Monday, December 19, 2005

Three Postgame Takes

1. The Raiders are giving me writer’s block. It's hard to rewrite the same old story. Here’s my first draft: Uninspired coaching…blah, blah, blah…zero magic at quarterback…blah, blah, blah…stupid penalties…blah, blah, blah…evil zebras…blah, blah, blah…other team’s kicker never misses the game winner…blah, blah, blah.

2. Remember all the hand wringing about Tui’s “awful” performance a week ago? Remember Collins getting upset about his benching, saying he still gave the Raiders the best chance to win? Remember Coach Turner flip-flopping and reinstating Collins? Here you go:

Collins against Browns at home: 14 of 32 for 132 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT

Tui against Jets on road: 14 of 26 for 124 yards with 1 TD and 2 INT


Note that the Jets’ pass rush was fiercer, and that Tui threw a surefire TD pass that bounced off the chest of an armless Alvis Whitted. If indeed it was Coach Turner’s call to start Collins, then I would have welcomed an intervention by Mr. Davis. Why let a coach who won’t be here next year possibly hinder our future by starting a QB who also won’t be here? Let’s see what we really have in the wings at QB, to help calibrate our QB needs for the offseason. Now it sounds like Collins will start against the Broncos. I guess I can’t argue with that. Now that we’ve missed this opportunity to get Tui more snaps, and into more of a comfort zone, against the Browns at home, it’s hard to say we should throw him to the wolves in Denver. Another loss, and another opportunity missed. Tui deserved a better game plan against the Jets, and he deserved a second chance against the Browns. But as Jerry Porter once said, “If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, then every day would be Christmas.”

3. I don’t need to praise the defense. It goes without saying. These guys are bringing it and keeping things close. Bravo! The inability of this offense to score is verging on cosmic. LaMont Jordan has a big day, you’ve got Randy Moss on one side and Jerry Porter on the other, against the Browns at home, and you get seven points. Yes, Janikowski is a disaster. But this offense wasn’t built for field goals. Turns out we really need them, but that’s not the crux of the matter. The crux of the matter is this inability to score touchdowns. We know what we need to know about the offensive line, the quarterback and coaching. But is Randy Moss remotely culpable in his own invisibility? I keep hearing that he is the model citizen. Fine, but is he a model player right now? Yes, I saw the touchdown (it was his lone reception for the day). Yes, I know about the injury. Terrell Owens was injured during the Super Bowl, but he was far from invisible. Maybe it’s all on Collins and the game planning. I don’t know. All I know is that when a superstar (not a mere star, a superstar) becomes ordinary overnight, when he ranks 25th in the NFL in receiving yards, barely 20 yards more than tight end Alge Crumpler of the Falcons, when he’s not even in the top 30 for receptions, you have something truly extraordinary going on. If none of it is Randy’s fault, then we have a breakdown of scandalous proportions.

12 Comments:

Blogger Mark_L said...

I feel your pain and frustration. I know you've written that AL is the Raiders and it's not his fault, but the supposed vertical offense of Turner and strong arm of Collins reak of Al's style.

Whether you like him or not, it was his move that got us here and hopefully he'll make the necessary changes to fix it.

Right now though, despite his ability to lure Sapp, Burgess, Moss, etc. this club is one of the weakest in the league over the last three years.

Good point on Moss also. But I think his lack of visibility this season is an issue between he and Collins. Not personal but chemistry, they just do not seem on the same page at all. He can Culpepper had a rhythm together and it isn't there with KC.

The sad thing is this defense has really proven itself down the stretch and if you paired them up with any mid-level offense we could be 8-8.

The thing now is, Al needs to get rid of Jimmy Raye first. I'd vote to keep Norv if Al can somehow lure Jimmy Johnson out of retirement and demote Turner to OC. But in either case, Al is going to have to replace Turner with someone of Johnson's caliber, not necessarily his experience but his ability to lead a team as a head coach.

If he goes with another passive offensive coordinator type we should all get even more used to this pathetic style of play.

11:51 AM  
Anonymous LK said...

The defensive direction is excellent...you only need to look at Browns to see problem--they have a QB with a high school arm but he made plays. Our QB doesn't make plays, can't make something out of nothing, that's why it was horrible to not give Tui the home start. the gameplanning remains awful [blah, blah, blah, as you said], we don't attack....

12:59 PM  
Anonymous LK said...

Thought I had the bad coach/bad QB thing all figured out yesterday, then I watched the Indy-SD game. Saw Manning make two of the best pressure-in-your-face throws I had seen only to watch him and Tom Moore peg the dumbass meter in the ensuing three plays to lose the game. In case you didn't see it, Indy had first down at the SD 21 with under 3 minutes left, down 19-17. SD had two time outs left. You run three times and one of two things likely occurs--worst case you gain zero yards, but SD uses all their TO's and the 2 minute TO and you kick FG. So you lead 20-19, kicking off with under 2 mins left, SD with no TO's. Not horrible at home. Best case, you make a first down, so now you're first and ten at no worse than the 11, SD with no TO's. So you kneel twice, run clock to 4 secs, kick FG, game over. But Indy throws on first, incomplete, throws on second, intentional grounding, loss of ten and worst of all, still in FG range [ball on 31, home, turf, indoors]throws on third, sack, out of FG range, game over. So if Indy can Norv it up at the end...nevermind. Big difference between Raider O and D--defensive gameplans have been solid and D personnel execute...that's coaching

2:00 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

I'm surprised no one else has suggested this...perhaps because it's something we don't want to think of...but what if Moss threw in the towel weeks ago?

Let's face it, this groin/ribs/pelvis injury of his has been hampering him for two months now (specifically the Chargers game was 10/16). That's an awful long time for soreness to linger, especially when MRIs and X-Rays don't turn up anything. I think most anyone else could be given benefit of the doubt, but Moss brings a lot of emotional baggage with him, especially regarding his intensity at any given time.

We should be thankful that he's NOT complaining to the press, but that same silence raises other questions.

What if he just doesn't care anymore? Is it possible that he emotionally checked out once the Raiders fell out of playoff contention? Sooner? It appears that he started to snap out of his funk in week 10 when he had six catches for 87 yards and a TD. But that was also the day they fell to 3-6.

In the five weeks since then, he's had 16 catches for 188 yards and 1 touchdown. Aside from his one respectable 7-74-0 performance in week 13 against the Chargers, that leaves him with 9-114-1 in the other four games.

I think there's a strong chance that the emotional disconnect began weeks ago. He's probably not venting to the press because he simply doesn't care anymore.

4:51 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

Correction: RT hinted at Moss in take #3, so it *has* been suggested (sorry).

So while it's been hinted at, I meant to be a little more accusatory with my stance and to bring the possibility of malingering to the forefront.

5:08 PM  
Blogger dan said...

I feel everyone's pain. Norv clearly has to go. Unfortunately, I think Ryan has to go with him, or get promoted.

A couple interesting articles lately about defense coming together and team speaking up for Norv. A couple points on that. Notice that our defense plays just well enough to lose? Regardless of score, we always give up the last drive to lose when in position to do so - Philly, KC, Cleveland…. One exception was Dallas where we did our best to give it up, but Bledsoe made bad throw - not our creating pressure.

Also, the only guys speaking up for Norv are the defense - Clark and Schweigert. No one on offense.

Regarding Ryan, he has to go if Norv goes. Rationale is that we need a strong head coach who can get this team up for games and maintain some level of discipline/professionalism. No coach like that (ie a potential good coach) will let someone else to pick his defensive staff... Alternatively we could promote him to maintain the momentum our D is building. But he isn’t really head coaching material is he?

Sadly this means we stink for another couple years because I don't think you can succeed without at least some continuity and a year or two for everyone to learn the new system.

Comments appreciated, and can anyone speculate as to why Norv would play the QB carousel? I suppose this means Tui is gone and perhaps Collins is back next year? Not sure who is available that's better than KC, provided he renegotiates his contract....

6:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Norv and Kerry need to take their show on the road. Any road that does not lead to Oakland. Perhaps to Vegas, where they can be featured as the Magic Disappearing Act:


....watch in increasing amazement as the magician, Turner the Terrible and his assistant, Con Artist Collins, progress from the standard disappearing running back acts and the 'now you see it, now you don't because I fumbled it' ball tricks to the amazing stunt of making Randy 'I Gather No' Moss disappear right before your very eyes in the middle of a crowded football stadium. David Copperfield and Harry Houdini would be proud......

AllyOop

8:03 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

I’m with AllyOop...Some say that Coach Turner and Kerry Collins deserve a second chance. Were they not here last year? This is their second chance. I could swallow the “it takes time to gel” argument easier if we were seeing some progress. But, in fact, the offense has regressed to the point that we are mired in the dregs of the NFL, in the company of teams that do not have near the level of talent that the Raiders have (ie: Moss, Jordan, Porter, etc.). It’s verging on scandalous. At some point, the analysis and excuses must give way to the cold reality of performance. You either do it or you don’t, and Coach Turner and Kerry Collins haven’t done it. On what basis can we be optimistic about either of them improving things next year?

11:22 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

The "vertical offense" is much ado about nothing. Sure it can be a nice weapon if the Raiders were able to make a few big plays each game. However, it really is over rated. It has been a threat with no teeth.

How many deep strikes has KFC completed this year? In the Browns game, how many 40+ yard passes were even attempted? 0? 1? The vertical offensive style is only effective when the other components of the offense are running on all cylinders. The 7-15 yard passing game and a commited, effective running game is what moves the chains and wins ballgames.

The long bomb might be glamorous but in reality it is less than 5% of any team's play calls, strong arm QB or not. All of the QBs in the NFL are capable of throwing the 40-50 yard deep pass. This includes weak armed Chad Pennington and Charlie Frye. Who cares if you have the ability to throw the ball 70 yards if it has no impact on winning a game. This isn't Punt, Pass, and Kick.

Did the Snake or Gannon have strong arms? Of course not but both could ocassionally stretch the field with a deep pass. Should the long bomb be in the Raiders playbook? Absolutely. Regardless of who is pulling the trigger for the Silver & Black next year(stong arm QB or avg arm QB), the "vertical offense" will always be a minor element to the total offensive package.

11:53 AM  
Anonymous LK said...

there's a bigger offensive scheme problem--the TE has disappeared from our offense. Last year I thought we had a draft steal with Courtney Anderson and looked foward to his rehab and return...with him roaming the middle teams can't both roll a safety to Moss and bring one to the line in run support. Things looked good in week one and then what? There's a direct correlation to TE production and Moss' production...Norv used to feature the TE. It boggles the mind...

1:35 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

lk is exactly right. There is definitely a problem with our offensive scheme. Further there is a major problem with the silver and blacks offensive play calls.

The TE position is a major weapon in today's NFL. The position has evolved over the years where some of the best athletes are plying their trade (Gonzalez, Gates, Shockey, Crumpler, etc). Why isn't Anderson used more? I think it is a combination of negligence by Turner and the need to max protect for Statue of Liberty QB Collins.

The best coaches in the league take advantage of mismatches. An athletic TE creates an instant mismatch in terms of coverage. With speedy receivers like Moss and Porter, there will always be deep safety help. The TE can find an open soft spot in the zone in the middle of the field 10-15 yards down the field. Is this so difficult for Turner to figure out?

I'm sick and tired of hearing about Turner's "great" offensive mind and credentials. He has had 2 years to get the offense rolling.

How is it possible that the offense is regressing with Turner in his 2nd year of installing his system? Enough is enough. Feliz Navidad Norvell. Turn off the lights when you exit the stadium for good on New Year's eve.

6:02 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

Calico, I think you nailed it when you mentioned extra pass protection. Your TE can't go out for passes when he's back trying to help pass protect. Ask Tony Gonzalez whose numbers suffered this year when Willie Roaf got injured.

Turner's offense in Dallas was effective because everyone performed. Not the case in Oakland where Collins can't complete a simple short pass.

4:05 AM  

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