It’s been a rollercoaster career for Michael Huff. He was a top 10 pick coming out of Texas that looked like he had purchased a one-way ticket to Bustville after his first three seasons. Huff never settled in at a particular position bouncing from nickel corner to strong safety to free safety to deep rover. Making matters worse Huff produced next to nothing for his first three years in the league registering just one interception in 39 starts.
Then something clicked in 2009. In the last three years Huff as forced 11 turnovers with 4.5 sacks while reintroducing himself as a quality pro.
Now he’s still the same Huff that will make an unbelievable play on one down then whiff on an open field tackle on the next. Difference being that in recent years Huff’s athletic ability has finally translated into actual production.
With Dennis Allen at the helm the Raiders finally have a defensive mined head coach calling the shots meaning Huff finally has someone other than Al Davis implementing a scheme to get the most of his abilities. For Huff it is a welcome change one that he thinks will equate to the best season of his career capped off with a Pro Bowl selection.
“Oh, it’s going to happen and if it doesn’t happen, I’ll be disappointed in myself. Everything is lined up for me to be the All-Pro, Pro Bowl player that I was drafted to be. So, this should be the year.”
That’s big talk from a man that was looking like a castoff just over a year ago. Many wondered whether or not Al Davis would keep Huff on scholarship or allow him to walk during free agency. Davis re-upped with Huff and now Allen is working to get the best any of us have ever seen out of the veteran DB.
Of course if Hue Jackson were still her e odds are Huff would have once again been given a new role. When last season ended there was immediate talk of Huff becoming a fulltime cornerback. He’ll likely still see some time covering slot receivers but that’s only a small portion of what Allen has in store.
Perhaps Allen feels a certain connection with Huff having played safety himself during his collegiate days. Huff certainly likes playing for Allen and hasn’t been shy about saying that. Not only did Huff express his excitement at “playing in a real defense” but he’s also got to be loving his new role.
Allen plans on putting Huff to work all over the field in a Charles Woodson type of role this season. Finally Huff will be free to roam the field on Sundays causing havoc instead of being asked to drop deep and play center field.
You just can’t say enough about showing up to a job you love everyday and Huff is not shy about hiding his enthusiasm suiting up for Allen. That alone could be enough to get the best out of Huff. Whether or not that equates to a Pro Bowl selection is irrelevant. There’s too much politics in that arena. However there’s nothing political about winning and a career year from Huff would definitely help to do plenty of that in Oakland.