AFC West: Nate Clements

Its Stanford Routt's time to show those glossy numbers from last season were no fluke.

Routt is about to be tested.

Unless the Raiders snare a veteran like Antonio Cromartie or Nate Clements, Routt is expected to the Raiders’ No. 1 cornerback now that Nnamdi Asomugha has flown off to the Eagles.

The Raiders clearly anticipated that. They gave him a three-year, $30 million deal to keep him from entering free agency. That’s starter money, folks.

One of the reasons why the Raiders paid to keep Routt was his outstanding statistics. His “burn rate’ was one of the lowest in the NFL in 2010. Now, that he will be a full-time starter and now that he’ll likely play against the opponent’s best receivers all the time, Routt must step up.

He is not alone. The Raider’s young cornerbacks and veteran Chris Johnson will need to elevate their game if the Raiders don’t add a starter.

Youngsters Walter McFadden, Jeremy Ware and draft picks Chimdi Chekwa and DeMarcus Van Dyke will all be expected to contribute in Asomugha’s absence.
We’re still waiting for movement on Oakland cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, the top free-agent prize on the market. There has been some developments.

Asomugha
Asomugha
The San Francisco 49ers are going to unload cornerback Nate Clements. That means they are clearing salary-cap room at the same position Asomugha plays. More smoke, folks, more smoke.

The Jets are currently considered the 49ers’ fiercest competitor for Asomugha right now. The Jets still have cap room left after agreeing to a monster deal with receiver Santonio Holmes earlier Wednesday. Jets star cornerback Darrelle Revis says his team wants Asomugha badly.

While the Raiders wait to see what happens with Asomugha, they will wave goodbye to quarterback Bruce Gradkowski. He has agreed to a deal with Cincinnati.

It was evident throughout the offseason that Gradkowski would leave. He was a favorite of former coach Tom Cable. Jason Campbell will be backed up by Kyle Boller. Gradkowski had somewhat of a cult following in Oakland. Despite his limitations, he did often ignite the Raiders’ offense. He was a good Raider, who always gave the team his best effort. He was the anti-JaMarcus Russell and he’ll always have a warm spot in the hearts of many Oakland fans for that very reason.
  • The Raiders signed rookie running back Taiwan Jones, fourth-round pick. It will be fun to watch the speedy Jones in training camp.
  • The Brandon Mebane talks are heating up. Denver is one of a few teams trying to grab the Seattle defensive tackle. Denver has a huge need and could pay big to get Mebane.

Vincent Jackson shows his worth

December, 16, 2010
12/16/10
8:42
PM ET
Anyone who doubted Vincent Jackson’s dedication to the San Diego Chargers in what will likely be his final days with the club, can rest easy.

The Pro Bowl receiver is playing for keeps.

Jackson just put San Diego up 7-0 on a 58-yard pass from Philip Rivers. Jackson simply outjumped and outworked San Francisco’s Nate Clements for the ball and then he ran for the score.

It was a classic Jackson play.

It was a sign that the Rivers-Jackson combination will be very dangerous down the stretch and into the playoffs, if San Diego makes it. Rivers and Jackson were one of the NFL”s best deep-ball combinations in the NFL prior to Jackson’s holdout this season.

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