What begins as speculation on message boards can become fodder for bloggers to deabte and later is given wings by free agency rumors.
Sorry to mislead anybody who clicked on this headline in a panic thinking that Al Davis was preparing to ship out a home grown hero like Kirk Morrison.
No, instead I’m delving into one of the hot topics of this the 2009 Raider off-season: Is Kirk Morrison better suited as an outside linebacker instead of a middle linebacker?
Calvin Watkins of The Dallas Morning News has reported that free agent Kevin Burnett is scheduled to meet with the Oakland Raiders today.
It is believed that Burnett’s hopes of starting were dashed by the arrival of former Atlanta Falcon middle linebacker Keith Brooking and now he is in search of a team willing to give him a shot at playing every down.
Morrison has racked up a lot of tackles playing the middle the last couple of years, but he routinely is caught out of position and is a constant culprit of over pursing. The Oakland native is as fast a linebacker as you’ll find in the NFL. He has shown some real ability in pass coverage which has lead many Raider fans to wonder if new defensive coordinator John Marshall might be contemplating a positional change for Morrison.
Burnett has played a limited role in Dallas since his arrival in 2005 and his career total of 115 tackles is one less than the total that Morrison amassed in his rookie year alone.
A native of Inglewood, California, Burnett attended the basketball hotbed Dominguez High School in Compton. As I’ve stated on numerous occasions, Al Davis loves to bring in California natives who have some sort of an emotional connection to the Raider franchise.
This possible move, combined with the re-signing of Ricky Brown last week, could also indicate a change in the Raider defensive philosophy by switching to a 3-4 in 2009.
Another item to keep an eye on is the Javon Walker situation. There were rumors circulating last week that the Raiders were considering parting ways with the much maligned wide receiver despite the considerable ramifications his departure would have on the salary cap. Walker is due a $5 million roster bonus on March 3rd, meaning the Raiders have precious few hours remaining to either negotiate a restructuring of his contract or to terminate his Raider ties.