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Lombardi is gone

The Raiders have fired their highest-ranking personnel executive. And the only major question surrounding the move is: What took them so long? Michael Lombardi had been a lame duck – think of one of Rich Gannon’s passes in Super Bowl XXXVII – for months. It amazed me that he (or coach Art Shell) wasn’t fired immediately late last November, when Shell launched his “fox in the hen house” tirade and it became clear the two men, who should have been… Read More »

When one coach is better than three

The conventional wisdom regarding the Raiders’ offensive line last season went something like this: These guys are in a dream situation. The head coach (Art Shell) and one of the offensive line coaches (Jackie Slater) were Hall of Fame offensive tackles, and the other O-line coach, Irv Eatman, was another good blocker who played 11 NFL seasons. With all of that knowledge wafting around, the Oakland linemen would succeed by mere osmosis. I bought into the notion, as did many… Read More »

Checking in from Raiders’ mini-camp

Football is back. It’s a fairly fitful version, with some players going three-quarters speed, others sitting out with minor injuries and plenty of balls hitting the ground. But it’s football nonetheless, far removed from the hot air of NFL draft weekend. The Raiders’ mandatory mini-camp opened today to the sound of grunts, line calls, plastic pads clattering – and of course Warren Sapp’s booming baritone. I’ll be writing plenty about the team over the next couple days. But with one… Read More »

On the eve of mini-camp, some Raiders on the spot

The Raiders’ mandatory mini-camp begins tomorrow (Friday), and there’s a lot of intrigue surrounding it. There will be the much-anticipated arrival of rookie quarterback JaMarcus Russell, of course, and the rest of the Class of 2007. (I wonder if we can get Russell to heave a football 85 yards?) And because this is the only camp before late July that includes media access, we’ll get to see how the depth chart is shaping up. Are Barry Sims and Robert Gallery… Read More »