The Oakland Raiders' 9 Most Frustrating Players on the Roster

Christopher HansenNFL AnalystMay 30, 2012

The Oakland Raiders' 9 Most Frustrating Players on the Roster

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    Nearly every team has players that will frustrate the fans. Whether that is a draft pick that doesn't perform or a starter that can't stay healthy or a backup that is supposed to become a starter, there are frustrating players on every team.

    Typically the frustration comes from a production issue, either volume or quality. Sometimes it is the consistency of the work that causes the frustration.

    Frustration usually fades quickly when there is resolution to the main problem. The player could answer his critics with a good season or the player could be released by the team and the fans will slowly start to get over their frustration.

    The frustration is almost always derived from the fans wanting the players to perform. So players on this list will typically be poor performers in one sense or another.

Carson Palmer

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    The Raiders traded a lot to acquire Carson Palmer and now they are stuck with him for the foreseeable future. Palmer has the fact that the Raiders haven't had an above-average quarterback in years going for him, but he still drives fans crazy.

    Carson Palmer was intercepted 16 times in 2011—13 if you discount his first game action after coming to the team.

    At least half of Palmer's interceptions were of the "what were you thinking" variety. Palmer has the raw talent and playbook understanding to be an elite quarterback, but he makes far too many mental mistakes and has far too many mental lapses.

    Palmer can correct many of his errors by throwing the ball away when there isn't an open receiver and checking down instead of forcing the ball to an outside receiver.

Darren McFadden

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    There isn't a fantasy football player in the universe that doesn't know how frustrating it can be to own Darren McFadden.

    McFadden can't stay healthy and hasn't played a full season in his career. McFadden's most complete year was 2010, when he started 13 games and had he played all 16 games would have been on pace for over 2,000 yards from scrimmage.

    McFadden has produced 5.3 yards per carry over the past two seasons and he's a weapon in the passing game as well.

    The only frustration with McFadden is his durability. If he wasn't such a valuable player, his injury history wouldn't be as frustrating as it has been.

    There is no simple way to avoid the injuries, but the Raiders could try to lighten his workload to reduce some of the wear and tear by using Mike Goodson and Taiwan Jones more in 2012.

Marcel Reece

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    Marcel Reece is a unique and versatile fullback, but he's also an exclusive-rights free agent that hasn't showed up to any of the voluntary offseason workouts.

    According to Paul Gutierrez of Comcast Sports Net Bay Area, Dennis Allen said that Reece needs to get caught up with what the Raiders are doing.

    Reece doesn't have much leverage because he plays the dying position of fullback and he is an exclusive rights-free agent. The Raiders are under no obligation to give Reece a long-term extension.

    Exclusive-rights free agents can't sign with any team other than the one that extended the qualifying offer, according to That means Reece is really not free at all and he can only sign with the Raiders.

    It's the business side of the NFL, but it's also frustrating to the fans when Reece will gain little to nothing from not showing up. It's a voluntary workout, but given the new regime and new offense in Oakland, it would be nice to see Reece there learning and becoming an integral part of the offense once again.

    Good things tended to happen when Reece got the ball in 2011 and for that to continue in 2012 he needs to practice with his teammates. It's frustrating, but don't worry unless Reece starts to miss mandatory training camps.

Khalif Barnes

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    Khalif Barnes signed with the Raiders prior to the 2009 season to compete at left tackle, but a broken ankle sustained during training camp ended his chances to compete for the job.

    The 2010 season was more forgiving to Barnes, as he became a short-yardage blocking tight end. He found a role and it worked. In 2011, Barnes was tabbed to be the Raiders' starting right tackle after the team did not retain Langston Walker.

    Barnes did not perform in the run game and had too many penalties, but was an adequate pass-blocker. The popular stat site listed Barnes as the worst player on the Raiders offensive line.

    The Raiders are hoping a shift to the zone-blocking scheme and renewed focus on discipline will help Barnes in 2012.

    What if the Raiders had signed Jared Gaither instead of Khalif Barnes last offseason?

Joseph Barksdale

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    The Raiders signed Mike Brisiel, re-signed Khalif Barnes and Cooper Carlisle and drafted Tony Bergstrom this offseason to solidify the offensive line. If Joseph Barksdale was close to becoming a starter at guard or tackle, the Raiders' actions sure didn't show it.

    Barksdale is now projected to be a backup right tackle and fans are wondering what kind of player they are going to get in year two.

    There is fear growing that Barksdale may never be a starter and that even the zone-blocking system might not suit him.

    The Raiders have a lot of young linemen that fit the zone-blocking scheme and one or more should put pressure on Barksdale in training camp.

Cooper Carlisle

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    The Raiders released Copper Carlisle in March and signed former Houston Texans' right guard Mike Brisiel to take his place, only to eventually re-sign Carlisle to play left guard.

    Given the shuffling of the offensive line, it's obvious that the Raiders aren't sold on Carlisle.

    According to, Carlisle is running with the first team. The Raiders didn't spend their highest draft pick on offensive guard Tony Bergstrom to see him sit on the bench. Bergstrom should push Carlisle for the starting job in training camp.

    When Carlisle first came to the Raiders in 2007, he was a zone-blocking lineman and helped the Raiders solidify a weak group. Carlisle's skills have diminished to the point that he isn't very good run- or pass-blocking, according to

    His familiarity with the scheme will help him stick, but the younger Bergstrom should be able to get the best of him.

    The Raiders might finally be able to put the frustrations with Carlisle's play to bed with Brisiel and Bergstrom aboard.

Mike Mitchell

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    The Raiders drafted Mike Mitchell in the second round of the 2009 NFL draft. It may have been the surprise of the draft, but Mitchell hasn't surprised anyone in the NFL.

    Mitchell still isn't starting and has been on the depth chart behind Tyvon Branch—now the Raiders' franchise player—for his entire career.

    Mitchell has been used in sub packages and been able to shut down a good tight end or two, but usually a second-round pick like Mitchell would be a starter by now.

    When Michael Huff was forced to play cornerback last season, it was Matt Giordano that came in as the free safety and not Mitchell or some combination of Mitchell and Branch.

    Fans want Mitchell to take the next step, but he's just as likely to sink as he is to swim in 2012.

Rolando McClain

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    What can be said that hasn't already been said about Rolando McClain? McClain has simply not lived up to his draft status.

    McClain has had issues with hustle, angles, gap reads, stacking and shedding and fundamental tackling and the law during his time with the Raiders.

    Some of that can be blamed on the coaching staff, scheme and injuries, but McClain had to take some responsibility for not making the team better.

    It's frustrating because McClain isn't a lazy player off the field and he's physical—everything you could want in a middle linebacker.

    In an interview with the media after practice on Tuesday, Dennis Allen praised McClain for being smart and already being ahead in the playbook despite missing time to tend to legal issues.

    If McClain finally puts it together, he could be a force in the middle of the Raiders defense.

Michael Huff

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    Michael Huff enters his seventh frustrating season with the Raiders in 2012.

    Huff played strong safety for his first two seasons and although he was solid in coverage his run support was below average.

    In 2008 Huff moved to the more natural free safety position, but was benched in favor or Hiram Eugene after five games.

    Huff would regain his starting spot and had a solid year in 2009, but had his best season in 2010 when he was named second-team All-Pro.

    2011 was a disaster for Huff. He was forced to play more cornerback and wasn't as successful as he would have been at free safety. Huff also had an injury that forced him to miss games for the first time.

    It's almost impossible to know which Huff the 2012 Raiders are going to get, because he's had six frustrating and inconsistent seasons thus far.