Tag:Oakland Raiders
Posted on: May 16, 2009 8:01 pm

Al Davis.........the worst owner in the NFL

So a few days have passed since SI came out and announced just what the title says......that Al Davis is the worst NFL owner.  In their own justifications say that their decision is weighted heavily by what the team produces on the field, and yet despite having more playoff appearances than half of the "best 5" and having more championships than half of the "best 5" and having a better win percentage than half of the "best 5", Al was rated the worst.  Amongst the other 4 losers, not one owner boasts a greater than .500 record, and combined the 4 total 15 playoff appearances and 0 championships, and yet Al is the worst with his 21 and 3 respectively.  Looking at the relative value increase of the teams per year owned, Al has been more successful in growing his team than half the "best 5" and all the losing 4.....and yet he's the worst.  I really don't get it.
After repeated attempts to justify this outcome in my head, the only one that comes out rationally is that the writers hate Oakland, and hate Al Davis and starting from that opinion, the set about trying to justify their ranking based on events they feel supports their position.  They attack the coaching carousel of late.  With names like Bill Calahan, Norv Turner, and Lane Kiffin (all of whom are synonymous with winning) it's hard to blame Al isn't it?  Calahan was the natural selection in loss of Gruden, but all he could do was run Chucky's system.  He couldn't adapt and think on his own as evidenced in the Oakland-Tampa SuperBowl.  Listen to John Lynch during the game saying that Gruden was calling the exact plays before they were run.  I'd fire him too.  Norv Turner has been a perennial disaster as a head coach and while I put the blame for the hiring on Davis, the firing was justified.  Just look what captain Norv has done to the mighty Chargers.  Marty may not have won playoff games, but he was at least smart enough to know how to use LT.  'nuff said.  The Kiffin debacle was a "young dynasty coach" gone wrong.  Hiring a young guy to weave into the fabric of the organization has worked for the Raiders in the past, see John Madden and Jon Gruden....and before you nay sayers try to use that as "he lives in the past" and "the game has moved past his ideas" logic, please inform the Steelers (one of the SI winners) that selecting a young coach like Mike Tomlin was a mistake.  Sure Kiffin didn't pan out, but the concept wasn't a bad one just because Al made it. 
So much is made about how the game has past Al by, that his theory of putting great athletes on the field is no longer viable.  I know it's been 7 years since our last Super Bowl appearance, but I can't believe that the entire game has evolved so greatly in that span, that there is no value in what has made us successful for the last 4 decades.  Or maybe I'm wrong.  Big fast recieivers like Owens and Moss are out of date right?  Wrong.  The Steve Smith's of the league are far less common than the tall guys like Moss....and Owens and Fitzgerald, and Calvin Johnson.  Yet drafting DHB is a monumental mistake......already.  They guy drops 3 passes in camp and he's already a bust.  The effect of his speed forcing a safety back a couple yards which will open up space has no bearing, but passing on a prima donna like Crabtree is already in the books as an epic mistake.  I'm not putting Bey into the hall of fame, I just want to see the kid play.  I want to see what happens if the big arm of Russell to the burner Bey can find success like it did for Culpepper and Moss.  Maybe Crabtree or Maclin will prove to have been the better choice, but we won't know that for years.  I'm happy to let the results come in before I make that judgment.
Many experts, and many more Average Joes have very vocally come out stating that Al Davis has lost his mind because of his selections in this draft....particularly DHB and Mitchell.  Admittedly I was one of many who were perplexed by these choices, but the more see and hear about these two, the more I like the picks.  Maybe I'm rationalizing here, but when Bill Belichick picks people who fit his scheme, he's hailed as a genius.  When the Raiders do it, Al Davis is a senile old man.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but Huff has been a bust and Gibril Wilson didn't pan out, so why is a hard hitter like Mitchell drawing such heat?  Because Mike Mayock doesn't like him?  Because he's from a smaller school that didn't contend for a national title?  I'm not an expert nor a prognosticator, but what I've seen of the kid has been great.  He plays hard nosed football.......like Jack Tatum and Ronnie Lott.  Sure he's YEARS away from being mentioned in the same sentence as those guys, but his style of play is similar, and I like that.  Moving on to DHB.  Sure he may have been a reach at 7, but in all reality, he fits the Oakland playbook better than Crabtree or Maclin.  He's the most likely to fully utilize the cannon in Russell's arm.  Maybe I'm wrong and maybe I'm right, but last time I checked professional football is a sport made up of high caliber athletes.  Well, DHB and Mitchell are both cut from that cloth and I for one am excited to see what they can do.
At the end of the day when I ask myself what makes for a great NFL owner, sure I use the W-L record and sure I try to reach for the intangibles, but I won't allow my bias against a team to cloud my judgment or allow me to try to find faults to back my position.  I may not like the Patriots as a team and I think that incidents like spy-gate are not trivial, I cannot say anything about Robert Craft other than he has taken an organization once viewed as a second rate franchise and turned them into the dominant team of this decade.  And no that's not meant to demean the Steelers franchise and the Rooney family in any way.  What these franchises share is a willingness to do what needs to be done to find success in a league where the salary cap attempts to drive for parity of talent across the league.....and they have.  If the resume of Al Davis were limited to the last 6 years, I'd be at the head of the line preaching the faults of the Raider organization, except it doesn't.  The league worst record over the last 6 years does not represent the bulk of what Al Davis has achieved.  If Eddie DeBartolo were still the owner of the 49ers and their success had waned as it has recently would he make the list of worsts based only on recent failures?  I submit that he would not.
So what's the difference?  Where is the disconnect?  The only conclusion I can draw is that people just love to hate the Raiders and that means Al Davis, the central figure, is a great target.  There are many proud "Raider Haters" out there.  Many people who identify themselves more against Oakland than they are even for their own teams.  To each his own I say, but last time I heard the Titan-Haterz, Bear-Haterz, and Seahawk-Haterz groups weren't flowing over league wide with vitriolic members.  Love us or hate us, the Silver and Black have been a force in this league since it's inception and further back into the AFL and all of this was due directly to one man.  Al Davis.  Top 5 in Superbowl appearances.  Top 5 in Superbowl wins.  Top 5 in franchise win percentage.  Bottom 1 in ownership.  You can call me a crazy member of the Raider faithful for calling foul on SI for this baseless bashing of Al Davis, but I'd rather be labeled a blind believer than a baseless hater.  At least I have my integrity.
Category: NFL
Posted on: November 3, 2008 11:14 pm

From Bad to WorsT

In a weekend where I watched the Lions come within one play of beating Chicago, KC finding a way to hand a victory to the Bucs and Cinci placed their first notch in the win column, I also watched the Silver and Black get dominated in every sense of the word.  Admittedly I did switch away from the game a few......well more than a few times after the 24-0 run, but being the typical superstitious fan, every time I switched back to the game I was greeted with Gallery false starting or a late hit penalty or an interception in the endzone, so I pretty much quit watching so I could actually keep my lunch down.  What I saw was a sickening display that reaffirmed in my mind that the Raiders are the worst team in football this year.  Their offense is anemic.  Their defense is porous.  Their "big money" guys are not even coming close to living up to the expectations we have hoped for.  In an earlier blog, I mentioned that maybe what Tom Cable needed to do was get back to fundamentals.  Focus on the small victories.  Stop looking at the season and just win one play (one battle) at a time.  I think this might have been setting my sights a bit too high.  Watching J.R. having another ball slip out of his GIANT hands in his throwing motion.  Seeing all the "discipline" penalties (false start - Gallery, encroachment - Edwards.....etc.).  250 yard given up on the ground and another 220 in the air.  30 first downs given up.  I guess what I should have hoped for was some (ANY) pride shown on the field.  Too bad there isn't someone in the organization willing to step up and remind these players that they should be playing for something other than a fat paycheck.  I'd dream that in this off season Bill Cowher would come into the organization and bring his "winning attitude" with him, but the handling of Kiffin has pretty much assured that NO legitimate coach will even look at Oakland.  From the top on down this organization is in chaos and outside of Detroit going 0-16 I can't wait to overpay another rookie Top 1 (probably another "skill postition guy") instead of coming to grips with the real weaknesses on the field.......THE LINES.  Here's to another LOOOOONG season my fellow Raider fans.  Keep your spirits up.
Category: NFL
Posted on: October 19, 2008 8:51 pm

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, and The Shameful

Okay, so I’m a little early for the Monday morning quarterbacking as it’s still Sunday night, but in light of a win for
the Silver and Black I really want to get some of this stuff off my chest while it’s fresh in my mind. 

The Good:
Congratulations to Tom Cable for getting his first win in the NFL.  It may not have been decisive or pretty, it was a win
and there were things to build on.  I liked the balance of play calling on offense (until the end of the 4th quarter) and
Rob Ryan’s willingness to stay aggressive later in the game.  I liked that J.R. seemed to have a LOT of time in the
pocket, which is a far cry from how things looked a couple years ago…….Just ask Andrew Walter.  I liked the cohesion I
saw on both sides of the ball today.  This was in my mind at least the first time I saw the team really gelled together. 
There was a good pass rush.  The secondary maintained good coverage deep.  The offense put together some good drives. 
All in all, a really good effort put up by the Raiders.  Which leads me to…….

The Bad:
For all the effort being displayed on the field, there was an equivalent lack of discipline being shown, especially
early.  14 penalties for 85 yards.  That’s a LOT of the 5 yard variety.  Not that I’d prefer the 15 yarders, but this
slew of 5 yard penalties is indicative of a lingering need to address the SIMPLE things.  There were a lot of little
things that put Oakland in less than enviable D&D’s that winning football teams typically avoid.  I know this is the AFC
West and we’re notorious for being bad at stopping the run, but for the love of all things holy (more like hole-Y), given
the success of Thomas Jones on the ground, I’m surprised  that the Jets didn’t put more points on the board……..Happy, but
surprised none the less.  Now onto………

The Ugly:
Kwame Harris.  Good Lord my man, how many procedure penalties do you need to get before you screw your head on straight. 
It’s not like you were routinely getting beat off the corner so you were “jumpy”.  1st and 10 is hard enough…….1st and 15
is just all the much harder.  Mistakes happen, but you’ve got to learn and adjust.  Mike Huff.  I know it’s a cliche to
say “if DB’s could catch, they’d be receivers”, but seriously……..That play would have saved at least 10 grey hairs from
forming on my head today.  You’re a first round pick, you HAVE to make that play.  And today, in light of a couple things
that really pissed me off, I’m opening the group…….

The Shameful:
First off, the “icing” at the last second.  I really, REALLY hate this tactic.  Not just because I fail to see anything
positive that can come out of it, but because I think it’s a cheap ploy of trying to make some cerebral impact on the
other team.  While the classic “icing” was in my opinion a bit suspect, this last second variety is just a bunch of crap.
 I fail to see a purpose for it.  I’ll use the situation from today.  That kick was supposed to be at the edge of Feelys
range.  If you call the time out and he makes that kick, you just boosted his confidence for the re-try.  If he misses,
you’re a goat, because you could have cost your team the game, and if for what ever reason he did come up 5 yards short,
it gives the Jets the opportunity to put the offense back on the field to try to get a few more yards.  There were still
8 seconds left, so there was time.  Nothing good can come from pulling that stunt and I don’t like seeing it in any game,
but I DESPISE it when I see Oakland do it.  Please get the memo Tom, there’s no need for that. 
My second beef is with Mr. #4.  I was very critical of Brett Favres actions earlier this off season trying to force the
hands of the Packers.  I condemned his actions as putting himself ahead of the Packers organization.  I questioned him
then and now that he’s dimed out his old offense to the Lions in a move not unlike that of a jilted lover, I want to hear
from all the FARVE supporters in Green Bay.  I want to hear you try to justify what your hero did.  You guys all too
blindly took his side in the Favre vs. Ted Thompson argument because Brett is Mr. Can’t Be Wrong out there, but what
about now?  I have the utmost respect for the career that #4 had in Lambeau, but his actions this year (and the ones this
week in particular) really diminish my respect for him.  It may be too late, but jeez Brett, still bitter much? 
Last but not least I’d like to hand out a couple game balls.  First for the Oakland game, Mr. Lechler, here’s yours.  Ray
Guy may forever be the icon, but Shane Lechler (and Mike Scifres as honorable mention) are really artists in the kicking
game.  In a game like the one today where field position was such a crucial aspect in the win, the clutch kicking may
have made all the difference.
My second ball goes to Mr. Jim Haslett.  This is 2 weeks in a row the lack-luster Rams have come out against good opposition and have found a way to put a win on the board……the way that Scott Linehan couldn’t.  Kudos.
Category: NFL
Posted on: October 13, 2008 11:29 am

Call Me Crazy, but......................

I'm not blaming this loss on Al Davis.  Every messageboard I read is crucifying Al Davis for yesterdays loss, but I'm not getting on that band wagon, and here's why.  While I do believe that a lot of the decisions to come out of the head office in Oakland have been wrong, this win has much less to do with the owner than with everyone below him.......well that and they were playing a MUCH better football team.  Let's not forget that New Orleans is one of the most potent offensive teams this year and last week they made a big showing against one of the elite backs in A.P. on the defensive side of the ball.  There have been swirling expectations of the Saints to make deep pushes into the post season over the last few years and this year is no exception.  The first thing I attribute this loss to is the level of competition.  We were flat out outplayed.  Second, I'd like to hand some responsibility to Tom Cable and Greg Knapp.  While I have long agreed that getting the $60 Million man (J.R. not J.W.) more involved, I felt that going into the game the coaching staff got toooooooo far away from the run.  I agree, get more balanced, but don't forget where your bread and butter is.  I thought the game was called fairly well, but I thought they gave up on the run to early.  Mr. Walker, Mr. Curry, Mr. Any-Tom-Dick-and-Harry-WR-for-the-R
aiders.  You have one job......catch the ball.  Maybe I'm crazy, but watching the number of drops yesterday really got to me.  Drops on 3rd down are drive killers.  I don't expect to hear any excuses come out of Oakland, and I'm thankful for it.  My unwaivering support of the team get's tested when I see a ball going Javon's way that he won't work back towards that almost get's Pick-6'ed.  I emplore the coaching staff to get a handle on this little problem, and speaking of things I'd like to see the coaching staff get their hands wrapped around........  Jamarcus's accuracy.  I know this is his first "real" season and so he's more rookie than second year guy, but for the kind of green this guy is getting, I'd hope to see wide open receivers being hit, not being missed by WIDE margins.  I know he's got a cannon, but all that power doesn't get realized unless he can put it in catchable range. 
     I know jumping on the "kill Al" band wagon may be popular right now, but as I said above, this loss wasn't any more or less on him than any of the others.  Would Kiffin have won that game???  I doubt it.  Things are in flux.  The team is in disarray.  Al given his relentless involvement is ultimately responsible for what gets put on the field, but as much as I'd like to have a singular point of blame for how this season is progressing, I think there are more things at play than just a meddling owner. 
     Tom Cable said the team needs to have a winners attitude.  That's not something you can just instill in the players.  When they lose week in and week out, they can't feel like winners because they're not.  Maybe a better message is getting back to fundamentals and focusing on the basics.  Don't even look at the week as a whole.  Focus on play to play.  Convince people that the score does not matter and that for this play.....this one play, try and win this one.  Win your battle.  Run your best route.  Make your one block count.  Make the one tackle.  If every player every play gives 100% comittment to winning their battle, I think we can start to fix the attitude in Oakland.  I remember very clearly in my early childhood when the Raiders were stacked with talent, but losing games, a commentator said something akin to "With their talent they should be drawing plays in the dirt with sticks and bottle-caps, and they'd win the superbowl".  We might not be there right now, but maybe getting back to basics and playing "backyard" football would at the very least bring some unity to a franchise that is sorely missing the heart and spirit of the old days......the Jack Tatum days.  The Jim Otto days.  The Gene Upshaw days.  The ghosts of Silver and Black gone by still linger.  Follow the ghosts......all the way to the post.
Category: NFL
Posted on: October 1, 2008 3:17 pm


And I mean that in the most respectful way to ex-head coach Lane Kiffin.  Over the last few months we've all seen the incredible manipulating power of Al Davis and all the chaos that has been going on in the locker room.  While I still believe that Lane as the head coach could have and should have done more standing up to Al and less complaining, I can't say I blame him entirely for the failure of the Oakland Raiders this season.  I think he has potential and it wasn't going to be realized in that organization. 

My "finally" statement is more directed at the idea that now the air has been cleared (of the uncertainty at least) and hopefully the Silver and Black can get behind a singular direction......even if it's Al's direction.  I believe Al was going to hire the assistant most likely to accept a MAJOR level of contribution from the owners box and Tom Cable seems to be that guy.  I don't want to cast dispersions his way, I know that there isn't a lot of interest in being the head coach of the Raiders right now, but I also think that given all the things that have come out over the last few months, very little if anything will be held against the interrim HC.  And if by some chance he manages to contribute to any measure of success it will be considered to be "in spite of Al Davis's meddling".  For a new coach needing a break, and lets be honest, Cable fits into that category, this is a reasonably low risk high reward chance.  Again, I'm not trying to say anthing negative about Mr. Cable.  Honestly, given that we haven't really addressed the O-line dramatically in the last couple drafts, he has made a lot of improvements in that area.  I hope he can continue to be a positive influence moving forward. 

As for what the future holds in the head coaching position, I'm not that optimistic that we'll see the kind of personality introduced to that position that we sorely need.  Bill Cowher is out there and I think would be a great fit in with a team like Oakland, but I can't see him bowing down to Al's wishes, so while I, and a lot of others I assume, think he'd be a great addition to the organization, I can't see it happening.  He'd end up seeing him at a press conference like the one Parcells had in Dallas......"If they want you to cook the dinner, they should at least let you shop for the groceries". 

While the short term chaos may have settled in with the naming of Tom Cable as the head coach, I think there is a much larger and longer lasting issue still to be addressed in Oakland.  Over the last year or so I have gone from hating Al Davis with a passion to a position more in line with seeing his desires to bring the Raiders back to prominance, but not the ability to do so.  I really believe that Al THINKS he's doing what's right for the team.  I think he believes that Lane was intentionally doing things to get fired.  The big problem I see with Al is that what he sees-thinks isn't the reality facing the organization today.  His steadfast devotion to pure athletes of size and speed to conquor all was great in the 70's and 80's but now has become an outdated idea.  While having a rocket of an arm like JaMarcus Russell is beneficial, it shouldn't be the singular reason to draft him.  For a team that had great success on the ground last year with Justin Fargas and Co., to draft another RB because he "can't pass on that kind of talent" is not a legitimate excuse when it means not addressing areas that are in need.  While we all can hope that Al will wake up to the notion that his methods are failing and a new direction needs to be forged, let's just hope that the "talent" will keep the team afloat long enough to find some moderate success. 
Category: NFL
Posted on: September 30, 2008 11:05 am

Random Thoughts (Part Deux)

Not so much dead man walking.  That's how I see Lane Kiffin as the sun breaks on Tuesday morning.  With each passing day his job security grows a little more, this week particularly.  From my way of thinking, if they wanted to make a change, Monday was the PERFECT day to do it.  There is the "second comeback loss" reason for the firing, but more importantly, with the bye week up and coming, the new head coach would have all that extra time to develop the chemistry before he has to lead them into battle.  I know there was a meeting of the minds and speculation was that it was a replacement interview, but I'm buying into the story that it was a change of direction meeting.  I could be wrong.  We are dealing with Al Davis here, but for better or worse, whatever decision is made regarding Kiffins future with Oakland, I wish the organization would make it publicly and get behind it.  The looming threat of firing Lane has become, at least in my mind, a bigger distraction than dealing with the fallout of firing him or getting behind him.  I can't say for sure, but maybe.....just maybe, stopping all the squabbling, drawing a hard line and moving forward decisively would better serve the organization than the continuation of the chaos we've seen for the better part of a month now. 

Tony Gonzalez is NOT Terrell Owens.  There is a growing number of threads today trying to make Gonzo out to be a bad guy for asking to break an all time record at home.  I've even seen a parallel drawn to the likes of Terrell Owens.  I know there are a LOT of stories out there about players who put themselves first.  The likes of T.O., 85, Plaxico and the lot have done a lot to contribute to the image of spoiled children who throw tantrums when they don't get their way.  With that said, from what I read of this situation, it wasn't arrogance or self-importance that drove his pleas, it was a desire to break the record (which he's gonna do soon enough anyway) at home.....in Arrowhead.....with his family.....and the tens of thousands of fans who have been behind him for years.  I think he wanted to do it more for them than for himself.  This isn't week 17 and he's trying to squeeze in one more catch for a seasonal record that may or may not present itself again.  This is a career receiving mark that he WILL hold, it's just a question of when.  I'm not going to condemn a man who has always been an ambassidor for the sport for wanting to make this happen in K.C., not on the road where his fans can't share it.  Even if there were a selfish motive in this, which I don't believe, but even if there were, for a guy who has spent 10+ years being loyal to his team and a great image for the league, I'd still not say this is a T.O.-ism.  Speaking of....

Cowboys......get ready.  Dallas fans get ready.  The unstoppable ego of T.O. has risen to the surface and is just waiting to come out.  I saw the glimpse of the future last week when he gave the "As long as we're winning I'm happy" speech and then after the loss he gave the "They need to get me the ball more" comments.  A number of people (Patrick Crayton included) are trying to down play his comments as those of a frustrated competitor.  If Marvin Harrison were saying it, I'd buy that.  If it were Hines Ward, Lee Evans, Isaac Bruce.....etc., I'd buy it.  But I dont buy it from him.  Not from the guy who paced Donovan step for step barking in his ear.  Not from the guy who one year after signing a contract that got him $7.5 Million dollars complained that he needed a better contract to "feed his family", and then called the organization classless.  I know everyone involved from Jerry Jones on down felt that they could keep a lid on his ego, but I think this week we saw the first of what will become a number of incidents that will ultimately have us saying "same old T.O.".  I'd say try to nip this in the bud before it gets out of hand, but if he's already complaining despite drawing 18 targets, the me-me-me monster is coming......better buckle up. 

I'd like to express my deepest condolences to Matt Bryant and his family for thier loss.

And in a related matter, join the growing list of people who think the league needs to address the need for there to be a berievement policy enacted.  I know these guys make a LOT of money, but that doesn't compensate for the addition of a financial hardship onto a personal tragedy.  Roger and the lot, it's called compassion......look into it.

<<<<<<<<WWWWWHHHHHEEEEEWWWWWWW>>>>>>>  That was me adding to the collective sigh over the results of Anquan Boldin having his tests come back negative.  That was a scary hit and I'm glad to see that at the very least he avoided SERIOUS injury.  Maybe someone in the Cardinals organization needs a shot to the head to realize what this guy contributes to the team and they should respect that, despite having contract issues, he's still going out there day after day and doing his job. 

Round 4 (coincidentally) in the Packers vs. Favre bout goes to #4.  I'm not taking sides in this, but I do find it interesting that week to week there is still a LOT of talk about whether or not the Pack made the right move and if Brett is happy in NY, and blah, blah, blah.  After week 1 and 2 Rodgers was sailing, and Favre was sinking and everyone said that Thompson and McCarthy were the real Man-Genius's for letting Brett go.  Then in week 3, Rodgers struggled and suddenly everyone wasn't so sure.  Now Aaron is hurt, Flyyn is the starter, Brett threw for 6 this week, and the collective 100K plus residents of Green Bay, WI (and a slew of sports writers) are wondering, what if????  Here's a what if for you?  What if Flynn comes out and goes 24-32 for 309 and 3 TD's?  Wouldn't that be a Cinderella story?  "He's a cinderella boy........tears in his eyes I guess".  Good luck kid.

And with that ladies and gentlemen, I bid you a'dieu.
Posted on: September 29, 2008 10:44 am

Where Do I Begin?

Amongst the myriad of thoughts regarding the Oakland-San Diego game yesterday the one that is the predominant concern is why does Lane Kiffin still have a job this morning.  The Rams managed to cut out the cancer in Linehan who had lost control of his team and Detroit ended the Millen experiment, why hasn't Al just gotten fed up enough with the coaching on the field and pulled out the guillotine and sent Lane packing?  This is the second week in a row that they've gone into the locker room with time-outs that might have been used to make a difference.  I'm not saying the end result of the game WOULD have been different only that it COULD have been different.  Stop the clock before halftime and try to use the last 20 seconds or so to move the ball into makeable field goal range.  I watched Antonio Cromartie run back the 109.999999 yard TD last year on a FG return and giving them an opportunity, even though it didn't happen, to break into the 15-0 halftime lead was pure stupidity.  I wouldn't say the Raiders were dominant, but I would say that the score at half could have been more like 20-0 if J.R. would use the enormous frame he has and pound the ball in from the 1 and not get tripped up and go down like a leaf in fall.  But I digress.  In addition to the time-out issue, for the second week in a row, they brought pressure during the first half and disrupted the offense sucessfully.  Then for some reason at half time they come out and Rob decides to bring less pressure which in turn lets the opponent's get a rhythm on offense and by the time they've caught up or passed you in score, it's too late to resurrect the momentum.  L.T. was held in check.......through half time.  Rivers was rattled and trying to force passes........through half time.  Kaeding was even rattled missing 2 kicks from distances he hasn't missed at home EVER.......through half time.  And the offensive side of the ball wasn't any different.  They moved the ball more or less effectively (though their Red Zone conversions could have been better) the first half and then in the second half they came out FLAT.  I can't lay this at the feet of the players.  Well not the majority of it anyway.  The coaches put them into situations where they were most likely to fail and guess what????  They did.  I did not imagine in my wildest dreams that Oakland would have had a legitimate crack at being 3-1.  My projections put them at best being 2-2 depending on how good Buffalo turned out to be and I think they were a legit team coming into Oakland.  But now we're 1-3, coming off 2 losses we managed to grab from the jaws of victory.  Lane may not want to take responsibility for the failures of the club, but that's just what he should be doing.  Taking responsibility.  He'd be getting the credit if those games went the other way.  Al seems to want Kiffin to quit so he doesn't have to pay him, but in the mean time his squad is suffering the game of chicken being played and it's time someone did something.  At this point I'd even be in favor of a player mutiny that if things are going well, they refuse to change tactics and just keep the pedal to the metal.  I know it's not realistic, but I just wish someone would do something that resembles anything...........anything other than a losing franchise from top to bottom. 
Category: NFL
Posted on: September 23, 2008 11:53 am


Today's word-of-the-day is childish.  Mirriam-Webster defines it as:  Marked by or suggestive of immaturity and lack of poise.  Let that one sink in for a few and then ask yourself this.  When Lane goes to the press and says (as the head coach mind you) something to the effect of "I don't know what they do on the defensive side of the ball"......or when Big Al is doing this daily/weekly "leak" of Lane will be fired and then stares him down trying to get him to quit........or (and yes I'm going back here again) Tommy Kelly "probably" should have done something else, or when Rob Ryan went on his cussing spree like a kid throwing a tantrum.  I think this list could go on quite a while, but what do all these things have in common.  They're all the actions I would expect to see on a playground with kids somewhere between 3 and 9, not by the senior leadership of an NFL organization.

I'm back to the "embarrassed" mode when I try and talk shop about my team.  Trying to answer any question justifying the actions of the people who are supposed to be in charge of this organization is like trying to figure out...............hell I can't even draw a good comparison to how screwed up things are out there.  One think I'm pretty certain of is that amidst all the chaos and turmoil, playing football is not the singular focus on the minds of the players.  In one way or another I'm sure the prospect of a new head coach/direction is on the backs of their minds.  That coupled with the win taken away from them by inept leadership last week is one of the many things holding this "talented" team back.

There is a rampant lack of discipline as expressed by; D.Hall's string of personal fouls in week 1, Gibril Wilson getting ejected in the 4th quarter last week, Johnnie Lee Higgins waving the ball in the face of the defender he beat on his way across the goalling and then dancing in the back of the endzone in a close game resulting in a taunting penalty that negated a Buffalo penalty that would have gotten a short field kick off, and others.

There is an inexcusable (at least in my mind) series of poor decisions being made by the coaches on both sides of the ball, as evidenced by;  Rob Ryan's BLATANT use of the prevent (us from winning) defense in a close game, Lane taking the ball completely out of the hands of JaMarcus and rush-rush-rush-punt giving Buffalo more opportunities to get back into the game, and then the time-out issue.  Why not take your time-outs?  Really, why?  Because they might make a first down and get into better field goal position?  That logic is banking your chance to win on hoping the other guy misses.  Not on a sense of let's TRY to get the ball back and be the ones to make the winning kick.  Sea-Bass can hit them from 60+ right?  If you can get across midfield in the 30-40 seconds you might have had left, there's at least a chance right???  There is no sense to trying to "not lose" close games.  If you've been sucessful for 3&1/2 quarters of football, why change what you're doing?  San Diego fired Marty after going 14-2 because of conservative tactics like these that cost the Bolts playoff wins.  Not to mention after the beating we took in week 1 and the fact that we're a team in turmoil, what exactly did we have to lose by staying with it?  The game?  We lost that anyway and we've managed to drum up even more memories of the old bad Raiders who used this same formula to be a perrenial bad football team.

If the Raiders are as talented as a lot of analysts will say they are, isn't it a failure of the leadership that has to be blamed for the results?  If the organization just dropped $60 Million on J-Russ's massive arm, why aren't we even trying to bring him into the fold?  62 attempts in the first 3 games.  Brian Griese had more attempts than that LAST WEEK.  There is no direction, no certainty, no loyalty and certainly no pride coming out of Oakland these days, and this fan is sick of it.  I'm not an NFL owner, coach, player or professional analyst.  I don't have anything invested in all of this but my years of loyalty to the Silver and Black and my desire to see them return to a winning franchise.  So here are my unqualified opinions on the current situation.

- Al -  Either fire Lane or announce him as the head coach for the year.  Quit trying to stare him down and make him quit so you don't have to pay him.  Get over it.  One way or the other make a decision so there can be some semblance of unified direction the team can get behind. 

- Rob - Quit acting like a spoiled child throwing tantrums and taking a stand in the opposite direction of Lane Kiffin.  You're only hurting the team.  Yes I know Al's got his arm in up to the elbow and you're just a puppet, but that doesn't release you from the obligation you have to the team.  Be the bigger man and at least TRY to support the team.

- Lane - The head coach is a "the buck stops here" position.  Whether or not you have the support of your coordinators.  Whether or not you have the support of the owner.  Whether or not you have the support of your players.  The real ultimate responsibility lies with you.  Ask Jon Gruden where the buck stopped.  He created a great team all the while fighting tooth and nail with Al Davis over whose team it was.  It eventually got him fired, but at least he walked out head held high because he had the balls to do what was right for the team.  He didn't sulk in the corner like a child.  Grow up and stop pointing fingers at Al and Rob and whining about how they don't let you play on defense.  Man up or quit and let someone else drive the boat.

- DeAngelo, T.K., Javon and Gibril - An organization just showed a significant commitment to you and signed you to long term big money contracts.  These contracts come with a responsibility to represent that team with something that resembles pride,  an obligation to respect the fans that despite a worst 3 year record ever still come out and support you.  Failing to cover a rookie in week 1 and then further compounding the problem by a series of stupid penalties (yes you Mr. Hall) doesn't show respect to the oranization.  Refusing to take any responsibility for a series of stupid decisions that ended in a D.U.I. (Mr. Kelly) doesn't show respect to the community.  "I'm retired......no, no, I'm back and comitted to the team......but I can't play" comments (Mr. Walker) doesnt' show respect to the other players.  Getting thrown out in the 4th quarter for punching another player in the head so you're not around for the last 2 series when your team needed you (Mr. Wilson) doesn't show respect to the fans.  I truly hope that you guys don't become the "I got mine" type of players who lose their drive to compete and win.  We the Raider Nation deserve more.

- Raider Nation - Keep on doing what you do.  Be loud and proud.  Just because the organization is in chaos is no reason for us to give up now.

 "The autumn wind is a Raider.........."
Category: NFL
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