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Strategy And Personnel

The Sports Xchange

--The Raiders signed cornerback Ronald Bartell and guard Mike Brisiel on Friday.

Bartell has been in the NFL for seven seasons with the St. Louis Rams, though played just one game last year. From 2005-10 he was the team's top cornerback, but missed most of 2011 after suffering two neck fractures in last season's opener.

Bartell was a second-round pick in 2005.

Brisiel, 29, started 13 games in his fifth season for the Houston Texans last season.

"It's sad," Brisiel told the Houston Chronicle. "It's one of those things that I thank them for everything, giving me the opportunity, sticking with me through some rough times. I couldn't be more happy about the way (last) season happened and I'll always be one of those Texans' diehards at heart."

--The decision to cut tight end Kevin Boss means the Raiders will be looking at tight ends, but it's possible they could also consider a committee approach with the three currently on the roster.

Brandon Myers caught a career-high 15 passes for 151 yards and may be a better fit for the bootleg passing game favored by offensive coordinator Greg Knapp than the downfield attack stressed by Hue Jackson.

The most intriguing offensive weapon is second-year man David Ausberry, a converted wide receiver out of USC who had a strong preseason a year ago. Quarterback Carson Palmer is a big fan of Ausberry as a playmaker and it's conceivable that even if the second-year player isn't ready to assume a regular role, he could figure as a threat on passing downs.

The third tight end, sixth-round draft pick Richard Gordon, is regarded as an excellent blocker and in fact lined up as a fullback to be a lead blocker in some sets.


1. Cornerback: The cupboard has never been more bare, with the Raiders having cut Stanford Routt and Chris Johnson. That leaves just DeMarcus Van Dyke and Chimdi Chekwa, a pair of rookies last season drafted in the fourth and fifth round respectively. Van Dyke struggled to the point where veteran Lito Sheppard was signed and started, and Chekwa battled shoulder and hamstring problems, ending the season on injured reserve.

2. Defensive tackle: Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly remain, but John Henderson was cut and the fact is the Raiders struggled against the run. A space-eater who can tie up blockers will be coveted by the new defensive staff.

3. Center: There appears to be no movement to bring back veteran Samson Satele as the Raiders switch back to a zone blocking scheme. The possibility exists Stefen Wisniewski could move to center, but the Raiders would like to keep the left side intact with Wisniewski and third-year left tackle Jared Veldheer.

No updates.

FS Tyvon Branch (tendered at $6.212 million).



--OT Khalif Barnes was among the team leaders in penalties last season and is not a lock to return although he was a starter.

--LB Darryl Blackstock was a backup middle linebacker brought aboard because of his familiarity with defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan, who is no longer on staff.

--QB Kyle Boller flamed out in his only start before Carson Palmer was acquired and is not a fit for offensive coordinator Greg Knapp's offense.

--RB Michael Bush had free-agent visits scheduled with the Bengals and Bears and it's doubtful he would be in the Raiders' price range to return.

--SS Matt Giordano led the Raiders with five interceptions and became a defensive leader although that was with the old defensive staff.

--LB Quentin Groves, replaced by Aaron Curry early in the season, threw himself into special teams work and is hoping to return.

--OT Stephon Heyer was a reserve at tackle and guard at a high salary, would have to take less and fit in to a zone blocking scheme.

--WR T.J. Housmandzadeh was brought aboard by Hue Jackson, looked a step slow and likely isn't in the plans of the new regime.

--DE Jarvis Moss was injury prone last season and was a favorite of the late owner Al Davis, meaning he could be looking for work.

--C Samson Satele has started for the past three seasons, did his best work in gap and power schemes and could be phased out.

--DL Trevor Scott recovered from ACL surgery but seemed to take the whole year getting his legs back under him.

--CB Lito Sheppard was signed early in the season and immediately moved ahead of rookies Chimdi Chekwa and DeMarcus Van Dyke, but struggled at the end of the season.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)

--SS Jerome Boyd (not tendered as ERFA) is a special teams performer who struggles in coverage and has been working out at the team facility, hoping to be part of the new regime.


--DT Desmond Bryant (tendered at $1.927M with second-round pick as compensation) is a promising, versatile lineman who can play inside, outside and might be the strongest on the team at the point of attack.


--DE Mason Brodine was a late-season practice-squad promotion who needs more girth to be able to compete on an NFL defensive line.

--CB Bryan McCann came aboard as a kick returner and the hope is Jacoby Ford and Taiwan Jones can handle those duties.

--FB Marcel Reece is one of the most versatile players at his position in the NFL and is unlikely to get a chance to play anywhere else.



--CB Ron Bartell: FA Rams; 1 yr, terms unknown.

--QB Rhett Bomar: FA; terms unknown.

--OG Mike Brisiel: UFA Texans; $20M/5 yrs.

--CB Brandon Underwood: FA' terms unknown.


--TE Kevin Boss (released/post-June 1 designation).

--QB Jason Campbell: UFA Bears; $3.5M/1 yr, terms unknown.

--OG Cooper Carlisle (released).

--RB Rock Cartwright: UFA 49ers; 1 yr, terms unknown.

--S Hiram Eugene (released (failed physical).

--DT John Henderson (released/failed physical).

--CB Chris Johnson (released).

--CB Stanford Routt (released)

--WR Chaz Schilens: UFA Jets; $765,000/1 yr, $500,000 guaranteed.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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