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News » Oakland Raiders Strategy and Personnel 2009-01-06

Oakland Raiders Strategy and Personnel 2009-01-06

Oakland Raiders Strategy and Personnel 2009-01-06
The last three games of the season gave the Raiders two viable candidates to be front-line wide receivers, Johnnie Lee Higgins and Chaz Schilens, although overall the position group was the least productive of the NFL.

Defensively, the Raiders gave up too much ground up the middle against the run. Tommy Kelly's contract, which called for $18,125,000 in guaranteed money, makes him virtually untouchable, but Gerard Warren and Terdell Sands will be looked at closely.

The problems against the run could also cause the Raiders to consider moving middle linebacker Kirk Morrison outside, where he played as a rookie.

COACHING CAROUSEL: Could be a free-for-all. The only coach believed to be under contract is wide receivers coach James Lofton, who was hired by Al Davis last year without the consent of then-head coach Lane Kiffin.

Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, who had his play-calling duties stripped by interim head coach Tom Cable, will be looking for another job and could be followed by running backs coach Tom Rathman. Both worked with Jim Mora, now the coach at Seattle, in Atlanta.

Rob Ryan's five years as defensive coordinator could be up, particularly if he gets an opportunity to join his brother Rex, should his twin become a head coach.

The toughest loss would be Brian Schneider, architect of the best all-round special teams units since the Raiders returned to Oakland in 1995. He was closely aligned with Kiffin and probably would have an offer to join him at the University of Tennessee.

FREE AGENT UPDATE: The two biggest names are CB Nnamdi Asomugha and P Shane Lechler, both of whom cleaned out their lockers prior to the team's departure to Tampa Bay.

The Raiders can franchise only one of them. Asomugha was the exclusive-rights franchise player last year. Lechler has grown tired of six years of defeats after being part of division-title-winning teams for his first three years.

The best shot at keeping them both would be to sign Lechler and franchise Asomugha.

Other starters who could hit the open market include CB Chris Johnson, a more-than-capable replacement when the Raiders cut DeAngelo Hall, and RG Cooper Carlisle, a two-year starter. Starting C Jake Grove's contract automatically voided, and he will be on the open market in absence of a new contract.

FEELING A DRAFT: The Raiders are in need of offensive tackles and wide receivers on offense. They could be seriously looking at Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree at No. 7 overall to give QB JaMarcus Russell a target.

The line prospects are tougher to call because it's not known if the team will continue the Cable system of zone blocking or go back to a man-to-man system. Problems against the run could have the Raiders looking at defensive line help or perhaps a strong inside presence at linebacker.


Wide receiver: The fact that the leading wideout, Johnnie Lee Higgins, managed just 22 catches for 366 yards this season explains why the team could use an infusion of speedy talent.

Defensive line: The Raiders were next to last in the league defending the run, and they in the middle of the pack in sacks.

Offensive tackle: Nice development by Mario Henderson at the end of the season, but JaMarcus Russell still needs more protection.

Linebacker: Nasty presence inside to bolster 31st ranked rushing defense.

MEDICAL WATCH: FB Justin Griffith (knee) underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL after he was injured Oct. 26. He hopes to be back on the field by minicamp.

LB Ricky Brown (groin) missed the final eight games of the season.

WR Drew Carter (knee) missed the entire season after getting hurt in the preseason.

WR Javon Walker (ankle) had surgery to re-attach tendons after he was hurt Nov. 9.

-- RB Darren McFadden ended the season with an ankle sprain that is not serious.

-- RB Justin Fargas missed most of the last game with an MCL sprain that will not require surgery.

-- DT Tommy Kelly did not finish the finale with turf toe and will require rest.

-- FB Oren O'Neal is rehabbing slowly from a severe ACL tear and could begin camp on PUP.

-- T Paul McQuistan is rehabbing an ACL tear and is expected to be ready for training camp.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 6, 2009

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Nnamdi Asomugha Name: Nnamdi Asomugha
Position: CB
Age: 27
Experience: 6 years
College: California
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