Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Is Walter The Man?

Let's face it. The QB market for 2006 is very limited. No matter which direction the Raider organization turns there is going to be a risk involved. Drew Brees inked a lucrative deal with New Orleans today. Miami traded a 2nd round pick for Daunte Culpepper. Kitna officially signed with Detroit today. There are no team visits planned yet for McCown, Ramsey, or Griese. It is difficult to get a sense of what are the best options for the Silver and Black.

Here is a breakdown of some of the viable choices and possible paths to consider;

Josh McCown - I like McCown's energy and moxie. He is physically gifted, can make all the throws and most importantly, McCown plays with passion and desire. McCown acquitted himself fairly well in Arizona when given the opportunity to start. McCown is definitely at the top of my list. I'm just wondering why he hasn't been scheduled to meet with Al Davis and Art Shell.

Patrick Ramsey - Young and unproven QB who visited the NY Jets. Ramsey is a tough QB who has a cannon for an arm but a limited number of starts. In my view, if Ramsey is signed by the Raiders then he should compete with Walter in training camp and let the best man win.

Aaron Brooks - Brooks should be cut by New Orleans within the next 24 hours now that Brees is on board. Brooks is an athletic QB; mobile, good arm strength but questionable decision making skills. Brooks might be the type of QB who really benefits from a change of scenery and a fresh start in Oakland.

Brian Griese - Tampa Bay might re-sign Griese while the Chicago Bears consider signing Griese to compete with Rex Grossman.

Gus Frerotte - Journeyman, game manager who could be a stop gap measure until Walter is ready to take the helm.

Steve McNair - Tough, mobile leader with possibly 2 good years left in the tank. If Tennessee decides to move up in the draft to snatch Leinart, the Titans would probably cut bait with McNair and allow Billy Volek to become a temporary starter until Leinart is ready for the #1 spot.

Bret Favre - Very unlikely that Favre will join any other team but the Packers. Long shot, fantasy at best.

Matt Leinart - The most polished and game ready QB in the draft. Excellent decision-maker, accurate passer, and proven winner. Has the poise and leadership abilities to be a top QB in the league for many years to come. Look for the Jets and Titans to battle it out to swap picks with the Saints. Give the inside edge to the Jets to make a splash on draft day unless Titans' offensive coordinator Norm Chow has a say in the matter. Has Al Davis been playing possum in respects to his interest in Leinart? Does he see Leinart as the second coming of Kenny Stabler? I wouldn't put it past Davis to consider working a behind the scenes trade for the #2 pick.

Jay Cutler - Cutler would seem to be a natural fit for Tennessee if the Titans lose out in the Leinart sweepstakes. Cutler could also fall into the Raiders lap with the 7th pick. Would it make sense to have Cutler and Walter battle in camp for the right to lead the team? I say no. If you are going to go for a QB in the draft, he needs to be head and shoulders above Walter to make such a decision.

Vince Young - A real wild-card. Young was interviewed by the Raiders at the combine. Will the loser of the Leinart sweepstakes (NY or Tennessee) take Young or Cutler? In the case of Tennessee, you could make an argument that all of the QBs in the 1st round are viable options. Leinart has the connection to Norm Chow from their days together at USC. Cutler had a very impressive combine performance plus he played his college ball for Vanderbilt in the state of Tennessee. Young already has a personal and mentoring relationship with Steve McNair and could be viewed as his logical successor.

Kerry Collins - "Don't ask, don't tell" This is the QB option that the entire dues paying members of the Raider Nation are dreading. Collins being re-signed would be a PR disaster of epic proportions. The Raiders would have a very difficult time spinning the reasons for bringing him back especially when you take into account his record, unpopularity, and the fact that this is the 1st year the Raiders organization is responsible for selling tickets.
(I say a prayer each night that Baltimore signs KFC)

Marques Tuiosopo - Was given a 1 game tryout last year vs. the Jets and failed miserably. Tui is not a viable option. He doesn't have the skill set that Al Davis desires. For Tui's sake, he should be given his release to hook on with another team that runs the west coast offense. Reuniting with Gruden in Tampa Bay makes the most sense.

Andrew Walter - Is Walter going to be given the opportunity to compete to be the man? Would he be ready to lead the team and when? It seems unlikely unless he truly sparkles in training camp and distances himself over a journeyman QB like Frerotte or a drafted QB like Young.

Having sifted through all the rubble, I have pared down my top choices to the following;

Plan A: Sign McCown
Plan B: Aggressively pursue a draft trade to ink Leinart
Plan C: Take a flyer on Brooks with a short-term, incentive laden contract to buy Walter an extra year
Plan D: Bring in Ramsey but have an open competition in camp with Walter
Plan X: Draft Young. Young's talents are quite remarkable. His skill set is similar to Michael Vick. The big question is whether his style of play and physical skills will translate and produce wins at the pro level. If nothing else, it will create excitement and sell tickets.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only point I'd quibble with you on is Tui. It is inaccurate to say he was given a chance last year. I'd say he was sent in to fail to shut the fans up. Tui's greatest asset is his mobility. Designed rollouts, naked bootlegs, etc. None of those were in the game plan. Instead, he was sent in to stand in the pocket and count to seven like Collins. We'd already proven our line could not block for that scheme. They didn't block any better for Tui than they did for Collins. Sending Tui in to imitate Collins is not giving Tui a chance. Send him in with a game plan to utilize the skills and abilities he has that Collins does not. I agree with you that Tui should be released for his sake. He is not going to get the chance to do what he does best here. Which is a pity, he's a good guy. I hope he has success wherevere he winds up, with the usual proviso of "except where it would adversely affect the Raiders".

7:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmmmmm They missed the boat on Tui. Coming out of Washington Tui needed to start with 2 years of coming out of college. He has been on ICE way too long and I believe his skills have significantly eroded over time.

Just like I hated both the Kerry Collins and the Norv Turner decision.... I HATE the Vince Young choice potential.

Vince's athleticism is outstanding BUT his skill set does not translate to the PRO ranks and the Wonderlik tests (however laughed at) does not bode well.

I do not WANT to see the Raiders waste their GREAT selection position on a Vince young potential BUST.

Get AJ Hawk/Mario Williams or even Ferguson.....I would prefer Huff.

I say pick up Mckown or EVEN give the Ball to Walter (my fave choice)

8:17 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

anon 7:48 - You are exactly right about the Jets game. Norv Turner didn't modify the game plan to fit Tui's strengths. Tui has been gaining rust the last 5 years. He was put in a very difficult situation. However, let's not forget that Tui was responsible for 4 turnovers in that game (2 fumbles + 2 interceptions). I hope he finds a better situation with another team.

Anon 8:17 - The best case scenario for Vince Young would be to be drafted by Tennessee where he could be groomed for 2 years by McNair. The risks outweigh the potential benefits for the Raiders to take Young. Both Hawk and Williams would be awesome draft choices. Unfortunately, both will definitely be off the board by the 7th pick.

It might make the most sense to trade down to a later 1st round pick to go after Ernie Sims (LB, FSU), Gabe Watson (DT, Mich), DT Broderick Bunkley (DT, FSU) and pick up an extra pick in a later round. Although Michael Huff will fill a need at SS, I'm not convinced that he would be the best value as a #7 pick when we could pick up Darnell Bing (SS, USC) in the early 2nd round. Bing is a more natural SS while Huff is extremely versatile and would have the ability to play CB, SS, of FS.

9:32 AM  
Anonymous MAVERICK said...

Hey Calico Jack, nice blog. I agree with the idea of giving Walter a chance to compete. He is the long term plan for sure. Mr. Davis would not allow a lame duck coach pick a QB in the 3rd round unless he planned on using him. FYI: McCown has a meeting with Mr. Davis and Art Shell last night and is still in Oakland today.
Keep up the good work,
Portland, Oregon
(but the first 27 years in Torrance, California!)

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Maclavian said...

The new QB is McCown. Bank on it. He will take the Raiders through the season but in the end Andrew Walter will QB the Raiders in the Super Bowl but only to lose, however it will be a great season. Tell 'em you heard it here first.

3:03 PM  
Anonymous scorpio2562 said...

ok i think the superbowl is just a bit much to ask from young mr. walter. i agree with the 1st anonymous. tui was a waste. thing is, they shouldn't just let him walk without compensation. if we get mccown, fine. trade tui and at least get SOMETHING for him. this is his walk year so we gotta get something for wasting a 2nd round pick on him.

vince young. i have said a lot about this guy and i certainly don't want hm to be a raider. davis? do you read these blogs?

personally, i want hawk. this guy can make the same impact as an urlacher or a merriman can. lb is our weakest position. do you mean to tell me that irons and brayton - 2 tall and slow linemen can continue to pose as lb's? you thhink irons would even have a job if he wasn't a lb? brayton goes back to the line where he belongs.

the key here folks is al davis. it ALWAYS bols down to al f-ing davis doesn't it? is he gonna put his crack pipe down and make a sensible pick? or will he pick another janikowski and let shawn alexander pass us by once again?

ya see what i mean?

12:39 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Maclavian: Unfortunately the bank is closed on McCown. I would love to see Walter be given every opportunity to compete for the #1 QB position. I would have no problem with Walter being thrown in the fire as long as we have a veteran QB as an insurance policy.

Scorpio: I love your enthusiam about A.J. Hawk. I believe he will be a playmaker and perennial All-Pro for many years to come. Unfortunately there is 99.9% probability that he won't be available by the time the Raiders use their 7th pick. I have scoured numerous draft board sites (ie. Draft Daddy, On the Clock, NFL Draft Countdown, ESPN, CBS Sportsline to name a few). All of the draft experts who get paid big money have AJ Hawk going #5 to the Packers or #6 to the Whiners. If all of the experts are wrong and Hawk falls into our laps with the 7th pick, go out and get a lottery ticket.

12:50 AM  

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