Keep the lockerroom antics in the Lockerroom Context

I’m glad that Terrelle Pryor helped put The “Dolphin Bullying scandal” into perspective. In an interview with Pro Football talk, Pryor said that he sees the bullying incident as the responsibility of team leaders specifically the Quarterback.

We all understand that bullying can happen anymore, regardless of shape or profession anyone can be victimized by bullying. I think its foolish to turn a blind eye to lots of the hazing that goes on in an NFL locker room. In general, football is a hyper masculine culture, where ‘boys will boys.’

As a former football player I understand what kind of banter goes on in the comfort of teammates. I think 80% of the things said are put into the context of jokes, because that is how men socialize. It can only be worse in a culture like the NFL because men are taught to be nasty and aggressive. This kind of behavior has been accepted throughout college and high school. Despite NFL players large checks and professional atmosphere they are still accustomed to a hyper masculine culture.

All that being said, it shouldn’t be alarming to hear about some of the antics that have allegedly taken place in the Dolphins Locker room

Many of the Dolphin Players and come out to say that Incognito is not a bad teammate nor is he a racist. I don’t think that is to turn against Martin more than it is a way to suggest that many of the teammates didn’t realize how bad the situation. Since, little boys many of them have been desensitived to racial slurs, hazing, and insults. While Martin may or not have been singled out, I don’t buy that Martin couldn’t have found one confidant amongst the 70 plus players in the lockerroom. Maybe Martin bottled up many of the emotions he was dealing with, but he plays one of the most physical games. He should have used the physical outlet of the game and taken it head up with Incognito in drills. Once things really got bad, he should have approached Incognito man to man, where there would have been a physical confrontation or a mutual understanding. Alternatively he could have approached a team leader. He could have approached one the defensive players who could punched Incognito in the face.

I guess my point is simply, hazing in the NFL happens.Rather its carrying the bags or stupid haircuts, hazing happens in a hyper masculine culture. The only way to reverse it by having the team leaders handle it internally. 12,000 vegas trips and every week strip club visits might have taken it to far. However as for the racial slurs and verbal harassment. One of the 70 people in the locker room should have risen to the occasion if things were as bad as they sound. But they didn’t probably because they didn’t see anything they haven’t seen since they were kids. Therefore all this info coming out about racial slurs, should stay in the lockerroom, because only the participants in that lockerroom understand the context and acceptability of those words. I’m not condoning anyone threatening, calling someone a racial slur, or having sex with one of their family members. We can’t act like these things are unheard of, and we can’t pretend like the context couldn’t have been a joke, because lockerroom cultures are different than anything mainstream. Obscenities in the real world are just everyday pieces of the NFL lockerroom.The more that develops from the Martin case will only be more of opening the can of worms that is the NFL Lockerroom.


The Failed Experiment


On Monday, The Oakland Raiders said goodbye to the Matt Flynn era which only lasted about 3 preseason games. After an unimpressive outing against the Redskins, Flynn was demoted to third string quarterback. Only a few days later, the team released him, and coach Dennis Allen said he wasn’t quite sure why it failed but it failed and it was time to move on.

Initially, when the Raiders traded for Flynn he was rated pretty highly by many in the football world. Fans hoped he would be the second coming of Rich Gannon. However, even from the teams OTAS people wrote about how unimpressive the Raiders QB’s were in general. The sighted many of Flynn’s duck passes and lack of arm strength.

The Flynn experiment failed because Matt Flynn is merely a gamemanager. No one said this guy was going to come in and be Peyton Manning and sling the ball around. Rather people cited his I.Q. and knowledge from backing up Rodgers as his call to duty.

Well he may have a good I.Q the fact is that only gets you so far in this league. It is hard to ask someone to manage a game when he lacks the dominate playmakers around him. The Oakland Raiders young receivers have been inconsistent at best, and the offensive line has been banged up all season. It was unfair to ask Matt Flynn to go out and make plays when his whole career has indicated him incompetent at doing that.

This is the same guy who was beat out by Jamarcus Russell in college, Russell Wilson in Seattle, and Terrelle Pryor in Oakland. He didn’t get beat out by these guys because they were smarter than him. He lost his job, because those guys had the playmaking gene that he lacked. They had the swagger and confidence that Flynn could only dream of.

Therefore, The Matt Flynn expirrement failed in Oakland for no other reason than Matt Flynn. The Raiders new what they were getting when they paid for him, yet they failed to surround him with a situation he could succeed in. They expected Matt Flynn to show the kind of Playmaking ability he has lacked his whole career. Even at LSU the guy didn’t win a national championship because he carried them there.

In this league Knowledge gets you nowhere but in analysis seat next to Jessie Palmer and Tim Hasselback. At the end of the day, a quarterback is supposed to make the plays and the throws to help there team win. If your unable to make plays, if you lose your confidence, and you have a poor attitude well then you are on a fast track to free agency.

I understand, Matt Flynn cannot control his god given talent or the talent of the players around him. However, there’s a reason why an Undrafted rookie beat him out for the number 2 QB spot. Theres also a reason why the bills or jaguars aren’t jumping to get this guy.

Flynn failed to control the factors in his hands. He failed to maintain any confidence and failed to have a positive attitude. Any Quarterback must possess those to traits, which is why he ultimately failed as a starting NFL QB.

Flynn’s fortunate that opportunity knocked twice for him. He missed both so I’d be suprised if he ever has another chance to start. Even his old team the packers have denied any interest. His third opportunity will be as an ESPN analysis next to Jessie and Tim. Either-way, his one start has already netted him millions of dollars, which is more opportunity that a lot of Quarterbacks get at the highest level.

It’s Primetime!


ImageMonday night, The Oakland Raiders will take on Division rival Denver Broncos. Not only will the game be against all-time great QB Peyton Manning, but it is on primetime television for the world to see. 

This is a huge game not only for the Raiders but specifically Terrelle Pryor. Oakland faces its first test against a stout Denver defense. This will either showcase Oakland’s flaws or affirm one of the leads most potent rushing attacks. 

For Pryor, this is the first time a lot of fans, coaches, and players are going to Pryor in Action at the NFL level. This is the Raiders opportunity to prove that they are what everyone thought they were by folding or getting blown out by the Broncos. On the other hand, this is Oakland’s opportunity to prove Reggie Mckenzie and Dennis Allen’s message that this team can compete and win games

Historically, I have watched many games over the years were the Raiders have been in games only to commit a stupid turnover or penalty that kills the momentum. In the NFL, the margin for error is so small that these are often the difference from winning or losing a game. These stupid penalties or mental mistakes often bite the Raiders in the butt (week 1). 

For Terrelle Pryor this a monumental game. This is the first time a lot of fans are seeing him since his Ohio State scam. Monday Night offers Pryor an oppurtunity at redemption. This is his coming out party, to show he isn’t the same imature quarterback. This is his chance to show himself as a leader and veteran not afraid of Manning. Lastly, he needs to show the world that he is not a gimmick or product of the read option. Rather, Pryor needs to show that he can be a passing QB at the highest level.

This game will answer a lot of questions about the rest of the Raiders season, regardless of the outcome. 


Can The Raiders weather the storm?

 If Peyton Manning comes out and puts points on this team, will they fold like they have in years past? Do they have the heart to fight back, or are they the team to roll over for next years draft?


This boils down to Terrelle Pryor. If Pryor turns the ball over or struggles against the defense, then the offense will feed off of Pryor’s body language and composer. If he is able to hold it together, and keep fighting then I hope his team will follow. 


As for defense, this Raiders team addition of Charles Woodson gives them the swagger they need to go out there and make plays even if they get down Swagger aside, this Raiders defense is gonna have to make turnovers and redzone stops to hold a chance.


Can the playmakers make plays?


As a Raiders fan I constantly hear about the Raiders’ playmakers throughout the Blogosphere. I’m tired of hearing about it, I want to see it. I want to see the Raiders get the ball into Marcel Reece’s hands. I want to see Mcfadden get established early and often. The Raiders need to utilize their speed and the defenses aggressiveness by utilizing screens.


I know what Pryor can do, but I want to see him manage the game, and allow the people around him to make plays. Moore is gonna need to put it together and make that x factor play that keeps the defense offense. 


 Lamar Houston has a favorable matchup with Ryan Clady out, so I want to see him get after Manning. I want to see Hayden or Woodson get a pick. 


This is a superbowl calibur team, so the playmakers ability will indicate rather these guys really have the talent and game coaches and fans think they do. 

Will the Oline remain consistent?


I’ve heard much talk about the makeshift offensive line being the surprise of the Oakland Raiders. Tonight is a real test for the running and passing assignments. Mcfadden has historically had success against the Raiders, but Manning’s high octane offense may force Mcfadden out of the game-plan if he starts scoring early. 


Ideally, a defense can only cover receivers for so long, hence giving Pryor as much time as possible will be ideal to getting the ball down field. 


Mcfadden is the key to this game. He needs to get going early, and he needs to be the safety net for Pryor’s protection, and in the dump offs. More importantly, Mcfadden needs to change make the game changing play to keep Manning off the field. Hopefully the will open things up for Pryor in the passing game.


Can the Special teams be special?


The Raiders are going to need a big play from their special teams. Rather its a block, a turnover, or a return, the Raiders must make a game changing play on special teams. The special teams needs to remain consistent. They can not afford any missed field goals or shanked punts, so King needs to get his young head in the game. 


Tomorrow we will have a new perception on this Raider team. The Raiders are the same old, undiscipline, and overmatched team; or the Raiders are the surprise of the league. One way or another, this primetime opportunity will give the Raiders National attention they need, but only results will indicate rather its good or bad. Either way, tonite the teams character and the character or it’s QB will be tested tonite, and i will be reading into this game far more than just the box-score.


Either way, I’m ready for some football… Please Raiders Prove em Wrong! This is what the game is about, winning when no one else thinks you have a chance!

What Terrelle Pryor means to the Raiders

What Terrelle Pryor means for the Oakland Raiders


If this Raiders team is as bad as everyone is making them seem, than they need all the play-makers they can get. Terrelle Pryor gives them exactly that from the quarterback position. Pryor gives the Oakland Raiders the best chance to win, because defenses have to account for his arm and his legs, but defenses must respect his play-making ability. Pryor might not have the same accuracy or football I.Q as Matt Flynn, but Pryor’s god given instinct and ability make him the better choice for this Raider team.

Yes Terrelle Pryor is fast, strong, and athletic. In The Raider’s preseason games Pryor proved that he is capable of translating his athleticism at the next level. However, the most promising thing that can be taken away from those games is Pryor’s willingness to take on the big moment.

With all respect towards Flynn, the Raiders have no where near the amount of talent and play-makers that a game manager like Flynn would need to be successful. Instead, the Raiders need another play-maker that the defense must respect besides Darren Mcfadden. Forget the fact that the zone option with Mcfadden and Pryor is scary; Pryor any time on a bootleg is just as threatening. Then you add a shaky offensive line and the Raiders need a quarterback, like Pryor, who can move just to stay up right and keep drives alive. All offseason I’ve heard multiple sources talk about how Greg Olsen is willing to tailor his offense to his player.Well here is Olsen’s chance.

[Bold: What Pryor gives the Raiders on offense]

Pryor’s game changing ability will open things up for all of the players on the Raiders offense. Even though the Raiders do not have an every down, dominate player outside of Mcfadden they have plenty of guys who possess the versatility and explosiveness to be effective. Guys like Ausberry, Reese, Ford, Moore, Kasa, etc. all posses such unique skill sets that the Raiders would benefit from a more spread style offense were they can get the ball into various players hands and give them opportunities to make plays. Pryor, has experience with this type of offense as does Mcfadden, and we have seen other teams in the NFL with half the explosiveness, use this type of offense effectively. Pryor can then key on the various mismatches the Raiders create with all of the size and athleticism at the skill positions.

[Bold: Why Pryor is ready to be the starter]
Entering Ohio State as top recruit carries it’s own expectations, and Terrelle Pryor handled that well on the field. Off the field, Pryor had his own well documented issues with maturity and signs of that showed early in the pros. However, Pryor has matured and that is evident with this entire off-season. Terrelle knew that he was the dark horse to be the starting quarterback, but he said all the right things and when his opportunity came, he was was ready. Even with his struggles, he showed a resilience and a want to get better. All that aside, the fact that Pryor has put so much work into refining his game the past to seasons shows that he isn’t the same immature guy he was at OSU, instead showing he isn’t taking the opportunity for granted. Pryor didn’t show us anything we didn’t know in the preseason. We knew Pryor, was fast, big, and had a strong arm. However, he did remind us that he is gamer and competitor who has been playing on the biggest stages since high school. Further his advancement at making reads and audibles shows that Pryor is taking responsibility for maturing his game at the NFL level.

[Bold: Why the Raiders need Pryor to be successful}

Finally, the Raiders need Pryor to be successful, because every teams number one goal is to SELL TICKETS. Not only, is Pryor an explosive player who is fun to watch, but he is also a fan favorite. Pryor is going to get fans and people around the league excited for the Raiders again. Pryor is the hope for this fan-base and the organization, so the Raiders must play him just to exhaust every option.

Pryor has similar athleticism and accolades to Cam Newton and RG3 who are responsible for injected life into their respective franchises, as rookies. While Pryor may not be the same type of prospect these guys were, you can not convince me that Newton and Griffin as rookies were better than Pryor is now after three years of NFL experience. If those two can have such an impact as rookies than I think it is fair to have similar expectations for a third year Pryor.

Either way, even if Pryor fails, at-least then he leaves the door open for the number 1 pick next year. In that case, we won’t even have any debate about what position to draft with that #1 pick. In any event, playing Pryor at least makes it look like the Raiders aren’t tanking for #1 pick…

Corner Competition

The Oakland Raiders defensive Backs took turns getting picked apart last season. Throughout the season guys got, hurt, guys got signed, yet they were all interchangeably bad. This season the Raiders completed a complete overhaul of the entire secondary in hopes of reversing this culture. In The process they drafted a player in the first round and signed a few veterans with experience and a lot to prove. This unit has so much swagger that they practice with Blue Balls because there harder to find in the light


Ideally, The Raiders hope that this new found swagger will change the dynamic of the defense. So lets assume that DJ Hayden turns out to be exactly what the raiders drafted him to be. If Hayden fully recovers and is able to translate his game to the professional level then he should be able to seize a starting spot at corner.

After that, the Oakland Raiders brought in a couple of savy veterans whom they hope will play chip on their shoulder.

Tracy Porter is a fimiliar face to Dennis Allen as the two worked together in New Orleans. Porter’s athletecism and ball skills have kept Porter in the league. His gambles, injuries, and tackling abilities lead him to the bench and a third team in three years.

Michael Jenkins was once a big time draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys who was expected to be a lock down corner out of USF. Initially Jenkins had plenty of success as a starter, but soon offenses began to pick him apart and he fell out of favor with Dallas.

Both guys have NFL starting experience. Both guys have made plays at the highest level of the game. Each has a slightly different skill set, but both are capable of being starting cornerbacks. One of the two is just going to have to stand out by playing with the bigger cheap on its shoulder.

Personally I’m gunning for Jenkins because he possess a bigger all around skillset. He has unique size and speed to match up in zone or man coverage. Jenkins does lack the ball skills and ability to create turnovers which is Porters strength, but I think the raiders defense could use the versatility and consistence.

We won’t even know who the winner will be until these guys start wearing shoulder pads instead of shorts and tee shirts. I want to see which one of these cornerbacks has more confidence after suffering a lack of success. The one with the bigger chip will be the one contributing on sunday. Who are are you taking to start at corner? I’m sure your happy as I am that it won’t be Ron Bartell LOL

The Raiders Dark Horse


After mini-camp, The Oakland Raiders have taken a lot of criticism over their quarterback play.

Anyone who has played football, knows that it is way too early to make assumptions about the Raiders play as they are still shorts and tee shirts. However the amount of ducks and inaccurate throws by the teams three quarterbacks has given precedent to experts being skepical of the 3’s ability to play. Reporters even labeled the Raiders mini-camp as one of the worst showings of NFL mini-camps ever.

Espn’s Jaworski labeled Matt Flynn the worst starting quarterback. This comes a year after Flynn lost his starting job with the Seahawks to Russell Wilson. Fourth round selection, Tyler Wilson has shown flashes of ability but his lack of experience and reliance on physical ability instead of mechanics caused him to fall to the fourth round. And then there is Terrelle Pryor. Pryor was one of the most decorated quarterbacks entering his senior year at Ohio State, before he was the face of one of the NCAA’s biggest recruiting scandals. The previous regime felt the Ohio State stand out was still worthy of a third round pick in the NFL’s Supplemental draft.

Coach Dennis Allen, has since said that Matt Flynn is the starting quarterback until the competition dictates otherwise. While Flynn is the highest paid of the group, I would caution Allen of putting all his eggs in one basket. Allen may not feel pressure to play Pryor because he did not draft him, but I would think otherwise.

The NFL stands for Not For Long, and if Allen thinks he will be safe after another year of mediocrity, he has another thing coming. The fact of the matter is the Raiders are not the most talented of teams, and they need to find ways to win games. I find it hard to believe that a 6’4 , 4.5 running quarterback doesn’t give this team its best chance to win. Pryor is probably the second or third most explosive play-maker on the entire team. This is why many people are urging the quarterback to change positions, but I disagree. In a league where athletic quarterbacks, gimmick offensives, and options are dominating the competition, the Raiders best bet it is to jump on the train before they get left. Pryor has had his best seasons in a run option spread system similar to what Cam newton, Tim Tebow, and RGII are having success with. His size and athleticism open up even more dimensions and wrinkles to the Raiders Offense. Defenses around the league will have to respect both Pryor and Mcfadden in the option. Meanwhile his size and athleticism make him a threat to tuck it or chuck it from the pocket.

Sure Pryor has tones to learn in terms of becoming a quarterback at this level, but so do the other two people in the group.  I mean what is the worst thing that could happen? Many people already predict the Raiders to walk away with #1 pick, but atleast pryor will fill a few more seats, and get a few more highlights. Playing Pryor and them losing will show Allen exhausting all of his resources. If Allen elects not to utilize Pryor, many fans and officials will call for the coaches jobs as he will be quilty of not exhausting all of his resources, and that is what every coach is hired to do. I for one, just want to see what the young player is capable with, so that we can move along. I know Pryor is a competitor and gamer just as much as he is an athlete and the god given ability should have some translation to on the field results. So don’t forget about Pryor when you think about the Raiders QB competition, as his ability combined with great coaching could be scary for opposing defenses.

Bigger Impact: Woodson or Branch?


Safeties Charles Woodson and Tyvon Branch are arguably two of the most skilled players on the entire Oakland Raiders Roster. Both seasoned vets offer a tenacity and versatility that could be utilized by most teams in the NFL.

This past off season the Raiders said farewell to veteran Michael Huff who had been the leader of the DBs since being drafted number 7th overall. The change comes a year after veteran Tyvon Branch was signed to a multi year deal after a season where he was a pro bowl alternate.

Charles Woodson’s credentials speak for himself, as he was once the pro bowl corner and franchise cornerstone of the Raiders. Just before he spent the last 7 seasons in Green Bay were he was able to be an all pro and defensive player of the year winner.

Both safeties are capable tacklers, cover men, and leaders, but my question is which player will have the bigger impact this season?

While Branch is younger, and has more experience with this Raider’s roster and staff, I will make the argument for the savvy vet, Charles woodson.

I have heard many say c-wood has shown he has lost a step or two of explosiveness, I disagree. Father time might have slowed Woodson down,but for every bit of athleticism lost, Woodson has gained two steps of maturity and intelligence.

As for the field, Branch’s nose for the ball and sure tackling make him a likely cantidate for the SS position. Woodson does possess a similar skill set, but his experience in coverage and range give him a leg up on Branch in terms of Coverage. He also has 55 interceptions showing proving the DB’s superior ball skills and game intelligence. Not to mention, we have all seen branch get lost in coverage, or burned by a tightend/slot receiver countless times.

You factor in Woodson’s Heisman trophy, defensive player of the year award, and all pro awards, one will see Woodson posses the merit and swagger this Raider team has been missing since he left the first time.

The fact of the matter is Woodson, was around the last time the Raiders were even relevant. He knows what it means to be an actual Raider, and what it means to win games. Woodson’s swagger is just as important as what 24 brings on the football every game.

Raiders Draft 2013 Pt.1


Now that the dust has settled on the NFL draft and mini camps, it’s time to look at the Oakland Raiders Draft.

Reggie Mckenzie has received much praise for his work in the NFL Draft, after he was able to add a few picks in the draft via trade. Mckenzie was able to draft ten players after starting the draft with far less. The raiders high turnover rate has also left room on the roster for 12+ undrafted rookies, but the overall theme from Mckenzie and the Raider’s draft was competition.

At the top of the draft, The Raiders selected D.J. Hayden from the University of Houston. The rookie has been a huge story as he has been able to recover from an extremely rare football football injury. As for the football field, I think Hayden brings a variety of skills to the Oakland Raiders. His combination of size and speed make him a valuable defender in zone or man coverage. His instincts combined with his explosiveness give him the tools to be be an elite corner. If Hayden’s durability isn’t and issue, his work ethic and pure ability could make him the next shut down corner and a steal in the Draft. Reports from mini-camps have shown that Hayden has clearly been the best defensive back on the field.

After trading down in the First round, the Raiders were able to reclaim another 2nd round pick. With the pick they selected Menelik Watson from Florida State. The tackle has an interesting background where he came to the states for basketball. His limited football experience has made this pick a gamble. But his size and athleticism had many people giving Watson a first round grade in the pre-daft. This is a pick Al Davis would love, and Watson’s athleticism adds another element to the  Raiders Offensive like that is looking to continue improvement. While little wiz and Valdheer have two of the positions on the offensive line on lock, the other three positions are up for taking. Watson could be the anchor needed to protect the right side of the offensive-line if he continues to learn the game and is able to adjust to the strength of the next level.

Linebacker, Sio Moore from Uconn was drafted by the raiders in the third round. The Self proclaimed best linebacker in the draft has shown that he has the ability to rush the passer and drop in coverage at the collegian level. The confident linebacker adds a tenacity and swagger to an already improved line-backing core. The Raiders hope that this guy will be able to  rush the passer in both 3-4 and 4-3 looks. The linebacker will give competition to the free agent addition backers, Roach and Malava, but he will also improve the Raiders special teams.

Tyler wilson out of Arkansas was selected in the fourth round. The quarterback was graded as a high pick until a letdown senior season due to a coaching change at Arkansas. The quarterback adds a skill set different the Matt Flynn or Terrelle Pryror,and possess enough potential to atleast compete for the starting job.  Raiders Beat writer Jerry Mcdonald has said Wilson has looked better than previous raiders rookie’s Proyer, Russell, Walter, and Tuisosopo. The quarterback continued to impress media members with his accuracy all around the field, and his command of the huddle.

Overall, I think the Raiders maximized the amount of potential competition with their first four picks. They were able to select four players at key need positions who can become building blocks for them. Eventhough I would have liked to see them select an impact pass rusher or pass catcher, I think Mckenzie adressed other key positions. Hayden and Moore seem like they can be two potential impact players from the get-go, While Watson and Wilson seem like to players with very high ceilings. Overall the Raiders did a good job of adding competition to their roster by selecting players at good value positions. However, their real abilities will not be confirmed until they are in pads and on the field on Sundays.