Monday, December 12, 2005

One Postgame Take

1. The stabbing pain between my spleen and kidney has returned, courtesy of a drubbing by the Jets, who came into the game as the lowest scoring offense in the NFL, with a .200 winning percentage, and without their star running back, who could be considered their only true threat. This effort, or lack thereof, does not merit my usual five postgame takes. I’m not even going to try to be clever. Why are we playing 10 yards off the Jets receivers in the first quarter? Suddenly, Brooks Bollinger is a threat? If not, let’s make him one, I guess. He sets a Jets record for rushing by a QB. He steadily moves the chains. He’s Fran Tarkenton for a day. LaMont Jordan is pissed that he didn’t get more carries, and he’s got a very good point. However, while I don’t question LaMont’s heart, I do question his execution over the past several games. Don’t tell me, show me. Lechler suddenly has Janikowski disease. The offensive line should be embarrassed. So you think Tui had a horrible game? Fine. I’m just glad he’s alive to tell about it. Consider this: Tui put as much points on the board as Collins did last week against the Chargers, against an even fiercer pass rush, so I’m totally content with the decision to start him. The one thing the Jets have done well this year is defend the pass, so I’m not surprised that Tui had a rough day, considering his inexperience. Why is Alvis Whitted playing without arms? The Coach Turner era ended yesterday. You can’t reload in the offseason, then regress during the season. This isn’t Arizona. I have said over and over again that this coaching staff is guilty of poor time management and wimpy playcalling. More evidence: the extra point instead of the two-point conversion in the 4th quarter, which defied all mathematical, logistical and spiritual reasoning. Coach Turner was supposed to be an offensive virtuoso, and he is now presiding over a train wreck. He has done the impossible, which is to make Randy Moss invisible. I know that we have injuries on both sides of the ball, but the sloppiness, penalties and questionable overall effort speak to a much larger problem, one that is dangerously close to becoming systemic. For that reason alone, change is in order. Return to Glory: derailed.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good points, all. Norv extended his consectutive 'scream at the TV' streak to five...I think Tui will be fine--he had no chance on the sack-fumbles; he made mostly good decisions and threw well [and has better arm strength than he has been given credit for]. Our next coach is in South Bend; hope Al's got Charlie on speed dial.

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no way Charlie would come to this train wreck! All pre-season all you heard was Norv is an offensive genius. He must go NOW.

9:55 AM  
Blogger Doobie said...

RT, right on with your comments. I've been a critic of the offensive line, especially in the last five games or so, and yesterday's game was the worst I've seen them play. You can't fault Tui for the offensive struggles...the offensive line was truly that...offensive. Tui was constantly hit and blindsided as Barry Sims, once again, struggled to move to his side to pick up the rusher. The rest of the unit wasn't much better. Collins wouldn't have fared any better and probably would have even been worse off with his lack of mobility. And again, Jordan had no place to go as he was getting hit before he could reach the line of scrimmage. This whole unit...possibly even Gallery...needs to be re-evaluated in the offseason.

Also not helping things were people's inability to catch the ball. Tui was admittedly behind his receivers on a couple of occasions, but others...such as Whitted's drop and another pass to Jordan...were unconscionable. Mistakes like that kept the Raiders out of the game.

And now I'm joining the rest of you in the question of whether or not Norv should be gone. I've always felt you need three years to put a team together, but his gaffes... specifically the choice to go for the XP in the 4th instead of two...have nothing to do with developing a team. That's just bad game management. There have been rumblings about this before, especially with the team's consistent lack of urgency in the 4th quarter, but this clinches it. I'm wondering if Al might not even fire him before the end of the season.

What say Rob Ryan for coach?

9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ND was a train wreck and Charlie went there...probably wishful thinking on my part. I thought much more of the o-line until this week--when Sims was chasing Abraham he looked like he had a serious leg injury, he could barely run.. .all the false starts, didn't we practice this week? I like Ryan but have no idea as to his feel for the O but his game management couldn't be worse.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Doobie said...

Just to clarify, I'm only thinking about Ryan as interim coach if Turner should get fired this year. As for next year, I don't know. Somehow I doubt that Weis would leave a great ND job to work as Al Davis' lickspittle.

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ryan would be fine as interim--he could audition. Problem with giving Norv the heave-ho now, who's out there who can coach?

12:00 PM  
Blogger js said...

What stunned me was how little attention was paid to establishing the run and how many passing plays called for play-action. Even in the 4th quarter, with two scores needed, the Raiders continued with play-action.

I'm no offensive guru, but I do know that unless the running game is established, play-action is worse than ineffective, it's ruinous. That extra motion takes the QB's eyes off the secondary at a time when a full-on rush is coming to kill him. It makes for a slower release and gives a mobile quarterback less of a chance to use his mobility. If, as Turner said afterward, the running game was ineffective, why not bag the play-action as well? He certainly wasn't fooling the Jets with it.

I'm also not inclined to blame Tui for the bad start. Collins would have done no better, and Tui's mobility did help in the Raiders' lone touchdown drive. This week it was the playcalling on offense that was fatal. Why the Raiders didn't put it in 2-TE and pound the ball at the small left side of the Jets's defensive line escapes me. That might have neutralized the blitz and given Tui some room to breathe. But hey, why do what the ten other teams that beat the Jets this year did?

I don't know where the Raiders go for coaching next year. If I were to guess, it would be another coodinator looking for a shot at a top job--Sean Payton from Dallas maybe, or Brad Childress, or Maurice Carthon. (I'd also make a pitch for local coordinator Ray Rhodes, but he's had some health trouble this year.) Rob Ryan may stick around as D-Coordinator. He seems to have something going over there.

1:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ryan has something good going with the youth on the D. I would hate to see his system replaced next season now that it will get better.

Norv will be with the Bugel name era infamy forever now. But there's hope. There will be a handful of coaches to look at this March. Mooch, Fisher, and Edwards...

8:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with the Raiders is Al Davis.He cannot separate himself from the team in terms of keeping his hands off. We could have drafted S. Alexander instead of Janakowski.Just one of many examples of his bad drafting and meddling decisions that drive good coaches and potential coaches away. This team will do nothing for years to come with Davis underming the coach. Yeah we might get lucky with a coach for a year or two then they will becone tired and leave ala gruden. I have beena Raider fan for 34 years and this is the worst i have felt about the team and it's future. Always a Raider fan!

6:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mooch couldn't keep the Lions under control, he would be emasculated by the Raiders; Edwards game management makes Norv look like Belichick. Jeff Fisher would be great in silver and black.

6:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Norv must go. The team has no rythem, no timing, no desire, does not execute. To many examples of the same mistakes. Carr made bad punt return decisions againt NE the next week gives KC a TD and he continues to gamble when he should not. I am sure they have tried but players can't be listening. I wonder how they practice. jano performance and why throw a screen if you have no timing, do you even practice this strategy. It just seems like the play calling is, well that did not work try this, whoops, how about this whoops its 3rd and 10.

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, plenty of negativity around here and I can't blame any of you for it.

As much as Al knows about football and as much of an impact he's had on the game, he has created a very difficult environment to coach in. Why listen or pay attention to the coach if you know he's not "The Man"?

Furthermore, I don't think Al has ever paid a coach a competitive salary in today's NFL, so that limits the pool of potential replacements more.

Basically, unless Al wants to come down and coach I don't see many options out there who fit the climate for a head coach in Oakland. That is assuming Al doesn't want to change the amoutn of power and money a Raiders coach can get.

11:32 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

I've been waiting for Billick's name to come up...More on that later.

Anonymous, I see this outpouring more as anger than negativity. Three straight losing seasons is unprecedented in the 40+ year Al Davis era. It signifies a crossroads of rarity and unacceptability. And all in the immediate aftermath of a Super Bowl berth? We're pissed, bottom line. When you see the 49ers on Sunday, you chalk it up to sheer incompetence. That's not a dig, that's a fact. The Raiders are far from incompetent, and yet the results are becoming eerily similar. I do not blame Mr. Davis. I just want him to throw some chairs, kick some ass and reload the Raider Nation.

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not Brian Billick. Not Brian Billick. Not Brian Billick. One of the most overrated coaches in the game...has had an inept offense for years and done nothing to correct it...defense has gotten worse each year since Marvin Lewis left. Ravens playing uninspired, dead sloppy ball...sound familiar??

1:10 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

I'm not saying we should go after Billick, I'm just surprised his name hasn't come up as much as questionable characters like Mooch and Martz, for example.

1:23 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

I agree with lk...Billick is overrated. The "offensive genius" from the Vikings hasn't done anything for that offense and the defense hasn't been the same since Marvin Lewis went to the Bengals.

As much as I dislike Martz (his game management is twice as bad as Turner's), I can see him coaching the Raiders. Like I mentioned before about Kurt Warner, you just know that in 1999 AL Davis was watching *his* style of offense being played to perfection in St. Louis. And since Vermeil's in KC, the next best choice is Martz.

Any chance Tom Flores wants to come back? :)

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm one of the last people to go negative, and one of the last to point the finger at Al Davis. But I was at that debacle on Sunday, and it must be said; the Gruden trade was an absolute disaster for this organization. We had a coach who could function in this environment and instead of giving him a huge contract and a pat on the back like we do for underacheivers like Charles Woodson, we drove him out. This team is flawed in a number of areas, but I guarantee they wouldn't be 4-9 with Gruden coaching. We went 8-8 with Donald Freaking Hollas at quarterback in '98 for cryin' out loud!

First he whipped our ass in the Super Bowl, now he's winning in Tampa with "suspect" talent on offense while our squad of All Pros and high draft picks struggles to score 10 on the Jets.

Al had better pull a rabbit out of his hat this offseason, and if he gets lucky again, he'd better keep the coach around long enough to close the deal this time...

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Madstork '83, couldn't agree more. Whatever the issues were between Al and Gruden, this club hasn't been the same since his offense, his coaching and his players left.

The name I'm surprised hasn't been mentioned is Jeff Tedford. This guy loses almost all starters after '04 and still gets a bowl game with Joe Ayoob at QB!!! Now granted, Tedford's probably making twice what Turner is and has half the pressure given Cal's prior record under Holmoe.

But the bottom line is this club needs a HC who is the unquestioned leader of the team and has a system, game plan and style that is impossible to not buy into. We had it with Gruden, and before that you arguably have to go all the way back to Madden.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

Stork, I agree with you on Gruden, but the sad truth is that Gruden would have been gone by now anyway. Too much conflict between the two of them. The fact that Al Davis was able to get draft picks for him...somewhat unheard of...was a pretty savvy move.

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doobie, I agree it was a savvy move at the time. But that was one of those deals that you can't accurately evaluate for a few years. Looking back at it now, and factoring in who we picked with the draft picks that were supposed to set us up for the future, it was a terrible deal. Yes, Gruden probably would have been gone by now, but maybe we would have won a Super Bowl if Al could have kept him around for even 1 or 2 more years, and that's really my point. Every team hopes to find a young coach like Gruden. But when we found him, for whatever reason we let him go and tried to prove that "organizations win, not just coaches". I hate to say it, but our organization has been a dismal failure since he left.

I hate to dwell on the past, I'd usually rather talk about how we're going to fix things. But freezing my ass off in the Meadowlands Sunday, I couldn't help but think of what Gruden could acomplish with the roster we have, warts and all...

5:10 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

Stork, I'm certainly not going to argue with you on Gruden since I feel the same way. Unfortunately, it is what it is and we're all held hostage by Al's ego and what it means to the direction of the team. I think that simply one more year with Gruden would have done it and that SB XXXVII would have gone to the Raiders just simply because the Gruden pendulum wouldn't have swung to the Bucs.

You also have to wonder the same about Shanahan and whether or not giving him a couple more years leeway would have changed things for the better in the nineties.

12:30 AM  

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