I wrote an article back in early August speaking of the above mentioned players.
Now both have been lost for the year due to injury.
As a coach, player and fan we want to see a player play his guts out and leave it all on the field every practice and game. I hope others recognize that the versatile players that play fullback for the Raiders have done just that.
Playing a position where your time is split between power running and lead blocking as well as blocking for the quarterback in the passing game.
Oren O’Neal was injured playing on Special Teams in an exhibition game; and Justin Griffith tore his ACL in his right knee scoring the team’s only touchdown against the vaunted Baltimore Ravens defense while taking a serious hit from Ray Lewis.
The only good news in the above mentioned statement regarding the losses is that both players should be back on the field in 2009. The Oren O’Neal injury was once thought to be career-ending and the bright spot is that he will recover from it and resume his career.
It is a known fact that the traditional fullback is a dying breed.
There are two types of fullbacks in the NFL today – the blow-up lead blocker who destroys anything in his way (think of former Charger FB Lorenzo Neal), and the athletic, do-it-all “West Coast” fullback ( think of former 49er and current Raiders running back coach Tom Rathman).
The team has acquired two players in an attempt to fill the void. The roster replacements are Luke Lawton and the newly signed Jason Davis.
Jason Davis (5’ 10” 245lbs.) was signed off of the Bear’s practice squad he is an undrafted player from 2006 that has yet to play an NFL game.
There were only three fullbacks selected in the 2006 draft with the first one being David Kirtman who was drafted by the Seahawks in the fifth round.
In his senior year at Illinois the team, in Ron Zook’s first year, went to a wide-open shotgun attack offense that Davis struggled with. He is however known for having good hands. This has the potential to open up screen passes or a check down route in the flats.
He is a guy getting an opportunity for playing time due to injury and should be highly motivated player, which is always nice to add to a team.