Friday, November 18, 2005

News You Can't Use

This sure is an odd time to publish an article entitled: “Collins becoming the reliable quarterback Raiders hoped he’d be.” Can’t you just see this Associated Press writer sitting in the press box at the Coliseum, as a hail of boos rains down on Kerry Collins while the Broncos take his third pickoff down the field to punctuate the Raiders' sixth loss of the season, thinking, “Hmmm, what shall I write this week? Wait...I've got an idea!”

We’ve already seen this same piece, in various guises, about 50 times this year…You know, the “Kerry’s got great stats, and he’s not throwing as many interceptions as he used to, so don’t worry, be happy” story. This latest version is careful to acknowledge the “demoralizing” losses and “bittersweet” season to date. But once that’s out of the way, it’s back to the same old story. This story is technically factual but intellectually bankrupt. Kerry Collins, Mr. Reliable? Come on...

These articles are like Kerry Collins: they look good on paper yet fail the scrutiny test. They were more forgivable earlier in the season, when you could still make a case for optimism. But now? Right after Collins’ worst performance? Right after dropping to 0 and 4 against divisional opponents? What’s it going to take for them to stop writing these pieces?

I’ve had my say, as have others, and there’s no need to pile on Kerry Collins at this point. But can we please at least stop pumping him up in the Associated Press and elsewhere until he helps the Raiders win, say, half of their games? Can we stop declaring this a “comeback season” for Kerry Collins until he actually leads a few comebacks?

I'm curious about what’s motivating these sportswriters, because the repetition is starting to get weird. Since when are expectations so low for Kerry Collins that leading a "high-powered" offense to a .333 winning percentage is cool as long as he improves his stats and reduces his interceptions? Or is this some sort of bizarre reverse psychology, some sort of mind trick, this continued writing of glowing articles about a quarterback who has failed in the most significant statistical categories (important touchdowns and victories)?

Either way, Raiders fans, it’s news you can’t use.


Blogger js said...

Actually, there's an interesting article in the Oakland Tribune you might want to see. The Raiders may be able to realize significant cap savings if they dump Collins at the end of the season. A team will often renegotiate a player to a cap-friendly number--they did that with Gannon, Rice, and Brown for years to keep them on the roster--but Collins, as you ably point out, doesn't bat in that league. (Plus he may be marketing poison once the team is responsible for selling its own tickets.)

The article also gives us a possible explanation for why Tui hasn't appeared yet this year, even in blowout games. Apparently, if he takes more than 30% of the snaps this season, he can void the remainder of his contract and seek a better deal elsewhere. There would be little point in sending him in now so that he can audition for another team. If the Raiders wait until the last three or four games of the season, they can still give him a look while holding him to his deal through 2006. (Of course, this leaves us with the "Why not Walter?" question, but you can't have everything.)

You can check the article out here.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Thanks for the tip, JS. That is indeed an interesting article. Some of the riddles may be solved, and yet the plot thickens.

2:56 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

The only thing that bothers me about that is that Tui is a Gruden pick who was picked for the west coast offense that they no longer run. The Tui phaseout began when they signed Walter. I really don't think Davis/Turner plans on ever using Tui unless in an emergency.

6:53 PM  
Blogger RaiderNationPodcastBlog said...

Nice take js, I read the article and it was a ray of light in a dark place. With the 30 mil. cap hit next year I was concerned about losing the core of this team. I still think the team has all the elements of a championship, with the right coach. We could dump both Tui and Collins. I would have to say that Walter is my choice for starter. He broke all of Elways records and in pre-season he had a sweet pass. His pocket presence was that of a cool cat with none of the deer in the head light looks of Collins. This kid is the real deal and I believe he is our future so lets get on with it and let him run the show. As I have said before, we have nothing to lose...........What are we waiting for.....Chris Carr.......or perhaps John Kitna.........Please NOOOOOOO. I for one would like to see a home grown QB for the Raiders that can bring us to championships for years to come. Ahhh if I were King........

8:59 PM  
Blogger js said...

You may be right, but it is also true that when Collins was brought here, many assumed that Turner would inevitably cut Gannon because Gannon was a west-coast offense quarterback; but Collins failed to supplant Gannon in the top spot in training camp or preseason. It took a hit from Derrick Brooks to do what Collins couldn't have done through skill, Collins's fitness for the system notwithstanding.

Now I don't really know what Tui's and Walter's relative abilities are. I haven't seen enough of either, and have seen neither play against a first team defense for any length of time. But I'm not certain that the draft of Walter necessarily means that Tui will be phased out. If Walter had been a first round pick, it would be more convincing. First round picks cost too much money to leave off the field, and tend to create problems when they're warming the bench. (Witness what the Bolts are going through with Rivers.) But a third round pick isn't a lot to spend on a bench warmer or backup QB, if that's what Walter becomes, and certainly a third rounder's concerns count for very little in the NFL.

Again, I'm not saying Walter won't take over for Collins. He may well. I'm just saying it's not inevitable. Turner has selected guys as starters that lie outside his system's parameters before. As long as Tui can complete a deep out, a deep in, do a good play-action fake, and outplay a rookie on the practice field, he's got a shot.

9:16 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

Yeah, but I think that keeping Tui ahead of Walter on the depth chart for now might just signal that they want to give Walter some time to learn the system first. Hey, even though he's thrown just 49 passes in three years, all that clipboard time he's logged must mean something...

On a completely separate note, Friday was the 20 year anniversary of probably the most famous football injury ever, one which also sped up the development and subsequent delivery of Jay Schroeder to the Raiders...

2:10 AM  
Blogger TheFreakingPope said...

As we all now know, rookie quarterbacks rarely put up the numbers Big Ben can. More often than not, they put up numbers like Alex Smith. I have no doubt that Walter will one day be great. With any luck, he’ll be the Raider Nation’s Steve Young. Now, if we could only find a Joe Montana.

I believe Tui will get snaps. They’ll come late in the season and will offer our only solace in the weeks following our elimination from the hunt.

In the days prior to the Titans game, Tui took snaps in every practice…on the other side of the ball. He was praised by Coach Turner for emulating the mechanics of Steve McNair. I’ve never liked McNair, but it begs the question. If he can mimic the style of a league acclaimed QB, why wouldn’t we showcase our could-be star?

The most likely answer. We can’t afford for someone to make him an offer he can’t refuse.

4:56 PM  

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