Oakland Raiders: If Nnamdi Asomugha Leaves, Then What?
A day into the furry of NFL activity since the lockout officially ended, the chance of Oakland resigning their defensive star Nnamdi Asomugha seems a distant hope.
Asomugha seems intent on signing with a Super Bowl contender according to sources, which will be a blow to not only the team, but to Raider Nation in general.
So if he does indeed depart, what will be the Raiders' plans for the rest of the offseason and into the regular season?
Run with Routt
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Nnamdi has been the glue that holds the defense together, and without him, the team will be very thin in the secondary.
Luckily, Al Davis locked in the team's number-two corner in Stanford Routt. Though I have never been sold on Routt's ability to play man-to-man consistently, he will have to do even if Nnamdi isn't there to pick up his mess.
Routt has always shown promise, but often collapses when the pressure is on him to succeed, and that will be his demise when lined up against top receivers.
A lot of people will argue that he was indeed lined up against top talent because Nnamdi didn't move around much, but that is self-defeating because every time opposing teams did that (rotated their top receiver to Routt), they always seemed to come up with big gains or touchdowns.]
The front office put themselves in this position but, for now, they will have to deal with it (if Nnamdi doesn't return that is).
Focus on the O-Line in Free Agency
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Not having to pay the ridiculous amount of money that they would have to retain Asomugha will go a long way in filling other needs during this chaotic free agency period.
There are plenty of ways that the Raiders can spend their money, but one area that they need to focus on (not surprisingly) is the offensive line.
With the $15-or-so million they would have spent on Asomugha, they can be in the running for multiple top free agents along the offensive line.
The team's top targets should be OT Jared Gaither and OG Harvey Dahl.
Getting one of these players would go a long way for this team, and getting both could potentially set their offensive line up for the next decade.
My pick, if you have to pick between the two, is Harvey Dahl, mainly because of his attitude and dominant ability to block in the running game, thus making our spectacular running game even better.
If they could land both of these players, if would be a dream offseason (except for loosing Asomugha of course).
Lock Up Zach Miller
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This should have been the Raiders' first plan of action at the beginning of this hurricane and, to the best of our knowledge, it has been.
But now the team has a lot of extra money to spend and it should be a no brainer to lock up the best young tight end in the league (not to mention out biggest receiving threat).
Miller is the perfect complementary player to Oakland's receiving squad, who can burn and secondary for a deep bomb. Miller is the best option the Raiders will have if Asomugha bails, and they should focus on getting him back to Alameda.
Mold Those Rookies
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The Raiders picked up a couple of really talented corners in April's draft, and if Nnamdi leaves they will need to hurry the development of them both.
DeMarcus Van Dyke and Chimdi Chekwa both have the talent needed to succeed at this level, but will need solid coaching from Rod Woodson and co. to develop their technique and what not.
The Raiders' secondary has plenty of young players, and the addition of these players makes them one of the young in the league (if Asomugha leaves that it).
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The Silver and Black will miss Asomugha is he is no longer playing in Oakland this season, but with the pieces they have in place, they should be able to get through it.
It will be tough with the adjustment as Routt as the leader of the secondary, but the rest of the defense is good enough to hold them up if they falter (which is likely).
The have a chance if he leaves to spend a lot of money on a lot of other thin positions, which will help out the team overall in not only this season, but many season after.
Nnamdi will be missed, but the Raiders should be able to cope and continue their turnaround in 2011. So smile Raider fans, no matter what, we'll be okay.