Culpepper Trial

Looming around the inevitable corner will be Jamarcus Russell signing a hefty contract. One that should have been done like most number one picks have completed before the draft. The Raiders are going to invest and both sides should have prepared better than this. When talks were still sluggish as camp neared a few weeks ago, the Raiders made the decision to test out Daunte Culpepper. After a free agent workout the Raiders felt comfortable enough in signing him to a one year deal. Before Culpepper bares that next uniform, he’ll be in silver and black. A silver and black quarterback that will likely be the week one starter for the Raiders.

A year ago Daunte Culpepper, was the talk of fantasy football leagues as a sleeper quarterback. Heck he had displayed MVP caliber days in Minnesota and was in new territory to bloom again. His injuries that were supposed to be behind him, only reared more apparently. Week to week Miami kept hoping to see a sign of improvement. Expecting rust to wear off only turned into the obvious–Culpepper was not healthy and may never be again.

Maybe that time off for the rest of the Dolphins season led his body to gaining closer to 100 percent. Last year he looked to be at around seventy percent tops. In mini camp he looked ready to be the Dolphins starter but looking and displaying are two different things. Miami saw something that gave enough red flags to part completely with Culpepper and move on.

Better yet after being cut from Miami there weren’t too many teams calling for Culpepper’s services. You’d think a team like Atlanta would have been fast dialing Culpepper but the only teams were Jacksonville and Oakland. Maybe Culpepper needs an actual agent instead of representing himself. Anyways he figured the best thing for him would be to take his chances in Oakland where he’ll have the best shot at starting.

For Culpepper to stay on the field he’ll need to first show that he can play at game speed and move in the pocket somewhat. With Miami last year he was motionless in the pocket and paying the price for it. Numerous sacks, fumbles, and slow delivery was an every down occurrence. Not only that with Russell awaiting to enter time is not on Culpepper’s side in an Oakland uniform.

The positives for Culpepper are that he is on a team that had one of the best defenses in the league last year. So he’ll be able to play it safe early and just do enough to try to position his team for wins. Another area is that Lamont Jordan looks to be in a crossroads stage of his career. He needs to have a year to catapult himself as a feature starter. The Raiders lacked commitment to running the football last year and apparently are going to change that philosophy. Culpepper has never in his career had a solid running back behind him. That goes for last year as well when Miami could not get the running game going during Culpepper’s month of games.

The over/under on Culpepper making it out of October as the starting Raiders quarterback should weigh slightly on the over side. Compare it a little to Denver last year when Jake Plummer played most of the year before relenting to Jay Cutler. Jamarcus Russell and the Raiders know that he can not possibly get prepared enough in a months time. He’ll need to run through practices effectively for at least a few months. The only way he makes it on the field in the first half of the season is if the Raiders only have a win or two. Then knowing a disastrous season can’t be averted is out the window, and they’ll be able to afford a Russell air assault in a bad way.

Most drafts Culpepper is being ignored due to the fact that people expect Russell to play immediately or Culpepper to be similar to last season. He has something to prove to the NFL world and why not give him a shot. No one is drafting Culpepper in fantasy drafts. You can’t blame owners for that based on last year, but take a late flier on him if you are a fantasy owner that waits until the last minute to draft a quarterback. If your somebody with an Eli Manning, Alex Smith, or any other shaky young fantasy quarterback then go ahead and select Culpepper. There’s always a quarterback or two that comes out of the woodwork to shine off the waivers. Don’t let Culpepper be that guy, if he doesn’t work out then that late pick turns into a waiver move and is potential boomer pick that didn’t quite work out.