“Today’s Quick Hitter: The One Glaring Hole in the Raiders That Still Has To be Filled To Win Again”

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“Today’s Quick Hitter:  The One Glaring Hole in the Raiders That Still Has to be Filled to Win Again”

This is going to be a short but sweet hit today.   Last year the Raiders were next to last in quarterback sacks. They don’t need one, but two pass rushers. So far they have not signed one pass rusher. This HAS to be a priority and it hasn’t been so far.

In today’s passing rules which makes playing defense so difficult, the key to winning is a pass rush. You have to be able to rush the passer with 4 players, to allow for the 7 others to be able to defend the pass.

When the Patriots started to stop the pass rush of the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl, Tom Brady started to pick apart the best defensive backfield in the NFL. Brady threw for over 300 yards including the final Patriots drive which ended in a touchdown. If you don’t have a pass rush in today’s NFL, there is no way your defensive backs are going to cover for long with the ridiculous rules protecting wide receivers.

The Raiders need not one, but 2 new pass rushers.   They need to add one in free agency and then add one in the draft.

If the Raiders DO NOT improve this part of their defense, they will struggle again. Dan Williams is a stud run stopper and is a great signing but you have to rush the passer to win in the NFL today.

Time will tell what the Raiders will do, but this is a hole that has to be filled.

Who Do They Sign?:

Right now the pickings are slim. Greg Hardy would be an amazing piece of the puzzle.   Brian Orakpo may also be a good signing but due to health issues, the chances of him playing in 16 games is slim and none and none is leaving the building. Nick Fairley is a great talent but he’s inconsistent, looking like a world beater one minute and non existent the next.  No player is perfect though and the Raiders need to pull the trigger on one of them.

The Raiders pass rush should be the ultimate priority with #1 WR also in the mix. It’s no time to panic but this is a glaring weakness that if fixed in free agency or the draft, will be key to the success of the Oakland Raiders.

 

Grading an Excellent Free Agency For the Oakland Raiders & the 1 Move that can Immediately Make Them a Playoff Contender:

curtis lofton

Excellent Grades for the Oakland Raiders in Free Agency & the 1 Move That Can Immediately Make Them a Playoff Contender:

Smile…….finally.

Much to the dismay of many Raider fans over the years, I don’t write like a homer; I’m real. I’m honest and I don’t over hype things which is done by 99% of Oakland Raider writers. I tell it like it is and in today’s world, that can be a turn off. That being said, when I say you need to be encouraged to be a Raider fan, you need to smile widely and give someone a high five.

In the twitterverse, many NFL fans grumbled when they admitted that I was right about most of the hot free agents not signing with their teams, especially Oakland Raider fans. Many want the sexy moves, but in reality things have slowly improved.  I also told them that there are many solid players still available that can be difference makers who don’t get all the publicity.

Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie has learned his lesson. Last year he waited way too long to sign players and in the end he literally gave money away to players that had little chance of helping the Raiders.   This year he was more aggressive.  He’s also going for youth, signing young players in the prime of their careers who can help the Raiders right now and in the future.  It takes character to admit and learn from mistakes.

Ron Wolf was a master at building teams and he taught Reggie McKenzie. No way is Reggie a hall of famer like Ron Wolf right now, but even with the hot free agents not signing with the Raiders, they have made great strides in the last 2 days at helping this team. Let’s look at the signings and then at the one move the Raiders can do to really start thinking about playoffs. Wow, did I just say that? Playoffs??? Yes I did.   Where is Jim Mora when you need him.   Let’s break down the signings so far.

Curtis Lofton, LB, New Orleans Saints

GRADE: A +

WOW; I LOVE this signing. Good attitude, toughness and talent. Want to know how good he is? Khalil Mack had 76 tackles last year and some Raider fans were losing their minds over him. Lofton had almost double that with 144 tackles last year. If you don’t know, now you know. This guy is good.

He’s a run stopping machine who has never missed a game since being drafted in 2008 and has been one of the top NFL tacklers since 2009. It’s no coincidence that when he left Atlanta, their defense started to go to pot. He’s still only 28.

Think of a little shorter Harry Carson from New York Giants lore. With Dan Williams and Lofton in the game, don’t expect much running up the middle.

Dan Williams DT, Arizona Cardinals:

GRADE: A

When Ron Wolf left the Raiders to eventually go to the Green Bay Packers, so did the philosophy of having a top defensive line in Oakland. So also went the fortunes of the Oakland Raiders.   Fast cornerbacks don’t build a defense; a good defensive line does. The signing of Dan Williams hopefully has the Raiders going back to what made them good; a defensive line that can rush the passer and stop the run.

It was reported this morning that the Raiders had signed Dan Williams. He is a stud run stopper who helped the Cardinals become an excellent football team. Their defensive line carried this team even when they lost key offensive starters and were down to their 3rd string quarterback.

Dan Williams is a HUGE non sexy signing. The average fan looks at sacks, hype and reputation, but hard core fans know this is a great addition. The Raiders DL last year couldn’t rush the passer or stop the run.   Unless that changes, nothing changes.   This helps a lot.

Roy Helu RB, Washington Redskins:

GRADE: B

This is a solid signing. Helu isn’t an every down back but he’s an excellent pass catcher and third down back.   I think the Raiders do not see Latavius Murray as an every down back so this is a nice addition to the offense.   He averaged more yards in third down situations when he touched the ball than any other player in the NFL.

Malcolm Smith LB, Seattle Seahawks:

Grade: C+

For the money they spent on him, I personally didn’t get this one unless they are going to make him a situational player. With the signing of Lofton, I could see Lofton playing on first and second down and Malcolm Smith playing more on passing downs.

When the Seahawks were healthy he was a backup who struggled against the run but was excellent in pass coverage.

In the famous playoff game against Green Bay last year he barely played and in reality he only played in 28% of the defensive plays for Seattle in 2014.   He’s fast and has great instinct against the pass but Seattle never considered him an every down linebacker.   He will get his chance now to play more and time will tell. A former Super Bowl MVP in 2013 (insert Larry Brown jokes here) who will get his chance to prove he’s an every down player.

Rodney Hudson C, Kansas City Chiefs:

Grade: A-

Wow; 9 million a year for a center? Well that’s what the Raiders paid for Hudson who is considered a very good NFL center.   When you are not a good team sometimes you have to overpay.  Hudson is equally good in pass protection and in the run game.

He’s young and physical and is an expensive signing but the good news is he’s a solid NFL football player who will help the offensive line. Steve Wisniewski is a better guard than center and this is an upgrade. Gabe Jackson is all that and a bag of chips so the left side of the Raiders line looks very solid.

Lee Smith, TE, Buffalo Bills

GRADE: C

He’s a one dimensional run blocking tight end. If he’s in the game you are going to run the ball. That sounds pretty predictable. In 56 starts he has only 20 catches. After watching the Raiders run on first down all the time with no audibles or imagination on offense last year, you’d think they’d sign a veteran that at least can catch the ball more. Not the worst signing though but they could have done better.

What Does All This Mean and What Needs To Be Done Next?

What it means is that the Raiders are going to be a better football team.   A .500 season is very realistic and anything above that would be whip cream on top.

What it also means is that the Raiders are almost for sure picking a WR with their first pick of the NFL draft. Most have Alabama’s Amari Cooper going to the Raiders and that is a probability.

I LOVE Sammy Watkins but I like Cooper. He had massive numbers in a conference with the best college defensive backs (and a shaky throwing quarterback), and I like him over Kevin White; the wide receiver from West Virginia.  White played in the Big 12 where defense is non-existent.

There is a very long list of failed Big 12 wide receivers with big numbers in spread offenses with failed NFL careers which scares me, so I’m not a White fan. Jaelen Strong has NFL written all over him. The big and physical wide out was a stud at Arizona St. and I like him as well.

Let’s face it, the “crack” of the Oakland Raiders is defensive backs with fast 40 yard dash times so expect another one to be chosen in the first 3 rounds for the Raiders. Even when they have huge holes elsewhere they have a 13 year history of drafting defensive backs that fail in the NFL. With every good defensive back they pick, there are several bad ones.   Some like redheads; the Raiders like defensive backs with fast 40 times in the NFL combines.

In the first 3 picks though, expect a defensive lineman to be picked as well.   With another defensive lineman the Raiders can have a 5 man rotation which should work well against pass happy teams like Denver and San Diego.

The Player That Can Immediately Make Them a Playoff Contender:

This isn’t a shocker; it’s Greg Hardy. With all the drama surrounding him, he won’t be as expensive as before but he’ll command a lot of money.   Forget Demarco Murray; forget all the other players; Greg Hardy is the one force that can transform the new Raiders into a possible playoff team immediately.

I will admit; I think he’s a scumbag; what he did was unforgivable and if he didn’t have money to pay off his victim he’d be doing serious jail time.   This isn’t church though, this is the NFL. It’s about winning and this guy is a machine.

If the Raiders can sign him, I think now you have the makings of a stud defense. Look at teams that turned things around quickly; Arizona, San Francisco during the Harbaugh days; Seattle, Carolina even with a terrible offense; these teams had one thing in common;   GREAT defensive line play. If the Raiders can pull off signing Hardy, then you really can lose your mind with excitement. Stop the run and rush the passer with 4 guys is the way to win in the NFL.   The Giants beat the Patriots twice in the Super Bowl with their DL leading the way and winning their games that way alone.  Seattle is the king of that now.

With a dominating front 7 on defense, your offense just needs to be average for you to win immediately.  It won’t win Super Bowls, but you will improve greatly, and fast.  The next year you can finish your work on the offense.

As we have seen, most of the articles and predictions and rumors about free agency were wrong as they are every year. That stuff bores me to tears to be honest but the actual signings always make things interesting and for the first time in many a moon, Raider fans should actually be happy and encouraged instead of just artificially hopeful. Things are looking up in Oakland. Now get Greg Hardy.

“With a Call in Raider Radio Talk Show in the Works; Raider Fans Talk About What They Do in the Off Season”

“With a Raider Radio Talk Show in the Works; Raider Fans Talk About What They Do in the Off Season”

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“With a Raider Radio Talk Show in the Works Let’s See What Raider Fans Do in the Off Season”

I thought it would be fun to get to know some of the Raider fans that I like to talk to or read about on Twitter, websites and Facebook.  I wanted to know what they did during the off season without football.

I also wanted to thank so many of you for your support; with my 2 political and sports twitter pages I now have over 30,000 Twitter followers from over 100 countries and its growing fast.  (@jimjaxmedia is the sport page) My followers include fans of all teams. Celebrities, athletes, and sportswriters.

I’ve been approached to do my own radio show and I’ve agreed.  It will mostly be for Raider fans to talk NFL and the sports news of the day.  We will also cover any hot topic that people want to talk about.  We are also lining up guests as we speak, but for the most part this is for you.

It will be a safe place for all Raider fans to participate online, or to call in and get their voice heard and have some fun.  Doesn’t matter if you have few social media followers, or many of them.  There will be no Facebook drama or control freaks telling you what to say; no pressure or childish blocking; just fans of all levels, ages and sexes coming to a safe, fun place to come to and talk Raiders and the NFL.

You can vent, applaud, or express what you want.  I want to keep it somewhat family friendly though so everyone can listen.  I also want to interview interesting fans as well as promote fan sites and facebook pages or any pro Raider causes that people are involved with.  This show is for you.

Tentatively we are testing it and it will probably be on an hour after Raider games end, as well as one show during the week.  I’m beyond excited to give everyone a voice!  We are looking to launch the week before the NFL draft!  I will keep websites posted when the time comes.  Instead of FUBU (for us by us) it will be For you, by you.  Can’t wait to hear your voices.

Now here are some of the fans that responded and told me what they do during the year when football is in the off season.  (I’m sensitive to privacy and only used the names the commenting people agreed to)

Mike Yokum:

I’ve been a fan since 1970 and it’s a 24 hour a day passion for me.  In the off season I get reacquainted with my wife first.  Since August I’ve lead a campaign to get Ken Stabler into the hall of fame.  I spend much of my time doing this and I’m always looking for help at it.  I also collect Raider memorabilia and have a vast collection from the 1976 Super Bowl team to hall of famers to some of the present players.  I keep in touch with the happenings of the draft and free agent signings and also keep abreast of the latest actions of the Biletnikoff Foundation and the Stabler Foundation.

Cisco Ortega:

I’m a lifelong Raiders, A’s and Warrior fans so I’m busy all the time.  I’m active in several groups including SOS (Save Oakland Sports) and I’m doing everything I can to support the City of Oakland, the teams, and the fans to keep all of the sports teams in Oakland, especially the Raiders.  I’m involved with Raiders.com and I also oversee several Raiders Facebook groups.  There is never a dull moment for me and there really isn’t much of an off season.

 

Fatima Rivera:

I keep track of what is happening with the Raiders but I also like to catch up watching my favorite tv shows like the Walking Dead.  I  like to hang out with friends and family as well.  I really LOVE to cook too.  I look forward to next year with all of the changes ahead.

Dr. James S.

I get a chance to spend time on my boat with my wife and kids.  I really don’t spend much time worrying about the draft or signings but I do get excited every August because I know I will be going to the games soon.

Tiffany Richards:

I don’t spend much time on the Raiders during the off season.  I’m spending time with friends and family and work more to pay for college.  I like to go to A’s games and work on my tan!  I get back into it during the pre-season.

Ralph (twitter Ralph):

I like to hang out with family and friends and enjoy the summer.  I love to watch the NBA because I don’t think much is on tv.  I also like watching the NFL draft and free agent signings to see what the Raiders and other teams do in the off season.

Tim Castro:

I run “Raiders Homeport” which is a Facebook Raiders page.  I spend countless hours posting photos, news, stories and other items that are only seen on the site.  I am retired and I enjoy being a Mr. Mom watching my daughter grow up here in West Virginia.  I’m a football junkie and made my first mock draft at 12 years old.  I love collecting topps cards and I have most cards from 1972 on.  I love talking football and sharing rumors and other stories online with fans on Facebook which is a year round activity.  I love the NFL draft and talking rumors and possible signings too.

Frank Loera:

I’m a big Dodgers and L.A. Kings fan so that keeps me busy.  I also love NFL pick ups and trades and the NFL draft is like Christmas morning.

Jay Vega:

I always keep up on Familia; whether it’s news articles, debates, or just making fun of the other 31 teams.  Oris & I also watch our SF Giants and SJ Sharks and argue basketball; with him being a Warrior fan and me a Laker fan.  Raiders are #1 and there is always free agent or draft news happening.

Will Platzek:

I do a lot of research with college players and free agent signings, or anything that has to do with the Raiders and the NFL.  I also keep up with the A’s and the Warriors.  I have 5 kids, my girlfriend, my ex wife and I do respite care for my parents so I’m a busy guy.  For me I’m a year round fan from Alaska!

Ceacar Brown:

First Jim I’d like to thank you for your contributions on our Facebook page, Oakland Raiders Talk. For me football season never ends I check newsfeeds from the first thing in the morning till I go to bed at night looking for any scrap of Raider news. That’s the reason why I started this page because most fans are casual, and don’t see all the small stories.

Jane Smith:

I follow football stuff during the off season. I do somewhat watch other sports. Tennis a little. Tour de France in July. No baseball really. I’m a single mom of three teenage kids. We camp and hike during the summer. Lots of hanging out and bbqs around our pool. We have the hang out spot a lot of time which I like. I’m big on cookin and entertaining. We also love beaches and the nor cal coast. Our family plans this year are Half Moon bay and Monterey Bay. For sports that I play: golf and snow ski in Heavenly once in a while. We just kind of enjoy family company and being together.

Matty Harrison (United Kingdom)

I watched my first NFL game when I saw my parents watching it in 1983.  Ever since then I’ve been hooked.  It was a novelty to them back then but now I watch it and they ask me why I still do.  The NFL isn’t that big here in the UK but I keep up with it by watching Sky Sports or the NFL network online.  Totally legal of course (ahem).  I like to follow the latest news on twitter and also look at the NFL website and various Facebook fan pages.

Kevin De’Juan:

I’m a huge sports fan. My focus shifts to college basketball. Once that’s over, its baseball season for me.

I don’t play video games as much as I used to, but Madden is my game. Football is always at the forefront because its my favorite sport.  I also oversee various Facebook pages.

Britney Johnson:

I love taking time off of and spending time at the beach with friends and family.  I also do some cross fit contests or performances and teach dance and cross fit.  I’m a new fan to football and the Raiders so I’m still learning about it but I love to go to the games.

Here is to a great off season to fans of the NFL everywhere and thanks to all that shared!  Please also don’t forget to sign the Ken Stabler for the hall of fame petition. It will take one minute and it will support the greatest Raider quarterback of all time.  Thank you!  Jim

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/541/199/738/petition-to-induct-ken-stabler-into-the-pro-football-hall-of-fame/

“In Honor of Skip Thomas Birthday, The Raiders Soul Patrol. The Greatest Defensive Backfield of All Time”

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There will never be a defensive backfield like the Oakland Raiders Soul Patrol of the 1970’s ever again.  They were the most intimidating and greatest group of all time.

The cornerback position has become a finesse position, with little to no physical play.  Back in the day though, many teams broke the mold with very physical play.  The Oakland Raiders set the standard for it.

The 70’s will always be remembered as the greatest era for the NFL.  It’s the era when there were many great teams and great quarterbacks.  Television helped make the Super Bowl become a must see event.  Teams like the Raiders, Steelers, Dolphins, Chiefs, Cowboys and Vikings made this a decade of excellence.  The Steel Curtain, the No Name Defense, and the Purple People Eaters are all revered names in NFL lore.  When the Steelers met the Raiders in the mid 70’s, there were no less than 22 hall of fame coaches, owners, and players on the field at one time.  That will never happen again.

The wide receivers of the 70’s never get their due because their numbers weren’t the pinball numbers of today.  In today’s NFL, if you exhale near a receiver it is a penalty.  In the 1970’s it was literally survival of the fittest.  They had to worry about the great physical play of the era and you could not be a wide receiver unless you could go over the middle. I’ve seen pass interference penalties in today’s game where a defensive back literally brushed by a player.  The rules are so comical now that records are being broken almost weekly.  The 70’s on the other hand was an extremely brutal and tough era, and the most talented and toughest defensive backfield of them all was the Soul Patrol in Oakland.

The center of the sporting world in the 70’s was Oakland California.  In 1975 a team lead by superstar Rick Barry silenced all the east coast and their writers by sweeping the Washington Bullets for the NBA title.  The Oakland A’s dynasty had an amazing 3 straight World Series Championships beating national league royalty in the Dodgers, Reds, and NY Mets.  And then oh by the way, for a 25 year stretch the Raiders were the winningest team in all of sports with several division titles, and 3 Super Bowl wins.  No city ever had so much success in such a short time.

The Soul Patrol embodied what the Oakland Raiders were all about.  They were tough, borderline dirty, intimidating and extremely confident.  Each member played their role and they roamed the NFL like a pack of wolves.

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George Atkinson Jr.:  (“Butch” 6’ 0”; 180 lbs.)

There may have never been a tougher Raider than George Atkinson.  Listed as 6 feet tall, many say it was more like 5’ 10” but no one had the guts to tell him that.

Atkinson was an intimidator that roamed the field like a lion ready to pounce.  He was the trash talker of the group often seen taunting and intimidating players that were much bigger than he was.  He once broke Russ Francis nose with a vicious forearm hit, and his hits against Lynn Swann of the Steelers are a part of NFL history.  He had blazing speed and in fact still holds the single game record for punt return yardage for the Raiders at 205 yards.

Atkinson took it very personally when someone tried to block him low.  He learned from Tatum to go after a Wide Receiver if they tried to hit their knees or ankles.  In some films you can actually see Raiders defensive backs going towards blockers to actually hit them after they tried to hit them low.  All time great Paul Warfield once said when you went over the middle against Oakland and didn’t account for Tatum and Atkinson, you would not be in the game long without being carried off the field.  Against the run, he could go through blockers and make amazingly hard tackles.  If you ran wide against the Raiders, their DB’s would make you pay.  Atkinson loved to make players pay.

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Willie Brown:  (6’ 1”; 195 lbs.)

Amazingly Hall of Famer Willie Brown was never drafted when he graduated from Grambling St.  He was signed by the Buffalo Bills who cut him and then he was picked up by the Denver Broncos.  He soon became an all star but was traded to the Raiders in 1967 where he played for the rest of his career.  Unlike the other 3 members of the soul patrol, Brown was fast, graceful and laid back.  He wasn’t a talker but a great defender who was a shut down corner. He had good size and played the run very well, but he was a master of the bump and run, man to man game that the Raiders loved so much.  His famous interception in the Superbowl with the great announcer Bill King’s call of old man Willie is as famous as any highlight NFL films has.

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Skip Thomas CB (Dr. Death; 6’ 1”; 205 lb.):

In a day when cornerbacks were just as important in attacking the run as they did the pass, Skip “Dr. Death” Thomas role was to make everyone that came near him remember that he hit them.  What is funny is he was nicknamed Dr. Death by Raiders great Bob Brown who said Skip Thomas looked like the cartoon character Dr. Death.

Skip Thomas was a vicious tackler who was the king of the clothesline tackle.  Many times his padded arm was seen knocking the ball out of wide receivers hands.  When he hit people, sometimes he would actually launch his whole body and his arm swung like a Russian sickle.  It was intimidating, violent and sent the message to not come his way.  He had a two year stretch of 6 interceptions per year.  Due to the great talent of Willie Brown, teams would try to pick on Skip Thomas and usually the results were not good.

People forget that in the Super Bowl, Minnesota moved their fine wide receiver Sammy White around so that Thomas mostly guarded him in the first half.  White didn’t  catch a pass in the first half and Thomas was on him like glue.  As the great Raiders announcer Bill King once said, the Raiders have 3 safeties.

Sadly he passed away in 2011 at the age of 61, but he will always be remembered for his talent, toughness and personality as one of the great members of the Soul Patrol.

jack tatum

Jack Tatum Safety (Assassin; 5’ 10”, 205 lb.):

During the Super Bowl break, the NFL show with Cris Collinsworth was discussing players that should be in the hall of fame, and to a man they all said the same name.   Chris Berman and many others kept bringing up one man; Jack Tatum.

He may have been the most intimidating force in NFL history this side of Dick Butkus. Sadly he was mentally saddled with the hit on Darryl Stingley which paralyzed him for the rest of his life.  Many close to Tatum said he really never got over it up to his death in 2010 at the age of 61.

Earl Campbell said no one ever hit him harder than his touchdown run where he and Tatum hit head on.  Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton said he thought Tatum knocked Sammy White’s head off in the Super Bowl hit that Tatum laid on him when the Raiders dominated the Minnesota.

I remember a story that Ahmad Rashad told.  He said that days before the Vikings were to play the Raiders in the Superbowl, Tatum had walked into a room where the Vikings were relaxing.  Tatum walked into the closet and just stood there for a couple of minutes.  He then walked out of the closet and left.  Rashad said that not one Viking laughed or said a word until they saw Tatum walking out of the building.  Rashad said that it was a mind game of intimidation and he said it worked.  He said, “we laughed; we just made sure Tatum couldn’t hear us”.

Tatum was a linebacker playing safety.  He also was dominating against the run and would take on guards and tackles at any given notice.  Many game films show Tatum chasing blockers trying to hit them before the blockers would try to block them.  Tatum was vicious, fearless and ready to hit anyone.  He epitomized the great physical play of the day, and what the Raiders defense always tried to do; stop the run and make the quarterback go down, and go down hard. With a good pass rush, the Raiders defense was hard to beat as was seen in their dominance.

With today’s rules there will never be hits and aggressive play like the Soul Patrol did.  Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers pretty much do as they please and the Soul Patrol would not be allowed to do what they did best; intimidate, make plays, and be legends.  In the most physical era, the Soul Patrol was like a pack of wolves ready to take down any sized prey.  They remain the greatest defensive backfield of all time.

“Who is Ken Norton Jr. and Why The Raiders Should be Excited About Their New Defensive Coordinator”

ken norton jr. 

“Who is Ken Norton Jr. and Why the Raiders Should be Excited About Their New Defensive Coordinator”

After much speculation, Ken Norton Jr. was hired as the Oakland Raiders Defensive Coordinator today.

Norton Jr. is the kind of coaching hire that is exciting.  An excellent player in college and in the pro’s who loves football.  He has proven that he really wants to be a coach by paying his dues first being a linebackers coach at USC, and then following Pete Carroll to the NFL in the same position for the Seattle Seahawks.

He is a charismatic person, who was a jokester as a player.  He was very serious on the field though, priding himself in stopping the run and being tough and physical.  Pete Carroll’s philosophy is to rush the passer and stop the run and that is right up Norton Jr.’s alley.

When he played, Norton Jr. famously would celebrate big plays by getting into a boxing stance and pretending to spar.  This was in honor of his father, boxer Ken Norton Sr. who was one of the few to beat Muhammad Ali.

Some Raider fans may remember him as being the player; along with San Francisco 49ers Bryant Young; who tackled Napoleon McMcallum and caused his horrific knee injury.  When Norton Jr. knew McCallum was hurt, he famously would not move allowing people to attend to him.  Other than Joe Theisman’s injury, it was the worst that was ever seen.

Norton has had a long history of coaching pro bowl linebackers.  He helped Seattle’s Bobby Wagner become one of the best in the NFL and at USC, he was credited for mentoring many quality future pro bowl linebackers including Brian Cushing, Clay Matthews III, Rey Maualuga, Lofa Tatupu, Dallas Sartz, Keith Rivers, and Kaluka Maiava.

His style of coaching is very aggressive and physical; a take no prisoners style that is intimidating.  The Raiders have talented linebackers and if they can shore up the defensive line and stay healthy, the front 7 can change the fortune of the Raiders very quickly.

If you look at the quick turn arounds of teams in recent history, it is due to the front defensive 7.  Teams like Seattle, San Francisco, and Arizona have turned around their fortunes the last 5 years due to the great defensive pressure they put on offenses.  If you can rush the passer with 4 players, and stop the run, you will have an elite defense.

I’m not a retread guy; I’d rather have a young, exciting and hungry head coach with no coordinator experience who has a proven track record of success, over a 15 year veteran coach who rarely succeeds or has average success.  Norton Jr. has won at every level as a coach, and as a player and he can bring a winning mindset that is also needed.

The Raiders have had serious issues the last 12 years but with Norton Jr., this is a big time hire that won’t make much publicity.  I think with the additions of Mike Tice and Ken Norton Jr., they will begin to instill a physical toughness that has been needed in Oakland for a long time.  The Raiders and their fans should be excited about this one.

 Coaching History:
University of Southern California (2004–2008)
Linebackers CoachUniversity of Southern California (2009)
Linebackers Coach/Assistant Head CoachSeattle Seahawks (2010–2014)
Linebackers Coach

Oakland Raiders (2015–present)
Defensive Coordinator

“A Good Day to be an Oakland Raider; Tim Brown & Ron Wolf Elected Into Pro Footballs Hall of Fame”

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“A Good Day to be an Oakland Raider; Tim Brown & Ron Wolf Elected Into Pro Footballs Hall of Fame”

With the addition of Tim Brown and Ron Wolf, the Raiders again showed the football world the greatness and importance that the Raiders franchise has in the history of the NFL.

Tim Brown was a great high school football and basketball player. Although he played on some of the state of Texas’ worst high school football teams, schools like Oklahoma and Notre Dame recruited him. He chose Notre Dame.

At Notre Dame he quickly gained the nickname of “Touchdown Timmy” with his great playmaking skills. Tim could do it all scoring on various plays including runs, receptions, kick off returns and punt returns. In 1987 he became the first wide receiver to ever win the Heisman Trophy. He would prove to be as valuable for the Raiders once he was drafted with the sixth pick in the 1988 NFL draft.

After a great rookie season with 43 catches and leading the NFL in most punt and kick return statistics, Brown had a terrible knee injury that made him miss his sophomore campaign. When he came back, he did not have the same blazing speed, but it forced him to become a better receiver. He became a student of the game and learned the intrinsic things needed to take him to the next level including proper route running techniques and body positioning.

In 1994 Brown and Al Davis weren’t seeing eye to eye and he stated in an interview that he was prepared to leave. He signed an offer sheet with the Denver Broncos but the Raiders quickly matched it. After his sophomore season, Tim Brown never missed another NFL game playing almost every season for the Raiders.

Tim Brown was a constant reminder that hard work and talent together creates greatness. He now takes his rightful place among other great Raider pass catchers like Fred Biletnikoff and Dave Casper. The only hope is that Cliff Branch soon is added to the list.

If you say the name Ron Wolf, most Raider fans will shrug their shoulders.   In reality though he may be the most important figure in the almost 3 decades of Raider dominance in the NFL.

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ron wolf Al Davis

Al Davis made Ron Wolf his right hand man, and for 23 years he created an empire in Oakland. As a scout, Al Davis found out quickly what a great evaluator of talent Ron Wolf was.   He became the Player Personnel Director and was in charge of the Raiders drafts. Al Davis and Ron Wolf had a formula for success. Rush the passer, have a strong physical running game, and throw the deep pass. When both were asked once why they didnt share game films with other teams, they both would say, “Why would we? We know more than everyone else.”

Many writers, and ex coaches and players close to the Raiders said Al Davis listened to one guy; Ron Wolf.  In a famous story that John Madden likes to tell on his local CBS radio commentary, he tells of a brittle kneed quarterback named Ken Stabler. He was being evaluated for the NFL draft.   Most NFL experts didn’t have much confidence in Stabler being a good NFL player. Many said Stabler’s knees were like a 70 year old man and it would be pointless to draft him with a high pick. Al Davis asked all of the people in the Raider draft room if they should pick Stabler. They all said no. Al finally asked Wolf. Wolf paused for a second and nodded and said yes. Al Davis drafted him and the rest is history.

Famous picks that Al Davis gave credit to Ron Wolf for including Stabler, Jack Tatum, Gene Upshaw, Art Shell, Howie Long and Marcus Allen.

Ron Wolf went on to the Green Bay Packers. A team that was being compared to the Cubs for their years of losing play. Wolf hired Mike Holmgren to coach, traded for Brett Favre, signed Reggie White, and shored up the team with solid drafts and they won the Super Bowl.

Wolf was perfect for Al Davis. He was quiet, didn’t want publicity or credit and wanted to be behind the scenes while Al Davis enjoyed being out front and in the limelight.   Together they created an amazing team that will never be duplicated.

Both of these inductees were vital parts of the great tradition of the NFL and Raider football. Today is a good day to be a Raider.

 

 

“Be the Talk of the Party With This Fast, Easy & Delicious Roasted Red Pepper Hummus”

roasted-red-pepper-hummus

Lightning Fast Roasted Red Pepper Hummus:

I’ve been making hummus for years.  It is very easy and inexpensive to make a large batch and it tastes so fresh and good.  I use the roasted red bell peppers in a jar that you find in the olives section in the grocery store as a cheat.  Once you eat this you will never buy it in a store ever again.  Use your imagination and create your own recipe.  This recipe takes 2 minutes.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 can of chick peas/garbanzo beans (15 oz) (drained and rinsed but it’s optional)
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (lime juice can be used too)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, crushed to taste
  • 1/2 cup -3/4 cup roasted red peppers (to taste) I use the peppers in a jar.
  • Pinch of Paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

PREPARATION:

I like to drain and rinse the beans because I don’t like the liquid in the can.  In a food processor, put the garlic in and mince it or crush it by hand and add into the container.   Then add the bell peppers and give 2-4 pulses.  Now combine the rinsed beans, tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil.  Process it to the desired consistency.  After putting it into a bowl for serving, dust with a pinch of parika.  For a kick, put a pinch of cayenne before processing.

Put it in a bowl on a plate, and surround it with vegetables and pita or flat bread.  You will impress your friends and family with this fast and classic staple that will be the talk of any gathering.  After eating this you will never buy store bought again!  Enjoy!!!

Tips and Variations:

For garlic hummus, use 3-5 cloves of crushed garlic to taste instead of the roasted red bell peppers.  You will knock the socks of your guests.

Use the Hummus instead of mayonnaise for a tangy treat in your sandwiches.

You can also go non traditional.  Slice up a baguette or use any type of French bread if you don’t have pita bread.  Slice it and crisp it in the oven to create a texture difference.

Use with any type of cracker.  The hummus is an amazing addition do sandwich roll ups.

I’ve heard of some people using it on their eggs, and I have two friends who are addicted to using it on their hamburgers and dipping French fries in it!  I’m not going to judge.  Enjoy it the way you like it.  Remember, use your imagination!

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