The Oakland Raiders have been in a state of mediocrity over the past few seasons. Actually, it’s been worse than mediocre because for Raider Nation, this has been the longest the team has gone without any success. Today marked another day of Raider infamy as the team began the process of another rebuild.
A rebuild always starts with admitting that mistakes have been made in the past. That is exactly what the Raiders brass did today. They realized that the cast of characters on their squad just isn’t good enough to get to the next level. Let’s be honest, that level isn’t too high for this team because they have been playing at a low level for a long time. The moves today were shocking as the team parted ways with two former first round NFL draft picks that everyone in the league had high hopes for.
Darrius Heyward-Bey was proclaimed to be the next Randy Moss coming out of the University of Maryland. He had legitimate 4.3 speed in the 40 yard dash. What he didn’t have was a body. He didn’t have hands. He didn’t have the brains to understand how to run patterns.
The Raiders thought that by selecting him in the first round, seventh overall in 2009 and surrounding him with veterans, that he would learn. He would understand what it means to work out in the gym as well as on the field. None of that registered and now he isn’t part of the franchise. At least he lasted longer than JaMarcus Russell.
The next first rounder to go was Michael Huff. The Raiders selected him seventh overall as well but in 2006. He was the Jim Thorpe Award winner at the University of Texas and started at free safety his first year in the league. Huff was touted to bring the same defensive attitude and play as Michael Haynes and Lester Hayes, two arrogant but awesomely skilled corners, did in the 80s. He did play well and play lots, but the team gave up too many big plays and Huff was always to blame. Whether it was a personnel move or a salary dump is another discussion, but by getting rid of him, there will now be a big hole in the Raiders secondary.
The Raiders have always prided themselves in having athletes with a swagger about the game. They have always wanted speed and lots of it. Both Heyward-Bey and Huff were those types of players, hence why the late Al Davis wanted both so bad. He got them, but sadly he wasn’t around today to see them leave. I am sure he would be rolling in the grave seeing his Raiders give up on both.
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