Friday's Raider Ramblings

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 20: Isaiah Ekejiuba #50 of the Oakland Raiders looks on during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on September 20, 2009 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Here are my random Raider thoughts for Friday. Enjoy the Ramblings everyone.

— You know what the worst part about JaMarcus Russell being arrested was for me? Every single Raiders site and forum I went to, all people wanted to do is talk about this monumental bust.

Let’s move on everyone. The Raiders actually have hope going into a season for the first time in quite a while. I could really care less about Russell at this point. He was a terrible pick by the Raiders and will probably never play in the NFL again. End of story.

My focus is on the 2010 season. The favorite on paper in the AFC West, the San Diego Chargers, are having some internal problems at the moment.

If the Chargers slip this year, that division will be wide open. Oakland’s offensive line needs to improve but the Raiders could be right there knocking on the door for a playoffs spot.

The JaMarcus Russell era is mercifully over in Oakland. Let’s look forward to brighter days ahead.

— I posted a blog a couple of days ago about Yahoo! giving a fantasy breakdown of the Raiders. I have written a popular fantasy column myself since 1998 and I think there is one player on the Raiders that is being extremely undervalued heading into the season: Chaz Schilens.

I have pumped up Louis Murphy quite a bit on this site. I love the guy and I think he has a chance to be a great receiver. However, with all the talk about Murphy improving on his rookie numbers and whether or not Darrius Heyward-Bey will be any kind of factor, Schilens is falling through the cracks.

Schilens has the size (6’4, 225 pounds) and speed (4.39 40-yard dash) to have a big season as long as he can stay healthy. Schilens also has a bit more NFL experience than Murphy and Heyward-Bey. That could help him become the first receiver to build chemistry with new quarterback Jason Campbell in training camp.

I know a lot of you play fantasy football and from the early drafts I’ve monitored, Schilens is going between rounds 12-14. He’s highway robbery if you can get him that late.

I know Schilens will be on my fantasy roster this season as a nice late-round steal.

— The Raiders cut LB Isaiah Ekejiuba on Thursday. Some people are surprised by this move but I’m not one of them.

The problem with the Raiders roster in recent years is it’s been full of backups and “special teams players.” Unless a guy is one of the top special teams contributors in the NFL, which Ekejiuba wasn’t in 2009, then I have no problem if he’s shown the door.

Ekejiuba was named as a Pro Bowl alternate in 2008 after a strong season on special teams but there is a laundry list of NFL players that have put together one solid year in that department. That’s not always good enough to secure a roster spot.

The Raiders haven’t had a winning season since 2002 and Ekejiuba wasn’t going to change that. I wish him luck but Ekejiuba isn’t even guaranteed to make another team’s final roster in my opinion.

The problem I see when a team doesn’t win for a while is fans get attached to mediocre players. Ekejiuba is a mediocre player, so all the bloggers and fans screaming over his departure need to accept that fact and move on.

There have been way too many Ekejiuba’s on Oakland’s roster recently and not enough playmakers that provide quality depth. Let’s not waste time crying over spilt milk here.

Ekejiuba’s departure allows a linebacker with more upside like Ricky Brown or Travis Goethel to make the final roster and that’s just fine by me.

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Tags: Chaz Schilens Isaiah Ekejiuba JaMarcus Russell Oakland Raiders

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