Stanford Routt made headlines when Al Davis moved him into Nnamdi Asomugha’s tax bracket. Since then Routt has made plenty of NFL insiders forget #21 in Silver and Black. Philip Rivers, about the only NFL QB who tested Aso, has even praised Routt for his play this season.
Ironically enough, the man that is pitted with replacing the role Routt once occupied is also wearing #21.
As injuries continue to claim more and more Raiders, contributions are being expected from the most unusual of means.
Lito Sheppard was a Raider for all about two weeks during camp before he was cut on the final day. Two weeks ago he was reunited with the team and is now going to be playing opposite Routt tonight in Oakland’s biggest game to date.
Hue Jackson has supreme faith in all his players. That faith has led him to make some very unique personnel decisions during his short time as Oakland’s head coach. From the blockbuster trade to acquire Carson Palmer to the head scratching decision to effectively bench Darrius Heyward-Bey and Kevin Boss, Coach Jackson is his own man and makes his own decisions.
How well those decisions go over remains to be seen.
Starting Sheppard in the wake of DeMarcus Van Dyke’s injury is a bold move. Sheppard is a vet that has made a couple trips to Hawaii during his career. He’s also a player that has to prove he’s got something left in the tank. There is, after all, a reason for the Raiders choosing Joe Porter over Sheppard when it came time to name the 53-man.
But this is the way things have gone for Coach Jackson. Each week it seems the Raiders are getting contributions from unexpected sources. During the opening night win over Denver, Matt Giordano stole the show by coming up big. Will Sheppard be the next in line to shine?
We’ll have to wait and see.
One thing we know for sure is that the name on the back of the jersey is irrelevant. All that matters is that logo on the side of the helmet. Any man that puts one of those on is expected to do his job to the best of his ability.
Just win, baby!