Oakland Raiders: A Look at the Training Camp Battles
Training camp is almost here Raider and NFL fans. It's the place where positions are set and jobs are won. Some competitions last longer than others, and some even happen twice in a row. Some are surprising and won't be listed here. Some are barely even competitions.
Either way, everyone will certainly get a fair shot to win their job.
Let the best man win...training camp starts July 28.
Third String QB: Kyle Boller vs. Charlie Frye
Tale of the tape: Boller has been a major disappointment every year in the league. He performed very poorly for the Rams last season, and didn't get close to winning one game for them, then he got injured. Frye did a better job for the Raiders, but still did not win for the Raiders. Even former QB JaMarcus Russell went out and won the Denver game after he got a concussion.
Who wins: Frye. Even though new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson has worked with Boller in Baltimore, the Raiders seem to like Frye more. He has great leadership, and is fairly capable for a number three quarterback.
Starting RB: Darren McFadden vs. Michael Bush
Tale of the tape: Bush and McFadden have two different running styles. Bush is the pounder and McFadden is the slasher. Bush has been proven to be a better overall back. The former number four overall pick has been a disappointment. He's gone down way too easily and spends way too much time in the trainer's room.
Who wins: Bush. I think he''ll start, but McFadden will get his chance to prove himself also. Although, Cable may feel some pressure from Al to start McFadden. This is almost irrelevant if both of them will get a similar amount of carries.
Third String RB: Rock Cartwright vs. Michael Bennett
Tale of the tape: Conventional wisdom says the Raiders won't carry four backs this season, which happened in 2009. Bennett and Cartwright are similar players. Both are physical runners and help out on special teams.
Who wins: Cartwright. I think he'll get the nod, mainly because of his familiarity with Jason Campbell.
Fourth and Fifth WR: JLH vs. Jacoby Ford vs. Todd Watkins
Tale of the tape: Johnnie Lee Higgins had a really tough season in 2009. His punt returning was awful, his route running was awful, everything just went wrong. Ford was drafted in the fourth round in this year's draft. He's the speediest of the WRs on the roster. Watkins probably has the least amount of chance to win this. He played okay and made catches when his number was called. I would rather have JLH.
Who wins: Jacoby Ford and JLH. We know for a fact Ford won't be cut, but its always possible that JLH is. And if this scenario does happen, Watkins will be cut.
LT: Mario Henderson vs. Jared Veldheer
Tale of the tape: Henderson definitely has the upper edge in this one. He's capable, but at times things imploded for him last season. His run blocking wasn't terrible, and he certainly was not helped for having to block the statue Russell. Veldheer is somewhat raw, but very capable. He's similar to last season rookie sensation Sebastian Vollmer of the Patriots.
Who wins: Henderson. Veldheer will push Henderson a little bit. Ultimately, Veldheer is too raw and Henderson does have the experience.
C: Samson Satele vs. Chris Morris
Tale of the tape: This was the competition from last year's camp. Morris ultimately won the job. He was very mediocre, at best, but he's not a starter. He's a capable backup. Satele leaves much to be desired. It's been noted from several sources that he struggles with nose tackles.
Who wins: Satele. This time will be different. Satele was humbled last year and improved some towards the end of the season. Watch out for Oakland signing Kevin Mawae, however.
DE: Matt Shaughnessy vs. Lamarr Houston
Tale of the tape: Shaughnessy is a guy that does many things well, but nothing extraordinary. He had around five sacks in his rookie season. Houston was drafted in the second round in the draft. He's a very talented guy who has a high motor. He was a running back in high school, so you know he's fast and aggressive.
Who wins: Houston. Shaugnessy is a very nice player, and he'll receive a great amount of playing time also. But Houston has more potential at the position.
WLB: Trevor Scott vs. Thomas Howard
Tale of the tape: The Raiders really want Scott to win the job. The only reason he loses this is if he falters in training camp. Scott is absolutely wonderful at rushing the passer, but he is a converted defensive end, so his pass defense skills are not close to being great. Howard is the exact opposite. He excels at defending the pass, but is pitiful against the run.
Who wins: Scott. This shouldn't be that close, unless the Raiders look like they want to make it a competition.
FS: Hiram Eugene vs. Michael Huff
Tale of the tape: Eugene is the more sure tackler, while Huff has improved more in his playmaking ability. He started the season off well, but was silent for pretty much ever game after week four.
Who wins: Eugene. While the Raiders would like the former first round pick to win the job, it's probably better he only comes in during passing downs. Both will get their fair share of playing time.
Nickel Corner: Stanford Routt vs. Walter McFadden
Tale of the tape: Routt is a travesty of a corner. My God, don't all of us hope that we have to see him playing a part of this team. W. McFadden has been getting torched in OTAs himself. I have a feeling this job may go to the one that sucks the least.
Who wins: Routt. If an owner can give Routt a 3.1 million dollar tender, then they can certainly have him play nickel again.
KR and PR: Jacoby Ford vs. Yamon Figurs vs. JLH vs. Nick Miller
Tale of the tape: Ford has kick returning experience and will likely win the job because of his immense speed. Figurs, a former third round pick, will also compete. JLH "returned" punts last season, but is capable of returning kicks also. Miller, who broke his ankle in 2009, has got to win this job or will certainly be cut.
Who wins: Kick Returning: Ford
Punt Returning: JLH