2012 Oakland Raiders: Potential Position Changes
Finally, some common sense has found the Oakland Raiders.
God Love Al Davis RIP, but Big Reg is doing for the Raiders what Obama should have done for our Country, which is making sound financial decisions, cutting excess and overpriced assets, and bringing about "Real" change to the nation.
Gotta love it!
This may be a bit premature, but I will take a look at some potential position changes for some key players in 2012.
Hopefully this will quiet some of those Doomsdayers out there in Raider Nation.
"Reggie is cutting, but he aint Signing!"; "How are we gonna fill all the roles, of the players we cut?"; and "We need to Sign Peyton Manning!"
Are you serious?
Raider Nation, we need to learn from our past, to correct our future.
2012 is going to be a surprising year for the Raiders, so it's time to stop worrying about winning the mediocre AFC West and it's time to truly commit to excellence.
I digress...on with the show!
Tyvone Branch: Strong Safety to Free Safety
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The Tag, my man T Branch.
I am really looking forward to seeing him operate in DA's defensive scheme. Would love to see him reach his full potential.
He has great speed to cover the entire field. He is a good tackler and seems to show leadership.
His instincts for position might be lacking, he's not very fluid in coverage—speaking of which...the coverage skills aren't all there...yet. Also, he can over pursue in run support.
You say "wait he has more bad than good." True, but with Branch it's about potential, and I truly believe the sky is the limit with this guy. Pro Bowl, National Recognition, Face of a Defense....Time will tell.
Stefen Wisniewski: Left Guard to Center
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Wiz was lights out at left guard last season. So why the position change?
Well, because he was lights out at center last season too, this kid could run back kicks and make a splash. OK, maybe not, but you get the idea...Wiz could do no wrong.
The "Bloodline" was as solid of a Rookie O-Lineman as possible. Day One was lift off, and he had a true edge, having to hear his uncle's critiques every week.
Where to start? He's professional, a quick learner, mean streak...I'll leave out the technical stuff because I don't want to nit pick. But Wiz is a potential 10-year anchor of the O-Line.
I was skeptical of Wiz coming out of college. Oakland ran a power scheme, and I didn't think he fit. He possibly lacked overall strength. But with the switch to the ZBS, it's time to maximize his potential.
The Satele experiment is hopefully gone this season. Time to anchor Wiz at center, and build around him.
Lamar Houston: Defensive End to Defensive Tackle
What a wasted year 2011 was for Mr. Houston.
I understood placing Houston at D-Ends—with TK and Big Sey in the middle—but I was never happy about it.
This kid is NOT a 4-3 end, and needs to take over in the middle.
He has exceptional quickness for a man his size, mean streak and adequate strength.
He lacks true pass rushing technique and instincts, but where's the playmaker? He can be undisciplined.
It appears both Tommy Kelly and Big Rich are coming back...but they're not getting any younger. It's time to rotate this kid in, and get him some serious playing time at the three-technique. He reminds me of young Warren Sapp. Yes, I said it.
Marcel Reece: Fullback to Tight End
One surprising move under the McKenzie regime was the release of Kevin Boss. At least it caught me by surprise.
Maybe they thought he was just too expensive for his role. But a solid TE is needed in the West Coast scheme.
So, where do they go from here?
I know Al was trying to revolutionize the fullback position with Marcel Reece, but does a ZBS allow this?
He's the X factor! The dude is a former WO and has become a solid pass-blocker. Oh, and by the way, with the ball in his hand, has the potential to take it to the house: He's a solid size at 6'3", 240-lbs.
Can he handle the D-Ends on the outside? Raiders experimented with him at TE before, and choose to play him at FB. Was that because we had Zach Miller? Who knows.
Hey if not, there is always Ausberry and Meyers.
Mike Mitchell: Backup to Strong Safety
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It is now or never time for Mike Mitchell. I call him the Great Enigma. Who is this guy?
Is he gonna bring back the hard hitting attitude and provide a fear factor for the Raiders secondary? Or is he just gonna be a situational guy, brought in for his average coverage of TEs?
Well, I think he is a hard hitter and solid tackler. To be honest, I haven't seen too much of it. As I said, he does cover TEs half decently.
His instincts need to develop and he needs to become a force against the run. He's a second-round pick and a career backup.
Man, I am praying M&M gets some starter minutes, so we can at least fully evaluate him at SS. Well see, but a second rounder at least deserves a chance.
Michael Huff: Free Safety to Cornerback
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This has been rumored forever...forever....forever...and hey, it might actually happen this year.
Can Huff even make the transition? He did sub in as a nickel corner and supposedly did a decent job.
Huff is so hit or miss that a move to corner might solidify the Raiders at that position and allow some younger players time to shine.
He played CB in college, has experience at nickel and has all the physical tools necessary.
Uh...Jaguar game from 2010. Where's the INTs? I just don't know if he has the instincts or ball skills. Also, his technique might be spotty after so many years at FS.
Once again, I would love to see this happen for at least a chance at evaluation. Huff is not consistent enough at the Free Safety position. A move to corner would at least add depth.