This time of year if your an Oakland Raider fan there seems to be a lot of things to be concerned about. But on the other hand there also is a lot of things to be hopeful for. Here's a list of things we should watch for coming into the season.
Hes been called a huge mistake, a free agent bust and a flat out waste of time and money. But this offseason things seem to be looking up for him. In workouts with the training staff he looks good its been said by observers that; he has great acceleration and catches the ball at the highest point possible.
He seems to catch everything thrown to him and is looking to be a great target for JaMarcus. Some even say he is faster and in better shape than ever possibly in the prime of his career, believers of all the good Walker news may even predict him as the comeback player of the year.
But personally I am still skeptical of him and not about to put all my eggs in Javon's basket. It is just camp and he hasn't even gone up against a real defense yet. Lets wait to see Walker put on some pads before we declare him back to good form.
He recently underwent an emergency appendectomy after recording a 104 degree fever. He is expected miss two weeks of practice and be eased back into the lineup.
This is an area of concern because he may miss valuable practice time and could possibly struggle early on in the season.
On the other hand it may develop some depth allowing other guards like Paul McQuistin and Marcus Johnson more snaps. Also Gallery's appendicitis may be a cover for another condition as appendectomies are not usually necessary and are often done along with another surgery.
Well I am a big McQuistan fan but things are not looking to promising for him. At least not they way Desmond Bryant has been handling him.
The battle between DT Desmond Bryant and Paul Mcquistan is not going to well for McQuistan who has been man-handled, beaten like a drum, and dominated. I will even go as far as to say Desmond Bryant has been beating Paul Mcquistion like a redheaded step child.
An undrafted rookie DE/DT tweener out of Harvard he is not only smart but very athletic at 6'6'' 288 he ran a 4.9 40. Obviously from what you read above this guy is showing a lot of promise. But one question you should ask yourself is. Is Desmond Bryant really that good or is Mcquistan really that bad, or is it a combination of the two?
Well things are definitely looking questionable for him as it is seeming more and more unlikely he will beat Henderson for the starting left tackle job. Tom Cable was asked if he'd consider moving the loser of the left tackle position to right tackle. Cable replied "definitely I want to have the best players on the field."
When Barnes was asked about playing right tackle he seemed unsure saying he hasn't done that since college. He also claimed he was very comfortable in the left tackle stance. On a plus note Barnes is not ready to concede defeat in the battle for left tackle.
On a side note Tom Cable wants the O-line starting line-up to be set by Sunday.
Last preseason he suffered a possible career threatening injury in a ACL and LCL tear. But guess what? He is back in camp. He moves well especially for a fullback and despite the fact that its a near miracle he is still able to walk he has no visible limp.
A healthy Oren O'neal splitting time with veteran Lorenzo Neal will mean a lot for the Raiders running game
Well there are mixed reports. He is said to be great on crossing-routes but struggles on some of the deeper routes many believe he was brought in to run. Most recently in practice he allowed a total of three balls to hit the turf in one practice.
But hey, on the bright side unlike a few other rookie receivers at least he is at practice and signed to a contract.
His future as a Raider is still up in the air. He has been absent from practices and is holding-out for a bigger contract after three years of crying about his contract.
Also a rumor has risen the Raiders and the Patriots are at a stalemate in trade negotiations, the current rumor states the Patriots are offering a third and a fourth rounder for the former sack master but the Raiders want more while the Patriots aren't budging.
Special teams returners
During returns this year it may likely be Miller time, I'm not just referring to Justin but also Nick Miller, a rookie WR out of Southern Utah, who has been doing work on punt return. He is a likely replacement for Johnnie Lee Higgins, who many believe will be focusing on playing WR this year.
Already proclaimed a bust by many pundits and even quite a few Raider fans. Reports on him this offseason are pretty inconclusive as there have been mixed reviews. It's been said he seems always a step behind in coverage and often looks confused reading plays.
But contrary to some other reports have him flying around the field looking solid in coverage especially in man. To further credit him Nnamdi Asomugha is on record predicting a breakout year for Huff who has seen a good deal of snaps with the 1st team a FS.
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