Sunday, September 24, 2017

Redskins Gamenight Thread

As I write, it's halfway through the first quarter and the Raiders look a little starstruck with the prime-time spotlight. There is still plenty of time to turn it around, but they've got to get the jitters out and start playing RAIDERS 2017 football.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Raiders v. Jets Gameday Thread

A home opener against the woeful Jets? The road to a 2-0 record has never been paved so smoothly...

Last Sunday, the Raiders notched a decisive victory. The offense looked locked in, the special teams play was strong, and the defense toughened up and shut the Titans down toward the end.

The only thing to fear right now is the dreaded "playing down to the competition" phenomenon. Just win, baby!

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Alive and Kicking for Kickoff

That's right, my friends, Raider Take is alive and kicking, if only barely of late.

Yes, it has been ages. Life events and other pursuits have taken me off my game for the past nine months, but I still love the comments that you all contribute here, and I'd like to bring a little oxygen back into the room in order to rekindle some of the old conversational fire for the 2017 season.

I don't have a big take right now. The Chiefs look like the team to beat in the AFC West this year. For the Raiders, it all comes down to defense. We'll know soon enough if they've turned a corner on defense, or if they'll continue to get gouged to the potential derailment of what looks like a strong playoff run.

Carr is primed to take flight, and the offense should soar with him. Just gotta return to nasty on the other side of the ball, and if that happens, watch out, because here come THE RAIDERS!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Musgrave Out?

ProFootballTalk is reporting that Bill Musgrave is out as OC of the Raiders. 

I wonder if the playcalling in the Wild Card game had anything to do with it. Yeah, when you're playing a rookie QB in his first start in an important game, you have to start conservative. But when you fall behind and conservative ain't working, you need to star mixing it up and taking your shots before the lead is so great that the opposing defense can afford to just hang back like vultures.  

Anyhow, football debate is great because it's so open to devil's advocacy. Brady wouldn't be great with out Belichick! Oh, yeah? Belichick wouldn't be great without Brady! Ezekiel and Dak are sensational--or maybe they're just products of their offensive line? On and on it goes. 

So after the Raiders took a major step forward on offense this year, was it all Derek Carr (it sure looked like it once he was absent), or was Musgrave pulling some effective strings, and if so, what do we stand to lose (or gain) now that he's out? 

The rumor mill says that QB coach Todd Downing could take the OC reins. Something about all of this seems strange, but we may never know the whole story. Anyhow, whoever assumes the role will be expected to raise an already high bar starting next September.


Saturday, January 07, 2017

Wild Card Gameday Thread

Y'all, sometimes life gets in the way. Sorry that I haven't been around to water the lawn in this neighborhood lately, but I'm pulling a Lazarus, rising from the internet dead and reviving Raider Take for this run through the playoffs. 

This is a tough road ahead, starting right now. McGloin looked terrible last week, and it's possible that his shoulder injury could be our saving grace if Mr. Cook proves more capable and push us past the Texans. 

The defense needs to WAKE UP and get out of the clownshow business and start wrapping people up.

GO RAIDERS. Great season with a bad break, so win or lose, the taste remains minty fresh!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Texans Gameday Thread

Little late on the draw here, but it's halftime, and so far the Raiders are making Osweiler look like a legit QB and are having trouble hauling in catches. Something needs to change. Fast.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Guest Gameday Thread: The Long Journey Back

Thanks to The 5er for this awesome take heading into tonight's game:
Hello Relevance, Nice to see you again. It’s been a long while…

13 years 9 months and 18 days to be exact. That’s 720 weeks, or 120,960 hours since we last saw you… depending on how you want to look at it.

Yep, that was the 2002 AFC Championship.

We weary desert travelers have been mislead by many a mirage since then. So many disappointments, it’s hard to even list.

Sure, there have been a few big games for the Raiders since then (i.e 2012 against SD to get into the playoffs, maybe last year against KC to stay in the playoff race).

The difference between then and now is that while those were important games for us, they had little significance for the larger NFL landscape. There were still many teams far beyond our reach.  We were simply battling for some degree of superiority among the NFL’s middle class.

This one is different.

Make no mistake about it this is the MARQUEE matchup in the NFL. Not only this week, but for the entire season up until now. The most anticipated by all media outlets and the one NBC is drooling over. And guess what? After 5040 days, it finally includes the Raiders.

I wrote last year that the KC game was a defining moment on our return to relevance, and it was. Unfortunately for us that day, we were not yet ready. It signified that we were still a few players and some additional experience at QB away from being able to beat a sound team in a big game and make a legitimate push in the post season.

I have many of the same thoughts about this one. There are very similar undertones surrounding this week. Despite our recent success on the road and our proud 6-2 record, there are still some questions surrounding the potential of this team.

Has the defense really improved of late or are we the beneficiary of playing two of the worst offenses in the NFL?

Can our offense continue to bail us out against a playoff caliber defense as we get into December and January?

We have made huge strides in learning how to win again, but are we really poised to take the final step and win a game of this magnitude?

Those answers are going to be revealed tonight… and it’s going to be on the NFL’s grand stage.

Now with the table set lets get to some of the in game details, or keys to victory as you might say.

#1 – Outcoach em’
Much like the KC game last year, I think this game will come down to coaching and our offensive game plan. What kind of adjustments will we make this week to mix in some new looks and try to keep that defense off balance?

Denver’s success is mostly dependant on getting quick pressure with that front 4. They lead the league in QB pressures, being able to do so on 41% of passing plays. They also generate a sack 8% of that time.

That kind of pressure forces quick decisions and typically short routes. Their secondary then always gets to play on its toes, jumping the short routes and keeping the game in front of them in the 5-15 yard range. It’s a philosophy that reminds me a lot of the great Tampa defenses. And they force a lot of turnovers with it.

Musgrave needs to mix it up well to keep them off balance. I think this needs to include some good playaction, and a willingness to take some shots down the field to keep them on their heels. If we play the ultra conservative move the chains type of game plan all night I think we play right into their hands.  

I’d also like to see a good dose of the no huddle. I think it keeps the tempo up where Carr is more comfortable and we can dictate the action.

#2 – Don’t let the Game Manager manage the game.
Seimian is young end inexperienced but he has proven to be effective as a game manager. Well, the way to get him out of that comfort zone is to get ahead of them and make him play from behind.

SD was able to build a 2 TD lead two weeks ago and it made the Donkeys look like a different team on offense. This point obviously goes hand in hand with point #1. Have to attack on offense to build a lead. Trying to play them in a close, 17-14 or 20-17 type game favors Seimian and the Broncos dramatically.

#3 – Minimize critical penalties and TO’s
This one probably goes without saying. Obviously a performance like either of the last two weeks and we will be in serious trouble, regardless of how well we do anything else.

#4 – Believe you BELONG   
Success in the NFL is a fickle thing… hanging delicately in the balance almost each and every week. Despite our 6-2 record there are undoubtedly (and rightfully) some questions in our player’s minds about whether they are really among the league’s elite.
Belief in what you are capable of is the most important part of taking this final step.

Much of the success the Patriots experience these days is because they believe they are elite… and to some extent they manifest that reality.

Bottom line - All of our arguments and disagreements about the rebuild process along the way are pretty much irrelevant. How we drafted, busted in free agency, missed on coaches. Whether it should have taken 4 long years or not…

The fact of the matter is we ARE here. We ARE relevant. The NFL knows it. The media knows it.

The time is NOW. Take the final step and become an elite team. Your home crowd will be raucous. I want a Silver and Black avalanche of effort and will.

I want to hear Papa thundering down all night…

Touchdooooown Raaaaaaaaaaaaiders!!

And so it will be on this night, we have officially ARRIVED!



Sunday, October 30, 2016

Bucs Gameday Thread

Time to get this one and be in the strongest position possible heading into the Denver game. Make it happen! GO RAIDERS!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Jaguars Gameday Thread

Today, the Raiders need to bottle up Bortles, Robinson and Hurns and get their defense on track. 

The Raiders have been playing with fire all year and have scratched their way to a 4-2 record despite having the worst defense in the NFL to date, which is a minor miracle if you think about it.

The Jaguars are eminently beatable, and it's time for the Raiders to do it. GO RAIDERS!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Chiefs Gameday Thread

Well the Raiders have fallen behind in the second quarter, time to slog through the mud, stiffen up on defense and take it to the Chiefs. Go Raiders!

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Chargers Gameday Thread

One quarter down, and it's playing like a typical home game against the Chargers so far: kinda ugly, some bright spots mixed with missed opportunities and mental mistakes, yet still keeping it close. 

Let's make it 4-1. 

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Ravens Gameday Thread

This is exactly the type of game the Raiders need to win to show us they are ready to turn the corner. 

On the road, against a tough beatable team, to go 3-1 and make a statement at the quarter mark of the season.

The old Raiders would lose this game. It's time for the new Raiders to make a statement. GO RAIDERS!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Titans Gameday Thread

Simply put, the defense needs to get its act together. We are a hair's width away from 0-2 due to this s****show on defense, which has allowed more yards in its first two games than any other team since the NFL-AFL merger. 

On the bright side, even though the Titans defense is no slouch, Carr & Co. have proven to have the type of firepower we haven't seen in ages. They may need to once again bail us out if Norton & Co. can't figure it out.

This is no gimme, but it's winnable. So seize the day and GO RAIDERS!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Falcons Gameday Thread

One quarter down, and so far a lackluster game, with the Falcons on the move. Gotta get some hometown energy going!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

On Postgame Take

Wow, they PROVED IT! Great start to the season. 

The defense sure looked familiar, but that's a game the old Raiders lose. Not today, however, because the new Raiders showed poise, perseverance and guts, right down to JDR's insane 2-point call. 

Derek Carr looked absolutely incredible, Cooper and Crabtree were money. Loved Carr taking control of the sideline at the end, pacing the ranks and making sure there were no more stupid penalties to give the Saints any free yardage on the last drive. Leadership is finally, finally, here after countless milquetoast quarterbacks over the past dozen years.

What a win! 

Saints Gameday Thread: Prove It

By my count, this is my 12th straight annual season-opening Raider Take post.

Forgive me if I've grown a bit weary and jaded during that span, but it has been largely a desert devoid entirely of winning seasons, and I've suffered many disturbing hallucinations over those dozen arid years: Norv Turner, Shell II, Lane Kiffin (Lane Kiffin!), Dennis Allen, Imposter Stars (Jerry Porter; Darren McFadden, LaMont Jordan, DJ Hayden, DHB, etc.), insanities (Holdout (!)JaMarcus Russell, Randy-Moss-Turned-Jogging-Alligator-Arms, Done Warren Sapp) and inanities (Tom Cable v. Randy Hanson, anyone)?

And yet, for the first time in that span, the Raiders are now being universally looked at as a legitimate team on the rise, with actual NFL stars on their roster, and so moisture may finally cross my cracked and parched lips, and the cooling waters of winning football may flow down my throat, and out of the desert I will stride into a new era that came a decade too late, but nevertheless still came, and it shall be known as THE RETURN TO GLORY. I saw it last year on the horizon, reachable and attainable, an actual team driven by a core of Reggie McKenzie draft picks, with a sense of cohesion and purpose, and lo it had been so long since I had seen that, and so while while that horizon was not conquered, it is now ever so near.

But forgive me if, after all of these years, I cannot rush headlong toward that horizon on a pureblood horse of giddy optimism. I have seen too many disappointments, as so my optimism must be tempered until...yes...they PROVE IT. I--we--have been waiting so long for the PROVE IT moment, tricked and juked many times before like a woeful Charlie Brown trying to kick that football, only for Lucy to tug it away at the last second.

And so those new cornerbacks must deliver, and opposing running backs must be stuffed, and Derek Car must show growth, and Amari Cooper can't fade this year, and Latavius Murray needs to show something more, and Jack Del Rio must not settle for playoff caliber aspirations, but rather cultivate a championship caliber culture. And when the do, they will have PROVED IT, and those long wandering days in the desert will finally become a memory. and 'Just Win Baby' will no long be a parody of itself.

In other words, the Return to Glory starts today. GO RAIDERS!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Titans Gameday Thread

The meaningless preseason continues on...As of this writing, it's Titans 10, Raiders 7 at the end of the first quarter.

Overall this preseason, including this first quarter, I'm bullish on the offense taking a step forward. However, the defense sure looks "same 'ol" in a lot of instances.

We shall see. Maybe it's just a fault of vanilla scheming and not wanting to tip the hand.

Friday, August 12, 2016

And So It Begins...

Well, here we are at the crossroads of meaningful and meaningless, also known as preseason football. 

It's hard to say what we should expect--or detect--from this glorified practice against the Arizona Cardinals.

For me, I'm looking for a sense of synergy and symmetry, a smoke signal to suggest that this team is truly coming together and that the young core is ready to take the next step to the next level.

Again, that's a lot to ask out of a preseason game, but that is what I'm looking for. There's a buzz around this team and for the first time in eons, there are actual external (ie: outside the Nation, we who have had our annual hopes ruthlessly dashed for the better part of a decade) expectations for the Raiders.

Expectations create pressure, and a lot comes down to how pressure is managed. Can the Raiders lean into the pressure, embrace it, and deliver? 

In the absence of real games, all we can do is look for hints and signs, and hope for the best. Which is what I'll be doing tonight.