From Tennessee to North Carolina; from Los Angeles to Oakland; the heartbreaking news was released that former Tennessee Volunteer All-American and Oakland Raider great Mickey Marvin had passed away today at the age of 61.
Raiders announcement on the passing of Mickey Marvin:
The cause of death has not been released but in 2015 the tragic news had spread that Marvin had been diagnosed with ALS; Lou Gehrig’s disease. The news hit the college & pro football community hard.
Last year the Raiders honored Mickey with a lifetime achievement award through the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation. Even though he could not attend due to health reasons, he received a standing ovation.
Mickey was honored with his own golf tournament. He also was honored in 2016 by western North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows when a proclamation in Mickey’s honor was read on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives and entered into the Congressional Record.
After a great career at Tennessee, the 6’ 4”, 270 pound Marvin was drafted in the 4th round of the NFL draft by Oakland and he was a mainstay in a long line of great Raider offensive lines. He helped them to 2 Super Bowl wins against Philadelphia and Washington. He played from 1977 to 1987 and in 120 games he started 108 of them. On the field at the guard position, he was physical, consistent and someone that Al Davis loved to have on his team because he knew he could count on him. Davis was so taken in by Mickey, that he told him 5 years into his career that when he could no longer play there would be a job waiting for him. Al Davis cut Mickey Marvin before the 1988 season, and true to his word, 3 weeks later Mickey was now a Scout for the Raiders. A position he held for 29 years.
On the field……..
People forget just how good Mickey was. In the biggest games he played his best. Much was said before Super Bowl XV by the east coast media that the likes of Mickey Marvin, center Dave Dalby and an aging Gene Upshaw would be no match for Eagles nose tackle Charlie Johnson and linebackers Bill Bergey and Frank LeMaster. The Raiders ended up controlling both lines of scrimmage on the way to a 27-10 defeat of Philadelphia. The Raiders gave up only 1 sack the entire game, which ended up to be nose tackle Charlie Johnson’s only tackle. The Raiders chewed up 231 yards rushing against Washington who at that time was thought to be the greatest NFL team of all time leading the way to a 38-9 dominating Super Bowl win. Mickey and Dave Dalby again were the unsung hero’s and in my book, are two of the finest OL that never got their due.
Off the field……..
Mickey helped anyone and everyone spreading a positive and passionate message that made people love him. He received countless requests from organizations asking him to share his passion and faith. Mickey Marvin put many smiles on peoples faces that will never be forgotten. He never turned down a fan’s request and even though he was a huge giant, kids and adults alike loved his positive and humble personality.
Here is a pastor’s wife blogging about meeting Mickey
Mickey was a man of great faith. He was in constant appreciation for what had been given to him, and he loved showing that appreciation through his kind actions and gracious spirit.
“Henderson County has lost a great champion,” WHKP’s Richard Rhodes said. “Mickey Marvin was a friend to all. In a day where most pro athletes aren’t who you want your kids to look up to, Mickey was. He was a true role model and a true friend.”
Henderson County (North Carolina) Manager Steve Wyatt said “People are always talking about the best sports rivalries, like Carolina-Duke basketball. In pro football, it was the Raiders-Chiefs rivalry for years,” Wyatt said. “Me and Mickey talked about that rivalry a lot, and when he talked about it, I was hanging on his every word. His face would light up when he started talking about it. I’ve seen old photos of Mickey in the trenches, covered in mud and with blood on him, and he’s grinning. He was in his element. He was a true warrior.”
“Then you meet him off the field, and he’s the nicest guy you could ever meet. I always thought Mickey was a better man than he was a football player,” Wyatt said.
I really like social media. It allows me to communicate and meet people that I would never have been able to in the past. But what I don’t like about our social media culture is how quickly we forget the past, and how clueless so many are to it. Some parents don’t instill the importance of those that came before us or the respect that we need to have for them.
That’s why I couldn’t go without saying a little something about another unsung hero that needs to be remembered. I know many football families will appreciate and respect this good man.
Mickey Marvin’s legacy will be seen in the memories on the field, and the inspiration and smile’s that he created through the friendships of so many people off of it. He was a loyal family man with over 3 decades of marriage, and the love of his family was always in his heart. He now become’s another sweet spirit in the lore of Raider football and I’m sure I speak for Raider & Vol Fan’s from all over in saying thank you. The NFL and the world need more Mickey Marvin’s.
As I looked over the Oklahoma media offerings this last week, I read 19 articles on the reason the media said Oklahoma lost to Ohio St. Only 2 writers got it right. Let’s go on a 10 year journey for answers to why Oklahoma is just OK, and Alabama is the best program in the country.
The Reality in Norman:
Dozens of Sooner fans either blocked or unfollowed me on Twitter at the start of the season when I said this was a 3 to 4 loss Oklahoma team. In my mind it was a mistake that people had them as the #3 team in the nation. In fact at the start of the season I had Houston and Alabama playing for the National Championship. I’m a closet Sooner fan; I still have my throwback Billy Sims Jersey in my closet; but we need to look at the facts.
When Bob Stoops Arrived at Oklahoma:
When Bob Stoops and his defensive coordinator/brother Mike Stoops first came to Norman, it was a breath of fresh air. With one of the richest football traditions in the country, Bob took over after the John Blake era which was a train wreck. Bob Stoops won a national championship beating four top 5 teams along the way, including #1 Nebraska.
The Stoops brothers were aggressive and they had dominating defenses. The Sooners dismantled Florida St in the National Championship game 13-2 with one of the great defensive performances in college football history. It was a magical year in the OK state.
Stoops also embraced the tradition. Here is a school that still holds the record for most wins in a row in College Football history at 47. And he showed great respect for their head coach Bud Wilkinson. Many remember the hitch and trailer play against #1 Nebraska in the National Championship year to honor the team of the 1970’s who used that play to help beat Nebraska in Lincoln. Many also remember on their own 29 yard line in Tuscaloosa, using a fake punt in the third quarter and then throwing a bomb on the next play for a touchdown to help beat Alabama on the road. I remember a lot of great risks and fun payoffs. Those days are long gone.
I also remember Sooner fans booing for 3 hours a couple of years ago watching OU’s CB’s playing 10-15 yards off of the line of scrimmage against Baylor like it was pitch and catch in the backyard. The aggressive magic turned into old man conservatism.
Nick Saban Comes To Alabama:
People forget what a train wreck the Alabama Football program was before Nick Saban. There were several scandals, two probations, wins that were forfeited, and the firing of newly hired head coach Mike Price who was a little too wild at a strip club in Florida. Add the over-matched Mike Shula’s coaching tenure and this once proud program had become a dysfunctional mess. All that’s forgotten now. Saban’s first press conference was filled with excitement.
Saban was the conquering hero at LSU in college but in the pro’s the media ate him up; especially during his second year which ended 6-10. Like most college coaches he was used to the college media bubble that can be mostly controlled by the coaches. In the pro’s a coach was like a raw steak in a lake full of piranha. His players didn’t like him, and neither did the media. After he left Miami, for months ESPN and NFL reporters all over the country destroyed Saban. They called him Nicktator and Nick Satan. I’ve never in my lifetime seen a coach so hated in one place and loved in another. And to be honest he probably deserved a little of both. In 2010 he somewhat apologized for his “lack of professionalism” in Miami but it didn’t help.
The NFL Network has trashed him on several worst of lists including the below video (pretty harsh) naming him the 7th worst college coach to ever coach in the NFL. Many remember him scolding the Miami media for weeks saying he wasn’t leaving when in reality he had been talking to the late Alabama AD Mal Moore for weeks.
Oklahoma GoingDown,Alabama and the SEC Going Up in Recruiting:
When Saban arrived from Miami, he immediately went on a recruiting blitz. He didn’t have the time the other schools did to recruit his first year; he arrived late; but he immediately improved his first class in 2007 and didn’t just blow the year off. That helped set a tone. The biggest reason Alabama is the best is because they recruit the best and have the best talent. CBS reported that 80% of Bama’s players are 4 or 5 star recruits. That’s unreal.
The SEC has 3 of the best recruiters in college football. Mario Cristobal at Alabama, Tommy Thigpen at Tennessee, and Corey Raymond at LSU. These are the guys doing the dirty work of visiting high schools, kissing babies, eating mom’s apple pie and talking to dad’s about the good ol’ days. Imagine Mario Cristobal wooing you and then Nick Saban closing the deal. That’s tough to beat.
Urban Meyer got all the credit at Florida but who was one of his key recruiters? Charlie Strong the new Head Coach at Texas. Strong went on to great success at Louisville and just had a top ten recruiting class for Texas in 2016.
Another thing Alabama has done in the recruiting wars is dominate the offensive and defensive line position. In the last 3 years Alabama had the #1 ranked offensive line class in the nation. Their defensive line doesn’t miss out either. They are either #1 or #2 for the last 6 years. The NFL draft shows the fruits of their success.
While most teams are going to finesse offenses using the spread, Alabama for the most part has kept their roots. Saban has allowed OC Lane Kiffin to open up things in the past but when the chips are down, the power running game is what they are all about.
Alabama’s first recruiting class with Saban in 2007 was #17 in the Nation. Then the magic started to begin. It’s amazing what happened.
Now let’s fast forward to the last 4 years.
Oklahoma #15 (0 five star, 7 four star)
Alabama #1 (4 five star, 13 four star)
Oklahoma #15 (1 five star, 8 four star)
Alabama #1 (6 five star, 13 four star)
Oklahoma #14 (0 five star, 14 four star)
Alabama #2 (4 five star, 14 four star)
Oklahoma #16 (1 five star, 10 four star)
Alabama #1 (5 five star, 10 four star)
In some publications, Alabama just had their sixth straight #1 college football recruiting class. Oklahoma’s highest recruiting class in that time was #14.
In the last four years these are the 4 & 5 star players:
Oklahoma: (2 five star, 39 four star)
Alabama: (19 five star, 50 four star)
There is good news for the Sooners though; Bob Stoops has rebounded in 2017 and OU is now ranked the #4 recruiting class so far. That team from Tuscaloosa? #2 so far. Now many things can happen; some players change teams like the wind so there is still a lot of work to do. Remember you are dealing with teenagers; but hopefully OU is back on track.
Alabama a Step Above:
The #1 thing is obviously they have the best players. No one recruits like they do.
Innovation isn’t Saban’s thing. What makes him great is preparation, readiness, teaching quality fundamentals and technique and demanding perfection. It’s one thing to have the best players but you have to teach and coach them properly.
My dad was a great coach and he taught me so much. Proper footwork, tackle readiness/positioning, balance; football is more in depth than fans think. I love watching well coached teams. From Alabama to Jim Harbaughs teams, to the great dynasty at North Dakota St. in the FCS, I really enjoy watching the teams play. I especially love defense. The rules in college and the pro’s have made it a federal crime to breath near a WR or QB so passing is much easier in today’s game. That means a great pass rush is VITAL. While other teams are still only rushing 3 men, Saban and other SEC schools get that a pass rush is important. Some teams still don’t.
The average fan says it’s a passing game now and defense doesn’t matter as much. Problem is they are wrong. The Big 12 seems to feel this way. In reality though good defenses will beat good offenses most of the time. Ask the Carolina Panthers and the Clemson Tigers from last year. Ask Tom Brady how he feels about the NY Giants DL in the Super Bowl.
The SEC Formula; Nick Saban’s Way:
The SEC formula that Nick Saban uses is based on the 1970’s NFL; the greatest era of NFL football. It includes 5 things.
-have great team speed
-stop the run to make offenses predictable
-put great pressure on the QB and control the tempo
-have a great offensive and defensive line
-have a good power running game to run the ball when you need and want to.
Now some will say well of course you will win if you do all those things. Then why doesn’t everyone do it?
Think about it. The Big 12 struggles defensively and isn’t physical. The Pac 12 isn’t physical other than Stanford and they lack team speed. Michigan & Ohio St. are changing this but for the most part Big 10 teams lack team speed and the ACC; who has the worst winning % in the bowl series of any Big 5 Conference; also struggle defensively and lack physicality. There are exception but this is the reality of each conference.
While many teams have fallen in love with the spread offense and throwing 50 times a game, Nick Saban goes with what brung him; defense & a physical running game makes him tick.
This is the way the Big 8 used to be when Oklahoma and Nebraska were winning National Championships. Bo Schembechler, Woody Hayes and Bear Bryant did it; it’s old school football that Alabama plays with a little more modern passing offense. None of Sabans QB’s will tear up the NFL, but his defensive and offensive lines will.
Saban’s Way Saved the Mississippi Game:
I tweeted at halftime of the Mississippi Alabama game, “RUN THE BALL, RUN RUN RUN”. Alabama threw 23 times in the first half for 2.8 yards a reception. Bama was behind 24-17 and were lucky to be so close. They put the game’s hands in the arm of Jalen Hurt; a freshman QB; on the road. Hurt isn’t a particularly accurate thrower and he missed on some key passes, but wow can he run.
Alabama passed only 8 times in the second half and ran for over 334 yards and won 48-43. They ended the game with 7 yards per rush, and only 5.1 yards per reception. Don’t think for a second that Nick Saban didn’t tell OC Lane Kiffin at halftime, “we aren’t throwing 23 times this half”.
Bob Stoops To LSU?:
Many in Oklahoma are not real happy with Bob Stoops. There are rumors that he is being eyed for the head coaching spot in LSU. Because of the failures of late, Stoops has taken a beating in the media. I saw one article calling him Big Shame Bob instead of Big Game Bob. OU is now 8-9 in bowl games with Stoops as coach.
It’s hard to see him leaving OU but if he is going to stay he has to hit the recruiting trail. (LSU Job? Tom Herman of Houston is the sexy pick and I’d think he’d come but if he doesn’t, with Chip Kelly in a mess at San Francisco with their lack of talent; Kelly @ LSU?)
Some say Stoops got complacent in recruiting and the numbers back that. So if I were talking to Bob I’d tell him, “It’s ok Bob; you can keep the spread but you have to go back to what made your teams great from the beginning. A great OL & DL & a great defense. I have my 5 part formula above that you can use when recruiting. And if you don’t want to listen to me, get a hold of Nick Saban. He’s got a copy”.
After Tyler Summitt was fired as head coach of the Louisiana Tech women’s basketball team for an affair that he had with a player, the anger and outrage in the media was epic. Looking back though, they sure didn’t act that way when he got hired. With rumors of a possible pregnancy also looming, there is much pain to go around.
When Summitt was hired by Athletic Director Tommy McClelland, he called the hire a home run. The media came to Ruston in droves wanting to know more about the golden child of icon Pat Summitt. Many praised his maturity, drive and character. Those same people are now shredding him to bits.
I remember a few nasty comments directed at me when Tyler was hired. I posted on social media one statement; LOL what a joke.
Mechelle Voepel of ESPN W has been very outspoken about the present situation; and rightfully so; but she sure wasn’t that outraged when he was originally hired. Here is an interview with her and west coast writer Michelle Smith when Tyler Summitt was hired.
Let’s be real; the baby boomer’s love to spoil their kids. With some parents it’s almost a competition. But in reality it’s created a very self-absorbed generation who is used to their parents paving the way.
Tyler was hired because his last name was Summitt, but when he was hired, only a handful of reporters were outraged. Name another 23 year old on the planet that is going to get a head basketball coaching job at a major college university. Gordon Ramsey will become a vegetarian before that happens again. Most reporters said all the politically correct things that they could.
It reminds me of the great speech that actor Ralph Fiennes gave in the movie “Quiz Show”. Even though it was not part of the actual statement from Charles Van Doren who was implicated in the scandal, it is a telling sign of what our society at times has become.
“I’ve been acting a role, maybe all my life, of thinking that I’ve done more, accomplished more, and produced more than I have. I have had all the breaks. I have stood on the shoulders of life, and I’ve never gotten down into the dirt to build, to erect a foundation of my own. I have flown too high on borrowed wings. Everything came too easy.”
Ralph Fiennes playing Charles Van Doren in “Quiz Show”
A Slap in the Face for Those That Deserve Jobs:
When Tyler was hired I literally was in shock. What a slap in the face it was to all of the assistant coaches who wait years for their big break. I’m sure many around the country shook their heads when Tyler Summitt waltzed into this job.
Below is the resume of ex associate head coach for Tennessee’s women’s basketball Kyra Elzy. After 20 years of being in the college game she has never even been offered a head coaching spot. Now she is finally being rumored to possibly be hired as head coach of UCF. She’s been in the game almost as long as Tyler has been alive.
Tennessee Lady Vols
Associate Head Coach (2015-Present)
Assistant Coach (2012-15)
Associate Head Coach (2010-12)
Assistant Coach (2008-10)
Assistant Coach (2004-08)
Assistant Coach (2002-04)
Administrative Assistant (2001-02)
Collegiate Playing Experience
1997 & 1998 NCAA Champs
1998, 1999, 2000 & 2001 SEC Champs
1998, 1999 & 2000 SEC Tourney Champs
Elzy also has been lauded for her recruiting skills which are huge at the college level. She’s helped keep Tennessee’s program afloat after Pat Summitt retired. How in the world can she not get a job but 23 year old Tyler can be the head coach of the Lady Techsters? Sheer madness. I watched about 5 interviews back when he was hired and when they started bringing up all the notes he took and how he followed his mom, I looked as confused as Jessica Simpson at a spelling bee. Who were they kidding?
Our Weirdness Towards Cheating:
Cheating among college basketball coaches is not new. LSU head coach Pokey Chatman had a bizarre situation when one of her ex players; and present assistants; threw her under the bus and said they were in a relationship. Supposedly even after she did that, they were still close. The details were never really discussed. Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino had sex in a restaurant after hours and then paid for the woman to have an abortion so his wife wouldn’t find out. She then tried to blackmail him into giving her millions. Newly retired Wisconsin Men’s coach Bo Ryan’s supposed mistress is on the attack. He mysteriously resigned. That’s just off the top of my head. I’m sure there are more stories. Heck, here in California our Governor (yes we can be dumb) had a baby from one of his hired help and his wife Maria Shriver within a month of each other.
Of course we give ALL of those people a pass; but a dumb 25 year old who is in over his head is the devil. Give me a break.
I see a lot of self-righteous grandstanding out there in the media about this story, but let’s be real. Cheating is now a part of many peoples lifestyle. There are sites now for married people that want to cheat anonymously with millions of people on it. Celeb’s & athletes cheat all the time but hey they are famous so it’s all good to some. Over half of American married people have cheated. We are lauding a great NBA basketball player right now who is retiring and his sexual escapades are of legend. Glass houses.
Many US presidents had someone on the side, and only God knows about the Senate and the House. It’s as wrong as could be but we’ve created this mess. Having morals is uncool to some, especially the younger you are. If you want a hit tv show nowadays you need 3 things; Sexy people, sex, and violence. The Waltons’ isn’t playing anymore. In fact the worse a character is the more we like them. From Breaking Bad to Tony Soprano; we eat it up like it’s got the antidote.
The Deeper Pain:
Forget about sports for a minute. Again, there have been rumors that the girl Tyler had an affair with is pregnant. I’m not going to say her name or get into the details but I feel beyond sad for Tylers wife. To realize that the whole world knows about your husband cheating is pretty rough. Add the fact that they may financially and emotionally now have to take care of a kid that he may have fathered because he cheated, and this is a bad dream for this girl. The immature comments of one of the girls on the team who was first suspected to be the person he cheated with; along with players parents getting more & more into the drama while talking to the media; leads to even more pain. And don’t get me started on all the fools that have unprotected sex. If that was the case for Tyler and this girl, then you can’t get any dumber.
I feel bad for Tennessee fans. They love Pat Summitt like UCLA loves John Wooden. Tyler was the golden boy and fans already had hopes that he would someday coach the Lady Volunteers. I also feel bad for Louisiana Tech fans. They’ve had some lean years and this will set them back again emotionally. The pain of this disgrace happening to a once proud program has hurt a lot of people. Recruit signings have been put on hold.
I don’t feel bad for the administration and AD Tommy McClelland of Louisiana Tech though. What a stupid hire. If I was in charge heads would straight up roll. LTU needs to clean house and start anew in my opinion.
And of course we all ache for Pat Summitt. Inflicted at a relatively young age with an insidious condition that many are saying is hard to watch progress. The pain that she must feel after she spent so many years creating a program based on toughness, discipline, and character is hard to think about. She deserved better than this. I’m sure Tyler feels terrible for the pain his selfish act is causing to the one person that always put light into his eyes.
My Hopes for Tyler:
If I was Tyler’s friend I would say that your resignation was weak. I’d do another pressor or even a Youtube video turning off the comments section; and tell him to be much more contrite. I’d also tell him to go back to the drawing board. I would take a year off and then go to a Division 2 or 3 school and start over. I would make accountability my goal. I also would get out of the woman’s game and coach men. In reality it’s going to be awful hard for him to ever get this opportunity again but it will be a chance for him to get his life back together. Financially he’s set for life. He was the sole heir and Pat chose the option for her pension that gives Tyler 14,000 a year for the rest of his life. He also got her cars and her house that was put up for sale.
He screwed up big time. If an ordinary person cheats it’s bad enough. If a son of an icon cheats the pitch forks and torches will follow and it’s out in the open for all to see. Like most sons he adores his mom, and now he’s brought a shame that has stained their name. My hopes are that he humbly takes time to take responsibility and mature in a way he hasn’t yet. He needs to man up and fix this. And maybe someday; after he has paid his dues; he will stand on his own two feet and no longer fly on borrowed wings.
Are you sick of the words moving, stadium, Schaaf, Davis and Los Angeles? Are you sick of crazy rumors that always end up to be false? Me too. Let’s actually look intelligently into the future of the Raiders ON THE FIELD. Come on kids, who’s with me?
The Raiders ended up the season 7-9 and they will be drafting in the 14th spot in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Mock Draft Mania:
I think what bothers me about mock drafts is how mind numbingly wrong so many of them are. I was shocked at some of Pro Football Focus, Bleacher Report and FanSided’s writers mocks, and even NFL.com’s writers mock drafts. I mean did they ever watch a game in college? They don’t use common sense. People forget that a few years ago Mel Kiper Jr. got 1; thats right; one pick right in the first round. And this is from a guru that people pay ESPN to check out his insider mock drafts! Insiders are so wrong so often that as a fan, you should take mock drafts with a grain of salt. Do you actually think NFL teams are going to be honest and tell sports writers what they are going to do? Al Davis in his younger days would leak fake rumors just to mess with writers and other teams.
What changes this years draft is Hue Jackson being hired in Cleveland. Many have commented he is not a fan of Johnny Manziel so instead of Joey Bosa you could see California QB Jarod Goff going to Cleveland at #2. Let’s look at some of the talent that could come Oakland’s way next year.
A’Shawn Robinson: DT Alabama
My favorite player in the draft after Jaylon Smith got hurt. Remember; a strong DL covers up DB’s issues. Look at the 4 teams left in the playoffs. Seattle has the best defensive backfield in the NFL but when the pass rush struggles, even they are toast. Some have Robinson going in the early or middle part of the first round but wow would he be a steal. He’s the best DL on the best defense. One announcer said he looks like a fast vending machine. He is 6′ 3″ 320 and he’s quick; he’s hurdled more than a few offensive blockers in his time too. Many feel he’s just beginning to get his stride as a pass rusher. He could be effective immediately and could play all 3 downs. He’s my #1 DL in the draft even over Joey Bosa; a special talent that can’t be passed up by the Raiders if he is available which may or may not happen. How about him, Aldon Smith, Kahlil Mack & Ellis rushing the passer next year. For the first time in years I’d be happy with the Raiders DL and so would fans.
Reggie Ragland: LB Alabama
Ragland is a rugged and physical MLB who is a good tackler and a popular name for mock drafters. He is fast but doesn’t have blazing speed. He’s also a popular teammate and leader as well. The problem with Alabama LB’s is that you really don’t know if they can cover anyone in the passing game. They play zone and rely on their pass rush so their LB’s rarely play man to man coverage. If he can cover in the NFL he is going to be a good one.
Mackensie Alexander: CB Clemson
Teams either love him or hate him. Some have him going as high as 6th and some have him going in the second round. The ACC isn’t the greatest conference as is seen by their lack of bowl success every year but Alexander is the real deal in my book. I love an NFL draft writer on Bleacher Report who complained that he didn’t have an interception this year; well when you give up only 11 catches all year and no one throws your way, you are not going to have interceptions. Too many stat ho’s. He is aggressive, athletic and has great instincts in coverage which will be a breath of fresh air after watching DJ Hayden for 3 years. I’ll miss the DJ Hayden apologists though. Ok maybe not so much.
Jack Conklin: OT Michigan St.
If the Raiders want to go OT here, some are saying Taylor Decker from OSU, but I like Conklin better. Decker looks better in his uniform and is very tall (6′ 7″) but he isn’t consistent enough for me in the run game and Conklin is a Raider. Conklin plays hard every play and he’s a big physical guy with a mean streak. A bruising OL that wears defensive players down. I see him starting in a year or two if not earlier. He’s smart and physical and I love his game.
Ezekiel Elliott: RB Ohio St.
I think a few Raider fans pretty much want all pro’s at every offensive position so this is a pick for them. I think teams that draft well are fans of the best player available and even though I don’t think this pick would happen, this still is the Raiders and you never know. I think Elliott is better than Heisman winner Derrick Henry. Alabama always has near the best OL in college and they never get the credit when their RB’s do so well. With Eddie Lacy struggling last year, Alabama RB’s haven’t exactly tore up the NFL the last 10 years. Elliott is big, fast and strong and he’s a work horse. He was never asked to catch the ball much so he’ll have to learn with experience. People forget that Barry Saunders averaged a little over 2 catches a game in his career and he wasn’t in the lineup often for the Lions on passing downs.
Elliott has a little prima donna in him but he’s a physical, talented player. The Raiders could move or let go of Reece and Murray and give the starting nod to Elliott and let Roy Helu Jr. take the 3rd down role for every week and not just week 17. Again, crazier things have happened but it’s a long shot. Eli Manning isn’t the type of QB to carry a team so to me, Elliott has NY Giants at #10 written all over him, but who knows. Again, if he’s there his talent is hard to pass up.
Laquon Treadwell: WR Mississippi
Think Dez Bryant or Larry Fitzgerald. Personally I think the Raiders need an upgrade at #3 WR but defense is a much bigger need. I had high hopes for Andre Holmes but he’s not getting much playing time. Seth Roberts is ok but when others are double teamed he should be.
Treadwell has good size and good speed even though he’s not a speedster. He is a quiet guy but a total leader type who makes big plays in the biggest games. He came back from a horrific ankle injury as good as new. A playmaker in the biggest sense with great hands. He will make one team very happy and has the potential to be a #1 WR. His value is again all over the board. Some have him going #4 to the Cowboys and some have him going into the early second round. Again, the mock draft world.
Shaq Lawson: DE Clemson
Another Clemson guy Jim? Yes. He can speed or bull rush and he can stop the run. He’s a playmaker and a leader and he’s quick as a cat. If he’s still available you just can’t pass him up. His projection is also all over the place. Some have him going #7 and some have him going all the way to #26. Welcome to the guessing game which is the NFL mock draft. Talents like this can’t be passed up though. Ask Denver how fun it is having DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller as rushing bookends.
Please Don’t Pick Them Award:
Robert Nkemdiche: DL Ole Miss
He famously fell out of a hotel window while partying with his boys and fell 15 feet and needed an ambulance. They then found 7 joints in his hotel room and he was arrested. To be honest for some of the crimes college players have done or have been accused of, that’s kind of tame in my book. What worries me more than that is that I think he’s overrated. Many SEC players get way too much publicity and I think this guy is one of those.
When supposed future all world DE/LB Jadeveon Clowney was in the draft, I pointed out to everyone how poor he had played in his last 8 college games. Oh the hate. One guy called me the dumbest writer he’d ever read. I pointed out that Teams were actually running at him and his stats were not very good. I saw the same thing with Nkemdiche. In his last 6 games he averaged only 2.5 tackles a game and he had 3 sacks all season. I’m not a fan of his but some love this guy. He’s another popular player going to the Raiders in some mock drafts. I doubt he will be chosen considering how the Raiders have concentrated on character guys. I’d pass on him.
Kendall Fuller: CB Virginia Tech
I think Kendall Fuller is this years DJ Hayden. I think his stock will rise at the NFL combines and mark it down; I have a bad feeling this is going to be the Raiders pick. He’s athletic and fast. At the start of the season Fuller was considered a top CB in college. He was torched often in the Ohio St. game and looked overwhelmed and lost. He then got hurt in week three with a knee injury and missed the rest of last season. Rumors already have the Steelers liking him especially with their weak defensive backfield. I don’t like this pick. His weakness is that he has poor instincts as a DB. Virginia Tech has an aggressive defense but there is a lot of freelancing. Many times Fuller looks at the QB too much and loses track of his man. I just do not like this guy but the NFL combine 40 times have screwed the Raiders for years with many poor DB draft picks and I hope they don’t do it again. I think Fuller is no where near as good as Alexander.
Jaylon Smith: LB Notre Dame
Before his injury this was my favorite pick in college. Fast, a great tackler, good leader can play all downs; then he had that horrific injury.
The “rome wasn’t built in a day” stuff is old to many fans. Some fans say that every time a new coaching staff is hired and many Raider fans are done with it after 13 years of non winning seasons. The Raiders need to win now. Smith tore 2 ligaments and in no way will be full strength next year. Smith is all about speed so for me this is just too much of a risk. One ligament maybe; but not two. It takes a good year to fully recover from this injury and it may take 2, and who knows how healthy he will be. Patience isn’t bliss anymore in Oakland.
These are just a handful of the names that you will be hearing about. There are others that I feel would be good picks and we’ll share them at another time.
I got the nicest message from Ken Stabler’s daughters Kendra and Marissa on twitter. Kendra: @JimJaxMedia this is an amazing article and tribute to my Dad. Thank you. He would have loved this. The love & support has amazed us all.
Marissa: @JimJaxMedia Thank you so much for honoring my dad with such beautiful words.
“Some People need 8 Hours of sleep and some need 3 hours. I didn’t need much sleep and sometimes studied my playbook by the light of the jukebox”
“He was the perfect quarterback and the perfect Raider. If I had to pick one quarterback to win a game in the final drive, it would be Ken Stabler”
“It’s a Travesty of sports justice that Ken Stabler is not in the Hall of Fame. He was as good as any quarterback I ever saw”
Former Bronco Great, Tom Jackson
“Joe Namath was the greatest athlete at quarterback that I ever had, but Ken Stabler was the best quarterback that I ever coached.”
Paul “Bear” Bryant, legendary Alabama Coach
“He was such a gentleman. He wanted to fight it quietly without bother. That’s who he was”.
Ted Hendricks, HOF Raider Linebacker
“I never saw anything like it. He was like Madison Bumgarner the way he could throw fastballs or sliders with pinpoint accuracy.”
Lester Hayes, Former Raider Cornerback
“The Passing Of Legendary Raider Ken Stabler Shocks a Nation”
A leader and true Southern Gentleman to the end.
I’m the big brother people call when there is a tragedy or a problem. There isn’t a week that goes by where someone won’t call me between midnight and 3 am with either a problem or wanting to talk. Call it the big brother syndrome; the John Boy Walton in me. For this I don’t cry much in front of people. And to be honest I never cry over a celebrity or an athletes death. Famous people have never impressed me that much and when people drop their names I just kind of yawn. Unfortunately after hearing the fiasco which is the internet tell me finally that the matriarch of the dynasty which was the Oakland Raiders was gone, I was filled with emotions.
Kenny Stabler; the Snake; passed away yesterday at the age of 69 due to complications of stage 4 colon cancer sending a shockwave of sadness throughout the NFL world. In death, as he did in life, Kenny took on the pressure himself and many of his teammates didn’t even know he was sick. Stabler, until the end; was the classy leader that took on the pressure while lifting the load off of others. Later in life he did color commentary for Alabama games and the state is in mourning for their favorite son.
I slowly walked down my hiking trail and just wanted a minute alone with no sounds. I looked out over the water and for the first time in my life I cried over the loss of a professional athlete.
Ken Stabler; like many; was my favorite athlete. In fact I often either wanted #12 on my teams or the #21 for Roberto Clemente. I would often write both numbers on professional contracts at the bottom when I became an adult. I remember my parents and coaches getting mad at me as a little boy for wanting to use my left hand like Kenny. I remember praying to God to make me have special powers so I could use my left arm like Stabler did. Many times now people think I’m left handed with some of the things I can do.
For a young fan to even grasp in a small way what Stabler meant to the Raiders would take a lot of effort on their part. If you ever get the chance, read the book Snake. It’s the candid account of the lifestyle and crazy ways of the Raiders of that time. In the greatest era of the NFL in the 70’s, George Clooney and Clint Eastwood had nothing on the Snake.
In high school Stabler was 29-1 as a starter. He averaged 29 points a game as a high school basketball player and was drafted by two major league baseball teams. At Alabama he was 28-3-2. For the Raiders he was 69-26-1. 126-30-4. I’m speechless.
To see how dominating the Raiders and Ken Stabler were, look at this stat. In Stabler’s first 69 games as a regular starter for the Raiders, the Raiders were 56-13. I actually had to check the numbers 5 times. That is unreal. That’s greatness.
The Stabler Kindness:
Stabler’s generation is amazing. Many times under the darkest of circumstances, they are so selfless. Kenny and his family have helped countless people through the XOXO Stabler Foundation. Kenny also was amazingly giving of his time and his efforts in many charities and causes. Like most of his generation he didn’t want much fanfare and didn’t call the presses every time he helped someone. He was a great person. He never turned down a fans request to sign something or talk to him. When he was sick he didn’t want to be a burden and again, was as selfless and giving as a man can be.
I often feel bad for his daughters and grandkids who have shown great patience with some of us loving Ken so much. They have been as caring and kind as he was. In death they also showed the selfless Stabler spirit. The Stabler family announced that his brain and spinal cord will be donated to Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center to support research for degenerative brain disease in athletes. People forget that the Snake was involved in the concussion lawsuit against the NFL.
People often say why does it matter where the Raiders play? I always tell people outside the Oakland bay area that the Raiders are your team but they are our family.
The stories about the fans and players interactions during the glory days of the Raiders in the 70’s are of legend and will never be seen again. The Santa Rosa area would be up all night during training camp, and many times Ken Stabler was up with them. My father actually got to drink with Mr. Stabler once in Santa Rosa when the Raiders were holding court in one of the watering holes.
People forget that during the 70’s the players weren’t getting rich off of the NFL. Many players had extra jobs and did other things to make money. Often times they would meet, work with, or become friends with the fans. You can still see it with some of the Raiders kids and grandkids who are online still repping the silver and black. With fans. the Raiders were not considered celebrities but literal family members.
The most beloved player of them all was Ken Stabler. Mix part Clint Eastwood, part Johnny Cash, a little Kid Rock, and Part Johnny Unitas and you had Ken Stabler.
I laugh now when fans say the NFL and other teams hate the Raiders. They really have no idea what hate is. Back in the 70’s there was no internet, and there wasn’t even an ESPN. The only way to get national news on any team was to watch it on television and most news services were based on the east coast and extremely biased. There were times that you would get more coverage about the Jets and Yankees than you did on your local teams.
The Raiders were flat out hated; by everyone. Since the merger Raider owner Al Davis felt screwed by the AFL and the NFL because he felt they had told him he would become their commissioner. Al Davis from then on was a renegade and it was us against the world. The Raiders constantly had one of the best teams in the NFL and the loudest home crowd but because they never had won a Super Bowl, they were shredded in the media.
“The Raiders can’t win the big one; they choke in the big games; the road to the Super Bowl easily goes through Oakland; The Chokeland Raiders”; it was hard for fans at that time to take, and only a Super Bowl win would fix it.
The animosity for the Raiders was so bad that even after Stabler won the 1974 MVP trophy (and even opponents were shocked he didn’t win it in 1976); many times announcers would have to remind people during the game all the things that Stabler had accomplished, and pretty much who he was. If you were west of the Mississippi in those days, you had to really fight for respect.
Stabler was Joe Montana before Montana. Montana often said Stabler was the guy he tried to be like and that was someone he looked up to. Stabler was a master at game management and his pinpoint passing accuracy was of legend. Because the Raiders were so good he never got the credit for being as great as he was and that often bothered other players, but not the Snake. Remember this was during the time where there are no HD high speed camera and videos on the sidelines. No radio transmitters in the helmets, and Quarterbacks actually did call their own plays. From Stabler to John Madden, to Ron Wolf to Al Davis; they all told the media the same thing. We don’t care what the other team does; we are going to do what we do and they can’t stop us. Supreme confidence with results.
Players often have wondered how someone as great as the Snake could not be in the Hall of Fame. My friend Tim Casto who I really enjoy; founder of Raiders Homeport; reminded me of a nasty situation between Stabler and quality sports writer Bob Padecky. There were rumors of a set up and many felt that if not Bob, then writers around the country helped ruin Stabler’s reputation and tried to keep him out of the hall of fame. They did not want to be intimidated into writing fluff pieces on athletes. Ken Stabler is still the only Super Bowl winning QB of the 1970’s not in the HOF. He’s also the only all decade QB not to be elected into the hall. Travesty.
I rarely get into twitter wars but I got into 2 of them yesterday. Two clueless east coast writers said Stabler wasn’t all that talented. Are you kidding me? Bear Bryant, the Alabama coaching Icon called Stabler the greatest quarterback he ever coached. John Madden said the same thing and said even today if he needed to have one quarterback for one drive, he’d pick Ken Stabler to run that drive. Raider hater and Denver Bronco great Tom Jackson said Stabler was as good as any QB to ever play the game.
We fans are too young but what about the 1967 “Run in the Mud” Stabler did to beat Auburn in the Iron Bowl when he was at Alabama? His 53 yard run was the longest of the season and is a Crimson Tide legend. The Sea of Hands game; the Holy Roller; Ghost to the Post and the countless other games that he lead comebacks in. In fact if the call were reversed, Stabler would have won the game in the Immaculate Reception fiasco with his long run for a touchdown against the Steelers.
Some say the Snake didn’t have the numbers. It was a different game then though. The rules allowed defenders to do anything they wanted to quarterbacks and wide receivers and passing wasn’t a huge part of the game. It got so crazy with the violence that Chuck Knoll once called the Oakland Police Department to arrest Jack Tatum and George Atkinson for assault. It isn’t like today where Wide Receivers roam free skipping over the middle like school kids while QB’s can’t be touched. The numbers you see now are comical and the passing game is much easier.
Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton reiterated that yesterday on KNBR. “In fact a rule change changed the NFL. After the 1979 Season, the NFL stopped allowing players to hit Wide Receivers after 5 yards down the field. This literally was directly attributed to George Atkinson and Jack Tatum. This made the game much more wide open and easier for quarterbacks.”
The 70’s also was the most talented era of all time. The Steel Curtain; the Doomsday Defense; The Orange Crush; the Purple People Eaters; the No Name Defense; no era was dominated with so much talent in NFL history. There was no salary cap and teams were loaded with talent. In one game in the 70’s between the Steelers and Raiders there were 21 future hall of fame players, owners and coaches on the field. Try naming 10 hall of famers in a game today. I usually don’t hold grudges but I will always hold a grudge against the Hall of Fame Voting Committee for not voting the Snake in while he was still alive.
Someone close to my heart; my friend Mike Yokum; has lead a valiant effort to try and get Kenny Stabler into the Hall of Fame. Anyone reading this article hopefully will take one minute to sign his petition.
“It may sound corny”, Mike said, “but Kenny’s effect on my childhood was profound. Just this week I received some signed merchandise from him. He thought of me even though he was dying. I didn’t even know he was sick. He was so giving. A man’s man to the end.”
Tim Casto also gave light on what he thought would happen in regards to the hall of fame. “He was born to be a Raider. I think this finally will be the year that he gets into the Hall of Fame. People forget that Ken was the 3rd fastest to get to 100 wins taking only 150 games. If you look only at his statistics as a Raider, they are pretty amazing. People also overlook what a kind man he was. He was very giving and did a lot through his great foundation and many other charities that he helped. The Steelers and Rooney family; the Raiders hated rivals; are actually pushing for Ken to be in the hall of fame and they have a lot of pull”.
After I sat for a few hours and just kind of wondered about things I thought to myself, what would the Snake tell me now if he were here. I then imagined Ken Stabler’s voice; a cool guy with his smooth southern accent say,
“Jim I’ve had a wonderful life; I had 3 amazing daughters that are the light of my eye and the beat of my heart; I have grandkids that make me proud every minute of the day; I played for the greatest organization and college in sports in front of the greatest fans in the world. I have loved and lived hard. I had fun every step of my life and now I’m with my maker with no more pain or worries. So get up and go live life to the fullest and don’t worry about me. Live it with a wink in one eye and a twinkle in the other. I’m fine.”
All of a sudden I smiled broadly, quickly got up and I felt like a million bucks. I walked half way up the hill stopped and looked up into the sky into the lights across the water. For some reason I took a picture although it was pitch black, and said out loud, “Thanks Kenny. For everything.”
Like I said. A leader and true southern gentleman to the end.