Monday, December 26, 2005

Immediate Action Required

I was going to write this yesterday, but I didn’t want to soil the Christmas spirit.

We in the Raider Nation deserve an explanation or a firing of our head coach. Not later, right now. We currently have a head coach who is unwilling or unable to execute a hurry-up offense. It is an inexcusable situation that demands immediate rectification. A message needs to be sent.

I do not like to sound absolute or vengeful, especially when it comes to someone’s livelihood. But this is football, and the game needs to be played, and the Raiders aren’t playing it. Coach Turner, explain now or you’re fired.

That’s my take. Now, this blog has been blessed with very astute readers and commentators, people who bring a lot of football knowledge and insight to the table. That means you. Please, please enlighten me if I am off base about this hurry-up offense issue. This is a case in which I would love to be wrong, because if I am right, we have a situation that is nothing short of scandalous.

We saw it in the first Broncos game, the six-minute touchdown drive while three scores down in the waning minutes. We saw it in the second Chargers game, when even the ESPN announcers briefly awoke from their analytical coma to remark on the Raiders’ mystifying lack of urgency while three scores down with 10 minutes remaining. On Christmas eve, I decided I still had a life. I went out to run some errands, and while listening to KSFO, I heard Tom Flores express utter puzzlement as to why the Raiders weren’t running a two-minute offense toward the end of the fourth quarter against the Broncos.

So don’t take it from me, don’t take it from ESPN, take it from Raiders Super Bowl champion Tom Flores. What in the hell is going on? This is not football.

It's a disgrace, this
inability to enact urgency in the face of defeat, and thus to demonstrate any will to win. It is an affront not only to the Raider Nation, but to the game of football. Absent a decent explanation for this affront, the Raiders should have an interim head coach in charge by tomorrow morning. We need to start playing football next week, not next year. Notice needs to be served, to the players and the fans, that the Oakland Raiders organization never, ever quits. Starting next Sunday.


Blogger Doobie said...

Didn't Al fire Mike White the day before Christmas?

Well, either way, he hasn't fired Norv yet, so there's no sense pulling the trigger with only one game left.

If Walter is healthy, I'd like to see him get a game under his belt.

1:17 PM  
Blogger js said...

Actually, what bothers me isn't so much what the Raiders do in the last two minutes of each half. It's the other fifty-six minutes of the game that really frosts my shorts. Clock management is a problem, but it's one we can add to a long list of other problems. (Too many 3-and-outs, too many false start/motion penalties, an inability to get turnovers or take advantage of those we get, a lack of commitment to the running game, failure to convert key third downs, a lack of passing consistency...)

That said, I don't see any real advantage in firing Norv Turner now as opposed to sometime next week. It might feel good, but it doesn't do a lot to change things.

Of course, now that I look at it, there probably isn't much of a disadvantage either. The rubble has already burned down, hasn't it?

Still, I hardly think it matters. My focus, where the Raiders are concerned, is already on the end of January, when the new coach will be named (and when, I hope, we dump about 235 pounds of Kerry Collins). Beyond that, I'm thinking about April, and which top-10 draft choice would look best in silver and black.

New Year's Wish: May our next coach be another Gruden, and may he stay for ten years.

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course the Raiders need a new head coach. They also need a lot of new players too. I'm still trying to figure out why we needed Kerry Collins in there the last 2 weeks. Collins led us to a whopping 10 points in 2 games. I think Tui could have managed that!! Oh, but I forgot, Kerry Collins gives us the best chance to win. Scary.

4:02 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Thanks Doobie, JS and anonymous...I know that I might be a bit over the edge here, but...

What do I care about the players, their performance or anything else when the head coach won't even try to win? Saturday was my last straw. What I still thought might be an anomaly is now officially a pattern. It's disgraceful, and the Raiders are literally becoming a joke.

I think that it does matter, those last minutes of a game or a half. They are symbolic. They are a window into the team's soul. You can stink up the joint during the third quarter and still claim to be playing football. But when you can't be bothered execute a two-minute offense in the face of defeat, you have ceased even playing football.

That's why I feel that immediate action is required. We need to start playing football next week, not next year.

The players want Coach Turner back? "Sorry, he's gone. And you're gone, too, if you don't wise up." I'd rather watch third-stringers playing their hearts out with Rob Ryan in charge. I'll bet they could win four out of 16, too.

4:40 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

I don't think it would be wise to fire Turner until the season comes to a close. Firing Turner 1 week early would just create a messy situation which would serve no purpose.

It is unsettling and unacceptable to watch the Raiders play with a lack of urgency. Regardless of a team's record or the score during a game, the head coach is responsible for setting a tone to win at all costs. When a coach doesn't implement a 2 minute offense, the message it sends to the players and fans alike is "I'm waving the white flag of surrender. I give up. Wait til next week. Wait til next year. Etc."

7:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a clear reason why we don't run a 2-minute offense: we can barely run any offense, period. Score in two minutes? We're lucky if we can score at all. Norv is sending a clear message: be thankful if we score any points and don't place any restrictions on how fast we do it. It's hard to say when Norv gave up, since I'm not sure he was ever trying.

A bomb to Randy Moss would be nice, but Collins will likely overthrow him--ironic, since in preseason Collins said that Moss was so fast that Collins couldn't overthrow him. Maybe Collins set a goal of becoming able to overthrow Moss, and how he succeeded!

1:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HOW ABOUT WE FIRE AL DAVIS? we all know he's gonna do something stupid in the '06 draft. he'll hire another bonehead coach and find yet another lame qb. so what's there to look forward to? this link tells it ALL.

so if you al davis lovers out there wanna continue smoking whatever al has you smoking go right ahead. doesn't matter anyway because as long as this dude is around, we'll ALL be LOSERS!

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are exactly right Scropio. Al will not be able to lure any kind of reptuble coach because of his control issues. Thats why we lost Gruden. Whom I might add has got the bucs poised for another bowl run. I say bring Norv back next year because we are destined to lose any way as long as Al is running the show. Oh yeah I know all about Mr Davis and the history. But that is the key word (History). The NFL has changed like everything else and the old bombs away does not work on a consistant bases any more. We need a real Leader not a puppet that Al controls.

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Turner should go. If for no other reason than what he did to Tui. Tui has been the good soldier quietly waiting his chance. He got one start compared to how many for Colins.

He told Tui he had the last four games, then went back on his word. How can any player trust him now.

I have a radical idea. Bring back Art Shell as head coach with Rich Gannon as offensive coordinator. Gannon has been in so many different systems, he just might be able to put the pieces together. Create a system that matches the personnel. Shell and
Gannon are both no nonsense types.

Also, hire as a special consultant a respected retired official to review all games and challenge the league when they are wrong and point out where the opposing team committs penalties that are missed by the crew. Put pressure on the league office to prove that it's just the Raiders. The players can't criticize the officiating, perhaps a former official can.

6:03 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

I think all Raider fans can agree that the hiring of Turner and signing of Collins were both HUGE mistakes by Al.

To insist that the Raiders have no shot to return to greatness with Al at the helm is very short-sighted.

The majority of the problems the last few years are directly linked to Tuner and Collins shortcomings. The Head Coach and starting QB play the biggest roles in any team's fortunes. Yes, Al set us back with Turner and Collins. However Al is more than capable of recruiting & hiring a Head Coach that will make an immediate postive impact on the team.

To all the naysayers and "the Sky is falling" fans who say Al can't convince the right candidate to take the job, hear me out.

I think it is a fatal error in judgement to discount Al's persuasive skills to lure the right candidate. No one should discount the prestige of being the head coach for the Oakland Raiders either. I also think Al would be able to give the new head coach the authority that the positon requires. The list of possible candidates might include Art Shell, Pat Hill, Al Saunders, Maurice Carthon, Jim Fassell.

Al and the newly hired Head Coach can immediately turn around the offense's shortcomings. This will be achieved first by kicking Collins to the curb and then selecting a veteran QB by trade or through free agency that has game management and leadership skills.
QB's like Jon Kittna & Brad Johnson immediately come to mind.

I realize that it has been a brutal 3 year stretch. It has been painful to see our beloved team play so poorly but I will remain optimistic. In simple terms, you are either "in" or your "out". Fair weather fans will never be associated with the Raider Nation because we all bleed silver & black.

7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luv ya "Calico Jack" But drinking the koolade is always a bad thing.

Having diverse opinions to yours doesn't make one less or more of a fan than you.

There is no life or death involved here dude, were all just talking, venting or simply stating our own personal opinons here so please bro. Lighten up!

I bleed Silver and Black and like Blitzchic always says "Win Lose or Tie, Raider til I Die"

But that doesn't mean that I park my brains outside of the door just to come into my house to email or blog my take on how I believe the Raiders are screwing up.

I am a proud citizen of the Raider Nation. And i think Al is AWSOME! But the dude ain't perfect and he certainly ain't always right.

Who he hires next will determine to me if he has learned his lesson that a little dicipline (ala Gruden & yes even ala Shannahan) can go a long, long way to wining or he get's another passionless listless Turner type coach who will drive us futher and deeper into the ground.

And that! (my friend) Is as i see it... A FACT.

And neither a Reggie Bush nore George Bush can help us with that!!!

Hey, were all brothers in like minds dude so let's us have spirited and challenging discussions. We will all benifit from it. No matter what we can come up with because we all wish the same thing! And Number 4 will soon "We Know" will be knocking at the door!

Have a great New Year to all members of the Raiders past and present. And to all of my fellow Citizens of the Raider Nation! "RaiderNational" Charles

12:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RT--I'm with you--when the team stops competing, the coach is done, now. But it's wednesday and Norv is still employed--there must be some contractual reason for that

6:43 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Finally, someone (LK) is with me on this! I understand much of the sentiments expressed here, about it being pointless to fire a coach with one game left, how it would create a messy situation, etc.

But I see this as a violation of the company trust, the profession of coaching and the game of football, when a coach ceases to try to compete. It's like a doctor who violates the Hippocratic oath, or a driving instructor who gets a DUI...You take immediate action. You don't let that doctor anywhere near a patient, nor the instructor anywhere near a student. And you don't let this coach anywhere near your players. That's how strongly I feel about this. When the "why" is so strong, the "when" becomes now, not later.

While few here agree with my conclusion, it's interesting that no one has argued with my assessment. So whether Coach Turner is fired immediately or after the season, we all seem to agree that it would be insane to let this man anywhere near the 2006 Raiders.

That sure is different than the players saying publically that they want him back, and the local media buying into it. Why aren't we reading articles about the stuff being talked about here? We have a scandal on our hands, and the media act like it's business as usual.

7:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem is clear and we all know it,and that is Al Davis. Norv and all the other bad coaches and draft picks are the symptoms of an owner who is so caught up in his own ego that he is smothering this franchise. He cannot see his own limitations and he is destroying the thing he loves. Yeah Al knows the game in and out and has done some great things in the past,the past is gone. What coach in their right mind would want to go to Oakland under these conditions? Until he gives up some control nothing will change for Raider Nation. Happy New Year!

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Al has made two good decisions since moving back to Oakland; 1.) hiring Jon Gruden and 2.) signing Rich Gannon. The combination of these two gave the Raiders what every other successful team in the modern NFL have: a coach and QB on the same page and same level.

This is the least you need to win these days in the league. You also need a system that players buy into and allows you to plug and play, so if one goes down or leaves via free agency you simply replace the piece (see Bellichek in NE for the ultimate example).

Aside from this lone bright spot the Raiders return to Oakland has been mired with overpaid and overhyped free agents and coaches who aside from being unimaginative, uncreative and concistently outcoached are simply not leaders.

Al owes us fans a statement or acknowledgement that he's going to change how he brings in coaches. And if he isn't going to change we'll be stuck praying that the next ex-coordinator or college coach he brings in will do what Gruden did and the odds are against it.

Al needs to shock the world and change how he courts coaches and who he goes after. If he really wants to show the league he means business, go try and pry a Bellichek away from NE or mend the wounds with Shanahan and get him back. Yes, we all hate Denver but face it, Shanahan has that team competing almost every year since he was hired.

There's no point in firing Norv Turner if you're going to replace him with another "Norv Turner". Do you honestly think a Rick Neuheisel or Sean Pathon will come in here and start outcoaching Marty Schottenheimer or Mike Shanahan on a consistent basis? Maybe Al and us fans will get lucky but more likely these guys will be outmatched.

If Al wants to return to greatness, it's time to go after a truly great coach. But that would be a change from how he's done business for 40 years and I don't see it coming. Which is why I fear he may stay with Turner. Think about it, Turner and Al could have weeks ago come to the conclusion that Kerry Collins and this O-line can't get it done. So consider the season a wash, go out and replace the broken pieces and try it again next year. That would be great if Turner truly had an offense that worked and it was merely a matter of replacing some pieces to win ten plus games but that's not the case. My money is Tui and Collins are gone, and Leinart's on his way in and we're stuck with Norv.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

I make a distinction between a merely bad coach and one who is so careless that he cannot, under any circumstances, direct a no-huddle offense.

How was Al Davis supposed to anticipate Norv Turner, a veteran, abdicating some of the most basic tenets of football competition?

I feel like Alice in Wonderland here. Our team doesn't hurry up to the line under any circumstances. It's insane. It's scandalous. It's an emergency. Why are we talking about Al Davis right now?

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see what any of this is to do with Al Davis. He hired Norv in good faith--he thought he was getting someone who could lead the team, make a diffrence with the gameplan and decisionmaking and he provided him with playmakers to do just that. Al isn't forcing Norv not to use timeouts before halftime, to punt on fourth and 2 and to milk the clock when trailing by 18. You don't think Al wants a guy like Gruden? He probably thought he was getting one--remember, he was 'blown away' by Norv's interview; same reaction he had to Gruden. Responsibility lies with Norv for this year's performance. As for Payton and Neuheisel, it won't be either--Al never asks twice [Payton] and Neuheisel is slimy, Al's won't go that way again after the Shanahan experience.

12:40 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

This has a LOT to do with Al Davis. When you hire followers, as opposed to leaders, you're going to get a lot of hesitations and indecisiveness. If you want strong field leadership, you nead to hire a leader. Norv Turner... like many before a follower.

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Al has hired leaders before--he probably thought they were all leaders. I don't think he hired Norv or anyone thinking "give me this stiff here to run my team". He just picked wrong--nobody bats 1.000, not even Al.

1:59 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

lk - of the few leaders Al hires...even as assistants...he manages to alienate them before they reach their full potential. Shanahan. Gruden. John Fox. Need I go on?

Al Davis does not want leaders. They sometimes have thoughts that differ from his and, even worse, they tend to turn the spotlight away from him. He wants toadies to do his bidding. He wants Joe Bugels, Mike Whites and Norv Turners. He doesn't want original thinkers...although the last time he had one of those, the guy built a Super Bowl bound team that was ultimately...and ironically...crushed by the same architect.

Al Davis hasn't won a Super Bowl since the 1983 season, so he hasn't even batted .001 in the last 22 years.

As I've mentioned before, we can't hope for Al to hire a GM to take on these's not his style. What we need to hope for is that Al can take an honest look at himself in the mirror and realize that his way hasn't been working. He needs to hire a promising coach with fresh ideas and promise to keep his interference to a bare minimum. Incredibly, this isn't a stretch since Al did this in 1998 when he took some unproven student of the West Coast offense named Gruden and gave him a shot.

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still think you're selling Al short. The big deal for Al was finally making the decision to go outside the organization, which he did with great success with Gruden. I can't pin all Gruden's departure all on Al--Gruden certainly proved he was man enough to make his own decisions and I think he did in this case. I think Al also takes alot of input, for example from defacto GM's Bruce Allen and Mike Lombardi--but also from the team--remember, the only reason he hired Bugel and Callahan was that the team, led both times by Tim Brown, went to Al and asked that these guys be hired--so he does trust others opinion. He also tried to hire a Gruden clone last time--Payton--but Payton overplayed his hand. The bottom line with Al is always winning--whatever ego he has, it's second to winning.

11:02 AM  

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