The Oakland Raiders regularly dumpster dive for washed-up talent with mixed results (see: Jim Plunkett, Aaron Brooks). But the 2014 free agent class has made it known they’ll be more like Jerry Rice than Javon Walker when all said and done in the Silver and Black.
“We’re just the throwaways it seems like. The guys we have, supposedly a lot of people didn’t want them. I hear reports that this is a great team if it were 2009. Whatever, man.”
“Everybody here has something to prove. We all know we have something left, whether it was a bad year last year or things didn’t work out from another team, whatever it may be. As a whole, we’re fighting for the same thing: respect.”
“At the end of the day, when it comes down to it, it’s us against the world, and that’s how we like to see it.”
Justin Tuck added:
“Everybody that says stuff like that, but go and watch the film on all of us and tell us we can’t still play the game. I don’t really care about all that. To me, age is a number. I’m 31, and I feel like I’m 25.”
“Reggie and his staff upstairs have done a good job of mixing veteran football players that still got a lot in the tank and still got a lot to prove in here with these young guys, and hopefully we can build that chemistry and build a team that is going to be a winner.”
Jones-Drew and Tuck along with Matt Schaub (32 years old), Antonio Smith (32), Carlos Rogers (32), Donald Penn (30), James Jones (30), LaMarr Woodley (29) and Tarell Brown (29) headline the veteran coup this offseason. The group shares six Pro Bowl nominations, and they’re all clear-cut starters minus Jones-Drew, but the imports are coming off down performances.
To be fair, salary cap interests rather than physical decline played a large role in teams not re-signing the likes of Jones and others, and an age like 32 is by no means a death knell to dedicated NFL position players. The Raiders front office is banking that the newcomers’ vast playoff and winning experience can mend a culture of hopelessness and unaccountability, while an infused roster quickly melds and knuckles up in the deep AFC West.
Photo Credit: Associated Press