Monday, December 15, 2014

One Postgame Take

1. More like a one-word take: Meh. That's how I feel about the game. Not a Clown Car edition, but a weak, uninspired effort. This team has given us some exciting moments, but it's not a good team, and there's a lot of work to do in order to make it a good team, starting with a new coaching staff. Time to stop with the bargain basement coaching hires. If this team is truly on the right track, there should be no problem attracting elite coaching talent. Most confident, elite-level coaches love to walk into situations where things are on the right track and there's nowhere to go but up. If things aren't perceived to be on the right track, however, that could complicate things. Either way, Mark Davis needs to pony up and make it happen. The fans have done their part, packing the stadium during yet another lost year. Time to invest some of that goodwill revenue into an elite coach.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Chiefs Gameday Thread

Go Raiders!

Monday, December 08, 2014

Five Postgame Takes

1. Maybe, just maybe, we witnessed a pivot point in the fortunes of the Bay's two NFL football franchises.

2. I sure thought I heard Carr scream "Dang!" after the Raiders racked up a delay-of-game penalty. Dude is even wholesome when he's pissed.

3. Mack and Moore...From their farcical celebration against the Chiefs to their in-your-face takedowns of Kaepernick, those dudes know how to make noise, and they're looking like they might be two badass building blocks for the future. 

4. Say what you will about Tony Sparano, he's demonstrating and eliciting more passion that Dennis Allen ever did. As far as Harbaugh is concerned, I wouldn't let the Niners' fade this year dissuade me from considering him. This is his M.O., everywhere he goes (San Diego University, Stanford, SF), he wins, but over time he rubs people the wrong way and maybe the players start to tune out or the organization begins to tire of him. But there's no denying his ability to walk into a dicey organization (or college) and right the ship and win.

5. What we need next is for the Raiders to finish strong, to show that the Rams game was an anomaly, and that this team isn't some 2-14 outfit with a few flukey wins, but rather a different kind of 4-12 team than the last two editions.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

49er Gameday Thread

Well, this could be a good, close game based on the Niners' recent play (that is, of course, if the Raiders aren't "tanking"). Let's GO RAIDERS!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Five Postgame Takes

1. Don't worry, historic butt-kickings at the hands of mediocre teams is all part of the plan, right?

2. Not really. One of the persistent myths being peddled right now is that a season like this is perfectly sensible and a reflection of a job well done by our general manager. Sorry, any rebuilding plan that includes fielding the worst team in the NFL in year three is not a sound plan.

 3. Darren McFadden is averaging 3.4 yards per carry this year. He averaged 3.3 yards per carry the previous two years. MJD's average last year was 3.4 yards, and he's now averaging 1.9 years. Why would you or the Raiders expect anything different this year from these guys?

4. When you trade for a guy known for throwing pick-sixes, don't be surprised when one of the first things he does for your team is throw a pick six.

5. According to the broadcasters, Sio Moore told them that Tre Mason doesn't back down from anything, but that "we're going to make him regret that." Then Mason proceeded to score three touchdowns. Moore likely regrets his comments.  
 Weekly Haiku:

What happens when a
Clown Car meets a runaway 
train? Fifty-two nothing.

Rams Gameday Thread

Wow, this is quite a clownshow in progress...what does it mean?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Five Postgame Takes

1. WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW!

2. My game ball goes to Tony Sparano for fielding a highly motivated team amid a lost season. I loved seeing him yell and holler after a bad call. By comparison, Dennis Allen didn't have much of a pulse, and neither did the teams he fielded.

3. McFadden and MJD? I counter: Murray and Reece. 

4. Love Carr having such command during that last drive, then firing up the crowd to help the defense stop the Chiefs for the win. Also love him thanking Jesus afterward. Cynics will say, well, I suppose Jesus made you go 0-10, too, right? But that's not the point.

5. Mack is a force, but the old man set the tone. Woodson was everywhere tonight. Dude's a gamer. 

Weekly haiku:

Cocky Chiefs stuck in
the Oakland mud, Raiders step
on their necks, scoreboard!

Chiefs Gamenight Thread

Well, there's nowhere to go but up! GO RAIDERS!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Five Postgame Takes


1. Our offense puts the offense in offensive.

2. When you're down by a touchdown and you have 11 seconds left on the 41 yard line, you probably don't want to run around for eight seconds and then throw a ball to the five yard line. Just saying. Plenty of games have been won or tied on Hail Marys in the endzone. None have been won on the five yard line with no time left. Work backward from that fact and call your plays accordingly. 

3. This is the worst rushing team in the history of the Oakland Raiders. It's enough to make you pine for the days of Justin Fargas and LaMont Jordan in the 2-14 season of 2006. Maurice Jones-Drew is averaging 2.2 yards per carry.

4. Our offensive line stinks, our running backs have no future upside, and our wide receivers are middling at best. That's all.

5. We are being conditioned by many in the media and some in the Raider Nation to believe that 0-9 (and 16 straight losses) is actually part of a winning "process." Which is bullshit. When you embark on a rebuilding program, bumps on the road are expected. But when you're three years into that program, the bird's eye view should show steady progress, especially after two full drafts and a free agency period flush with cash. Yet the Raiders are going downhill, on a road paved with flimsy excuses. We are being conditioned to accept a 2-14 or 1-15 season. And what then? Then 4-12 becomes "progress" next year, and the next year we maybe we get back to 8-8, and then in year six or seven or eight into this rebuilding we actually achieve a winning record? Not acceptable.

Weekly haiku:

Five seconds into
the game, fumble, welcome to
16 straight losses
 

Chargers Gameday Thread: Angry Edition

It's time to start getting pissed. The Raiders are 0-15 in their last 15 games. 

When you embark on a rebuilding program, bumps on the road are expected. But when you're three years into that program, the bird's eye view should show steady progress.

Yet the Raiders are going downhill, on a road paved with flimsy excuses. We are being conditioned to accept a 2-14 or 1-15 season. And what then? Then 4-12 becomes "progress" next year, and the next year we maybe we get back to 8-8, and then in year six or seven or eight into this rebuilding we actually achieve a winning record?

To be accepting of such a timeline right now, after two full drafts, and a free agency period flush with cash, is insane. 

If you look around the Raiders Nation, a sort of complacency has set in. We've been beaten into submission by a dozen straight years of crap, and now losing is the norm.

We need to shake the new norm. Don't accept the unacceptable. 

Today is a winnable game. The Raiders have proven that they can hang with the Chargers. Now it's time to do something about it. The Raiders themselves need to stop accepting the unacceptable. Go out and win.  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Saluting The Nation

Today is Veterans Day, and it's time to say a few words about that...

Yesterday, I went to a local joint to watch Monday Night Football and grab a bite, scanning the web on my iPhone during commercials for the latest news in the Raider Nation. It was just another day in the United States of America, comfortable and uneventful. 

But I don't take it for granted, because there are many men and women in uncomfortable circumstances around the world who have put themselves in harm's way so that we can reap the rewards of freedom and prosperity.

Last night, there were camouflage accents on the NFL sideline gear, presumably in honor of Veterans Day, and ESPN did a nice job of incorporating things like veterans memorials and the Marine Corps birthday (November 10) into the broadcast. But let's not confine our appreciation to such token nods, but rather keep it top of mind, because that's what our veterans deserve. 

I never served in the military, although my brother did for a spell. We don't come from a military family. But I can't help but have a profound respect and an enduring gratitude for the veterans of the U.S. military, past and present. 

It's sickening to me how many people today take our freedoms for granted, and who use those very freedoms to constantly rag on the home team, always pointing out the country's flaws while demeaning its greatness. We have become spoiled brats.

If you have time, go search the "Omaha Beach" scene from Saving Private Ryan on YouTube. It's a profound depiction of the unfathomable sacrifice that so many have made for us. The veterans of World War II are now in their 90s, and they are leaving us at a rate of more than 500 per day. 

Let us never forget them, nor those brave souls who came before and after them. If you see a veteran, or an active military member, consider thanking them. I was coming out of the bank a few weeks ago, and this older guy with a Vietnam Vet hat held the door for me. I said thanks, and thanks for your service to our country, too. He seemed taken aback, but also appreciative. I need to speak up more often.

Today, we honor not the Raider Nation, but our real Nation, the United States of America and the men and women of our military.  

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Five Postgame Takes

1. I believe that the Raiders are leading the NFL in one offensive category: Yards in Garbage Time (YGT).

2. Remember when Tony Sparano grabbed a shovel and buried the football? Well, I think they should dig it back up, tie some clown shoes around it, douse it with kerosene, light it on fire and catapult it into the bay.

3. The Raiders have 559 rushing yards through nine games this year, whereas last year they had more than 1,100 rushing yards through nine games. That's not a dropoff, that's a cliff. And it's what happens when a bad team allows its top back, Rashad Jennings, to get away during free agency.

4. Let's hope that Derek Carr's recent struggles are largely rooted in his insufficient supporting cast, and that he can hang tough until he gets some weapons. I'm not prepared to face any other alternate realities.

5. You can get away with going backwards during "deconstruction," but not during "reconstruction." That fact is very likely to doom Reggie McKenzie as the GM of the Oakland Raiders. 

Weekly Haiku:

Shovel pass to Barnes,
he turns upfield, fumbles,
season meet nutshell.  

Broncos Gameday Thread

Conventional wisdom says that Manning will carve us up like a Thanksgiving turkey today, but maybe we can turn the tables! Go Raiders!

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

The 2015 Raider Take Manifesto

This season is shot, so I might as well get on with my manifesto for the 2015 season. I think this is very important, so read on and let me know what you think:

Starting now, the Raiders need to build a stronger identity, and that identity should revolve around Derek Carr if, indeed, the organization feels that he is their franchise quarterback.

Look at what the Colts did after they drafted Andrew Luck in the first round of the 2012 draft. Over the next three picks in that same draft, they selected tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, and receiver T.Y. Hilton (all of whom caught TDs last night, by the way). 

In 2013, they signed 1,000-yard rusher Ahmad Bradshaw. They also made a trade for Trent Richardson that went sideways, but it was a sign of continued aggressiveness to build around Luck. They drafted a guard and a center in the second and third rounds. This year they drafted a guard and a receiver with their first two picks, and signed receiver Hakeem Nicks.

You can argue with this approach and and say it might not work for everyone. But you can't accuse the Colts of not having a plan and not having a vision. And they are playoff bound for the third straight year. 

Their plan is also in sync with the modern NFL and the rules changes that emphasize the passing game. Not coincidentally, most of the teams that are soaring right now are those with good-to-great quarterbacks with considerable skill position weaponry: Colts, Cowboys, Steelers, Cardinals, Eagles, Broncos, Patriots, etc.

Meanwhile, the Raiders made the most noise in free agency this year by losing their best running back Rashad Jennings and best offensive tackle Jared Veldheer, and signing older veterans on defense along with James Jones at receiver and an obviously aging Maurice Jones-Drew at running back. In the draft, the had eight picks, and only two were on the offensive side of the ball (Carr and Jackson).

It's no wonder that the Raiders are sputtering on offense, and that Carr looks alone out there on the field, trying to rise to the occasion but carrying too much on his shoulders. 

This needs to be remedied effective immediately. There needs to be an evident plan going forward. Of course, you can't sacrifice your defense entirely for more offense, but the Raiders need to do a way better job of tilting their efforts toward skill position depth and offensive explosiveness.

Add this to the mix: In a few years, Manning and Rivers will be on their way out of the division. Manning can only last so long, and Rivers is already showing signs of deterioration. The Chiefs are hanging in there, but it's hard to see them becoming a perennial powerhouse with Alex Smith at quarterback.

In other words, there is an opportunity to exploit here, a chance to execute a plan and, like the Colts, emerge as the class of the division in two or three years, built around a franchise quarterback and an explosive offense that our division rivals can't keep up with.

So go forth, Oakland Raiders, and quit chasing your tail and start paving a clear path toward future success.

P.S. Off course, all bets are off if Carr proves to be a middling quarterback. But that's above my pay grade. I'm not in the film room, at practice or breaking down game tape, which is why it's almost impossible for fans to separate fact from fiction when the guy has no weapons. My point is that if the Raiders do believe that he is their guy, it's time to get serious about it.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Five Postgame Takes

1. Tony Sparano is still undefeated against the Clown Car, so you can't say there hasn't been any progress.

2. D.J. Hayden, pipe down, you haven't earned that taunting penalty. How about you catch those balls instead?

3. I don't know if Marcel Reece can make a true difference, but when the Raiders claim they want to get him more involved, yet refuse to involve him, you have to wonder. He had 59 carries in 2012 for 4.6 yards per carry, and 46 carries last year for 4.7 yards per carry, but somehow our pathetically anemic offense this year has only seen fit to give him three carries in eight games?

4. We are in skill position hell right now. Losing Rashard Jennings and replacing him with MJD, then failing to land an impact free agent at wide receiver (ie: Golden Tate, DeSean Jackson, Emanuel Sanders, Steve Smith), has resulted in a disastrously impotent offense that gives Derek Carr very little to work with. 

5. Say it out loud: 0-8. I thought it couldn't get worse than than the Shell II season, but we are now flirting with infamy. 

Update: I keep forgetting the weekly haiku....

Carr throws picks, DJ 
drops picks, extends Hawks drive with
taunting = oh and eight

Seahawks Gameday Thread

Well, stranger things have happened, and you never know, so we'll just have to see if the Raiders can pull of the upset. GO RAIDERS!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

"100 Things Raiders Fans Should Know" Book Review



We interrupt our regularly scheduled moping to bring you the following review of 100 Things Raiders Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die (Triumph Books; $14.95), a new book by Paul Gutierrez with a foreword by Jim Plunkett.

Now, the literary canon of the Oakland Raiders contains no shortage of fast-fact books showcasing the lore of the Silver & Black. What makes this one different, however, is its currency. It’s unique because it’s not all about the storied glory days. Rather, it takes you nearly right up to the present day, steering the reader through the scorched earth of Shell II, Lane Kiffin, Tom Cable and Hue Jackson’s failed power grab. Heck, this book is so current that it even has chapters on Mark Davis, Terrelle Pryor and the Al Davis torch lighters.

Of course, many Raiders fans would like to forget the past 10 years, but they are now an indelible fact of our teams history, and since misery loves company, we might as well get used to it.

Sure, there is plenty of majesty and mystique detailed in this book (The Heidi Game! The Snake!), but those stories are increasingly showing their age. The freshest material is naturally the most morbid, but also entertaining in its own way. Remember when the players showed their support for Cable by chanting "Cable, Bumaye!” after he socked Randy Hanson? Remember when our offensive coordinator was hired away from his bed and breakfast operation in Idaho? Remember when…well, I won’t spoil it for you.

There’s also some fresh historical material as well. For example, did you know that Al Saunders was born in London, but grew up in Oakland and tried to sneak into a Raiders game at the old Frank Youell Field as a kid? There’s also good material on the characters who inhabit the Black Hole, as well as a recap of the Al Davis and Marcus Allen feud, not to mention a chapter on Ice Cube’s Straight Outta L.A. retrospective. Todd Marinovich, Ricky’s Sports Bar, The Ghost to The Post…It’s all in there.

In other words, while this book could be considered similar to other short-chapter, look-back titles such as Raiders Forever, The Good, Bad & The Ugly, and Stadium Stories: Oakland Raiders, it’s ultimately far more granular and sweeping in its scope, making it a unique entry into the Raiders canon.

The bottom line: 100 Things Raiders Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die is a rollicking tribute to the enduring mystique, recent follies and ultimate greatness of the Oakland Raiders, making it a perfect stocking stuffer for yourself and your fellow Raiders fans.

Check it out on Amazon

Monday, October 27, 2014

Five Postgame Takes

1. Man, that was an ugly-looking football game.

2. Last year, at quarterback, we started our third-stringer and a guy who's no longer playing in the NFL; this year, we are starting our presumed quarterback of the future; last year, we had no money to spend; this year, we had $60 million; last year, we were coming off of a draft with #1 and #2 picks who barely contributed; this year, our first two picks are two of our strongest players; last year, we picked up Charles Woodson as a defensive leader; this year, we added Woodley and Tuck, two other guys with Super Bowl rings, to further set a leadership tone; and yet...we're demonstrably worse on the field? 

3. Sometimes, it just seems like the Raiders are cursed. That fumble from McFadden just had to fly right into the defender's arms, just like the Denarius Moore bounce at the end of the game in New England.

4. I like the fact that Sparano demonstrates some emotion, it's a nice break from the deadpan Dennis Allen. I don't think we'll go 0-16, but...

5. If we find ourselves at 0-10 or something like that, I wouldn't be surprised to see some in-season changes at the executive level. I have no sources, I have no insider info, just a gut feeling. 

Update: I forgot to add a haiku, back by popular demand:

It's a kick, no it's
a pick; at least we still have
a chance to win...whoops!