Dec 23, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden (20) runs the ball against the Carolina Panthers during the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Panthers defeated the Raiders 17-6. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

5 Oakland Raiders On The Hot Seat

Getting fired from a job has its benefits.  For example, if you worked for the Oakland Raiders, a pink slip would excuse you from a losing atmosphere and a boss without fashion sense.

But the negatives of getting canned normally outweigh the positives, such as forfeiting a comfortable salary.  The stress that arrives while cleaning out your cubicle can often lead to drug abuse or even violent outbursts (see: work related shootings).

Who’s feeling the heat right now in the Raiders organization?  A far smaller number since the last round of layoffs (best wishes to Tommy Kelly and the men), but their fears are legitimate.

Darren McFadden

The dog may be honestly eating his homework, but the truth is since being taken fourth in the 2008 NFL Draft, McFadden has produced one 1,000 yard rushing season.  Numerous lower body injuries and an ill-fitting zone blocking scheme (used by offensive coordinator Greg Knapp in 2008 and 2012) have excused the running back’s lack of production for some time, but in the last year of a $60 million rookie contract, the former Razorback must grind out a Pro Bowl-caliber season in 2013 or risk hitting free agency without a lucrative home team offer.

Dennis Allen

Allen became head coach in 2012 despite serving just one season as a defensive coordinator, so general manager Reggie McKenzie will likely stress patience with his unpopular hire.  If owner Mark Davis channels his dad however, a four-win inaugural campaign will be all the slack the coach is probably given, so taking another step back in 2013 would cost his job.  The roster was purged of Al Davis favorites (Michael Huff, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Desmond Bryant) and vocal personalities (Kelly, Richard Seymour) in the offseason, so Allen has his best chance yet to make a resonating impression on his new squad.  Winning the loyalty of his players, and working with coordinator Jason Tarver to improve a holey defense (which surrendered the fifth most points in the NFL last year) by the end of the schedule are critical points on his to-do list.

Mike Brisiel

Brisiel signed a 5-year, $20 million deal in 2012 after a successful stint with the Texans, where he teamed with Knapp and excelled in his blocking system.  The elements were in place, but the right guard could not replicate his Houston prominence, as the 30-year-old struggled to drive his opponents and committed fouls at inopportune times.  Brisiel had extensive ankle surgery in January, which prompted McKenzie to consider discarding the lineman before renegotiating his contract.  With Knapp gone and a power scheme installed, the veteran will need to quickly re-learn the fundamentals, starting with a few less chop blocks.

David Ausberry

While the 2011 draft weekend was possibly the best event of Ausberry’s life (he was selected in the seventh round), the 2013 occasion was likely his low point.  Oakland chose tight ends Nick Kasa and Mychal Rivera on the last day, displaying their lack of confidence in the second-year converted wide receiver from USC.  Ausberry is fast on his feet and possesses soft hands, but he is an ineffective run and pass blocker, so practicing the least glamorous aspects of his game will be necessary to stick around.  With a cap hit of less than $600,000, the prospect is fairly expendable.

Sebastian Janikowski

Like McFadden, Janikowski has an expiring, expensive deal (he signed for 4 years and $16 million in 2010, an NFL record for a placekicker) and while the All Pro has little to prove, the Raiders hinted with Shane Lechler’s departure that the current management may not overpay specialists (even for the sake of sentimentality).  The veteran, who nailed 31 of his 34 field attempts in 2012, must continue to dominate to earn a similar wage at 35 years of age, and if the longest-tenured Raider shows any regression, Oakland will be ready to wave farewell.

Tags: Darren McFadden David Ausberry Dennis Allen Oakland Raiders Sebastian Janikowski

  • Bob Yost

    Jano will be one of the few that will retire as a Raider.

    • Rui Thomas

      I hope so. You think he’s willing to take a pay cut?

      • Pridenpoise

        To include Janikowski on this list is idiotic to say that least, he has been nothing but clutch over the past 4 seasons, not to mention consistently hitting 55-60 yard FG show me another kicker in the NFL who can do what he does on a consistent basis and I’ll eat my dogs breakfast.

        • Rui Thomas

          Would you not say his job with the Raiders is in jeopardy considering his presumed price tag and McKenzie’s unwillingness to throw big money?

          Vikings’ rookie Blair Walsh went 10 for 10 on 50+ yard field goals last season, and Phil Dawson was 7 for 7. Janikowski went 6 for 9 in 2012, and 7 for 10 in 2011, when Dawson was 7 for 8. Janikowski was also 10th in the NFL in touchbacks last year according to Sporting News, so he is either holding back or he isn’t the strongest legged kicker around anymore.

          • Pridenpoise

            Well you are quoting numbers and u have to remember when they ask jano to come out and kick ridiculously long field goals which they don’t do with Walsh or Dawson, so of course Seabass is going to have some misses when your trying from 65-70 yards there will be misses, not to mention Walsh kicks indoors, a luxury that Seabass has maybe twice a year if that. Talk to me when these guys have been playing for 14 years, because neither one will come close to Janos numbers. As for Reggie if he doesn’t resign him he’s an Asshole.

          • Bob Yost

            I think Reggie WILL sign Jano for whatever it takes,… Dude is a major weapon, & Reggie knows it. Besides, next year the amount of cap space is going to give Reggie room to make any moves he wants to make & can’t believe that he wouldn’t want to lock up Jano for life!

          • Rui Thomas

            Field goal attempts from record breaking distances are incredibly rare for the fact that missing it will spot the opponent’s ball in your own territory. Roof or no roof, when Walsh is capable of breaking long-standing NFL records as a rookie, he and an emerging crop of young kickers should go on to achieve greater accomplishments than Janikowski. You discredit Dawson, a 14 year NFL veteran, when he plays in conditions much worse in winter than at the Coliseum.

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  • Ricky Bobby

    Fire DA !!

  • goldenbaysports

    Janikowski tied the record in Denver