Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Five Postgame Takes

1. Why are we throwing on third and one while down two points with six minutes left? Next, why are we punting on the subsequent fourth and one at our own 44-yard line? I know the answer: percentages. The problem with percentages is that they are general to the NFL experience, not specific to our team’s reality. What do the percentages tell me about today, right now, with the game on the line? I doubt that the “percentages” take into account the fact that Kerry Collins is misfiring on short passes. I doubt that the percentages accommodate the fact that the Raiders are suddenly dropping easy balls. So is that really a “high percentage” pass, or is it simply another bad idea? So now it’s fourth down and we punt. Afterward, the “percentages” were invoked in defending this call to punt. Indeed, the percentages say that you punt in that situation. But the percentages have never heard of Zack Crockett. The percentages don’t take the pulse of an enraged home crowd prepared to win or die trying. The percentages don’t tell you that the Raiders averaged 4.2 yards per carry on Sunday, yet they didn’t run the ball to gain a single yard on two successive downs with the game on the line.

2. At this point, I could incite more circular “chicken or the egg” analysis about what’s wrong and how to fix it. I could make my argument, and then you would make yours, and pretty soon we’re in a pissing contest about stats and “what ifs.” I’ll bet this is exactly why Mr. Davis coined the simple phrase: Just Win, Baby.

3. Jerry Porter stopped by Everett & Jones BBQ a little after 6 p.m. for the KSFO radio postgame show. He showed poise and class in the wake of a rough defeat. However, the Raider Nation was justifiably riled up, and several callers (who were piped into the restaurant’s speaker system) breathed some righteous fire. At one point, someone called in to challenge, among other things, Jerry’s statement that the Raiders are still better than their record indicates. The caller asked Jerry to back his statement up. It was a fair question, but moderator (and Raiders legend) George Atkinson intervened and told Jerry that he didn’t have to respond. Why not? If Jerry can take big hits and hang onto the ball like he did in D.C. last week, why can’t he handle a simple question? At that moment, you could feel a shift in the room, a darkening of the mood. Then, still trying to mount a defense for the Raiders’ coaching and execution, George made the mistake of saying, “Sometimes what the fans don’t understand is…” He tried to make the point that sometimes you have to give credit to the opponent. But it was too late. The silver and black cat was out of the bag. At that moment, some dude stood up amid the tables, as if possessed by the collective Raider Nation. He’d had enough. “This is the Raiders,” he hollered, interrupting the live broadcast. “I’m from Oakland. This is the Raiders! Ain’t no one should be able to stop Jerry Porter and Randy Moss. You know it, you just won’t say it!” The room broke into applause. Jerry Porter just smiled. George Atkinson and co-host Rich Walcoff looked mortified. There was no hiding behind the phone lines now. It was a small yet epic moment. Lesson: don’t call out “the fans” in front of the fans.

4. During the waning minutes of the game, my cousin and I watched an exodus of folks walk up and out of the Coliseum (I hate to say it, but I saw it, it’s the truth). As they passed us by, we couldn't help heckling: “Don’t you remember Heidi?!” The problem is, the coaches apparently don’t remember Heidi, because Kerry Collins was still throwing 10-yard passes to the middle of the field with no timeouts during the last minute. I don’t care. I’m not budging until time expires. I still believe.

5. These are the days you will remember. These are the times upon which character is built. When the Return to Glory is complete, you will want to say you were here, right now, still proud, still standing. Across the bay, they are “the faithful.” Fine. Over here, we the loyal and the unshaken. It doesn’t sound as cute, but it matters even more.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic job! I was listening to the postgame show on the internet (I live in NJ) and didn't hear the fan who stood on the tables. But good for him.

7:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Third and one?
Take a gun
And shoot me

Run Zack's butt
Up the gut
Or shoot me

I can't stand
In this band
Of Raye's tunes

Hear my fiddle
Up the middle
Yields the boons!



7:12 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Send this poetry upstairs to Alameda!

Thanks, Mad Stork...While you didn't catch the heckler (he didn't really stand ON the tables; maybe next time!), I'm sure you heard George tell Jerry he didn't need to answer the tough question. Some of those callers were bringing it, eh? I'm with you, good for them.

7:28 AM  
Blogger Doobie said...

I only saw portions of yesterday's game but what I did see involved Barry Sims doing his best impersonation of an end zone pylon while Jason Taylor ran around him time after time. Pathetic overall performance by a team that should have been fighting for playoff survival like a cornered, wounded animal. Of those last three words, at least they got the wounded part right.

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good points. I was the anonymous after the Redskins game who wrote we should be running Crockett on short yardage, not Jordan (and was also advocating bringing back Ritchie).

I think my two biggest issues with Turner are; 1.) he doesn't seem to call plays that really utilize the strengths of this team (aside from the long balls to Moss and Porter) and 2.) I just don't see the intensity and fire in him or the offense.

I know Gruden's a sore point for all of us but his teams, even with frickin' Donald Hollas at QB for the most part played mean and hungry on both sides. Under Turner, we've got Rob Ryan's D playing with passion but the offense....not so much.

And really, Barry Sims has been getting beaten by quick defensive ends since Jevon Kearse was with the Titans. I can forgive Gallery, he's young and green but Sims?!!!

11:14 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Thanks, Anonymous! I heard Barry Sims on Sirius NFL radio last week. He said he really enjoyed Norv Turner compared to Gruden and Callahan, because Norv is more approachable. Great for Barry, bad for us.

1:01 PM  
Blogger THN said...

I have to stop reading this blog because it is giving me Stockholm Syndrome. But I appreciate a good fan that sticks with the team through thick and thin.

It is those other a-holes that cause you to have a bad reputation. The kind of guys that want to fight opposing fans, drink beers, and then leave early when the team is losing.

It is too bad the Raiders do not have more fans like you and my buddy Flash.

2:41 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

NFL Adam, you can't stop reading this blog because we haven't won you over yet!

P.S. Folks leaving early is very uncharacteristic. Beer was indeed consumed. A smattering of Dolphins fans came and left safely as far as I could tell.

3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How the hell has home field advantage become so meaningless to this Raider football team? 5 - 9 from 2004 to date with losses to Jax, New Orleans and Miami. 0 - 6 against divisional opponents. We've become the red headed step children of the AFC West.

Talent alone should forge a 500 record at a minimum in this day in age of parity, yet gutless play calling and uninterested execution has made this team a NFL mockery. Stating the obvious, something is systemically wrong with Raider coaching and management and I want to see some tangible changes.

It would be refreshing to see half the effort on the field that I see in the stands.

Nilbilly Boy Bring'n Hell

11:20 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Raider Nilbilly Boy, welcome aboard and thank you for breathing some righteous fire! Great takes...I enjoy your regular commentary at www.RaiderNationPodcast.com

10:41 AM  
Blogger Harkonnendog said...

3rd and 1- you've got a play you're sure will work. All your qb has to do is throw an EASY pass to your sure-handed receiver...

If you can't depend on your qb to make that pass you may as well forfeit the game.

With the penetration their front 4 was getting it was a good call. Kerry Collins has got to go. If Norv won't dump his sorry but then Norv has to go. If Al won't let him dump his sorry but then... sob...

2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know one of the issues is for this current era in the NFL is with parity, the talent level from team to team is fairly equal. The difference is in the execution and chemistry or in a simpler way: coaching.

Every team in the league has a talented wide-out, corner, tackle, what have you. But the differences are how cohesively they perform as a unit.

The fact is, Norv's teams back to his Washington days have failed more often than not in this respect. No matter if you like the guy or not, the proof is in the pudding and was before he got here.

Al may not want a disciplinarian these days it's what wins consistently.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Harkonnendog said...

"But the differences are how cohesively they perform as a unit.

The fact is, Norv's teams back to his Washington days have failed more often than not in this respect."

That's a great point. Norv consistently calls plays that put his team in a position to make plays that will win games. Then again, his teams consistently FAIL TO MAKE THE PLAYS he calls...

Which, I guess, makes him a great offensive coordinator and a bad head coach, or else makes him a head coach who never had good talent.

I think Kerry Collins sucks, and that's the whole story with this year's failings. If KC makes two plays per game that he's missed we're above .500.

The other thing is penalties... bad penalties. The refs have cost us 3 games, imho. Can't blame Norv for that, and if the refs hadn't done that we're above .500 now.

6:09 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Harkonnendog, I must disagree with your assessment that the 3rd and 1 pass was a good call.

You are right: it was an easy pass. However, Collins had been misfiring on short easy passes, and his teammates had also dropped some easy balls. This was definitely not the day for that call. When he went back to pass, you could just feel the inevitibility of an incompletion.

(for added context: on the potentially crucial 3rd and one at the goal line against the Redskins the previous week, Collins misfired on a short easy pass to Crockett)

Clearly, there is a pattern emerging. What might be a good call for many teams has become a bad call for the Raiders. The coaches need to adapt to this reality instead of beating their heads against the Kerry Collins wall.

We had two downs to gain a single yard at a crucial moment in the game. We were averaging 4+ yards per carry. Kerry Collins was erratic all day. And here's what Coach Turner and Jimmy Raye came up with: pass and punt. Brilliant.

11:34 AM  
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