Oakland Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin has made several comments today that I have found very interesting. My posts below reflect on some of those comments, but the comment he made on Tommy Kelly reminded me of some recent thoughts of mine. Everyone knows the Raiders need help on the defensive line, but what some experts fail to point out, the Raiders have little room. I’ll get back to Kelly in a moment, but let’s start with Terdell Sands.
We Raider fans aren’t to confident with Sands as a starter, but Al Davis likes him, and has already paid him (entering the 2nd year of a 4-year contract worth $17 million). When Sands struggled through the pre-season Davis traded for Gerard Warren, giving up a 5th round pick in this year’s draft. Neither player performed to well last year, and although both are probably better off backing up, both will be depended upon early next season. Here’s what Kiffin said today on Terdell:
“Last offseason he went through a lot of tough things. Lost a number of very close people in his family, and as you look back, that affected him,” Kiffin said. “I know he’d be the first to tell you, he didn’t go through the offseason the way he should have, and he let that affect his football instead of dealing with it otherwise, and did not have a productive offseason, and ended up having to play catch up the whole time.
“Training camp isn’t the time here to catch up and to get in shape. Training camp, come in shape, and we’ll improve you and get you better. Instead, he came in to get in shape in training camp and never caught up.”
I would love for the Raiders to draft Sedrick Ellis if Chris Long is gone, but it looks like they’d either take Darren McFadden or Vernon Gholston if that scenario arose. I think Ellis is worth a top 5 pick, but it doesn’t look like many people agree with me. The consensus is that Ellis is not worth taking before the 7th selection so with that in mind, if the Raiders don’t make any moves (i.e. trade down in the 1st round, trade Fabian Washington), Sands will be the starter Week 1. Kelly is coming off an ACL tear, so Warren will play a lot of downs this year, and Sands will start because there won’t be a defensive tackle on the roster with more knowledge of the Raiders system. I’m hoping the 6’7″ 335lbs man redeems himself for last seasons performance, and returns to the level of play that earned him a new contract.
Before I get to Kiffin’s comments I wanted to briefly mention Glenn Dorsey. It’s not likely that Dorsey will fall to the Raiders, but some people see him as one of the Raiders wants. I believe Dorsey will never play anything other than the 3-technique in the NFL; the Raiders believe they already have that position covered. Well, at least Kiffin thinks so:
“We re-signed Tommy to play the three technique, so that’s where Tommy is going to be playing,” Kiffin said. “He’s moved around a lot here in the past. He’s played nose, he’s played three, he’s played open side end, closed side end.
That’s not going to happen any more. He’s here to be our three technique and dominate in there. I just imagine that’s going to help him so much, because he gets to focus on one thing instead of playing four different spots.”
Kiffin said LSU tackle Glenn Dorsey, who most figure will be gone by the time the Raiders pick to either St. Louis or Atlanta, is probably better suited to a three-technique but is capable of playing the nose.
Non-draft releated comments by Kiffin from Jerry McDonald at Inside Bay Area:
– The absence of defensive end Derrick Burgess from the offseason program.
Derrick has not been in here (in the offseason) since he’s been here,” Kiffin said.“You like everybody here. You want 100 percent, but there are some guys that you feel more comfortable not being here because you know how they work, you know what they do.
“One of the best stories about Derrick is he plays in the Pro Bowl a couple of years ago, and the people at Ole Miss are telling me, it’s two days after the Pro Bowl and he’s up there working out two days after the Pro Bowl. So, that’s what you got there. So, if there’s anybody you don’t worry about being in shape and working out, Derrick’s one of them.”
– The offseason of JaMarcus Russell.
“He’s having a phenominal offseason. He came back 10, 11 days before we even started,” Kiffin said. “So he was with our coaches and with our strength staff before everybody else got back here five weeks ago and he hasn’t missed a thing since. Most the guys are really here three, four hours a day. He’s here about five-and-a-half, six hours a day.
“He’s here first thing in the morning, he has position meetings in the morning, he goes in and lifts and he goes in and runs. He comes in and changes and goes back out and throws with the guys. By far he’s in the best shape since I’ve seen him, even if you go back to his pro day at college. So I know he’s real excited about the upcoming season as well.”
– The status of running back LaMont Jordan.
“LaMont does have a very high contract, and a big number coming into this,” Kiffin said. “So we have to look at what happens in the draft, look at what else is going on and make a decision.”
– Health updates.
Kiffin said Kelly should be ready to go 100 percent by training camp. Free agent wide receiver Javon Walker (knee) should be good to go at the first minicamp following the draft, and safety Jarrod Cooper “is nearly 100 percent) following ACL surgery.
Kiffin quote of the day:
When asked if he would be surprised if Oakland had just five draftees in its 2008 draft class (currently have only 5 picks), Kiffin said, “Yeah, I think I would. I think I would be surprised because that’s a long time to sit in the room without doing anything.”
I smell a trade…