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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Positional Battles to Watch

With Training camp and the Preseason just around the corner, let's take a look at some positional battles that could have huge impacts on our upcoming season.

Aaron Brooks has the edge in this battle with his experience and his contract. It's only a two year deal so look for Andrew Walter to get some playing time during the season. The greatest asset Brooks brings to the Raiders is his mobility. He should be able to create more time and give the Offensive Line a little support.

Right Gaurd
The offensive line is forming into a solid looking unit with the only question mark at Right Gaurd. Brad Badger and Rookie Paul McQ will be the front runners to start at this position. I am hoping that McQ plays well enough to earn the position. That would make our offensive line starters one of the youngest groups in the league. If we can keep this unit together for awhile, they will be dominate.

Wide Receiver
Our top two Recievers are pretty much set in stone (as long as Porter behaves) but after that, it's anyone's guess. Ronald Curry is the most consistent if he can stay healthy but Doug Gabriel has also made some big plays although without any real consistency. Morant and Whitted are also possibilities for the third slot but not as quite as likely as the other two. However it plays out, we will have one of the most talented bunches of receivers in the league.

Tight End
Courtney Anderson is the leader of the pack but didn't do as much as expected last season. It isn't all his fault when he had to put up with Kerry Collins running the offense but he needs to be more consistent this season if he wants to keep the starting job. If he struggles this season, he will be replaced quickly. I would like to see James Adkisson get some reps. He is a Wide Reciever turned tight end and had some success in Europe in the past.

Well that pretty much somes up the major offensive positional battles. Now let's take a look at our defense.

Defensive Tackle
Warren Sapp is the only Defensive Tackle with a big name on our roster but due to his age, he doesn't play as many downs as he used too. The possible players to start along side Sapp are Donnell Washington, Anttaj Hawthorne, Tommy Kelly, Rashad Moore and Terdell Sands. The most likely is probably Tommy Kelly but Antajj Hawthorne has a tremendous upside but may wear out after playing in Europe this offseason.

Outside Linebacker
Once a major weakness, our linebackers are quickly becoming a strength. Danny Clark will ancor the middle with Kirk Morrison line up on one side but the other side is still undetermined. The possible starters are Robert Thomas, Sam Williams, Darnell Bing and Thomas Howard. The most likely to start is Sam Williams but he has had injury problems in the past. If Williams is injured look for Thomas Howard to see some playing time. Bing is also a very interesting prospect but it may take him a couple seasons to get completely confortable in his new position.

Well that pretty much sums up the major position battles. I've looked at 6 positions out of 22 and thats all I found that could have major battles occuring. There are always suprise players that spring up but I don't see many other changes unless we catch the injury bug.


Blogger Ayman said...

I think you can count on Aaron Brooks being the starter. They paid him a nice contract didn't they?

7/18/2006 9:42 AM  
Blogger The Analyzer said...

Yeah. I don't think he was drastically overpaid or anything but I also think it amounts to a two year deal as well.

7/18/2006 9:46 AM  

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