I was pleased to be joined by Levi Damien from Silver and Black Pride, our Oakland Raiders affiliate, to preview Sunday's game against Cleveland. Levi talked about the Raiders sticking with Carson Palmer over Terrelle Pryor at quarterback, whether Darren McFadden's time in Oakland is done, how poor the defense is, how former Browns cornerback Coye Francies is doing, and more.
Chris: "I believe that Carson Palmer is a good, but not great, quarterback at this stage of his career. My opinion is that he seems like a bad fit for Oakland, though, in the sense that he really isn't a franchise quarterback anymore. Are Raiders fans looking to get several more years out of Palmer, or are they hoping to get a youngster in their ASAP?"
Levi: "Depends on who you ask. There are many who would like to put Terrelle Pryor in the game to see what he can do. That would be a big mistake in my opinion. He isn’t even the backup, he is the emergency third quarterback. I have watched him in practices and in preseason and he is far from ready. He may never be an NFL quarterback. Although I know a lot of folks around your neck of the woods would like to disagree with me.
Common sense suggests Palmer is the best option for this team. The team is bad as a whole. Palmer is of the level that he can lift them up by himself but he is the best option they have by a long shot and they will ride him for the foreseeable future. But for the Ohio State fans among you, there appears to be a decent chance Pryor might actually be activated (he has been inactive all season) and see a few packages for him. Dennis Allen said they 'have discussed' that so we'll see."
Chris: "Has the ship sailed on Darren McFadden since he can never seem to stay healthy? When he was healthy earlier this season, why were yards tough to come by?"
Levi: "He isn’t a good fit for the zone blocking scheme. He disagrees with this but the numbers his fellow running backs are able to put up tell us otherwise. His injury history has been a concern for a while. I noted this offseason that McFadden was one of the few players on this team not to get his cap number lowered with a restructure/extension. I noted it because I thought it signaled the team was not ready to commit to him any longer than they had to. He has one year left on his contract and I think the team will look to trade him this offseason."
Chris: "On the Browns, examples of fan favorites are Joshua Cribbs, Joe Thomas, and Phil Dawson. I want to get a sense of one or two current Raiders who fans consider to be their 'favorites.' Which players fit that billing?"
Levi: "There are a lot of new faces on this team so not many have garnered an attachment from the fans yet. Sebastian Janikowski is certainly a fan favorite. He is just a real guy’s guy who happened to have a cannon for a leg. He and Shane Lechler are the longest tenured Raiders. Fans also really like Marcel Reece. A former undrafted free agent who played receiver in college, he was signed as a tight end and has been All Pro caliber at fullback. Lately he has also been very solid at running back since McFadden and Mike Goodson went out."
Chris: "Statistically, the Raiders are pretty bad in all of the important categories. Is there a strength on defense, or is it just a sad state of affairs?"
Levi: "There are some areas that have shown potential. If Huff were still playing at safety, the safeties would probably be the bright spot. As it stands, he has been playing corner and doing a damn fine job of it. The two linebackers, Philip Wheeler and Miles Burris, have shown some great skills. Now all they need is a middle linebacker between them who worth a damn. Rolando McClain was just cut today for being terrible on the field and an immature idiot off of it. If they can ever get a solid middle linebacker, that corps could potentially be pretty good. Although that is far from certain."
Chris: "Former Browns cornerback Coye Francies joined the Raiders earlier this season as a kick returner. How has he been doing in that role, and has he seen any action on defense?"
Levi: "He has looked pretty terrible as a return man. His longest return went for 29 yards and it should have been a lot longer. He saw the gaping hole and got so excited he literally tripped over his own feet and fell down. I have not seen him on defense at all. He is the last guy in the rotation. Really, no one can figure out how he is still on this team."
Thanks again to Levi for joining me.