In my continuing segment, I had the pleasure of being contacted by Mike Morris, a Oakland Raiders fan living in North Bend, Washington. Mike used to live in the Bay Area from 1968-1973. His dad took him to Oakland Raiders and Oakland A’s games from 1970-1973, and he has been a life-long Raiders fan ever since.
Mike answered the following questions for me, and these were his responses:
1. What is your opinion of the 2013 Oakland Raiders, and how do you think the team will do this year?
Answer- “2013 is truly another rebuilding year. I believe if we get to .500, that would be a major accomplishment. The rebuilding HAD to happen, and we needed to bite the bullet to get our finances in check. The league is getting younger, faster, stronger every year, and while we have had a history of bringing in experienced free agents, truly our team will be better served to build through the draft. I trust Ron Wolf, John Madden, and Jon Gruden. They endorse Reggie McKenzie, and his eye for talent is more than enough for me. We already have a few young guys that are flashing (Sio Moore for example), and I’m really excited for 2014 because that will realistically be when we become play off competitive – my opinion.”
2. Do you think that Denarius Moore will elevate himself to an elite receiver this year? Why or why not?
Answer- “I absolutely hope so. Carson Palmer raved about this guy and his ability, and while he is no longer here, he’s been around long enough to see a lot of players. In hindsight, I’m glad we benched Denarius last year. This was similar,but obviously not the same, to Mike Singletary’s benching of Vernon Davis a few years back. It lets the player understand that playing time is not a given, it has to be earned. With Denarius, the needle is sky-high, and I concur that he and Rod Streater could very well be a very strong tandem. I expect a lot of wide eyes in regards to our receiving core this year – most folks think it’s a weakness.”
3. Who will be the quarterback of the Oakland Raiders in 2013, and why?
Answer- “Love, love, love the Tyler Wilson pick. Flynn will start, but I fully expect Wilson to end up the starter at some point in the year and for 2014. I think we may finally have our best QB option since Rich Gannon. Totally different players, but I love what this guy brings to the table.”
4. Who is your favorite Oakland Raider of all time? Explain.
Answer- “Old School here, and most likely a player that the younger fans have never heard of – Phil Villapiano – #41 LB. Not the fastest guy, not the most athletic guy, not the most highly recruited guy, but he had the street brawl, blue-collar, give 100% every play mentality. He left it all on the field. In a team game, he was not a look at me type of guy, but rather the guy you want to go to battle with. You knew he would be there to the end. Look at the old films, read/watch the interviews. He epitomized, to me, the “Raider way”. No disrespect to Jim Otto, Art Shell, Gene Upshaw, George Atkinson, Howie Long, Marv Hubbard, Fred Biletnikoff, Marcus Allen, Charles Woodson, or any of the other great players.”
5. What is your favorite Oakland Raiders moment, and where do you usually watch Oakland Raiders games? Explain.
Answer- “Throttling the Vikings and Redskins in the Super Bowls - GREAT memories. I live out-of-state and fly down normally for a game a year. I usually buy the best ticket I can find on eBay, and I sit behind the Raiders bench. Last year, I was there for the Steelers win, and I was only 3 rows from the field. I brought another lifelong Raiders fan with me that had never been to a game. Took him to Ricky’s (Sports Theatre and Grill in San Leandro, CA) the night before, and I let him soak it in. It’s fun to see a newbie’s eyes glaze over walking into that place and of course Al’s house.”
I loved watching Villapiano play. No doubt, he was the blue-collar guy, and he is a Raider through and through. Ricky’s is a great place to soak in the Raiders mystique and history. Great job.
I would like to extend my thanks to Mike Morris for taking the time to conduct this interview. Again, if any of Raider Nation would like a chance to answer a few questions themselves, please contact me via email. I will be continuing this segment through July 25th (The start of training camp).
Topics: Art Shell, Carson Palmer, Charles Woodson, Denarius Moore, Fred Biletnikoff, Gene Upshaw, George Atkinson, Howie Long, Jim Otto, Marcus Allen, Marv Hubbard, Oakland Raiders, Phil Villapiano, Raider Nation, Ricky's, Tyler Wilson