I got a chance to speak with Oakland Raiders cornerback Stanford Routt on Wednesday in a telephone interview. Routt is in the spotlight after he signed a three-year, $31.5 million deal in February to remain with the Raiders.
Routt could be Oakland’s top cornerback in 2011 if Nnamdi Asomugha leaves as a free agent. Routt showed in 2010 that he should be up to the task. His “burn rate” was 39.4 percent, which was tied for the third lowest completion percentage in the NFL with Asomugha.
On to the questions:
Bill Williamson: Has the lockout been strange yet?
Stanford Routt: I think we would have started our conditioning program on Monday, so it’s bit strange. But I’m just waiting for this dark cloud to lift. I’m working out on my own. I’m working on my speed and strength just as always. I’m just waiting for everything to be figured out.
BW: With your new contract and the possibility of Nnamdi leaving, people are expecting a big year from you. Are you prepared?
SR: I’m ready for that. But my mind set doesn’t change. I’m ready to go back to work. I covered plenty of No.1 receivers last year. I think I did a good job. I know this will be a spotlight year, but I think last year was the pressure-filled year for me. When I got my starting spot back in camp, I knew the bull’s eye would rest on my back and I’d got 1,000 balls thrown my way. I think I did pretty well.
BW: How proud of you of the burn-rate numbers?
SR: To be frank, I’ve always known I can play. In my mind, I was probably average or below average last year. I want to get back on the field and show what I can do. I gave up three TD's last year, which I felt was too many. I wanted to only give up one or even none and I wanted five or more interceptions. I felt it was below average cause I didn't reach my personal expectations.
BW: How relieved are you that you completed your contract before the lockout?
SR: Definitely. That was a really a strong factor through the whole process. My generation has never experienced a lockout or a strike so it is comforting to know that I’m settled. I sleep a little better at night knowing I’ll be back in the silver and black.
BW: How close are the Raiders to making the playoffs?
SR: We’re as close as when you put your thumb and index together. We’re right there. We were 8-8 last year and in a lot of ways, that was a great season. But we can be a lot better. We could easily have been 11-5. … We have as much talent as any team in the league. We just have to eliminate the big plays on defense. I look forward to doing that.