Silver and Slack: A Nation of Overrated and Underrated Oakland Raiders
As an Oakland Raider fan, it is no secret that a media bias leaves many Raiders overlooked and underrated.
On the other hand, many of us as fans have our own bias and tend to overhype and overrate some of our favorite team's players.
Here's a look at the Raiders I think are overrated or underrated.
Johnnie Lee Higgins = Underrated
Last year, Higgins led all special teams returners in TDs, putting up huge numbers. He even had 22 receptions and a few big offensive TDs.
Despite the fact that he made sure everyone knew every time he reached the end zone with his flashy celebration, Pro Bowl voters still managed to overlook him.
Robert Gallery = Overrated
Though many fans praise him as a "Pro Bowl-quality" guard, he is not. I won't argue that he isn't above average, but by no means is he a Pro Bowler. He was drafted as a first round left tackle and failed.
Fortunately, he has developed into a pretty good guard and isn't a complete draft bust.
Tommy Kelly = Underrated
Sure, he takes heat for the Raiders' run defense woes and the massive contract he signed last offseason. But he is not to blame, and he recently renegotiated that contract to save some cap space.
Despite constant double teams and subpar play by the man next to him, statistically, based on tackles and sacks, he is a top-five DT. The Raiders just need to find him a partner in crime to help jam up the middle.
And yes, that is new Raiders QB Jeff Garcia he is about to crush.
Thomas Howard = Underrated
For a linebacker, this guy can fly. Even at his size—6'3", 240 lbs.—he is able to run step-for-step with most of the league's receivers. He is awesome in coverage and possibly the best tackler on the team.
I will even go so far as to say he is the Raiders' second-best defender behind Nnamdi Asomugha.
Samson Satele = Overrated
Sure, it may be early, but this guy struggled in his Raider debut. He was beat allowing a player to run by him for a sack, and he had a key penalty called on him for tripping.
Is he really an improvement over Jake Grove? That's still to be seen. But on the plus side, he is cheaper, and a healthy Samson Satele will always be an improvement over an injured Grove.
Also, though Satele struggled to hold his ground, he also showed skilled downfield blocking, including a key block to spring Darren McFadden for 40-plus yards.
Chris Johnson = Underrated
Who? You mean the Titans running back?
That would be the likely response of any non-Raider fan.
Last year, he stepped up in place of the often beat DeAngelo Hall and shined late in the season. With the best shutdown corner in the league playing opposite him, teams will pick on this guy, and trust me, he is up to the task.
Kirk Morrison = Overrated
Great in coverage, this linebacker not only led the team in tackles last year but was also fifth in the league.
So how can he be overrated?
Well, because many fans are unable to see past his flaws.
In the past, he hasn't attacked the line of scrimmage and has made too many of his plays downfield. He has trouble shedding blocks and often over-pursues. He even occasionally whiffs on tackles, as shown in this slide.
To make matters worse, the Raiders may be attempting to replace him with Ricky Brown, who is seeing reps with the first team.
Jeff Garcia = Overrated
Sure, he's been to the Pro Bowl and was once a good QB...yeah, when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Lately, his numbers have had a significant drop-off, and he is often injured.
Also, he has recently missed a lot of practice due to injury and personal "distractions" at home. Then again, can you blame him? Have you seen his wife, Carmella DeCesare (Playboy Playmate of the Year 2004)?
Daaaaaammmmnnn!!!!!! That more than makes up for being sacked by a Detroit Lion.
Justin Fargas = Underrated
I don't care what anybody says—like he has horrible vision, he can't shake defenders, or he runs straight into O-linemen and defenders. Whatever.
This guy is the heart and soul of the Raiders offense, always giving 110 percent and leaving it all on the field. Last year, he rushed for over 850 yards, the year before that over 1,000, and both years he was the "Commitment to Excellence Award" winner. That says a lot.
Darren McFadden = Overrated
I do not speak for everyone, as a lot of fans rate him in a reasonable manner. I am speaking of the fans who say things like, "Just give him the ball and we will win," "He should be on the field every play," or any fan expecting to pick him up in the first round of their fantasy league.
No doubt, he is a very dangerous and versatile back, but all I am saying is this guy is not Superman.
Jay Richardson = Underrated
Jay Richardson is the Raiders' former starter at DE and has been a lone strong point in the run D, always holding his ground.
As of right now, second-year player Trevor Scott is a fan favorite to start the position based on his pass-rush skills.
But did anyone see Richardson Thursday night? He was all over the place, harassing Dallas QBs and always around the ball. It would seem he has finally developed pass-rush skills. It is going to be a real battle for that defensive end spot.