Thursday, April 28, 2022

Draft Night Thread

Well, the bad news is that we don't have a first round pick. The good news is that we won't blow a first round pick on an obvious overreach.

There's some buzz lacking from this year's draft, but it'll still be entertaining. Keep an eye on our AFC West foes, as the Chargers are right in the middle, and the Chiefs have two late first rounders.

Bang it here for your draft night takes.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Davante Adams!

Wait, what? Instead of perennially wasting top round draft picks on known reaches, we are cashing in a couple of top round picks on an elite proven quantity? What in tarnation is going on here?

Already, the mature, sober hiring process of a forward-thinking coach-GM tandem suggested that things are changing for the better in Raiderland. Now this. Bravo!

 Look, winning this division ain't gonna be easy with likely the fourth best QB (until proven otherwise) of them all. 

But this is a bold and necessary step that shows the Raiders have a plan and are in it to win it. 

No more reaching into the past for coaching hires, with bizarre power structures (Gruden - Reggie, Gruden - Mayock), unloading top players to stockpile picks only to blow the picks spectacularly. 

Nope. Not this time.

Now, I'm not ready to call the McDaniel's era a success before it's even rolling. But at least it all points in a different direction that feels sensible and visionary. 

And for that reason, I'm stoked. How about you?

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Almost, Not Quite, Time to Rethink Everything

Let me preface by saying that I really enjoyed this season, and it was fun to see the Raiders notch a winning record in the face of great adversity and to finally return to the playoffs.

I'm now taking joy in the fact that Mark Davis is making a statement by firing Mike Mayock and likely parting ways with Rich Bisaccia.

The statement is this: We are raising the bar, it's finally time to act like a billion dollar company.

Hopefully, Mark Davis holds himself to this standard, because he's been a big part of the problem lately, and the buck stops with him.

The Raiders have been demonstrably terrible at picking head coaches. Between Gruden I and Gruden II, here's their list of head coaches:

Bill Callahan
Norv Turner
Art Shell
Lane Kiffin
Tom Cable
Hue Jackson
Dennis Allen
Tony Sparano
Jack Del Rio

Only two of these coaches got another NFL head coaching gig (Turner, Jackson), and one of them (Jackson) proved to be one of the worst head coaches in NFL history in his tenure with the Browns. 

Just look at that list. Not a single elite hire anywhere to be seen. Gruden II wasn't elite, either.

I like Bisaccia. So do the players. He did an admirable job holding things together and steering the team out of the doldrums.

But I can find old stories with glowing quotes from Raiders players about each of the above coaches, too. Players are employees. Employees are not the best reference. 

If the Raiders part ways with Bisaccia, he won't be a hot head coaching commodity. For a reason. Sentimentality got us into this mess, let's not double down on it.

Mark Davis engineered the whole Gruden II chapter and blew it. It was a retrograde idea, driven by emotion and sentimentality, fiscally ridiculous, and frighteningly binding. 

Then Davis caught a break with the whole Gruden scandal. I don't like how it went down, I think it was dirty business, but it happened, and it gave Davis an unexpected mulligan, perhaps the mulligan of all mulligans considering Gruden's contract-to-performance ratio.

Ruggs? Arnette? Disgraceful, and Davis knows it. This is a team that talked about "character." You can't miss that wide of the mark, certainly not in the first round. That's like kicking an extra point and bouncing the ball off a cheerleader posted parallel to the 15 yard line. 

That's why Mayock had to go, even if he was Gruden's puppet. Not to mention so many other blown picks. Everybody knew about the first round "reaches" in real time. Yet here were the Raiders, outsmarting everybody, most notably themselves.  

On top of that, the President, CFO and controller were jettisoned. What a year.

So here we are. We could talk all night about personnel, about whether or not Derek Carr belongs to our future, etc. That's for another day, and for the next regime to figure out. 

For now, it's time for Davis to get out of his own way, make a very shrewd GM hire, followed by a very shrewd head coach hire (untethered to the past bugaboos of emotion, sentimentality, the "Raider Way," so-called loyalty, being cheap or any of the other factors that have conspired to create such a dreadful hiring record). 

The fact that Davis seems prepared to make big changes after the team's best season in ages is what has me excited. It suggests that he's getting his head on straight. That being mediocre to "almost" is not good enough.

Now he needs to curb the old impulses, make a clean break, and do better, a lot better. Hire better, draft better, do better, win more.

There's long been a saying, "The Greatness of the Raiders is in Its Future," which sounds nice but is really rooted in nostalgia. Stop that bullshit now. Retire all the slogans, the same old ways, the winging it, the "outsmarting," etc. 

Look at every impulse that led you to Gruden II and RUN THE OTHER WAY.

If there is greatness in the future, it will come from psychically distancing the team from slogans  like "The Greatness of the Raiders is in Its Future."

Act like a startup. Rethink everything. Hire really smart people, outfox the competition, modernize the organization, and run things better. 

Create an entirely new Raider Way. The clock is ticking, but there are signs of hope. Starting with the firing of Mayock and the search for a new head coach. 

The future is bright, because the Raiders appear to be making a break from the past. It's a great way to cap off a notable year, and it makes me excited about what lies ahead.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Bengals Wild Card Gameday Thread

We've been waiting a long while for a day like this, the Raiders in the playoffs. It was by the skin of their teeth, but it doesn't matter now. The time has come to rise above. Joe Mixon has gashed us every time we've seen him, gotta throttle up while not losing sight of Burrow and Chase and Company, of course. It's gonna come down to that. I don't think we win a shootout against this team. Instead of trying to match the firepower, aim to stifle the firepower and grind the win out. GO RAIDERS!

Sunday, January 09, 2022

Chargers Gamenight Thread

High stakes in the last game of the season? We've been waiting quite a while for something like this. Time to take that next step! Go RAIDERS!

Sunday, January 02, 2022

Colts Gameday Thread

 A must-win for the Raiders. Play for pride, play for Madden. GO RAIDERS!

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Broncos Gameday Thread

 Incredibly, there is still a playoff chance! Time to seize the day. Go raiders!

Monday, December 20, 2021

Browns Gameday Thread

At this point, we're back to the perennial late-season, last-gasp pursuit of respectability instead of vying for a serious playoff berth. A win today against a depleted Browns is entirely doable. So go out and do it. GO RAIDERS!

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Chiefs Gameday Thread

 Honestly, I think this is it. Now or never. GO RAIDERS!

Sunday, December 05, 2021

Washington Gameday Thread

The Raiders are still in the hunt! Gotta get this one. GO RAIDERS!

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Cowboys Gameday Thread

Happy, Thanksgiving, Raider Take faithful! May your holiday be blessed. I'm afraid the Raiders have already show us what they are made of the past few weeks, but let's hope for a Thanksgiving day surprise. GO RAIDERS!

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Bengals Gameday Thread

One way or another, this home game against the beatable Bengals could prove to be a turning point for the 2021 season, one that sends the Raiders accelerating toward the playoffs, or one that unmasks them as more pretender than contender. Time to get back on track. GO RAIDERS!

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Chiefs Gamenight Thread

This is an important one. The division is tight, the Chargers lost today, the Chiefs are vulnerable. Time to make a move. GO RAIDERS!

Sunday, November 07, 2021

Giants Gameday Thread

Well, here we are after another scandal. Let’s circle the wagons and stay on top. Go raiders!

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Eagles Gameday Thread

Little late to the post here, nearing the end of the first, kind of a rough start but plenty of time to turn it around. GO RAIDERS!

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Broncos Gameday Thread

Well, here we are. A new era upon us, once again. May the team circle the wagons; reach a record of 4-2; and show that they are still playing for a playoff run. GO RAIDERS!

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Just Win, Baby

Amid all of the drama and chaos, let's not forget that the whole point of being an NFL team is playing to win, and doubly so for an organization that has prided itself on slogans such as "Just Win, Baby" and "Commitment to Excellence."

But is it just me, or does it seem like, every time the camera finds Mark Davis since he moved to Las Vegas, he looks contented, despite the fact that the team continues to be mired in an epic stretch of mediocrity on the field. Does he share his father's fire to win? If so, why don't I sense his father's rage at losing?

After getting a sweetheart deal from Sin City, Mark Davis coaxed Jon Gruden out of coaching retirement with a ridiculous 10-year, $100 million deal. Make no mistake, this hire was as much about making a splash and generating star power as it was about winning, timed perfectly for the move to a city that is all about the glitz and the glamor.

As of last Sunday, Mark Davis clearly wasn't getting his money's worth, but there was no way he was going to fire Gruden anytime soon, no matter what happened on the field, because there was too much invested in the "idea" of Jon Gruden. That's what happens when you factor publicity into your coaching hire, costs be damned. 

In other words, thanks to Davis's grandiosity, Gruden's job security was ultimately going to be  untethered to winning and losing--an extraordinary circumstance for any NFL head coach, let alone one hired from the television booth. Just win, baby? How about: Just sell PSLs and luxury boxes, baby.

Mark Davis now has the unexpected opportunity to repent from the shallowness, misplaced nostalgia and fiscal irresponsibility of the Gruden contract. He should thank his lucky stars and hit the reset button, hard. 

Let's talk about Mike Mayock for a moment. Either he has had a strong say in our drafts and personnel decisions, which would mean he's done a poor job; or he hasn't had a strong say, which means he's unproven. Neither of those options sound very appetizing to me.

Raider Nation, stay focused. Keep your eyes on Mark Davis. He suddenly has a chance to get out of his own way and do this the right way. What is the right way? For starters, it will look nothing like the old way. Clean house. Reset. Modernize. Delegate. Innovate. WIN.

Mark Davis, your turn.

Monday, October 11, 2021

The End of the Gruden Show

No excuses. The Gruden Show has ended. The Raiders once again find themselves starting over. The only constant is chaos with this organization. Time to hit the reset button.