Training Camp Tip Sheet

Less than two hours after Randy Moss was traded away to New England during the offseason, a poster-sized photo of the wide receiver was taken down from a wall outside the team's auditorium and sent to storage (or was it to the dumpster out back?).

The picture wasn't the only thing to go, though. With an offense that was far and away one of the worst the NFL has ever seen, owner Al Davis made sweeping changes to his franchise in hopes of pulling the Raiders out of their downward spiral.

A new head coach, a new quarterback and running back, sweeping changes to the coaching staff … none of it guarantees Oakland of ending its four-year playoff drought, but coming from the pit the Raiders fell into last season it's definitely a better place to start.

Lane Kiffin and Co. began to see whether the pieces all fit together when the Raiders open training camp in Napa Valley.


Jerry Porter: He no longer has an enemy in the head coach or an offense that limited his skills, so there's no reason Porter can't become the receiver he thinks he is.

Oakland needs a true go-to receiver for Josh McCown and Porter can be that guy provided he keeps his head out of the clouds and in the playbook. He's a talent, no doubt, but talent doesn't always translate onto the field. Porter's time to produce is now or never.

Robert Gallery: Same thing goes for the big man out of Iowa. Fairly or not, Gallery has been the poster boy for everything that ails the Raiders and it's easy to see why.

Entering his fourth year with the team, Gallery has yet to find a starting position he can feel secure about. He's also been moved around, from right tackle to left tackle and now to left guard. All that moving hasn't helped so the first order of business should be finding his best position and keeping him there.

LaMont Jordan: He's as outspoken as they come and holds nothing back when he criticizes the offense, including taking shots at himself. But until he proves he can stay healthy for an entire season and be an integral part of the offense, Jordan's words will continue to fall on deaf ears.

His job status became a little more secure with the news that Dominic Rhodes will be suspended for the first four games of the regular season, but that still doesn't guarantee Jordan a roster spot, particularly if rookie Michael Bush is fully recovered from his leg injury a year ago.

Sam Williams: Injuries hindered Williams' progress early in his career, but after staying healthy for most of 2006, it seems the former Fresno State standout has put that in his past.

Still, he looked raw at times last season and it's clear he's still far behind in his development. The Raiders have a defense that is near a dominant stage and getting a third linebacker to complement Morrison and Thomas Howard is critical.

SB Report Top Stories