Oakland Raiders keep four quarterbacks and two punters

Oakland RaidersAl Davis may no longer be around, but the Oakland Raiders are still keeping his spirit alive by making some maddening decisions.

Saturday was the deadline for team’s to trim their rosters to 53 players, which means a number of players were cut. The New England Patriots made the tough decision to cut Tim Tebow, and the Green Bay Packers sent Vince Young packing. Both teams decided they were only going to keep two quarterbacks and use the rest of their spots for more important players. The Raiders, on the other hand, found it necessary to keep not one, not two, not three, but four quarterbacks and … two punters.

The Raiders still have punter Marquette King on the roster, and they also have veteran Chris Kluwe, whom they signed in May. Maybe they weren’t ready to declare a winner in the battle, or maybe they’re planning to make a trade.

The team also decided to keep an unreal amount of quarterbacks on their roster, perhaps figuring that quantity over quality is the way to go. They have Matt Flynn and former supplemental draft pick Terrelle Pryor competing for the starting job. Former Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin earned the No. 3 spot on the depth chart. The team also decided to keep former Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson on the roster. Wilson was a fourth-round draft pick, so the Raiders likely were not ready to give up on him.

While the team decided to keep two punters and four quarterbacks, the decision to cut defensive end Andre Carter was a surprising one. Carter is 34 and getting up there, but he was expected to be a leader on the team. So much for that.

Way to go, Oakland. You kept four quarterbacks on your roster when most of them wouldn’t have made a roster on any other team.

Oakland Raiders to pay JaMarcus Russell $3 million

Brian-Billick-JaMarcus-Russell-RavensThe Oakland Raiders rid themselves of the bust that was JaMarcus Russell back in 2009, but that doesn’t mean they have stopped paying their former starting quarterback. According to SFGate.com, Russell recently settled a lawsuit with the team that will pay him another $3 million.

The Raiders filed a grievance against Russell when they released him halfway through the 2009 season, seeking repayment of $9.55 million in salary advancements. The former LSU star signed a six-year, $68 million contract in 2007 and had been paid $36.4 million at the time of his release. He filed a grievance of his own against the Raiders in 2009, seeking an additional $9 million.

The Raiders claimed that Russell’s contract had changed at one point during his time with the team, so they believed they could recoup some of his salary. The two sides were going to go to court but instead reached a settlement, with Oakland agreeing to pay Russell $3 million.

Even with all the talk about JaMarcus being the biggest bust in NFL history, I still don’t think people appreciate just how horribly the deal worked out for the Raiders. They have now paid nearly $40 million to a player who threw 18 touchdowns and 23 interceptions in 31 careers games. Russell compiled a passer rating of 65.2 in three seasons and lost 22 fumbles.

As SFGate.com pointed out, Oakland is used to paying and receiving little in return; the team will be shelling out $49.6 million this season to players no longer on the roster.

Russell began his NFL comeback at the beginning of the year when he reportedly weighed 308 pounds, but we recently showed you this picture of a 265-pound JaMarcus. He has been working with former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia in hopes of making it back into the NFL.

Matt McGloin pushing Oakland Raiders quarterbacks on depth chart?

Matt McGloin Penn StateMatt McGloin signed with the Oakland Raiders last month as an undrafted free agent, and the former Penn State quarterback reportedly was impressive in organized team activities.

Appearing on ESPN’s “NFL 32″ on Monday, Chris Mortensen said McGloin impressed during the OTAs.

“He’s actually made a huge impression in the first two weeks of OTAs, to the point where he’s pushing Tyler Wilson and Terrelle Pryor,” Mortensen reported, per Rotoworld. “So watch out for Matt McGloin to climb up the depth chart if he continues this.”

McGloin was a former walk-on at Penn State and split time at quarterback with Rob Bolden in 2010 and 2011. He was the team’s full-time starter last season and threw for 3,271 yards, 24 touchdowns, and five interceptions during an 8-4 season.

As Evan Silva points out at Rotoworld, McGloin making a push on the Raiders’ quarterback depth chart says a lot about the lack of quarterbacking talent for the Raiders. Oakland has Matt Flynn, Terrell Pryor, and fourth-round pick Tyler Wilson on the depth chart. There were previous reports that Wilson was looking good and pushing Flynn for the job. If all four of these guys are that close together, then that can’t mean good things for the Raiders for the upcoming season.

I still think that Flynn will end up starting, but I am having doubts about how good he will be. I thought he was going to be a good quarterback when he signed with Seattle, but he understandably was beaten out by Russell Wilson, who developed into a star in his rookie season. I think Flynn can be an average quarterback, but that won’t be enough to send Oakland to the postseason any time soon.

Oakland Raiders fire PR guy Zak Gilbert because of SI article

Mark Davis bowl cutThe apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree in the case of Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis.

Davis, the son of the late Al Davis, decided to fire team PR director Zak Gilbert because he was upset with the way he and his father were portrayed in a recent SI article, according to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Vic Tafur.

Sports Illustrated writer Jim Trotter spent a season with the Raiders and wrote about the team in a feature for the April 22 edition of the magazine, entitled “The New Silver and Black.” The story was mostly about how GM Reggie McKenzie was making over the franchise and bringing the team into the modern era after they fell into the dark ages under an aging and senile Al Davis.

We noted two specific items in the story that stood out and wrote about them here at LBS. One story was that McKenzie was pretty incredulous that the Raiders didn’t have a full-time groundskeeper under Davis. The other was how an agent was able to get an extra $1 million out of Davis in negotiations because his memory was so bad.

The Chronicle’s Tafur reports that Gilbert had been on leave since the article came out, pending Davis’ decision concerning his future. Gilbert worked for the team for a year. He was brought in by McKenzie, a former co-worker with the Green Bay Packers.

Despite being fired, Gilbert had a classy response.

“I’d like to thank Mark Davis for the honor of serving the Raiders, and Reggie McKenzie for hiring me. I leave holding my chin up, knowing I dedicated every waking hour to promoting a positive image for our team. The co-workers in my Raiders family are extraordinary; the camaraderie we built was really special. Talking to Raiders fans on a weekly basis, I learned first-hand that their passion and loyalty is unmatched. I have great respect for the team’s rich history and took seriously the role of preserving it. Although disappointed that I can’t remain on the ride, I wish Reggie and Dennis Allen absolutely nothing but success in a bright future.”

You know the irony in all this? Mark Davis’ decision to fire his PR director brought so much more negative light to the franchise than the article did. What a dumb move.

Oakland Raiders did not have a full-time groundskeeper under Al Davis

Al DavisThe stories of how far behind the times the Oakland Raiders were in Al Davis’ later years are infamous. Last year, we passed along a story saying that new GM Reggie McKenzie asked the team to construct a modern-day “war room” for the NFL Draft because no such room existed at the team’s facilities. Now we’re learning that the team did not even have a full-time groundskeeper on staff under Davis, who died in late 2011.

Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter spent a season with the Raiders and wrote an excellent article about it for the April 22 edition of the magazine. The feature, called “The New Silver and Black,” talks about some of the changes McKenzie made with the franchise and how power was passed from Al Davis, to his son Mark Davis, and on to Reggie.

Early in the story, Trotter mentions that McKenzie was out for a jog around the practice fields at the Raiders’ training facility in Alameda when he noticed the poor field conditions. He said the footing was uneven and that there were goose droppings and dirt patches. Upon inquiring, McKenzie learned that the Raiders did not have a full-time groundskeeper on site. Instead, they outsourced the job to a local company.

Maintaining a field is a full-time job, and one would think an NFL team would place a pretty high priority on having top-of-the-line field conditions. Not the Raiders at the time.

Another frightening story shared by Trotter came from an agent, who says he was negotiating with Davis on a contract for a free agent. The two had agreed on a guaranteed money amount before Davis got off the call because he was having a coughing fit. When they resumed the call a day later, Davis supposedly asked the agent where they had left off. The agent told the late owner they had agreed on the amount of guaranteed money, and quoted him a price $1 million higher than the previous number. Davis didn’t notice and just picked up the negotiation from there.

The entire article is filled with great stories and information from Trotter, including details on who made the choice to acquire Carson Palmer. We recommend you pick up an SI subscription to read it if you don’t already have one. It’s really no wonder why the Raiders became so bad during the 2000 decade. They were just horribly managed in multiple aspects.

Oakland Raiders are pretty happy to see the tuck rule go

Oakland RaidersNFL owners are expected to vote next week on a proposal from the league’s competition committee to eliminate the tuck rule, and no team seems happier about the impending change than the Oakland Raiders.

The team’s official Twitter account sent the following tweet Thursday afternoon:

For you young folks who didn’t realize the Raiders were actually good once upon a time, the team lost a divisional playoff game to the New England Patriots 16-13 in the 2001 season after the Pats benefited from a call thanks to the tuck rule. The rule is ridiculous and should have been eliminated a decade ago. Hopefully the owners finally will do the right thing and get rid of it. The vote will take place at the owners’ meetings in Phoenix next week.

Bill Callahan calls Super Bowl allegations ‘ludicrous;’ Tim Brown backpedals

bill callahan raidersFormer Oakland Raiders coach Bill Callahan released a statement on Tuesday night addressing allegations made by former players that he intentionally threw Super Bowl XXVII against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As expected, he denied that there was any truth behind it and expressed how offended he is by what Tim Brown and Jerry Rice said.

“I am shocked, saddened and outraged by Tim Brown’s allegations and Jerry Rice’s support of those allegations,” Callahan said in a statement released to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. “To leave no doubt, I categorically and unequivocally deny the sum and substance of their allegation. To suggest otherwise, especially at this time when it involves the Super Bowl, is ludicrous and defamatory.

“Any suggestion that I would undermine the integrity of the sport that I love and dedicated my life to, or dishonor the commitment I made to our players, coaches and fans, is flat out wrong. I think it would be in the best interests of all including the game America loves that these allegations be retracted immediately.”

Brown didn’t exactly retract his allegation, but he certainly backpedaled during an appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show” on Wednesday morning. In Brown’s original accusation, he specifically said that the Raiders players called it “sabotage” because of Callahan’s relationship with then-Bucs head coach Jon Gruden. Now, the nine-time Pro Bowler is claiming that is not what he meant.

“I’ve never said [Callahan] sabotaged the game,” Brown told Patrick. “That’s something that can never be proven. We can never go into the mind of Bill Callahan. …. I should have said we could have called it sabotage. It was a question, not a statement. You cannot prove it.”

A number of players came out in support of Callahan after Brown made his accusation and Rice agreed with him. Brown’s theory is incredibly hard to believe, and he’s most likely changing his tune now that he realizes very few people are willing to back him up. Judging by the 48-21 beating the Bucs threw on the Raiders, it’s safe to say Callahan did a poor job of coaching and preparing his team. To accuse a coach of losing the biggest game of the year intentionally just because his buddy is standing on the other sideline seems extremely far-fetched.