August 30, 2015

Oakland Raiders

AFC West

2014 Schedule

  • Week 1

    OAK @ NYJ


    1:00 pm

  • Week 2


  • Week 3

    OAK @ NE


    1:00 pm

  • Week 4

    MIA @ OAK


    1:00 pm

  • Week 5


  • Week 6

    SD @ OAK


    4:00 pm

  • Week 7

    ARI @ OAK


    4:30 pm

  • Week 8

    OAK @ CLE


    4:30 pm

  • Week 9

    OAK @ SEA


    4:30 pm

  • Week 10

    DEN @ OAK


    4:00 pm

  • Week 11

    OAK @ SD


    4:00 pm

  • Week 12

    KC @ OAK


    8:30 pm

  • Week 13

    OAK @ STL


    1:00 pm

  • Week 14

    SF @ OAK


    4:30 pm

  • Week 15

    OAK @ KC


    1:00 pm

  • Week 16

    BUF @ OAK


    4:30 pm

  • Week 17

    OAK @ DEN


    4:30 pm

PYRO Fantasy Depth Chart

The PYRO Fantasy Football Depth Chart is a rundown of where Team PYRO projects the fantasy production for each team at each position. It is NOT an attempt to inform you of the current starters for each team. For example, we are well aware that Brandon Manumaleuna is currently the starting TE for the Chicago Bears, but if you look at the Bears Team Page, we have Greg Olsen listed at TE. Why? We’re projecting that Greg Olsen will be the most Fantasy Football relevant TE for the Bears this season. Since Olsen will be the Bears leading FF point scorer at TE, it’s his name at the top of the TE column on our PYRO Fantasy Depth Chart.

Marcus Allen

marcus allen raiders

Marcus LeMarr Allen is easily one of the top 10 most versatile athletes to ever lace it up for the NFL.  Born in San Diego in March of 1960, he played at Abraham Lincoln High School where he played both the quarterback and safety positions.  Then upon graduation he attended USC, where he played running back from 1978 to 1981. 

Even though USC recruited him to play in the defensive backfield, head coach John Robinson switched him to running back, where he spent his freshman year learning from Heisman trophy winner Charles White.  In 1980 he finally got the starting nod, and rushed for 1,563 yards, the third most in the nation, behind George Rogers and freshman Herschel Walker.  In 1981 he had one of the best seasons ever for a college running back.  He gained 2,342 yards on the ground, becoming the first player ever to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a NCAA season, and finished with 2,683 total yards from scrimmage. Allen finished with 12 games of 200 yards or more, and led the nation in scoring, won Pac-10 player of the year, the Heisman, Maxwell and Walter Camp awards.
Upon finishing his collegiate career Marcus Allen had 4,682 yards rushing, 5,232 total yards from scrimmage, 46 touchdowns and a 5.2 rushing average.

In 1982, Allen became a Los Angeles Raider, when he was selected with the 10th overall pick in the NFL draft, and the second running back selected, right behind Gerald Riggs.  Allen won rookie of the year, in a strike shortened one, as he amassed 697 yards, and was a key reason Oakland went 8-1 on the year, but lost to the Jets in the divisional match-up.

marcus allen legends pyro character

In 1984, Allen found himself on the biggest stage, the Super Bowl, and it was a definite highlight show for Marcus.  He rushed for 191 yards and scored two touchdowns in a romp against the Redskins.  His biggest run, came on a 74 yard touchdown, where he had to reverse his running direction, and with a key block by Cliff Branch, he scored. Both were Super Bowl rushing records that were broken by Willie Parker (75 yard run) and Timmie Smith (204 total rushing yards).  Allen's rushing yards in the Super Bowl was only the cap to a great playoff series, where he had 121 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns in the Divisional match-up against the Steelers, and 154 yards on 25 carries with a receiving touchdown in the AFC Championship game against the Seahawks.  By the end, his 38 carries for 466 yards and four touchdowns, with 14 receptions for 118 yards and one touchdown, will always stand as a career achievement mark for any player.  Unfortunately, things would only get ugly as his Raider tenure came to a bitter end in 1992.

Marcus Allen was basically regulated to the bench by owner Al Davis.  Allen's carries went from averaging 235 carries in his eight prime years there, to averaging only 66 in his years that he rusted on the sidelines.  To fill the void in Allen's carries, Al Davis brought in Steve Smith from Seattle, and a depleted Roger Craig and Eric Dickerson, both lasted only one year in the Silver and Black, and both retired in just a few years after playing for the Raiders, Dickerson having a meaningless year in Atlanta before retiring. In 1993,  Allen was eventually let go and the Kansas City Chiefs were happy to pick him up.

Marcus' first year in a Chiefs uniform, was a solid one.  He didn't have the yards he would have liked as he had only 764 yards on 206 carries, but with 12 touchdowns he earned AFC Comeback of the Year honors. He was also fortunate to line up behind Joe Montana as Kansas City went to the AFC Championship that year, where they got blown out 30-13 by the Buffalo Bills.  In 1995 the Chiefs would lose to Miami in the Wild-Card match-up, in 1996 Kansas City did not qualify, and in Marcus Allen's last season of 1997, the Chiefs got bounced in the Divisional against the Denver Broncos.
Marcus Allen finished his career with 12,243 yards rushing and 74 touchdowns, in combination with 587 receptions for 5,411 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also went 12 for 27 and 285 yards with six touchdowns when asked to play quarterback. He was also the first player to finish his career breaking the 10,000 rushing barrier while achieving over 5,000 yards receiving. In 2003, he was inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame.



By Vaaal-Verde

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The Holy Roller

holy roller play for raiders

On September 10th 1978 a miracle occurred in San Diego.  Such a miracle that the NFL formed a rule to make sure it never happens again.  In the second game of the season the Oakland Raiders found themselves trailing the Chargers with just 10 seconds remaining in the game.  Oakland had already lost game one to the Broncos, and surely didn't want to be 0-2, with both losses occurring in division play.

With the Raiders on the Chargers 24 yard line, Ken Stabler took the snap and veered right to find an open receiver, but the play broke down quickly, and as Stabler was getting sacked to end the game, he tried to toss the ball to running back Pete Banaszak, but the ball fell short, and the referees ruled it a fumble, because they did not blow the play dead, which they would have done if it was an incomplete pass.

Banaszak tried to recover the ball at the 12 yard line, but was hit, and decided to shuffle it forward himself toward the end zone.  Dave Casper the Raiders tight end found the ball at his feet and tried to pick it up, but after a few short choppy kicks of the ball and a stumble, Casper fell on the ball in the end zone to tie the game at 20 with no time left.
Errol Mann then delivered the crushing blow with his extra point kick and finalized the win for Oakland 21-20.  Stabler, Banaszak, and Casper all admitted that they tried to force the ball forward to get it in for a touchdown.

Three things stand out to me about this play.  First was Dave Casper reaction after the play was ruled a touchdown.  Casper just stood up and stared out to the sidelines, with a glare of, "What did you expect...We are the Raiders!"  Second, was the San Diego Charger Chicken, who wrapped up all of the Chargers feelings by repeatedly falling over in daze and shock.  Third, and probably the best of all, was the call by great radio announcer, and Hall of Famer Bill King.

"The ball, flipped forward, is loose! A wild scramble, two seconds on the clock...Casper grabbing the is ruled a fumble...Casper has recovered in the end zone!! The Oakland Raiders have scored on the most zany, unbelievable, absolutely impossible dream of a play! Madden is on the field. He wants to know if it's real. They said yes, get your big butt out of here! He does! There's nothing real in the world anymore! The Raiders have won the football game! The Chargers....they don't believe it. Fifty-two thousand people are stunned. This one will be relived forever!"



By Vaaal-Verde

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Ray Guy

ray guy in the hall of fame

William Ray Guy has become the first punter ever elected to the Hall of Fame, but to truly tell the tale of the greatest ever to punt the ball, we would have to go back to his college days at the University of Southern Mississippi.  At Southern Miss, all he did was kick field goals in snowstorms, nail 93 yard punts and intercepted  18 passes while playing safety, he could also play quarterback.  Not only did he excel at football, but he played baseball and was drafted by the MLB as a pitcher out of high school.  Guy chose to go to college though and by the end of his collegiate career he had earned All-American honors for his part as a defensive back. When it came down to the end of his career at SMU, he had All-American honors who averaged 44.7 yards per punt.  In 1973, Guy became the first punter selected in the first round, as the Raiders grabbed as their 23rd pick of the NFL draft.

At 6'3 and 195 pounds he played for both the Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders, In 207 game, 14 year career, not only was he the Raiders punter, but was used as a place kicker, and emergency quarterback.  He was a game changer, as he got the Raiders out of many tight spots, by punting the ball far, deep, and high, which allowed the special team to get down field and make the tackle.

One of the most unique things about Guy, is his leg kick.  He would extend his leg above his head as he punted the ball, and it became almost a blend with his upper torso, his plant leg would rise just a few inches off the ground as he made contact with the ball.  It was magical once the ball left his foot.  He would average 42.4 yards per attempt in his career and finished with more than 40 yards per punt in 13 of his 14 years, and the year he came up short (39.1 yard average), was the strike shortened year in 1982, and if you think his long leg kick put him in danger of getting his punts blocked, forget it, he had just three blocks in 1049 attempts.  Included in that was a streak of 619 straight from 1979 to the last punt of his career (1986) without a block. In 1976, he booted one so high that it crashed into the Super dome television screen, 90 feet off the ground, after that, they decided it was best to move it up to 200 feet.

Guy led the NFL in punting for the 1974, 1975, and 1977 seasons. He was a participant of seven Pro-Bowls, named All-Pro six times and All-AFC seven times. When the lights shined greatly in the playoffs, Guy also was on his game. He was in 22 post-season games, finished with 111 punts and a 42.4 average.  In two playoff games against the Broncos and Chargers he had punts of 74 and 71 yards. Ray Guy also had the accuracy in his punts. He has been credited with 209 inside the 20 punts, in the 11 years the NFL kept the statistic, as it was not recorded up till then.

He was named the best punter in the 75th NFL Anniversary team, but even this could not punch his ticket into the Hall of Fame.  He had to wait and wait.  Then a phone call came in on the 21st of August 2013, and was notified by the Seniors Committee that he would be a finalist, and on February 1st, 2014 it became permanent that he was elected to the 2014 Hall of Fame class. “I almost dropped the phone when they called me,” Guy said. “Talk about a great feeling.”After being a finalist seven times and not getting in, Guy was delighted to become the 22nd member of the Raiders who will get a bust in Canton, Ohio on August 1. “Good things are worth waiting for, Guy said. “I knew it would happen sooner or later. It had to. Whether it was me or someone else. But sooner or later it had to happen because (punting) is a part of a football game.”

John Madden will represent Guy in the Hall of Fame, as under his coaching he became a Super Bowl Champion three times, and pushed terms such as "Hang Time" and "Coffin Corner" into a whole new light.  He was a defensive weapon that no team could adjust for. With Ray Guy, the Raiders knew they always had a chance. “Having Ray Guy meant having a chance to make the playoffs and win the Super Bowl,” Hall of Fame cornerback and teammate Willie Brown said.

Even though Guy had to auction off his rings, after declaring bankruptcy, he has turned himself around.  At this time he is conducting punting clinics and camps for kids. Ray also believes that his induction also means something for those he is teaching. "It's going to give the younger generation hope that there is a place for us...if that's your dream, go for it."


By Vaaal-Verde

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Lester Hayes and Stickum

lester hayes and stickum

Before the NFL had traction gloves and synthetic rubber, it had a foreign substance.  I call it a substance because it really is a chemical engineered mess. It became part of the Raider legend, with Fred Biletnikoff, and then it really took off with Lester "Molester" Hayes.  Stickum is known as a glue like goop made from rosin and other "sticky" compounds to improve a grip on the ball, that was eventually deemed illegal in the NFL in 1981.  Why was it banned from football?  It was known as an illegal advantage, and at that time, anything Raiders was illegal.  The "Shield" didn't have to go far see who was the main culprit.  Lester Hayes might has walking billboard for the junk as it looked like he climbed into his uniform and jumped into a pool made of the stuff.  The following will be how Stickum became part of that Oakland lore and how Lester made it what it was.
Hayes became a rookie in 1977, and was a converted defensive back from the line backer position he played in college at Texas A+M.  Oakland drafted him in the fifth round.  On his rookie arrival in Oakland, he was introduced to the Stickum by former applicator Fred Biletnikoff.  Fred basically slathered it on Lester, and walked away.  A confused Hayes learned that even though this gooey, foreign substance look odd, it just may be used to enhance his covering skills.
Hayes believed it was useful due to his coverage assignments.  Oakland would use bump and run, and Hayes knew he had to use his hands on wide receivers to disrupt their routes. It all came together for his 1980 season as he won defensive player of the year with 13 interceptions and five more in the post-season.  He was also a key player in the Raiders Super Bowl XV and XVIII victories.  The real question, did Stickum make Hayes a better football player, or did help his confidence with an already made skill set? Lester stated about his playing days, "I was taught in the NFL from the 'Old School' that you had to break your opponents concentration, you had to bend a man's confidence.  The game plan and rule was that by the 4th quarter a man's will to fight was to be drained."
When the NFL banished the substance upon conclusion of the 1980 season, it took its toll on Lester Hayes. He became a shell of his former self, after totaling 13 interceptions in 1980, he had only 14 in the six years after that.  In his 10 years as a player, Hayes finished with 39 career interceptions, four returned as a touchdown, and made the Pro-Bowl five times.  He also has been a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame four times.  Stickum, or not, Hayes was one corner no receiver wanted to be on.

By Vaaal-Verde

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Otis Sistrunk

otis sistrunk image

Otis Sistrunk was born on September 18, 1946 in the town of Columbus Georgia, but that is just as standard as it gets with Sistrunk.  Otis for one never played college football.  As soon as he graduated from high school he went into the US Marines.  

After his time in the Marines, he got a job in a meat packing plant in Milwaukee, and played two years with the West Allis Racers, before joining the Norfolk Neptune's of the CFL in 1969.  In 1971, a Los Angeles Rams scout Jack Folk spotted Sistrunk and had him visit the Rams.  It just so happened that Ron Wolf and Al Davis where at a practice and saw Otis, and made him an offer to become a member of the Oakland Raiders.  Sistrunk chose Oakland, because Los Angeles was more focused on players in college and those graduating, where the Raiders just wanted to win. He became an official member of the Oakland franchise in 1972, where he played defensive line.  For seven seasons he manned the line for the Oakland Raiders from 1972 to 1978.  He made the pro-bowl twice in 1974 and 1976, and was part of the team that won Super Bowl XI against Minnesota.  His career numbers concluded with seven fumble recoveries and three interceptions in 98 games played.  He played with an abandonment style while rushing the passer, and his bald head and freakish appearance fit right in with the Oakland stigmata.

 Otis Sistrunk ride to the pros wasn't the only thing that took an unusual course.  During a Monday Night football contest, Alex Karras noticed a camera shot of the moon and Otis' bald head, and Karras stated that Sistrunk looked like he was from Mars.  Since, Otis had no college background, the nickname stuck, and he was informally known as Otis Sistrunk, the man from Mars University.
After his retirement he did some celebrity ads for Miller Lite featuring his Martian reputation, and took a facilities job at Fort Benning.  He still has a calling for sports as he coordinates Special Olympic events and is a personal trainer for soldiers.



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Jim Plunkett

Jim Plunkett Heisman Trophy

Not everything was easy for Jim Plunkett or his family. His parents suffered from blindness, while his father was progressive, his mother was legally blind. As a child, he moved to San Jose, California living in poor area of town, and his parents rarely had extra money for him to enjoy a social life. In response, he earned money by working at gas stations, bagging groceries, or working in the orchards. He was very active in almost every sport that his high school offered including football, basketball, baseball, track, and wrestling.

In 1968, Jim Plunkett chose Stanford University. He started as a freshman and went 10-13 for 277 yards and four touchdowns, in his first game. In his junior year he began to set team records for touchdowns (20), passing yards (2,673) and total offense (2,786). His junior year was so impressive that he could have decided to enter the NFL draft, but decided to stay in school and graduate.When his senior arrived, he could have entered the NFL Draft, but decided to stay and graduate. He wanted to represent the importance of a college education to the Chicano youth he mentored. His decision paid no regrets, as he had an increasing better year.  Stanford made the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1952, and won against the heavily favored Ohio State 27-17. Plunkett was named the Heisman Trophy winner, beating out players such as Joe Theismann, Jack Tatum, and Archie Manning. He also captured the Maxwell Award for being the best quarterback in his senior season.

In 1971, Jim Plunkett was drafted first overall by the Boston (New England) Patriots. His first regular season game saw the Patriots beat the Oakland Raiders 20-6, but the Patriots ended the season 6-8, which was fourth in the AFC East. In 1972, Plunkett saw his touchdowns drop and his interceptions rise.  He started to get injured, and working with a shaky offensive line didn't help him. New England began looking for a replacement quarterback. They eventually found one in Steve Grogan, and this made Jim Plunkett expendable.

In 1976, Jim was traded to the 49ers, and Plunkett started the season strong. San Francisco won six of their first seven games, but ended the season with winning only two more while losing five. The 1977 season was not much better as the team went 5-9, and the 49ers decided that Plunkett was not the answer they were looking for, and released him prior to the 1978 season.
The Oakland Raiders decided to take a chance on the local hero, and signed him for their back-up quarterback behind Dan Pastorini. Plunkett did not get a chance to throw a pass that year, and only had 15 attempts in 1979. The 1980 season gave Jim his first chance to be a starter, as Pastorini went out for the season due to a fractured leg against the Chiefs in week 5. Plunkett threw five interceptions that game in relief of Pastorini in a 31-17 loss. The five games did not dissuade the coaching staff (Al Davis) to move Marc Wilson in as starter, instead they stuck with Plunkett for the remainder of the season. The gamble on Jim worked as he responded going 11-14 with a touchdown and zero interceptions. The Oakland Raiders did not look back as they won nine of their last eleven games, and grabbed a playoff berth as a wild card team. The Raiders ran the gamut, and entered Super Bowl XV against the Philadelphia Eagles. Oakland beat the Dick Vermeil led team 27-10 to capture the championship, and enter the history books as the first wild-card team ever to win a Super Bowl. Plunkett won MVP after throwing for 261 yards and three touchdowns. Also, he was the second of four players to win the Heisman and MVP of a Super Bowl. Others included Roger Staubach, Marcus Allen, and Desmond Howard.

When the 1983 season came around, it was time for Jim Plunkett to hand-over the reigns to Marc Wilson. Wilson didn't hold them for long as he became injured and Plunkett stepped right in, and advanced the Raiders to Super Bowl XVIII, where they defeated the Washington Redskins 38-9. Plunkett was 16-25-172 and one touchdown. Jim did play for Oakland the last three years, but mostly as a back-up, and was sat because of injuries. In 1986, he hung up the cleats for the last time, and even though he has been part of two Super Bowl champion teams, he is not part of the Hall of Fame, making him the only quarterback member to have won two championships, yet not be inducted. In 1992, he was inducted into the Bay Area Hall of Fame.

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Wille Brown

willie brown of the raiders

Hall of Fame member Willie Brown was born in Yazoo city, Mississippi in 1940. He chose Grambling University to begin his march to pro football, but was not drafted by any team. In 1963, the Houston Oilers signed him, but released him during training camp. The Denver Broncos picked him up and by the middle of the season, and he became a starter for a bad team. He won All-AFL honors in his second season and played as an AFL All-Star. Then in 1967 he was traded to the Oakland Raiders, and spent the rest of his career in the silver and black.

Willie brown was named defensive captain in his 10 of his 12 years with the team, he also participated in 5 All-Star games and 4 NFL Pro-Bowls, also named All-AFL three times, and All-NFL four times. But, the biggest achievement he had was when he was facing the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI, and he intercepted errant pass by Fran Tarkenton and he took it the distance for 75 yard touchdown. Which had Oakland Raider announcer Bill King screaming into the microphone, "Old-man Willie! He's going all the way! TOUCHDOWN!!! Raiders!!!"
In 1978, Brown retired and finished with 39 interceptions tied for first all-time on the Raiders and a total of 54 for his career, he also had two touchdowns with three fumble recoveries. Upon, his playing accomplishments he was also awarded to be a member of the American Football League All-Time Team, and was introduced into the Pro-Football Hall of Fame on July 28, 1984, which was his very first year of eligibility.

In 1979, Willie Brown became the defensive backfield coach and did so until the close of the 1988 season. In 1995, Brown became the director of Staff Development for the Raiders.
The importance of Willie Brown just doesn't stop with his climb up the corporate ladder or the his Hall of Fame career, it was what he brought to the game as well. Brown developed what is called today the "Bump-and-run." He would line up right on the line of scrimmage and would dare the wide receiver to beat him deep. In the receiver's attempt to get past Brown, Willie would use everything he could to impede his progress. This put the clamps on the receiver and began to cut down the passing game. As more defensive backs began to use the same style of play, it cut down on the scoring and the NFL put a stop to it. This is why defensive players cannot make contact five yards down field. The NFL developed and passed the rule in 1978, the year Brown retired.

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Todd Marinovich

todd marinovich raiders picture

Todd Marinovich was born on July 4, 1969, He grew up in Newport Beach, California, and his father Marv Marinovich was a lineman for the USC Trojans during their national championship season in 1962, and part of the 1963 Rose Bowl team. When his father Marv ruined his NFL chances, because he focused too much on weight and bulk, it sent him on a study of Eastern Bloc training methods, and was hired by Al Davis to become one of the NFL's first strength-and-conditioning coach.

Todd was basically a study done by Marv from his birth. Todd Marinovich was only able to eat vegetables, fruits, and drink raw milk. This continued through his childhood and adolescence. Marv wanted to bring instruction on how to be faster and more flexible, which later formed the development of core training. Todd's eating plate consisted of no salt, sugar, alcohol, and tobacco.

While in high school Todd Marinovich had a very successful career. He attended Mater Dei, and threw for nearly 4,00 yards and 34 touchdowns in two years, and then transferred to Mission Viejo's Capistrano Valley High School due to his parent's divorce. There, Marinovich broke the all-time passing record, and later the national high school record by passing for 9,914 yards, including 2,477 as a senior. He won many honors, including Parade All-American, Dial Award for the national high school scholar-athlete, and the Touchdown Club's national high school player of the year. His accolades brought on media attention, and in 1998 he appeared on the cover of California magazine with the headline "ROBO QB: THE MAKING OF A PERFECT ATHLETE. Sports Illustrated then published an article, titled "Bred To Be A Superstar", which discussed how he was raised by his parents. The article stated that Todd was the first test tube athlete, and how his mother encouraged him through art, music, and classical Hollywood cinema, and banning cartoons, because of their violence.

The article stated that:
He has never eaten a Big Mac or and Oreo or a Ding Dong. When he went to birthday parties as a kid, he would take his own cake and ice cream to avoid sugar and refined white flour. He would eat homemade catsup, prepared with honey. He did consume beef but not the kind injected with hormones. He ate only unprocessed dairy products. He teethed on frozen kidney and liver. When Todd was one month old, Marv was already working on his son's physical conditioning. He stretched his hamstrings. Pushups were next. Marv invented a game in which Todd would try to lift a medicine ball onto a kitchen counter. Marv also put him on a balance beam. Both activities grew easier when Todd learned to walk. There was a football in Todd's crib from day one. "Not a real NFL ball," says Marv. "That would be sick; it was a stuffed ball."
During his high school playing days Todd became part of the drug scene. He would drink, and smoke marijuana. He would hang out with his friends and smoke a bowl before class. Marinovich found that marijuana would relax him and not affect his sports performance. In fact, He has mentioned that the best times he ever had was living with his father after the divorce. They would hang-out together, and we're both dating.

When it came to decide which college to go to, he had his pick of almost any school. He decided that USC was the best fit, and majored in the Fine Arts. He redshirted as a freshman in 1988 behind Rodney Peete. In 1989, he was the backup to Pat O'Hara, but when O'Hara went down with a leg injury, and even though nobody believed that Marinovich was ready, he became the first freshman quarterback to start the first game of the season for USC since World War II. He didn't perform badly that first year, as he completed 197 of 321 attempts for 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. The Trojans went 9-2-1 and won the Pac-10 conference, and defeated Michigan in the Rose Bowl. He was also named the College Freshman of the Year by UPI and The Sporting News.

In 1990, Marinovich entered the season as a Heisman Trophy candidate. Head coach Larry Smith set Marinovich the goal of a 70% completion rate, but Marinovich was more consumed by being reckless. He began skipping classes and Smith had to suspend him from the Arizona State game, and previously his game against Arizona was a disaster. Todd and Larry Smith had a difficult time being on the same page, and in a national televised game in the Sun Bowl it was spotted Marinovich yelling at Smith during the game on the sidelines. A month later, Marinovich was arrested for cocaine possession, and then decided it was best for him to enter the NFL draft at the close of the season.

In 1991, the Raiders selected Marinovich in the first round, as the 24th overall selection. He was the second quarterback taken that year, and signed a three year $2.25 million dollar deal. His first start came late into the season when Jay Schroeder went down with an injury in the final week of the season. He did reasonably well completing 23 of 40 passes for 243 yards against the Chiefs. This led to him starting the following week in the playoffs, again against the Chiefs. This time he threw for only 140 yards and had 4 interceptions, in a 10-6 loss.

In 1992, he was named the starting quarterback after Jay Schroeder could not move the team to victory, and they started 0-2. Marinovich had a solid game as he threw for 395 yards, but the Raiders ended up on the losing end again, as well as the following week, making a 0-4 start to the season. Todd then won three of the next four games. His best game came against the Bills in which he completed 11 of 21 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns in a victory. The following week, Marinovich threw three interceptions in his first 10 attempts, and the coaches had enough. They pulled him and sent Schroeder back on to the field. Marinovich never played again in the NFL.

Marinovich suffered from serious substance issues while playing for the Raiders, and his rookie season was marred with partying, drug use that included pharmaceutical amphetamines. Even though he was frequently tested for drugs, Marino passed by using his friends' urine samples. One friend was found with a blood-alcohol level four times the legal limit, which forced Todd into rehabilitation, as the Raiders held an intervention, and Marinovich spent 45 days at the rehab facility. Marinovich learned that using LSD would not show on drug screens, so he picked that up as his drug of choice. Even so, his play was erratic and he could not grasp the Raiders offense, and was drug tested again, and again he failed, and was forced back into rehab. In 1993, he failed an NFL drug test for a third time, and his career was over.

Marinovich later played in the Arena Football League for the Los Angeles Avengers, while undergoing major heroin withdrawl. He played well, and was named to the All-Rookie team, but the day he received his signing bonus he was arrested for purchasing heroin. His career was again marred, as he was ejected for throwing objects at a referee, and eventually suspended from the team in 2001.
By the 2004, Marinovich was living on the Balboa Peninsula, when he was arrested for meth and syringes on his person. In 2005, he was charged for violating probation, and began going in and out of rehab facilities. Todd started working odd jobs such as scraping barnacles off of boats and leading group meetings at a rehab center. He also paints murals in residential homes, and is a private quarterback coach.

He is currently living in Orange County and has an on-line art gallery that include drawings and sculptures. He has a wife named Alexandria and a son, Baron, and a daughter, Coski. Marinovich has a younger brother Mikhail Marinovich who played defensive end for Syracuse. Mikhail made news when he broke into a gym after drinking. Todd Marinovich warned him: "Don't be stupid. You're a Marinovich. You have a target on your back."

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Mike Haynes

mike haynes nike poster raiders

Haynes was born on July 1, 1953 and attended John Marshall High School, where he played corner back and also ran track and field. From there he went to Arizona State and became a three-time All Western Athletic Conference selection, and a two-time All-American selection, which was a major reason for him to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft in 1976.

Haynes was selected by the New England Patriots and led the team with eight interceptions, and an AFC leading 608 yards on 45 punt returns.  He also became the first Patriot to ever return a punt for a touchdown, in fact, he did it twice that season. He went to the Pro-Bowl as a rookie and was a major reason that the Patriots made the playoffs that year.  This was the first time New England saw the post-season in 13 years, but ended up losing to the Raiders 24-21, in the first round.

In 1978, Mike Haynes added another six interceptions and had one return for a touchdown, the Patriots went on to win their division, but lost to the Houston Oilers in the playoffs. Haynes went on to play four more seasons for the Patriots, adding nine more interceptions and  one touchdown. His final totals in New England earned him a place in their ring of honor as he had  28 interceptions, over a thousand return yards, and had 58 consecutive starts before a rib injury side-lined him.

In 1993, Mike Haynes was added to the Los Angeles Raiders roster, (The Oakland Raiders moved to Los Angeles in the 1982 season, before moving back to Oakland in 1991) and joined Lester Hayes to complete one of the best backfield tandems in the NFL. Haynes joined the Raiders because he was awarded to Los Angeles, for a number one draft choice in 1984 and a second round draft choice in 1985. Haynes came to the Raiders in the middle of '93, because that is when his option closed out in New England. Michael Haynes started the last five games for Oakland, and played a major role in their Super Bowl win against the Washington Redskins.  

In his seven seasons as an Oakland Raider he had 18 interceptions, which included a 97 yard return against Miami in 1984. When his career came to an end, his overall numbers included 46 interceptions, was an All-Pro choice four times and an All-AFC pick eight times. In 1997 he was entered into the Hall of Fame, and was ranked number 93 on Sporting News list of 100 greatest players.

By Vaaal-Verde

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Sebastian Janikowski

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"The Polish-Cannon was born in 1978 to Henryk and Halina Janikowski in Poland. His father was a pro soccer player and moved to the United States with his family to continue his soccer career. Sebastian also had a fondness for soccer as he grew up playing, and in high school was a starter on the team.  The football coach caught a glimpse of him, and decided to put him on the team, it was a fantastic idea, as Janikowski connected on 50+ yard field goals, and had one go for 60 yards. In 1996 he was named to the All-American team, and made the choice to attend Florida State.

At Florida State he amassed 324 points, and won the Lou Groza award twice. The down-side was that Janikowski was arrested twice for fighting outside bars, and even for trying to attempt to bribe a police officer. In 1999 he announced that he would forgo his senior season and enter the 2000 NFL draft.

In the 2000 NFL draft he was selected in the first round, and 17th overall by the Oakland Raiders. This made him the fourth ever kicker to be drafted in the first round.
After the 2004 season, Janikowski signed a five year deal, that made him at the time, the highest paid kicker in NFL history, and in 2010, he signed another deal for $16 million, including $9 million guaranteed, making him the highest paid kicker in NFL history. In 2013, Janikowski signed a four-year extension for $19 million including a $8 million guarantee.

By Vaaal-Verde

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Ankle and Thumb

According to Raiders report, Derek Carr was limited in practice today due to an injured ankle and thump. Steve Corkran mnetioned via twitter that "Derek Carr said he hurt his right thumb when he hit it on the helmet of a Chiefs defender. He said the ankle he hurt against Chiefs is fine."

Pyro's take: Coach Tony Sparano said Carr made all throws in practice and isn't worried about his status for Sunday's game. Carr has a matchup with Buffalo's top-five pass defense in Week 16, so you may want to leave him on your bench.

12/17/14, 08:31 PM CST by Vaaal-verde

Can He Handle the Load?

On Sirius radio Alex Marvez asked interim head coach Tony Sparano if Murray will be the full-time back once he returns. "Interim HC Tony Sparano says @LataviusM won't be @Raiders workhorse RB down stretch @SiriusXMNFL w/ Bill Polian & me"

Pyro's take: Sparano doesnt think that Murray can handle the load, because he hasnt handled the load yet in the pros. Hmmm...well how are you going to know if you dont give him a chance to do so? Raiders...I can hear it echoing from the grave.."Just Win Baby"

12/03/14, 07:35 PM CST by Vaaal-verde


Michael Crabtree was limited in practice today according to Matt Maiocco. "#49ers limited at practice: WR Crabtree (knee), CB Culliver (shoulder), DT Dorsey (forearm), RB Hyde (shoulder), DE McDonald (finger)"

Pyro's take: Look for Crabtree to be fully ready to go and at least show up on the field, whether he does anything is an entire different story. Maybe he will be lucky against a sorry-defense such as the Raiders.

12/03/14, 07:25 PM CST by Vaaal-verde

Breaking Loose

It finally came down, late in the third quarter, Latavius Murray got the rock, and took it up the middle for 14-yards. Murray wasn't satisfied, he got the ball again, on the following play, and took it even longer, for a 23-yard rush.

Murray finished with 43-yards on four carries, and finally gave the Raiders and their fans something in the running game. "It felt good to get in there and run the ball,'' Murray said. "It always does, so I was definitely pleased. I left some plays out there also. I dropped a pass on a slant. But I was able to get better and I'm ready for work next week."

"They've been wanting to get me in the mix more and that's all I can ask,'' Murray said. "When they do, I have to make sure they give me a reason to put me back in there."

Murray has good size, 6-foot-2, 225 pounds, and speed, and if it wasnt for the injured foot, he would have more experience.

"I thought he ran the ball well,'' interim head coach Tony Sparano said. "There were some things for him that maybe weren't there early in the game for Darren. Latavius is a big, strong kid. We're trying to get him more involved."

Pyro's take: Pyro has been behind this kid since day one this season, and finally it took the Raiders being on the brink of being eliminated from the playoffs to get this guy going.

Now that the Raiders are now out of any playoff scenario, he should get more playing time, as neither Maurice Jones-Drew or Darren McFadden have any value for Oakland going forward.

He should be a top pick-up for all owners, or at-least at top of your radar.

11/17/14, 01:35 PM CST by Vaaal-verde

Little Much

Greg Little was picked up by the Cincinnati Bengals on October 14th, but has contributed to the Bengals offense and helped them win last week. "Those days get long on the couch. You sit there and you watch some games some weeks and other weeks you go out and try to pass the time by," Little said. "I just told myself when I get another chance, do you want to be back on the couch or do you want to be on the field on Sunday?

Little has always had the talent to be productive, but has shown the tendency to drop passes, and that has caused him to not be involved in the offense.

Pyro's take: Put Little on your waiver wire scout list, we shall see what his role is with Sanu and AJ Green returning. But he can add strong value, if they use him correctly.

10/28/14, 05:40 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde

Should Be Good to Go

Mike Holder, Colts reporter, has tweeted that " Says Reggie is ahead of schedule and is considered day to day. Richardson did dress for gm but was considered emergency No. 3 RB only."

Pyro's take: Trent Richardson should be where he left off two-weeks ago. The Colts sure missed his blocking against Pittsburgh last week as they Luck looked rushed, hit, and sacked every time he didn't hand off the ball.

10/27/14, 03:24 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde


Trent Richardson, is officially listed as questionable, and Wayne is ruled out. according to Chuck Pagano. Stephen Holder, reporter for the Colts has stated that "Reggie Wayne is officially out, acc to Chuck Pagano. Richardson, Jack Doyle are questionable."

Pyro's take: I trust that Richardson will be in action on Sunday, and if he is being used in your lineup on a weekly basis, you should continue to do so. Look for Dan Herron to get some action if Richardson cannot go, and with Ahmad Bradshaw shouldering most of the load.

10/24/14, 07:43 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde

Back to Form

Trent Richardson was gashing the Cincinnati Bengals defense, and well on his way to 100 yards before he became injured. He had rushed for 77 yards on 14 attempts when a hamstring injury sent him to the sideline for the rest of the game in the fourth quarter of their 27-0 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

“Little tweak, nothing big,” Richardson said. “I was able to still run and move. Coach [Chuck Pagano] told me there’s no reason to back out there.”

Pyro's take: Richardson has really started to turn the tables this season, as he has progressed well with each passing game. He seems to be making the right cuts, and seeing where the holes are much better. He is still under Ahmad Bradshaw shadow, but is creeping out more and more each week.

10/21/14, 01:03 AM CDT by Vaaal-verde

Carr Banged Up

Derek Carr has still not practiced due to injuries to his ankle and knees. Everything should still be full-systems go, the Raiders are just giving their prized rookie a rest, for this upcoming game. "Oakland interim coach Tony Sparano said Carr didn't look hindered in the game by the injuries albeit for one instance. Sparano liked what he saw from Carr on Wednesday in practice."

Pyro's take: I dont think Carr is an automatic start at this point, but he is getting there, and especially for owners, who are suffering through bye-weeks. He has shed any light that his brother may have caused, and is doing things the Houston Texans thought older brother David was going to bring to the table. Either way, the Raiders cleaned up with Khalif Barnes and Derek Carr this season.

10/16/14, 01:50 AM CDT by Vaaal-verde

Thompkins a Raider

When the New England Patriots released Kenbrell Thompkins it made way for the Oakland Raiders to pick him up via free agency. The Raiders are in need of depth at wide receiver after placing Rod Streater on the injured reserve with a foot injury. Thompkins caught 32 passes for 466 yards and four touchdowns last season. He was only active in twice this season for the Patriots, hauling in six passes for 53 yards.

Pyro's take: Thompkins can come in an play a two or three wide receiver for the Raiders, and even if he was a one, it would lead to little fantasy value. At the most, through him on your scout team, and maybe he gets in a nice groove with "McLovin"

10/06/14, 11:58 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde


Kenbrell Thompkins will be inactive tonight for the New England Patriots. He will join teammate Aaron Dobson. Tom Brady will have Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Matthew Slater and Brandon LaFell as options.

Pyro's take: The Patriots will have to rely on Julian Edleman, Danny Amendola, and Rob Gronkowksi as the only safe options. With an already below par offensive line, that accommodates two rookies, and a vacant set of wide receivers, Brady will have his hands full to keep this offensive lively.

09/29/14, 07:08 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde

Getting Involved

The Oakland Raiders are going to need to change things up, especially at the running back position, and what better way to use the multi-talented running back Marcel Reece. Raiders earning just 63 yards on the ground per game, as well as an average of 3.9 yards per carry (21st in the NFL). Reece has contributed one carry to that total.

"We have to be a little bit aware early in the game of getting him involved early," offensive coordinator Greg Olson said, per The Associated Press. "We only had 20 snaps again in the first half. There were things designed to him. ... We had some things there it just didn't end up going there. We'll continue to find ways to utilize Marcel."

Reece went on to say about his situation, "I'm about winning," he said. "That's all it's about for me. If we're winning and I don't touch the ball, I think that sits well with me. We haven't won yet so I'm just trying to do whatever I can to help this team win and make plays on the field."

Pyro's take: There is no reason not to involve Reece especially in the passing game. Marcel is a two-time pro-bowler (2012, 2013), and he caught 52 passes in 2012. Instead, the Raiders are sticking to the guns that are malfunctioned, in McFadden and Jones-Drew.

Keep a scout eye on Reece, as could be a solid PPR player waiting in the wings.

09/20/14, 11:54 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde

Carr ready to start

The Oakland Raiders informed their players that Derek Carr would be the starter for week one over Matt Schaub, via Jay Glazer twitter @JayGlazer. Glazer may have gotten the information from head coach Dennis Allen. "Glazer has good relationship with Raiders coach Dennis Allen from the time when Allen worked on the staff of Sean Payton with the New Orleans Saints." Rumors began to float that Derek Carr may become the starting quarterback after Matt Schaub missed playing against Seattle, while Carr really stood out. He completed 11 of 13 passes for 143 yards and three touchdowns.

Pyro's take: Derek Carr finished his 2013 college season leading the country with 4,866 passing yards and 48 touchdowns. He stands at 6-3 and weighs 215 pounds, so he is a sturdy quarterback. He has a very strong arm, and has solid accuracy, but may have troubles when throwing the ball in a scramble or hurried situation as he showed against USC in the Vegas bowl.

Carr should be considered in all leagues and placed on your watch list if not drafted and available.

09/01/14, 05:33 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde

Richardson still not showing up in games

Yes, people still have visions of Trent Richardson stampeding the competition for Alabama back in 2011 en route to a national championship. Sadly, his transition to the NFL has brought nothing but frustration for three seasons. Not only is he struggling to put up any sort of meaningful number, but he’s also dealing with injury problems as well. It was hoped a fresh start in Indianapolis would be just the boost he needed to show doubters his status as the #3 overall pick was worth it. Two games into his latest preseason, it’s clear nothing has changed. Despite reports from Pep Hamilton and coaches that Richardson has looked good in camp, he still can’t take it into games. Thus far he has averaged well under three yards per carry in the preseason, setting an even worse pace from last season.

Pyro's take: I have been the lone man here at Pyro that is so off the Trent Richardson bandwagon. I know the Colts have a great offense, and that will help to take the pressure off of Trent, but he continues to show that he is incapable of getting the second level of the defense. In two preseason games Richardson has five carries for 13 yards. This is becoming the norm for the #3 overall draft pick, who has a career 3.3 YPC average. He is not going to be a first or second round draft pick this season, but from what I have seen in games, I would stay away from him altogether. It seems less and less likely that he will be the beast I once thought he could as I watch his game film.

08/17/14, 05:23 PM CDT by Houdini

Edge to Richardson

Edgerrin James, the Indianapolis Colts all-time rushing leader, was in Indianapolis on Saturday mentoring Trent Richardson.“It was a blessing, man. Just to watch practice, he said he’s going to do a lot more with me, going to be hands-on,” said Richardson Saturday after practice. “We’ve been having phone calls back and forth, but I never had the chance to practice in front of him.”

Edgerrin was asked why he was at the Indianapolis facilities, and how he felt about Trent Richardson and his struggles as a player in a Colts uniform. “Last year when he got here during the middle of the season, it wasn’t fair to him to try to get in with all the stuff he had going on,” said James Saturday after spending more than 30 minutes with Richardson following the end of practice. “I told (Colts owner) Mr. (Jim) Irsay that I would come up during training camp.”

James went on to say about Richardson “It’s unfair to kind of judge him on last year, because it’s two different systems, and the terminology is totally different,” James explained. “He was just kind of thrown out there. You can’t really get an assessment.”

Edgerrin James finished his seven year career with 3028 attempts for 12246 yards and 80 touchdowns. He also had 433 receptions for 3364 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also obtained four Pro Bowls and two NFL rushing titles.

Pyro's take: The Colts having 'Edge" at practice leads to further proof that the Colts are doing all they can to support and help Trent Richardson get back on track.

Even though Richardson's overall numbers looked poor, in week one of the preseason, as he rushed for 13 yards on five attempts. Keep in mind, that three of those attempts came inside the 10 yard line, and on his first attempt he rushed for nine yards. His nine yard run, looked good, as he cut through open space, even though he did seem a bit hesitant in the process.

08/10/14, 02:21 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde

A tweaked out Carr

Derek Carr is doing some wonders in camp, and has the Oakland Raiders smiling. One of the aspects that the coaching staff had Carr change was the widening of his feet. This keeps him low and allows him to drive off his stance, becoming more accurate, and more balanced."The ball is getting out quicker," offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. "His drop step was way too high, and now he is keeping both feet on the ground. He has great upper-body mechanics, and now he is much more balanced."

Derek Carr went on to say that he was "hoppy" when he was playing at Fresno State "Which could at times make me inaccurate in college," Carr said. "So one thing they've really done is widen my base. That helps, too, getting hit in the pocket, if you get nudged and stuff, you can still have that good, strong base.

"I've been able to do that and get the ball out. I like to get the ball out quick in the first place, but they've trained me to get it out quicker, which I love. It helps."

The next step for Carr is to see how he reacts to live pressure. His first glimpse will be Friday against the Minnesota Vikings.

Pyro's take: Derek Carr is in one of those positions that could lead to a starting job by seasons end. He has showed that he can get the job done in camp, and has full knowledge of the playbook. If the Raiders stumble this season, or Matt Schaub gets hurt, look for Carr to step-in. This makes him an interesting late pick for keeper leagues, and a solid one for Dynasty owners.

08/05/14, 05:15 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde

Undisclosed injury

Michael Crabtree and Brandon Lloyd will miss one or two weeks because of injuries that are unspecified but believed to be leg related. "Maybe a week, maybe two weeks," Harbaugh said Friday of Crabtree's status, "and same with Brandon Lloyd."

Crabtree, who did not practice Thursday, is battling a sore hamstring, according to ESPN's Josina Anderson. Harbaugh would only say that Crabtree's injury is not related to his surgically repaired right Achilles or previously fractured feet.

Pyro's take: Michael Crabtree is a training camp disaster, he always seems to get hurt. A two week injury should not change any of your rankings or projections of either Crabtree or Lloyd.

08/02/14, 02:43 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde

Trent was injured

Indianapolis Colts reporter for ESPN, Mike Wells, discussed how Trent Richardson was suffering from a chipped collarbone and his AC joint was separated last season. “Toward the end of the season I felt a lot more comfortable, but the other time I was more injured,” Richardson said.

Pyro's take: Now, that the injury excuse has been played out, and the time to get the playbook under control has been cleared, it is now up to Richardson to get it going. Trent Richardson will be the full-time starter to open the season, but his chances to prove himself will be harnessed, and the Colts wont hesitate to bring in Ahmad Bradshaw or Vick Ballard to replace him. Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano made a statement about his running back situation: “I think through the course of camp it’s all going to take care of itself, shake itself out,” Pagano said. “You’d like to have a bell cow. We’ll see if that happens…We’ll do a good job of getting the guys the necessary reps to make evaluations. If someone separates himself and becomes that guy then that’s your bell cow.”

One of the largest boom or bust risk for your fantasy season, plan when you feel the time is right to draft him, especially in PPR leagues. His ADP at this moment, is rated 24th for running backs, and is being drafted in the fifth round, sixth selection, in 12 team PPR leagues.

07/24/14, 02:27 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde

Raiders plan to be run first in 2014

Oakland is banking on a running game to set the tempo.

“We’re going to run the ball, run the ball, then run it again until the defense stops us,” said offensive tackle Donald Penn in an interview Monday on Sirius XM NFL Radio.

Oakland certainly invested heavily in blockers this offseason. They took Gabe Jackson in the third round of the draft, and he could be the team’s starter at left guard; they brought in veteran free agents Penn, Austin Howard and Kevin Boothe; and they hope that 2013 second-round pick Menelik Watson can win the starting job at right tackle. On paper, at least, the Raiders have the makings of their best offensive line in several seasons.

Pyro's take: This is good news for MJD, Darren McFadden and Latavius Murray. Murray has the most to gain of the three, and MJD and RUN DNP have both had their issues staying healthy.

If the Raiders do plan on running more than the 27 attempts per game last season (16th in the league) it also increases the chances for those guys to get injured. I am concerned about the potential for injury with McFadden and MJD, which is why if you do draft them and they get off to a good start, you should look to move them. Murray has great upside and can be had at the end of your drafts.

07/08/14, 08:03 PM CDT by Houdini

Jones dealing with a hamtring injury

Receiver James Jones was working on the sideline running drills with a trainer according to various media present. If he has any kind of injury, it is nothing too serious and being kept out is more as a precaution.

UPDATE: Dennis Allen said after practice that James Jones is dealing with a minor hamstring issue.

Pyro's take: Well that did not take long. James Jones is getting his chance to be the lead receiver in Oakland, and he now has a hamstring issue. It is still early and it may end up being nothing, but this is the type of injury that can linger.

06/12/14, 07:27 PM CDT by Houdini


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