't think we wil need to sign a Center. Our starting O-line will be:
RT-Howard, RG-Watson, C-Wiz II, LG-Safford, LT-Oher/Matthews
Barnes and Breisel will be backups.

Antonio Smith and Jolly would be good young DE's to pick up (Shaun Phillips would be a good choice too). Mitchell, Terrance Cody, Walker, and Sims would be good to get at DT/NT.

I would also like the idea of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie at CB, but he is said to be contemplating retirement from the NFL like Mendenhall.

11:21 PM  
Anonymous JONES said...

Looks like Reg is taking care of the O-line on the 1st day....more signings to come. Seems Reg didn't want Veld or Houston....they are not elite and can be replaced with what they consider better value.

Let the freaking out begin...because he didn't go for a big name....Raider fans never change.


1:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jones the fact that you are finding a way to defend Reggie's performance is hilarious. Every sports writer on the planet is highly critical of the Raiders. The Raiders lost their two best players yesterday and replaced them with inferior talent at more money. Saffold could not cut it at tackle. Come on paying a guard more than a young high quality LT give me a break.

The Raiders did not improve yesterday, they went backwards. Rule number one of successful GMs is retaining your young talent. We all know the Raiders for sure wanted to keep Houston and Veldheer and said so many times. Unfortunately he screwed up and they got away.

There is no other way to spin that.

4:54 AM  
Blogger OakTownBlues said...

...it's funny, innit Anonymous? On the other hand, I also appreciate Jones' take on take's Take too (chuckles), because he's right in the fact that sports writers always add drama to the situation, and this is a pretty dramatic move.

I have reservations about DMAC, but, then, what to do. The Raider Org's ONLY attraction to a player these days is money.

if not on the field, this WILL be an interesting season on the Take'...

But, I do remain professionally confident (without the use of nostalgic ether or a crystal ball with reasons) that the 2016 season does give this unit enough time to instill a football-focused, winning "Post-Al Era" attitudinal culture.

I've been sporting this "be patient" notion for about two and a half seasons, and, well, with the new possibility of another stadium in the oven, well, anything is possible.

Thanks for everything Al, but, we're moving on, and letting football do the talking.

(Which, by the way, is how crap teams like )an Diego sell tickets. They are always at least kicking and screaming.

New home,, New unis, new attitude might be the missing component here. No one in their right mind wants to marry a team that reeks of it's exes.

5:32 AM  
Anonymous Raider00 said...

Saffold is like Robert Gallery.

Couldn't cut it as a LT, some moved to guard.

Good LT's are hard to come by. Veldheer will be missed.

"Howard has started all 32 games the last 2 season, was penalized 3 times last year".

This is very good. Except that once you put on the Raiders uniform, the officials suddenly see things differently.

Expect Howard to have about 20 flags thrown his way this year.

5:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pressure is on Reggie McKenzie. It has to be. You don't make moves like that and play the excuse game later. Veldheer was $5M cheaper than Safford. Bringing back McFadden defies all logic, even if Jennings bolted for the door. And Houston's contract was manageable for a team with $60M to spend. On the surface, these moves all seem like failures by management.

So it looks like we signed Kalif Barnes to replace Jared Veldheer at LT. Really?

Nothing makes sense right now.


6:52 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

According to PFT, McFadden's agent says he was offered more money elsewhere, but decided to stay with the Raiders. The Raiders low-balled him on purpose to get him to leave, and according to his agent, McFadden says he stayed in Oaktown because he loves the Raiders and feels he has something to prove to us the fan base.

I respect the hell out of that (if true). His contract has been officially released and it is a one-year deal worth $1.75 million with another $2.25 million in incentives and $100,000 guaranteed.
Now, the problem is that I've heard this statement from McFadden before. So if he tanks this year, the Raiders won't even make him an offer next; nor should they. I think he's quit on the team the last 2 years, and I think if he's got something to prove to us; then he better back it up.

I'm excited about the Howard signing. I think they pick up Jake Matthews in the draft at #5, rather than signing Oher. They have officially announced that Lamar Woodley and Justin Tuck are coming to town for visits.

Lamarr Houston blasted the Raiders in an off-handed comment with the Bears. He said:
"What set the Bears apart for me besides having a team that’s in a position to win is the attitude of the players who have played there before; guys like Dick Butkus, with that nasty, in-your-face tough football. That’s what I love to play and being in an organization that embraces that, I think it’s a good fit for me."

Why couldn't he have played like Butkus with the Raiders? What about the tradition of the nastiness of the Raiders defense like Howie Long, Ted Hendricks, Lyle Alzado, etc? Had he played like that here in Oakland, he could have helped put us in a position to win now. @$$! I'm glad he's gone after that comment. Can't wait 'til the Raiders hoist the Lombardi before the Bears do.

7:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Raider Nate the tradition of the Raiders is but a distant glimmer. 12 years of crap will do that. Also when Al died the team lost that as well. Yes Al had lost his fastball a long time ago but he was very much the soul of the Raiders and now that he is gone it will be hard to replace that. McKenzie and Allen don't inspiring anyone, Mark is a total light weight etc.

8:42 AM  
Anonymous JONES said...

Just cry, baby. Let it play out, many more signings to be had....this isn't done yet so please stop with your adolescent takes of doom and gloom.

Veld wasn't that good after his injury and he was looking for a pay day. Houston is an Avg DL....not worth that commitment of 5 years 7 mill per. He and Jennings were looking for pay days. Reggie said when he took over that he wanted HIS GUYS....I don`t think he thought of Veld and Houston as his guys. Too much of the old regime still left in them for Reg? There is a reason he didn't re-sign them and if he did sign them, would they be elite players? I would have to guess probably not. It will be interesting to watch the rest of their careers....will they play out much like recent Raiders who went to another team? Aso, Routt, etc....


10:25 AM  
Anonymous JONES said...

Also, if you haven't noticed, Reggie has made up the new contracts with cap management and if a player doesn't work out, it won't be killing the cap. Reggie is being smart, following certain conditions in his signings and not straying from it. There is a plan...so let it play out before you wave your white flags. Premature anything is not good....your poor spouses/whatevers.


10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jones you should be on the Reggie's personal payroll. Veldheer is way better than Saffold and there is not one member of the media or position ranking out there that says otherwise.

Reggie just paid 21 million guaranteed — the third-largest total for a guard in league history — based on a six-game sample to end the 2013 season.

Furthermore Reggie was on record numerous times saying he wanted to keep Veldheer and Houston.

Okaland is the laughing stock of the league. When they bomb this year will you still be preaching patience?

10:48 AM  
Anonymous JONES said...

Who cares what the media says...like they have never gotten it wrong? And you still believe them?

Reggie offered them both a contract, the wanted more, they got it, good for them. Now it is time to move on or will you bitch about these 2 all off season like they were Shell and Hendricks? Like you do with Hue nonstop? Live in the past, that is another trait of a Raider fan that I wish would go away.


11:39 AM  
Blogger OakTownBlues said...

...Anonymous may be the clearest thinker on this page. Putting myself aside, of course. Zero drama, zero tolerance. Nice.

12:21 PM  
Anonymous JONES said...

Yeah, cause it is probably you...lol


12:29 PM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

I'm going to pat myself on the back as well.
Saffold wasn't brought in to play Tackle, he was brought in to play LG. The other thing not being mentioned here is that Saffold has experience playing LT, LG, RT, and RG! He can play 4 out of the 5 O-Line positions! He is versatile, and above average at each position. The NFL Free Agency board, PFT's free agency board, and ESPN's free agency board all had Safford ranked above Veldheer.

Howard was brought in to play Tackle; though he has recent experience at RT, he also has experience at LT. This is the best signing for the moment.

Also, Tuck and Woodley are in for a visit; Antonio Smith is coming in for a visit, and Jason Hatcher is coming in for a visit. Chris Clemons was cut today, and I expect him to visit the Raiders soon as well. That would be 4 DEs that we could get for less money than Ware; and a decent Defensive Tackle coming in hopefully this week.

With the Doncos spending like mad men, they do not have the cap money to replace the offensive line players leaving; and they may be strapped for cap space next season when D Thomas' contract is up. So yes, it looks like Elway is making some bold moves defensively; but he has opened up some big holes on his O-Line that could end up getting P Manning hurt. Plus, he's overpsent on a CB who hasn't played a whole season (Talib, $57 million). The only move he made that makes sense to me is addition of D Ware for $30 million. That scares me.
The bottom line, though the Doncos are going to be competitive again next year; after next year they are going to decline; and that is dependent on Von Miller, Talib, and D-Ware being healthy. If they lose any one of these guys; they are going to be inept. With them losing offensive players as well; P Manning may struggle a little more. When I think of the moves the Broncos have made, I can't help but think of the Philly Eagles in 2011 making big FA splashes and tanking.

The biggest winner in FA to me, so far is the Tampa Bay Bucs. They made some exciting moves that I was hoping the Raiders would have made. But like the Doncos, they've overpaid some of these guys; and have left themselves scrapped against the cap.

So yes, let the media applaud these clowns; but they've only planned for this year; and they will be in a worse position in 2015.

12:48 PM  
Anonymous JONES said...

Now you are thinking, Nate. Denver is going all in, just to lose it all again. When this wave is over, the Donkies will be hurting and that is good news down the road. Remember Tampa making splashes last year too and the media was all over them. Look at their season.

The media is a joke, nothing but a hype machine. Watched NFL network for about 2 minutes and all they talked about were the Cowboys who had no money to spend in free agency...but NFL network makes them out to be the top story...it's enough to make you puke, really.

The media have their favorites and they only time they like to mention the Raiders is when they try to make a stupid joke. Fuck them, us against the world...remember that.


1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Retweeted by Steve Corkran

Pastor Napoleon ‏@napoleonkaufman · 3h

Get Cap right, build through the draft, get a few solid free agents. That’s what the man said he’d do. Stay the course! #RAIDERNATION

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Rick W. said...

If Reggie didn't want JV why did he keep telling us to be calm and they would keep him. Reggie is a liar. JV even after being screwed by Reggie has stated over and over how he thanks the trainers and coaches for all their help over the last 4 years.He also told us that they were gonna let DMC test the market. and he brings him back. He and Allen are on 1 year terms now.

1:46 PM  
Anonymous Raider00 said...

Jones, you are missing the point.

Fan base was told Raiders needed to "deconstruct", in order to rebuild.

Ok, but one day one of free agency, Raiders lose Veldheer, and replace him with 2 lesser talents.

Raiders lose Power back, Jennings, and keep Mcfragile, who never is healthy.

So I ask, what are the Raiders building ?

They seem to be going in circles.

Lose an 0-lineman, sign an 0-lineman.

Lose a RB, sign a RB.

And it's debatable if the talent we're adding, is better than the talent we're losing.

This was the problem with total deconstruction.

4 win Raiders just don't attract the top free agents.

Thay want to go where they have a chance to win, right now.

Did the Donks have to deconstruct their team in order to get top Free agents ?

That's why all this "cap space" garbage is overrated.

You can have all the money in the world. But who cares if your top talent doesn't want to stay.

And the other top FA's don't want to come.

You end up giving the money to broken down lemons, like McFadden.

2:10 PM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

Rick W.
You need to go read my post about McFadden's agent. The Raiders low-balled his contract ($1.25 million salary if he makes roster, $2.25 in performance incentives, $800,000 guaranteed which is League minimum).

McFadden's agent said he turned down better offers (from Cincy) to stay in Oakland because McFadden felt he has something to prove to Raider Nation.

The Raiders gave him the chance (like Veldheer and Houston) to test the market. What is not being said by Veldheer is that the Raiders were in process of negotiations with Veldheer. Meaning they made an offer, and was waiting for a counter offer (because you never take the first offer). His agent screwed him by taking the offer in Arizona instead of saying, "The Cardinals are offering Veldheer this; are you willing to do better?" He blew the Raiders off and signed in Arizona. His mom confirmed that on Twitter when she said the Raiders only made one low offer, and the Cardinals countered and offered more. If given the chance, would they have signed Veldheer for $42.5 million? We'll never know.

Saffold is ranked higher than Veldheer on NFL, PFT, and ESPN's free agent rankings. Howard is also ranked higher than Veldheer.

We have a more stable O-Line with who we signed yesterday; and I don't think Reg is done with it. He has shifted his focus to target the D-line that he wants.

Jason Campbell and Brandon Weedon have been cut by the Browns. I'm hoping Campbell comes back to the Silver and Black.


2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Raider Nate 75 you are insane Veldheer is ranked 13 on PFT while Saffold is ranked 27. On ESPN FA tracker Saffold is not even in the top 100 while Veldheer is 15. More importantly one is a guard the other is a LT a huge difference in value

The crap you write is astounding like a day or two ago when you said the Raiders should bring back Matt FLynn

Its hard to take you seriously but at least get your facts correct

3:16 PM  
Anonymous Derick from Section 318 said...


Just thought I'd post this link because of how RARE it is for someone in the Media to take a "glass is half full" approach when writing about the Raiders.

(God knows our Beat writers don't)

4:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That article from SI is the only positive article written about the Reggie and guess what its written by one of his buddies from Greenbay---LOL. Read the article in Grantland Reggie is the laughing stock of the league

4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Name one player that Reggie has brought in that is a flat out stud or a building block for the future.

The silence is deafening there is not one in two years not one

4:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just hear Saffold failed his physical and his contract has been voided

Way to go Reggie you dumb ass.

Come on Jones what do you say now was that part of Reggie's brilliant master plan. Was that what we have been patiently waiting for the last two years.

Raiders should be great with Barnes starting at LT oh wait we can always draft Robinson and or Mathews and ignore all the needs on Defense like the fact the Raiders dont have one starting d-lineman right now

Can we please all just be truthful, take off the rose colored glasses and admit that not resigning Veldheer was a terrible mistake and by extension all agree that Reggie is the incompetent fool who has done nothing but make the Raiders worse since he arrived

7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My only question is will Reggie blame Al Davis for Saffold failing his physical

7:45 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

New take is up, continue there, please.

7:46 PM  
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6:03 AM  

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