"Holy Toledo!"

October 19, 2007

Oakland Raiders News & Notes:

Filed under: NFL — Bill @ 2:27 pm

– SINCE THE NFL regular season is so short in comparison to other sports it is often said that one game in the NFL equates to 10 baseball games. Keeping that thought in mind consider this about the well publicized statistic: The Raiders have lost 16 consecutive games vs. their AFC West opponents. In baseball terms that would like the Oakland A’s losing 160 games in a row vs. their division rivals! (as Frank Barone would say, “Holy Crap!”)

– THE RAIDERS announced this Sunday’s game vs. the Kansas City Chiefs is sold out, meaning it will be televised locally (KPIX channel 5 at 1 p.m.). This is good news for those of us not planning to attend the game. My goal is to “fly the couch” as I view it in HD!

Since the Raiders took charge of the ticket sales & marketing directly (dumping the now infamous Oakland Football Marketing Association), they have had 8 sellouts in 11 games. A HUGE improvement.

The Raiders have also aggressively marketed the “family atmosphere” that actually does exist despite what you may have heard. Local media consistently overplays the rowdy atmosphere, and until this season the Raiders organization seemed to enjoy their tough image. The Raiders finally woke uo to the fact that this image was costing them millions in ticket sales & corporate luxury box revenue. Most home games were blacked out, and the Raiders were losing the opportunity to have a 3 hour commercial every Sunday to help promote their product.

Their new plan appears to be working.

– GOOD NEWS / BAD NEWS: The good news is that QB Josh McCown’s injured toe is getting healthy. The bad news is that McCown may soon return to the starting lineup. The good news is that McCown is very mobile and can throw well while on the run. The bad news is that all too often he throws the ball to the wrong team.

– THE NFL TRADING DEADLINE came and went quietly this week in Oakland. It was a bit surprising that the Raiders were not able to (or chose not to) deal QB Andrew Walter. One would have guessed that he would have been traded given the sudden rash of injuries taking place around the league. Old retreads like Testaverde, Rattay, & Hasselbeck (the crappy one) have been signed, and by those standards Walter looks like Otto Graham. With #1 pick JaMarcus Russell now signed it would seem unlikely that Walter has much of a future in Oakland.

Most NFL teams only carry 3 QB’s on their roster, some even less on gameday, The Raiders are carrying 4 QB’s on a roster that needs all the help it can get. If Russell is the future you would think the Raiders would only need two other more established QB’s. Walter would not be considered established by an stretch.

McCown appears to be a solid #2 NFL QB at best. If healthy Culpepper can be a legitimate #1 QB, but given his history of knee problems one would be wise to not look at him as your long term solution. So where does that leave Walter?

You would think Walter would have value, and other teams would be interested in him. Andrew had an outstanding college career, he broke Elway’s career Pac-10 passing mark. Give Andrew a mulligan for last season due to the Raiders pathetic O-line & even worse play calling. Only in his 3rd NFL season, he could develop into a solid NFL QB. You’d think he certainly deserves a shot to compete for a starting job in the NFL but as long as Russell is a Raider that isn’t likely to happen.

There are a couple explanations as to why Walter didn’t get traded:

1- Al notoriously expects & demands far too high of a price when making trades. Davis isn’t happy making a fair deal, he wants a steal.

2- Perhaps the Raiders have already ordained Andrew Walter as “backup material” with slight upside, and a darn good insurance policy for next season should Russell have problems.

This scenario makes the most sense. Culpepper is only signed for this season and it is unlikely he would want to remain in Oakland next year as JaMarcus’s backup. Daunte still believes he is deserving of a #1 job and won’t settle anything less at this point in his career.

If the Raiders are committed to letting JaMarcus watch & learn this entire season from the bench then they really do need Walter this year as their emergency #3 QB. But if they intend to give Russell some mop up time late in a game in order to gain some experience, then they are carrying one QB too many. My solution too this is simple: Tell Walter to fake an injury so they free up a roster spot.

Hey don’t be so shocked, it’s not like it has never happened…

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