Training Camp Questions
All of us are itching for the Raiders to get into gear, throw on the pads, and get training camp underway. Here are a few questions to contemplate before training camp opens in 8 days:
(1) Will any of the rookies emerge in training camp and make an impact in the 2009 season?
My hunch is that WR DHB will be given every opportunity to earn reps. as a #3 WR and big play threat. SS Mike Mitchell aka Eminem will make an instant impact as a special teams contributor and earn a starting role by week 8. The consensus from OTA reports and mini camp is that WR Louis Murphy is a special and talented player who could be the wild card in the WR corps. TE Brandon Myers fills the role of the blocking TE who allows TE Miller to release as a pass catcher.
(2) Who will be the recipient of Mitchell's first KO blow in camp?
The Raider Nation is eagerly anticipating the intimidating presence of Mitchell in the secondary. I'm guessing that Shillens will be the WR who is lit up first on a crossing pattern by Mitchell. Raider snot bubbles are worth the price of admission! It has been far too long since we've had the type of hitter that causes opponent's WRs to get alligator arms.
(3) Who will earn the SLB and LT positions?
The lead candidates are Jon Alston and Mario Henderson but until they put the pads on, you just never know. These are 2 critical positions that the Raiders need to lock down. It has been countless years since we've had high performance and stability at these important positions. Alston is competing with Ricky Brown while Henderson is going up against veteran FA acquisition Khalif Barnes.
(4) How strong of a relationship will develop between HC Cable and QB Russell?
The tide of the Raiders will rise or fall depending on the performance and leadership of these 2 men. One could argue that the Head Coach and QB are the 2 most important leaders of a team and have the lion's share of responsibility and impact. There is no doubt in my mind that Cable and Russell's careers depend upon each other. Cable needs to calibrate his use of the carrot and the stick with Russell to maximize his development. Russell needs to take heed and become a true franchise QB.
Onward & Upward ... Calico Jack