AFC West: Derrick Burgess

A man for each team

September, 4, 2010
The NFL roster shuffling is a fluid situation. Yet, as of right now, I think there is one player that would be a good fit for each AFC West team:

Denver, Gartrell Johnson, running back: The Broncos need a running back and there are no eye-popping names out there. Johnson, who was drafted and cut by the Chargers last year, was just cut by the New York Giants. He is a big running back who could develop in Denver and played at nearby Colorado State.

Kansas City, Derrick Burgess, linebacker: Burgess could be at the end of his career, but he does have a pass-rush burst. The Chiefs could use some veteran experience in the front seven and they are hungry for pass-rushing help.

Oakland, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, receiver: I love this fit. I think Houshmandzadeh is just what the doctor ordered in Oakland. He is a veteran who can help while the young players come along. There is some baggage, so Oakland could be weary of Houshmandzadeh like other teams apparently are.

San Diego, Michael Clayton, receiver: I think Chargers are going to look at offensive tackles. At first glance, there were no sure things available Saturday. The Chargers could also use a receiver. Clayton could be a good get for San Diego. He’d be a reserve and not much would be expected of him. But San Diego is a receiver’s paradise, so perhaps he’d re-energize his career there.

Kansas City Chiefs cutdown analysis

September, 4, 2010
Check here for a full list of Kansas City’s roster moves.

Biggest surprise: There were some eye-openers on Kansas City’s cut list. Perhaps the biggest surprise was cutting defensive tackle/fullback Derek Lokey. He had a fine training camp and preseason. He appeared to have found a niche for himself as a fullback in short-yardage downs. Fullback Mike Cox was kept. Second-year player Alex Magee was kept ahead of him. Magee, a third-round pick, appeared to be on the bubble. The team cut third-year safety DaJuan Morgan, who was highly valued by the previous regime, but never caught the imagination of the Scott Pioli-Todd Haley regime.

No-brainers: The entire draft class was kept. Haley has lauded this group and he thinks it can be special. Undrafted rookie receiver Jeremy Horne made the team. He was a training camp star, who played well with the first team during the preseason. With Jerheme Urban being put on the injured reserve, Horne could have a role as a rookie.

What’s next: Perhaps Kansas City will pursue a third quarterback. Tyler Palko was cut. Matt Leinart is available. He played for Haley in Arizona and with Matt Cassel at USC. Still, as of Saturday evening, there were no indications that the Chiefs were pursuing Leinart. The team could also look for experience at receiver, the offensive line and on the front seven. Perhaps the team would be interested in a veteran pass rusher such as Derrick Burgess, who was cut by New England.
The Raiders made an interesting move Sunday by trading for Cleveland outside linebacker Kamerion Wimbley.



Oakland sent a third-round pick for Wimbley -- the third-round pick it acquired in the Derrick Burgess trade last year with New England. Oakland will keep its own pick in the third round.

That's why I don’t think this was a bad move for a player who has not lived up to his rookie success. Wimbley, the No. 13 overall pick in 2006, had 11 sacks as a rookie. He has had 15.5 sacks since.

He is not a bad player, but he may not be an ascending player, either. Wimbley has to show he can still improve. He will have to transition from the 3-4 that Cleveland ran to the 4-3 in Oakland. He is supposed to play outside linebacker, but he could also possibly play defensive end.

Oakland has some decent, young pass-rushers. If Wimbley can regain his pass-rushing groove this will be a decent trade.

On the flip side, this draft is considered to be very deep. So, there will be good players available in the third round. Oakland may have been served well to take four players in the top 100 picks instead of a player who was given up on by Cleveland.

The Raiders gave up their 2011 first-round pick to New England for Richard Seymour last September. It needs to get more young talent. Trading top picks is not the way to get younger.

Posted by’s Bill Williamson

The New England Patriots just announced they have signed former Oakland defensive tackle Terdell Sands.

Sands was a surprise cut by the Raiders on the final cut day because Oakland had paid him a $1 million-plus roster bonus earlier this season. Sands, though, was a disappointing player for the Raiders.

Despite his massive frame, Sands was fairly ineffective in Oakland. He has 12 career starts.

Sands is the third Oakland player New England has added since the start of training camp. It signed quarterback Andrew Walter (he has since been cut) and traded for defensive end Derrick Burgess.

You pick it responses

August, 14, 2009

Posted by's Bill Williamson

The Raiders' trade of holdout defensive end Derrick Burgess is the winner of our "You pick it" feature for the story of the week in the AFC West.

The other candidates were the signing of holdout top picks Tyson Jackson and Knowshon Moreno in Kansas City and Denver, respectively, and the Chiefs signing veteran receiver Amani Toomer.

While I know Raider Nation is excited about getting a couple of draft picks for Burgess (it was a good deal by Oakland), I think the story of the week is the Jackson and Moreno signings.

Burgess was not in Oakland's plans anymore. Both Jackson and Moreno are going to play key roles for their new teams. I think their signings were huge. But, again, this is your pick, not mine, so the Burgess story is the winner.

Here are some of your responses:

Gabriel Murillo from Kansas City, Kan.: It would have to Derrick Burgess gettin traded to the Patriots. The last time the Raiders traded a Pro Bowl player to the Pats he broke the all-time TD record. Some no name reciver named Randy Moss. So Burgess is most likely goin to have a breakout year. Maybe comeback player of the year.

Parker from Spokane, Wash.: I gotta go with the Burgess trade for this weeks pick it. Yes, the rookies getting signed is important but that was going to happen anyway, neither was a holdout prospect. Toomer is also tempting but there is a reason he was still an FA, he wont have a large or a long term impact. But the Raiders getting a 3rd and a 5th, not to mention from the Pats, for a player who wasn't likely to ever play a down for them again is a very big deal. The Raiders have had some trouble getting good production out of 1st round picks this decade but they have quite a few gems in the middle rounds the past few years. These two picks could represent one or two more players such as Morrison and Scott, not all-pros but very solid players, and could be play a part in the Raiders getting back on top. The draft is a long way off but this trade will have the most long term impact in the division of anything this week.

Juan Jorge from Santa Rosa: Burgess has held out of training camp and the reason? More money, you not mess with al davies for 1 for 2 you dont ask for money when the past two seasons you have had injury prone seasons last season he had 3.5 sacks and the year before 8, tom cable wants guys who are a part of the team and not only interested in themselves like derrick burgess, i loved burgess and wanted him and ellis to be a tandem but if you dont want to play for the raiders then get out! Luckily Tom cable probally convinced Al to trade him or else Al would have let burgess sit the pine all year!

Byron from Boulder, Colo.: I'd say rookie signings are huge. Being a Raider fan, I know what its like to not sign you 1st round pick. This is something that needed to get done sooner before later. Those guys need to get in camp.

You pick it: AFC West storylines

August, 12, 2009

Posted by's Bill Williamson

The candidates are:

Chiefs sign Toomer: To add leadership, Kansas City signed former New York Giants standout receiver Amani Toomer.

Burgess traded: Oakland traded Derrick Burgess, a holdout pass rusher, to New England for two future draft picks.

Rookies are in: Kansas City and Denver top picks Tyson Jackson and Knowshon Moreno, respectively, ended their week-long holdouts by signing their contracts.

Hit my mailbag with your story of the week and why. I will post some of your answers later in the week.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

While progress has been made, Tyson Jackson is not signed in Kansas City and neither is Denver's Knowshon Moreno. Still, the negotiations continue Friday in both cities and deals could be struck soon.

Denver safety Brian Dawkins is out for two weeks after breaking his hand, the Denver Post reports. Under this timetable, Dawkins will have plenty of time to heal before the season starts Sept. 13.

Are the Chiefs interested in Michael Vick? I don't see it. The Chiefs already have too many quarterbacks on the roster.

An update on the compensation Oakland will receive in the Derrick Burgess deal.

Denver kicker Matt Prater is struggling, but the team is not considering replacing him at this point.

Denver running back LaMont Jordan is being sued by a casino.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

The National Football Post is reporting that the Raiders will receive third- and fifth-round picks in 2011 from New England in exchange for pass-rusher Derrick Burgess. The Patriots announced the deal Thursday and said Oakland's compensation was undisclosed draft considerations.

If true, this is a decent cache for Oakland. Burgess was holding out and he was no longer in Oakland's plans.

Denver pass-rusher Jarvis Moss denies reports that he was ever thinking about retiring when he left the Broncos' training camp for three days earlier this week.

The Chiefs have not yet signed top pick Tyson Jackson but they are in heavy discussions. The two sides are talking and a deal could get done soon, according to people in the know.

Jackson and Denver running back Knowshon Moreno are among the unsigned first-round draft picks.

You can't like Brodie Croyle's chances of sticking around Kansas City in light of the Chiefs' claiming  quarterback Matt Gutierrez from waivers. If the Chiefs felt the need to bring in Gutierrez, it could mean Croyle is not high on the new regime's list. New Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli was in New England with Gutierrez. Croyle was Kansas City's starting quarterback to begin last season but he could not stay healthy.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

Is the ice thawing between the Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots?

Perhaps Thursday's trade that sent disgruntled defensive end Derrick Burgess to the Patriots for undisclosed draft considerations is a sign that the Raiders are feeling better about dealing with New England.

There was obvious tension from Oakland's side following the famous "Tuck Rule" playoff game in 2002 when a controversial call ignited a New England Super Bowl run and ended the season for a very good Oakland team. Then there was the Randy Moss trade from Oakland to New England in 2007 for a fourth-round pick. Moss, who was a disappointment in two seasons in Oakland, instantly regained his groove with the Patriots.

Last year, when the Raiders cut running back LaMont Jordan, sources close to the situation told me that his agent was asked by the Raiders not to sign with either the Broncos or the Patriots. Shortly after his release, Jordan signed with New England. Ironically, Jordan is now in Denver.

Does this trade -- which on the surface looks to be a good deal for the Raiders -- show that Oakland has no problem dealing the Patriots? You never know. Maybe the Raiders simply saw an opportunity to deal a problem player for decent compensation and took it, regardless of who the trading partner was.

Posted by's Bill Williamson


The Oakland Raiders just traded defensive end Derrick Burgess to New England, the Patriots announced.

The Patriots said the compensation was undisclosed draft considerations. The Raiders were looking for mid-round picks for Burgess.

Burgess was holding out from the Raiders' training camp. He had long been unhappy in Oakland. He wanted a new contract and Oakland was looking to trade him earlier this offseason. His name had been connected to New England for a few months.

Burgess' time in Oakland all but ended when the Raiders signed veteran pass-rusher Greg Ellis in June. Ellis was instantly given Burgess' starting spot. With his starting job gone and without a new contract, Burgess failed to report to training camp last week.

If Oakland gets a third- or fourth-round pick for Burgess, this is a good trade for the Raiders. The team has moved on from Burgess and he didn't want to be there. The absence of Burgess at training camp wasn't adversely affecting this team.

Oakland has Ellis and several younger pass-rushers, including the promising Trevor Scott. Burgess was in the rearview mirror already. For the Raiders to get any value for him at this point is impressive.

AFC West news and notes

August, 3, 2009

Posted by's Bill Williamson

Let's catch up on a busy afternoon in the AFC West, where the headline news is the agreement of terms by No. 18 pick Robert Ayers in Denver.

Denver owner Pat Bowlen had to deny a rumor started by a former player concerning Michael Vick. Now, it seems the door is closed on Vick landing in Denver.

Denver coach Josh McDaniels is going to give former first-round pick Jarvis Moss time to consider his future.

The Raiders are reportedly shopping holdout defensive end Derrick Burgess. That makes perfect sense. He wants out. He's not showing at camp and the team has replaced him with Greg Ellis. Perhaps New England will renew its interest.

Maybe Denver, which needs pass rushers, will come calling. For those who think a Denver-Oakland trade would be absurd, please remember the Gerard Warren trade to Oakland from Denver a couple of years ago.

The Kansas City Star is predicting No. 3 overall pick Tyson Jackson will soon sign his contract.

Denver reserve linebacker Nick Greisen tore his ACL and will be likely be lost for the season, sources close to the situation said. Greisen was injured in Denver's morning practice Monday.

The Chargers kept linebacker Shawne Merriman out of the morning session as a precaution. He is coming of a knee injury that kept him out of all but one game last year.

San Diego coach Norv Turner was excited Monday, saying that the team "added playmakers."

John Clayton takes an interesting look at the downfall of the AFC West in his mailbag.

Camp Confidential: Raiders

July, 31, 2009
  Kirby Lee/Image of Sport/US PRESSWIRE
  Coach Tom Cable has spent the early part of camp focusing on teaching the basics.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

NAPA, Calif. -- In his first training camp as a head coach in the NFL, Tom Cable is breaking it down.

He is trying to end the Oakland Raiders' six-year slump by going back to basics.

"It's all about learning," Cable said. "That what we're trying to do here."

Cable, who went 4-8 on an interim basis last season after the tumultuous Lane Kiffin era ended, is methodically trying to improve his team. Here's how he started: Players reported on Tuesday. The team spent all day Wednesday in meetings before hitting the practice field on Thursday.

Camp Confidential: AFC West
• Raiders: Fri., July 31
• Chargers: Tues., Aug. 4
• Broncos: Wed., Aug. 12
• Chiefs:
Thurs., Aug. 20

It wasn't exactly a strenuous football practice; the team went through two glorified walk-throughs on opening day. Cable ended plays shortly after the ball was snapped. The team won't start hitting until Monday.

The 2009 Oakland Raiders are starting with a classroom on the grass. Why not? The past six years have produced report cards with nothing but F's. The Raiders are a combined 24-72 since 2003. It is the worst six-year span by any team in NFL history.

Players, tired of Oakland literally being an NFL Black Hole, are behind Cable's slow instructional pace.

"We're really breaking it all down and starting over," linebacker Thomas Howard said. "It's good. We need it. This is all about learning and being instructed."

Key questions

  AP Photo/Paul Sakuma
  The Raiders clearly want JaMarcus Russell to develop into their long-term starter, but Jeff Garcia might be their best option to compete right now.

1. Can JaMarcus Russell develop? Whether or not Oakland can end its six-season slump will likely depend on its third-year quarterback.

Cable said Thursday it's all about whether Russell can win. It has gotten to that point. If Russell fails to make strides this season, his job could be on the line. Considering that veteran Jeff Garcia is looking to take his job, Russell's progress is definitely the biggest issue in Oakland this season.

Russell, who admitted that he reported to training camp heavier than he wanted to, needs to become more consistent and the Raiders want to see him become more of a leader. If he doesn't improve, the Raiders may be in trouble in both 2009 and beyond.

2. Can the run defense improve? So much has been made of the Raiders' problems in the passing game, but the run defense has been a huge issue in recent seasons.

Oakland was 31st in the NFL against the rush last season, allowing 159.7 yards a game on the ground. Oakland was ranked 27th overall on defense last season.

That weakness set the tone for Oakland's defense. If a team can't stop the run, it can't win consistently. It's that simple. Teams that have trouble against the run get eaten alive and wear down.

Oakland has to find a way to improve in this area. The Raiders haven't changed their personnel much, so they have to get better play from their defensive tackle rotation. New defensive coordinator John Marshall, an NFL veteran, appears bent on teaching fundamentals and is very vocal in camp. He has a tall task ahead of him.

3. Can Oakland's young receivers make an impact? Cable is talking up young receivers Chaz Schilens and Johnnie Lee Higgins. Both players ended last season on high notes.

But they are both still learning and are not sure things. If they continue to develop, Russell will get the help from his receivers that he needs. The Raiders, of course, are also counting on rookies Darrius Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy. If two of these four players show they can be consistent weapons in 2009, Oakland's run-first offense has a chance to succeed.

  AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
  Darrius Heyward-Bey signed his rookie contract and was in camp on Thursday.

Market watch

Heyward-Bey's best move so far was to sign his rookie contract. He arrived at training camp Thursday after agreeing to a contract with more than $23 million in guarantees. That's big money for someone who is not considered to be a guaranteed NFL success.

But Heyward-Bey gave himself a chance to succeed by not missing much camp time. By all accounts, he is a talented, raw player who needs practice. He lost valuable time in the offseason due to a hamstring injury. For a player who was inconsistent and who had trouble holding on to the ball in college, the lost time was not ideal. Heyward-Bey is super fast and has big-time potential. But he needs work before he can help the receiver-
starved Raiders.

Newcomer to watch

I just get the feeling that Garcia's shadow is going to hover over Russell all season or until Garcia takes over. Garcia is honest and expresses his thoughts whenever he's asked. Garcia believes he gives the Raiders the best chance to win, but he'll support Russell while he is the starter.

That's just not the best atmosphere for a young quarterback who needs to make quick progress. Russell doesn't need to be feeling heat. He needs to feel relaxed as he tries to become a quality NFL player. Having Garcia hover may make that impossible. Before the end of the season, Garcia's presence on this team will become a major storyline. It appears inevitable.

Observation deck

Second-year running back Darren McFadden looks healthy and primed to live up to his rookie hype. McFadden can also help when lined up as a wide receiver. Expect McFadden to lead a strong running attack that also features Michael Bush and Justin Fargas ... Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly jumped offsides three times Thursday. Penalties have long been a problem in Oakland. It is clear the team needs to work on discipline this summer ... Look for former Cleveland starter Charlie Frye to be the Raiders' No. 3 quarterback ... Linebacker Ricky Brown has been working at outside and inside linebacker and the team thinks he may be ready to live up to his potential ... The Raiders are giving Mario Henderson a chance to be the starting left tackle. He has promise. If former Jacksonville starter Khalif Barnes doesn't beat out Henderson, Barnes could be moved to right tackle ... The Raiders expect to get a lot of production out of pass-rushers Greg Ellis and Trevor Scott. The Raiders think Ellis, signed this summer after Dallas cut him, can still be a factor and that Scott, a second-year defensive tackle, is ready for prime time. The presence of Ellis and Scott is a major reason the Raiders aren't sweating the puzzling holdout of defensive end Derrick Burgess ... Keep an eye out for tight end Zach Miller. He is getting better in all phases of the game.

Raiders camp notes

July, 30, 2009

Posted by's Bill Williamson

NAPA, Calif. -- Thoughts from the Raiders' first training camp practice:

The pace was slow. The whistle blew shortly after the snap on plays. Coach Tom Cable said the first four days of practice will be about learning. The team will practice for the first time in pads on Monday.

Amid reports that Darrius Heyward-Bey has signed a contract including more than $23 million in guarantees, the San Francisco Chronicle thinks the receiver could be at the afternoon practice, which starts at 4:20 p.m. PT. I will keep you posted.

Many in Oakland are perplexed by Derrick Burgess' holdout. The backup defensive end wants a pay raise. But he has lost his starting job to newly signed Greg Ellis. He has little leverage. If Oakland gets a chance to trade Burgess, it likely will. New England had previously shown interest.

Speaking of Ellis, he said one of Al Davis' selling points he used on Ellis before he signed in June was that the Raiders go to Dallas for a Thanksgiving Day game. Ellis was cut by the Cowboys this offseason.

Quarterback JaMarcus Russell said four receivers -- Louis Murphy, Will Franklin, Todd Watkins and Jonathan Holland -- worked out with him during a recent "passing camp" Russell organized.
Potential starter Chaz Schilens said he worked out some with backup Jeff Garcia in San Diego.

Both Russell and Garcia spoke highly of the other and both said they would support the other in any role. Garcia has often said he believes he is still a starting-quality player.

Rookie Chris O'Neill has been converted froma tight end to a middle linebacker.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

Catching up on a busy night in the AFC West.

The Raiders were chock full of news as coach Tom Cable addressed the media Wednesday in preparation of the team's start of training camp Thursday. Here are some of the significant nuggets:

  • Cable all but said the Raiders won't pursue free agent quarterback Michael Vick.
  • Defensive end Derrick Burgess did not report to camp. He is now subject to fines. Burgess wants a pay raise and he has lost playing time due to the addition of Greg Ellis. This may have an ugly ending.
  • Top pick Darrius Heyward-Bey was not in camp in time, but the team is hopeful he will be signed soon. Heyward-Bey was the No. 7 overall draft pick.
  • Cable didn't completely rule out quarterback Jeff Garcia becoming the starter. Still, it is clear Cable wants JaMarcus Russell to succeed.
  • Cable suggested backup quarterback Andrew Walter will soon be released.
  • The Raiders put oft-injured receiver Javon Walker on the physically unable to perform list. He had offseason knee surgery.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs signed sixth-round pick Quinten Lawrence, according to the Kansas City Chiefs. There are seven unsigned draft picks in the AFC West, including all five draft rounders.

The San Diego Union Tribune reports Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson will likely avoid a league suspension in 2009 stemming form a January arrest for DUI.

Larry Johnson's words about the new regime in Kansas City should be encouraging to Chiefs fans.

AFC West mailbag

June, 24, 2009

Posted by's Bill Williamson

Jared L. from Portland, Ore., wants to know why Oakland signed Greg Ellis.

Bill Williamson: Ellis may be 3 years older than Derrick Burgess, but the Raiders seem set to make Ellis the starter at defensive end. He was working at Burgess' spot on his second day at an Oakland OTA last week. Burgess has been hurt often and he wants a pay raise. I just think the Raiders feel the Burgess days are behind them. Expect Ellis to start but for him to be spelled by some youngsters, starting with Trevor Scott. The Raiders have some interesting pass-rushers and I think Ellis could be part of a decent crew.

Troy from Alturas, Calif., wants to know why former Oakland quarterback Ken Stabler isn't in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

BW: I grew up in the Bay Area watching Stabler and I too think he probably belongs in the Hall of Fame. But his detractors say he only won one Super Bowl and he wasn't a dominant quarterback. But he was a winner and he was the face of the great Oakland teams of the 1970s. Stabler belongs in the Hall of Fame. But I don't really like his chances. There is such a back log of great players waiting to get in, I'm not sure Stabler is a priority. It would be a shame if he never got in.

Chris from Bangor, Maine, wants to know why Denver didn't draft a nose tackle this year.

BW: A lot of people wondered that at the conclusion of the draft. The team indicated it didn't think there were any defensive tackles available on the second day that could help the team. Perhaps Denver will wait to find a younger option in next year's draft, but that won't help this year's defensive line. Denver's front three is unsettled and unimpressive. Defensive tackle has been a problem in Denver for years and it will likely continue this season.