Friday, April 21, 2006

Origins of Silver and Black Forever

Back in November of last year, I decided to start this blog to share information and express my unfiltered views on the Raiders. One of the first things I needed to do before putting my fingers to the keys was come up with a name for the blog.

The original blog name was going to be 'Silver and Black Forever. Til Death Do Us Part' to capture the true essence of my passion for the Raiders. For practical purposes the name was shortened to 'Silver and Black Forever'. Of course the colors are synonymous with the Raiders. The word 'Forever' was a way of flagging this site for die-hard Raider fans. After all, forever means to the end of time. It was a way of marking a line in the sand. To the left of the line are the casual fans. On the line (or the fence) are the fair weather fans. To the right of the line are the loyal, dedicated, no quarter given, die-hard fans. My intentions are to create a webpage that can be a voice for the folks on the right side of the line. The Raider Nation.

After coming up with the name of the blog, I decided to come up with a pen name. While scouring the net for historical pirates, I came across a page that had a bunch of pirates' flags. When I saw Calico Jack's black flag with the skull and cross swords, I knew I hit my mark. Was the Raiders logo modeled after Calico Jack's flag of the early 1700's? You be the judge. Below is a brief historical bio on the colorful and infamous pirate named Calico Jack.

(from Wikipedia)
Jack Rackham (died 1720), commonly known as Calico Jack, was a pirate captain during the 18th century. He earned his name from the colourful Calico clothes he wore, but is now most famous for having the two most notorious female pirates in his crew, Anne Bonny and Mary Read.

Rackham had been the quartermaster on an English warship called the Neptune under the command of Captain Vane. When Vane subsequently refused to engage a French vessel in battle, the crew were so disgusted that they mutinied and appointed Rackham as leader. Rackham immediately turned, engaged the French vessel and defeated it.

Following this victory and spurred on by the riches aboard the captured ship, Rackham suggested to the crew that they should turn to piracy. Perhaps in part due to the spectre of mutiny already hanging over their heads, the crew readily agreed.

Later Rackham decided to take an offer of the King's Pardon and sailed to the shore of New Providence. During this time Rackham met and fell in love with a married woman called Anne Bonny. Rackham was infatuated by Anne and lavished much of his plunder on her. He then joined the crew of Captain Burgess, who was himself a former pirate turned privateer roaming the Caribbean in search of Spanish ships.

When the affair between Rackham and Anne Bonny became public, the Governor of New Providence threatened to have Anne whipped for her adultery. Rather than leave Anne behind to be flogged, the pair resolved to assemble a crew and steal a sloop. Fearing that the crew would refuse to sail alongside a woman, Anne dressed up as a man and took the name Adam Bonny. She became a respected member of the crew and fought alongside her male counterparts in numerous successful engagements.

After several of the Bahamas sent out a heavily armed ship to capture them, Rackham and a few of his crew were forced to flee. They were subsequently captured by a Spanish ship but managed to escape sailing around Jamaica and taking possession of several fishing vessels and a sloop. The governor resolved to capture Rackham and despatched the pirate-hunter Captain Barnet who pursued and captured them.

It is reputed that Rackham had earlier tried to strike a deal with the governor under which he would surrender himself if clemency was given to Anne and another female pirate called Mary Read. Whether or not this is true, the two women actually escaped the noose by claiming to be pregnant.

Rackham and his crew were finally brought to trial at St. Jago De La Vega in Jamaica on November 16, 1720. He and the remaining members of his crew were found guilty of piracy and hanged the next day.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Calico Jack's Mock Draft

This is my first official mock draft. I don't watch a lot of college football games besides following the USC program and big bowl games. Most of my picks are based upon what I know about professional football, team needs, and hunches. The 3 keys to my mock draft are the Titans releasing Steve McNair, the Jets & Saints swapping picks, and the Titans taking Vince Young. This is the only conceivable way that the Raiders will have the good fortune of AJ Hawk falling to their spot on the draft board.

Trends: The 2 college programs represented the most in the 1st round will be USC (5) and Ohio St. (5). The 2 positions with the most 1st round selections are running back (5) and cornerback (5).

#1 Houston Texans; This pick is a "no-brainer". Reggie Bush (RB, USC) is an electric, game changing back who has been compared to Gale Sayers, Barry Sanders, and LaDainian Tomlinson. It will be very interesting to see how new Head Coach Kubiak deploys Bush.

#2 N.Y. Jets (trade with New Orleans); The J-E-T-S make a splash with "Madison Ave." Matt Leinart (QB, USC). Leinart is a proven winner, excellent game manager, strong leader, and has a star quality presence.

#3 Tennessee Titans; The Titans in preparation for life-after McNair pull the trigger on Vince Young (QB, Texas). Look for the Titans to release McNair within the next 10 days to free up cap space and to start the season with Billy Volek under center. Vince Young will be groomed to be the QB in 2007.

#4 New Orleans (trade with NY Jets); The Saints select D'Brickashaw Ferguson (LT,Virginia) to protect newly minted QB Drew Brees. This is the safest, most sensible choice.

#5 Green Bay Packers; Mario Williams (DE, NC State) will make an immediate impact on improving the Packers' D. Pass rushing defensive ends are one of the highest rated commodities on draft day. Williams is one of the most gifted athlete in the 2006 draft. His combination of strength, power, explosion, agility, and body control had scouts drooling at the combine. He recorded a 40.5 vertical jump, 10.0 broad jump, and 35 reps on the bench press test.

#6 San Francisco 49ers; Niners management throws their QB Alex Smith a bone by picking Vernon Davis (TE, Maryland) with the sixth pick. Davis will provide a good open field target and security blanket for Smith.

#7 Oakland Raiders; The stars align for Mr. Davis. AJ Hawk (LB, Ohio St.) will improve the Raiders rush defense which ranked 25th in the league. All bets are off if the Jets don't exchange picks with the Saints.

#8 Buffalo Bills; Haoli Ngata (DT, Oregon) is a space eater who demands double-teams and is a run-stuffing beast.

#9 Detroit Lions; GM Matt Millen will begin to concentrate on the Lions D after drafting a WR in the 1st round the past 3 drafts and signing QB Jon Kittna & QB Josh McCown in free agency. Look for Michael Huff (S, Texas) to come off the board with this pick.

#10 Arizona Cardinals; Winston Justice's (OT, USC) stock has risen after his pro-day performance. Justice has the ability to play either tackle spot and fills a need for the Cards.

#11 St. Louis Rams; Brodrick Bunkley (DT, Florida St.) is a beast! He will be a rock-solid addition to improving the Rams weak defensive unit.

#12 Cleveland Browns; The Brownies will be torn between Manny Lawson (DE, NC St.) and Ernie Sims (LB, Florida St.) but will give the nod to Lawson who is a better overall fit for their 3-4 defense because of his pass rushing skills.

#13 Baltimore Ravens; If the Ravens don't sign Steve McNair, Jay Cutler will be added to the roster. However I think McNair will find himself in Baltimore which leads to the selection of Ernie Sims (LB, Florida St.)

#14 Philadelphia Eagles; Andy Reid has no history of drafting receivers in the 1st round but he breaks the pattern and takes Chad Jackson (WR, Florida) who will compete for the #2 receiver spot.

#15 Denver Broncos (trade with Atlanta); The Broncos wanted Chad Jackson but settle on the next best available wide receiver who is Santonio Holmes (WR, Ohio St).

#16 Miami Dolphins; Tye Hill (CB, Clemson) ran the fastest 40 yard of any prospect at the combine and is a good fit for the Dolphins D.

#17 Minnesota Vikings; Jay Cutler (QB, Vanderbilt) tumbles down in the draft to the Vikes who snatch him to eventually replace Brad Johnson.

#18 Dallas Cowboys; Jason Allen (CB/S, Tennesse) is a versatile defensive back who can make an impact as a nickel back or free safety.

#19 San Diego Chargers; The Bolts try to find an answer to their secondary woes with Ashton Youboty (CB, Ohio St.).

#20 Kansas City Chiefs; In a 1st round filled with quality cornerbacks, the Chiefs take Jonathan Joseph (CB, South Carolina).

#21 New England Patriots; The Pats address one of their most glaring holes (the secondary) by taking the hard hitting Donte Whitner (S, Ohio St.)

#22 Denver Broncos; Leonard Pope's (TE, Georgia) size will make him an attractive option in the Red Zone and to become a solid blocker in the running game.

#23 Tampa Bay Bucaneers; The stock of Chad Greenway (LB, Iowa) has been plummeting with his poor performance at the combine and pro-day. He is a solid value pick for the Bucs and should fit in nicely with their cover 2 scheme.

#24 Cincinnati Bengals; Another downfield weapon for Carson Palmer comes in the package of Mercedes Lewis (TE, UCLA). Lewis is the 2nd best pass catching TE in the draft but will need to improve his run blocking skills.

#25 NY Giants; Bobby Carpenter (LB, Ohio St) didn't get the pub that fellow buckeye AJ Hawk garnered but is a good all around playmaker who will be able to play inside or outside in the G-Men's 3-4 D.

#26 Chicago Bears; Antonio Cromartie (CB, Florida St.) sat out all of last year with an injury but impressed the scouts with his combine efforts. Don't be surprised if Cromartie is picked off with an earlier pick.

#27 Carolina Panthers; Lendale White (RB, USC) cost himself a big chunk of change by being over-weight and unable to perform at the combine. Projected as a 12-15 pick a few weeks ago, White is a proto-type power running back built for the NFL.

#28 Jacksonville Jaguars; DeAngelo Williams (RB, Memphis) will provide quality depth behind the often injured Fred Taylor.

#29 NY Jets (trade with Denver); Curtis Martin is getting long in the tooth so it will make sense for the Jets to take Laurence Maroney (RB, Minnesota).

#30 Indianapolis Colts; With the departure of Edgerin James, Joseph Addai (RB, LSU) will share some of the load with Dominic Rhodes.

#31 Seattle Seahawks; The Hawks fill a need with the mammoth Deuce Lutui (OG, USC).

#32 Pittsburgh Steelers; Sinorice Moss (WR, Miami) is a playmaker who will help soften the blow of losing Antwan Randle El. Moss should pay immediate dividends as a return man and third receiver.

Other 1st round candidates: Max Jean Gilles (OG, Georgia); Kelly Jennings (CB, Miami); Darvin Joseph (OG, Oklahoma); Mathias Kiwanuka (DE, Boston College); Demeco Ryans (LB, Alabama); Darnell Bing (S, USC); Tamba Hali (DE, Penn St); Darly Tapp (DE; Virginia Tech); Eric Winston (OT, Miami); Nick Managold (C, Ohio St.); Marcus McNeil (OT, Auburn); Kamberion Wimbley (DE/LB, Florida St)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Raiders Fantasy Squad

Just for fun, especially with the 2006 regular season 5 long months away, I decided to construct my version of a Raiders fantasy team aka “Calico Jack’s Silver & Black All-Stars”.

There were many difficult choices in selecting the players for each position group. I took the liberty of going to a 3 WR set on offense (no fullback) and a 4-3 alignment on defense (although the Raiders won their Super Bowls playing in a 3-4 alignment).

Some of the more difficult “cuts” on offense were Jim Plunkett (QB), Mark Van Eeghen (RB), Todd Christensen (TE), Don Mosebar (center), and Lincoln Kennedy (OT). On defense I struggled with leaving Willie Brown (CB), Terry McDaniel (CB), Greg Biekert (LB), Otis Sistrunk (DE/DT), and Ben Davidson (DE) off the squad.

Hopefully my fantasy Raiders team listed below will spark some joyous Raiders memories for you. Let the debate amongst the Raider Nation begin. Your comments and viewpoints are welcome!

Guards - #63 Gene Upshaw (HOF, 1967-1981); #76 Steve Wisniewski (1989-2001)

Center - #00 Jim Otto (HOF; 1960-1974)

Tackles - #78 Art Shell (HOF; 1968-1982); #70 Henry Lawrence (1974-1986)

Tight End - #87 Dave Casper (HOF; 1974-1980, 1984)

Receivers - #25 Fred Biletnikoff (HOF; 1965-1978); #21 Cliff Branch (1972-1985); #81 Tim Brown (1988-2003)

Quarterback - #12 Ken Stabler (1970-1979)

Running Back - #32 Marcus Allen (HOF; 1982-1992)

Tackles – #75 Howie Long (HOF; 1981-1993); #62 Reggie Kinlaw (1979-1984)

Ends - #72 John Matuszak (1976-1982); #93 Greg Townsend (1983-1993)

Linebackers – #83 Ted Hendricks (HOF; 1975-1983); #53 Rod Martin (1977-1988)
#55 Matt Millen (1980-1988)

Cornerbacks - #22 Mike Haynes (HOF; 1983-1989); #37 Lester Hayes (1977-1986)

Safeties - #32 Jack Tatum (1971-1979); #26 Vann McElroy (1982-1990)

Kicker - Chris Bahr #10 (1980-1988)

Punter - Ray Guy #8 (1973-1986)

Head Coach – John Madden (HOF; 1969-1978)

I bleed Silver & Black,

Calico Jack