Monday, September 3, 2018

Why Raiders Traded Khalil Mack: The Real Story


It's fun for the local  bay area media who already hates the Raiders to keep hammering Jon Gruden for trading Khalil Mack. Why? Because it's easy to do and they don't need to give you the full background of what actually happened and why it happened. It's not just the local media who pretend, it pretty much a national "fact" that Raiders did this terrible thing by trading their "best player"

 What they don't want to tell you is why Raiders traded Kahlil Mack. There's no doubt Khalil Mack is one of the best Defensive ends in the NFL, key word: one of.
Mack has made some great plays, he was a former defensive player of the year two years ago. Everyone knows Mack is good.
When Jon Gruden accepted the job as head coach of the Raiders, Khalil Macks name was 2nd on the list of guys Gruden couldn't wait to coach. In fact Mack was one of the reasons that he chose to take Raiders job over Tampa Bay who were also trying to get Gruden back.  But when Gruden took the job what he didn't know is Mack and his agent Joel Segal already planned on leaving Oakland. Mack and company after all refused the offer GM Reggie McKenzie floated to them after the regular season last year which was 20 Million dollars a year (base salary)  after that the only time Gruden got to talk to Khalil Mack was when Gruden came in as the head coach. Gruden and Mack spoke for about 5 minutes in the weight room. Gruden would not be able to speak to Mack directly ever again as Mack declined Jon Gruden's calls on at least 5 different occasions.

Back to Gruden, it was a Saturday before Raiders were going to hold joint practices against the Detroit Lions and Gruden took it upon himself to talk to Mack directly, so Gruden called Khalil Macks personal cell phone number. Mack did not answer the phone but a day later GM Reggie McKenzie got a call from Khalil Macks agent saying that Khalil has no interest in speaking with Jon Gruden from now on. It was clear to everyone in Raiders management that Mack and his representation would wait to see what happened with Aaron Donald and the LA Rams. Gruden had already told people if Donald gets QB money they would be screwed and would have to figure something out, they were not going to give Mack a new contract at least not this year.
Khalil Mack already knew the Raiders stance, Gruden left a voicemail on Macks phone and so did McKenzie  stating they just wanted Mack at camp, "communication is key to get anything started" Gruden said to Mack but still Khalil decided to abandon his team who were in a process of learning a whole new defensive scheme. The media is obsessed with thinking Gruden was in on this from day one when that could not be further from the truth. Gruden wanted Mack at camp, Gruden did want to speak with him but Macks team made it clear not to contact them.

Fast forward 1 week  ago, Raiders still had the same plans as they were simply going to wait for Mack to show up and thought he would. There was even a discussion about giving Mack a bonus for now instead of a new contract after Aaron Donald got his big pay day. Jon Gruden simply could not pay Khalil Mack that much money and Macks agent and Joel Segal knew it. It was Khalil Macks agent who called the Raiders and told them that Mack would not be showing up for week one, he would sit out as long as possible and they were not concerned about the fines, in their mind the fines would be worth it in the long term. Mack and the agent had one demand pay Mack more than Aaron Donald or trade him. Raiders expressed that they did not want to trade Khalil Mack and Gruden wanted to know from Mack himself he wanted to be traded. Mack, Segal, Gruden, McKenzie and Tom Delaney (Raiders management)  were all on a conference call when Mack said those words, "Trade me or pay me, those are the two options" after that Raiders hung up the phone. GM Reggie McKenzie told Gruden that salary cap wise,  Raiders would be "a complete mess if we paid that kind of cash" McKenzie informed Gruden trading Mack might be the best option here. Gruden agreed once he got the numbers it would take and what it would do to the team, something Khalil Mack knew and was already going to make 14 Million this season but did not care about the teams cap situation.  Gruden was a bit dumbfounded that Mack actually was going to refuse the 13.9 million dollars and was going to sit out the entire season and it would end up being a PR nightmare and a distraction for the team.  Behind closed doors it was obvious to Gruden and staff that Mack wanted to be paid now big bucks and knew Chicago would pay him big money now.  Gruden then gave the okay to McKenzie to go ahead and trade Mack but only for 2 first round picks. This part is important, Jon Gruden did not negotiate the deal for Mack, McKenzie did. In fact Gruden was not very happy when he learned they would be giving Chicago anything other than Mack but McKenzie said that was the only way this would have worked.

In the end, it's simple. Khalil Mack was never loyal to you, never loyal to the organization that drafted him and yes, of course a player should get paid but Mack was due to make about 14 million dollars plus Raiders spoke about a bonus which would of gave him 20 million dollars just for this season. That's not chump change. Khalil Mack ego got in the way and he simply wanted out of Oakland.  Blame Gruden, blame the world if you really want, but nothing will change that fact.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Raiders reach out to Mychal Kendricks


 Raiders signed Tahir Whitehead, Emmanuel Lamur, Derrick Johnson in free agency, not to mention already have guys like Nicholas Morrow and Marquel Lee on the roster but that hasn't stopped Jon Gruden and his staff from reaching out to other linebackers.

The Oakland Raiders reached out to former Eagles LB Mychal Kendricks this morning to ask for a visit. No doubt a signing like Kendricks would be a huge upgrade for the Raiders but it's also a very crowded LB group. Kendricks release from Eagles was a bit of a shock since it was so late but it certainly did not hurt his stock. If Raiders want to get him in for a visit they might have to wait since 3 other teams have also called Kendricks. 

Raiders are hoping he leaves those teams interested without a deal and perhaps they can lock him in but the question out there is why they feel the need for Kendricks if they are happy with Derrick Johnson?
Kendricks who is a middle linebacker would certainly get the nod over Johnson if he was signed to Raiders.  Only time will tell if the Raiders get the visit (they are hoping for one as soon as Friday)
or if Kendricks signs somewhere else, or simply waits for the highest bidder.
Kendricks has visited Minnesota, Raiders are getting the next visit, after that Kendricks is supposed to visit Cleveland. Raiders want to make sure that visit never happens. The visit should be either WED or THUR as Raiders are really pushing for an ASAP visit.
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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Mario Edwards Jr must step it up in 2018



Mario Edwards Jr has not lived up to the hype since being drafted in the 2nd round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Reggie McKenzie loved his "upside" when he selected Edwards and thought he would become an elite Defensive End but that never materialized as Edwards was constantly battling injuries and missing games. Edwards has played in just 24 of a possible 48 regular-season games.
Last season Edwards did come off his best performance as a pro as far as sacks go, he racked up 3.5 sacks in 2017. He also only played in 14 games. Edwards has not played all 16 games in a single season since he came into the NFL in 2015. In total Edwards in 3 years has 5.5 sacks and 53 tackles.

Things are changing now that Jon Gruden has returned as the Raiders head coach. Gruden is not tied to previous draft picks that were selected by GM Reggie McKenzie. In fact Gruden has made that clear by trading away former 2nd rounder Jihad Ward and letting guys like TJ Carrie, Denico Autry, Clive Walford and Darius Latham walk. Gruden even went as far as calling out Edwards publicly through the media, basically saying he needs to step it up or else.

Gruden's not lying, there's a reason why Raiders drafted Maurice Hurst and Arden Key and brought in Tank Carradine plus Gruden may not be done adding to the line in free agency with other Vets. Also looks like Bruce Irvin will be more of a DE in 2018. Gruden has moved Mario Edwards Jr to DT for good now.  Gruden just does not believe in Edwards as a DE, so the hope is Edwards can find a role in the middle somewhere in the Defensive line. No job will be given to Edwards, he's going to have to compete for a role or he will be another casualty of the new regime, plus Raiders would save a million dollars by releasing Edwards which has been discussed already. So as training camp gets closer keep eyes out on #97 if he even makes it to Raiders camp.

It's clear Edwards does have the potential, he has shown it in the past but Jon Gruden is not going to put all his hopes into Edwards. Reggie McKenzie does not have the power he once had in protected his picks, so for everyone's sake let's hope Mario Edwards J can rise up in 2018 and become that dominate force he once was in college.

Raiders have high hopes for WR Marcell Ateman


 Raiders headed into the 2018 draft with knowing they wanted a WR. Raiders head coach Jon Gruden really wanted to upgrade the wide receiver group via free agency and if the right guy was there in the draft they planned on taking one. They also got the call they been hoping for from Pittsburgh during the draft in which Steelers sent WR Martavius Bryant to the Raiders for a 3rd round selection.
This was something Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie had been working on weeks prior to the draft. Raiders first offered a 5th round pick for Bryant which Steelers rejected, McKenzie was instructed to give a higher pick to get Bryant and he did.

Jon Gruden was happy with the WR group, with the likes of Jordy Nelson, Amari Cooper, Martavius Bryant and Raiders also traded Jihad Ward to Cowboys for WR Ryan Switzer, which was an easy move for Gruden since he planned on cutting Jihad Ward anyways. This changed Raiders early directions, now they would focus on defense early in the draft in hopes of grabbing perhaps a WR in later rounds.

Raiders had a batch of 10 WR's in the draft that they really liked. Gruden was already happy with the additions of Bryant and Switzer but when the 7th round came and one of the 10 guys Raiders liked at WR was still there, Gruden the man they call "Chucky" was overjoyed. Raiders didn't hesitate as they selected Marcell Ateman, the 228th overall pick.

Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie was actually shocked Marcell Ateman was there in the 7th round, most scouts had him as a 4th or 5th round pick. But just like every year good players slip in the draft due to something. In Ateman's case, he slipped due to missing the entire 2016 season when he got injured in a preseason game and had to undergo foot surgery plus he was over shadowed by the other Oklahoma State WR in James Washington who got selected in the 2nd round by Pittsburgh Steelers.

 Marcell Ateman the 6-foot-5, 216-pound WR has solid hands and for his size has pretty good speed that can't be ignored. Ateman has the ability to run the entire route tree, he's a long target for any QB and he can catch most of those 50/50 passes by high pointing the ball by twisting his body mid-air. Ateman in college had fairly impressive numbers, in 2017 he caught 59 passes for 1,156 receiving yards, his average yards per catch 19.6 plus he grabbed 8 touchdowns.
He missed the 2016 year but in 2015 as a junior he had a fairly decent season as well. He managed to grab 45 passes for 767 yards and 5 touchdowns in 12 games. Ateman has all the tools to a major force in the NFL if he can stay healthy.  It also should be noted that the best fit for him in the NFL would be a west coast offense, that is what Raiders will be running under Gruden.

Lot's of 7th rounders don't make it in the NFL. There has been some success stories though and Ateman has all the ingredients to make this one a huge success story. Big WR's don't come along that often, especially ones as talented as Ateman, may of got overshadowed in college but now he has a chance for the whole world to see him now with the Raiders. Derek Carr could have a new target for the end zone.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Raiders get the steal in draft with Nick Nelson


In the fourth round of the 2018 NFL draft Raiders selected CB Nick Nelson out of Wisconsin, it was a pick that could be the biggest hidden gem in Oakland Raiders draft.
Nick Nelson started his college career at Hawaii University in 2014, in his first year Nelson played in 10 games with eight starts at cornerback.Nelson recorded 36 total tackles, including 31 solo stops, logged six pass breakups and a forced fumble. Nick Nelson was only getting started though as the next season he started all 13 games at cornerback and delivered 56 total tackles, 15 pass breakups and a forced fumble and one sack. Nelson did not get any interceptions mostly because opposing QB's would stop throwing his way.  Nelson would then move onto Wisconsin, after redshirting in 2016 (NCAA rules) Nelson recorded 35 tackles, 1 tackle for loss and 21 pass deflections for the Badgers in 2017.  The 21 pass break ups set a single season record. Nelson would also return punts for the Badgers. 24 punts returned for 206 yards and that includes one that went for a touchdown against Michigan. Wisconsin had an amazing defense in 2017, in fact they ended up ranked 2nd nationally in total defense.
After the season Nelson got an invite to the NFL Combine, he ran a 4.52-second 40-yard dash and jumped 123.0 inches on the broad jump.
Team scouts liked Nelson's play on the field despite him not having 1 interception Nelson broke up passes and was a solid tackler who had very good instincts. Nelson, who is 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds was seen by most scouts 2nd rounder.

Then the pre draft workouts started which would send Nelsons draft stock from a potential 2nd rounder all the way to a 4th round selection. During a private workout for the Detroit Lions disaster struck as Nick Nelson would end up with a torn meniscus, a knee injury that would require surgery which was done on April 17th by Dr James Andrews.
Nelson would have to watch the draft while on crutches and see just how much this injury would affect him. Teams who loved him before the freak injury now were taking him off their boards or moving him late into the draft. Raiders though always had Nelson high on their boards. In the Raiders "war room" they watched teams pass up on Nelson due to the injury and surgery.

 Raiders watched closely as Nelson was still there in the 4th round, they knew they had the 10th pick (110th overall) and they already knew who they were selecting if he was still there but there was some doubts. Raiders thought perhaps Panthers could roll the dice and take Nelson with the very first pick in the 4th round (101 overall) but instead they took a Tight End. The next logical team that could take Nelson would be Washington who picked right before Raiders at the 109th overall selection but luckily for the Raiders that didn't happen as Washington took a safety instead.
Raiders had their guy, the same guy that was on their board when they entered the draft. Raiders did not hesitate at all with this one. As an employee said in the room "We got our guy" Raiders selected Nelson quickly.

Now it's up to Nelson to show all 31 other teams they made a mistake of not selecting him. The surgery went perfect for Nick, in fact the time table for him to be 100% ready to go is fairly soon. He should be ready to go full speed with pads by training camp. Could this be the steal of the draft? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure, Raiders never gave up on Nick Nelson.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The real reason Raiders cut Marquette King

 It was just about 3 weeks ago when Marquette King appeared on NFL Network was asked about his new head coach Jon Gruden. King responded with a very disrespectful answer,
"Gruden..Gruden Gruden..Oh that Monday Night Football guy" 
A lot of people brushed it off as King being himself which is exactly why Raiders moved on from him. It's well known King was not beloved in the locker room. Marquette King is a punter who wants to be a "personality" and that's something that causes 15 yard penalty's with lots of players sitting on the sideline shaking their heads in frustration.

Yes, one of the biggest reasons why King was cut was the money issue, if Raiders keep him they would be paying him 3 million dollars a season. Gruden does not value kickers that much and he also does not think King was a great of a place holder for the kicker and even pointed that out at the combine.
Jon Gruden is trying to change the culture of the team, yes there are guys that he would like to cut but he can't due to money issues. Gruden came into the Raiders job with the thought process this team needs to be more mature and more driven.

It should be noted that Gruden never spoke to King personally but, that does not mean he hasn't talked to players who had thoughts on King. There's no doubt King's punting abilities are great but, with an old school coach who does not value special teams that much and a punter who has no respect for him at all and throw in he's getting paid too much for a punter in the coaches mind, plus players simply were no fans it wasn't a hard decision for Gruden to have McKenzie show him the door.

Why Raiders Traded Khalil Mack: The Real Story

                                                    It's fun for the local  bay area media who already hates the Raide...