Sunday, February 12, 2006

An Early Valentine

Here at Raider Take, we strive to give props when props are due. No one is immune, even Raider Take’s favorite columnist, who has actually written a Raiders piece that is mature and balanced. In other words, hell is freezing over and our columnist is suddenly resembling Cupid, slinging arrows instead of hatchets.

Not that I like everything in his latest piece. But that was never the point. The point was journalism, and this is solid journalism. He has toned down the egregious literary fluff detailed in
this take, and he has backed away from the pointless venom and dishonest bias evident in columns such as this one and this one.

What we are left with is a column that, while far from favorable to the Raiders, is fair and measured. It contains useful information. It avoids insensible analogies to fast food and movies. It advances reasonable opinions that follow a logical chain of thought. In other words, it’s a column worthy of a major media outlet as opposed to a high school newspaper.

Of course, our columnist remains willfully and conveniently unaware that the Raiders went to the Super Bowl three years ago after winning the AFC West for three straight campaigns (see his statement about "a decade of largely indifferent results"), but progress is progress.

I know for a fact, based on several emails that I’ve received, that Raiders fans have been directly giving it to this columnist. The
Raider Nation Podcast bestowed a rather special award on him, too. Is it possible that that the Raider Nation has been heard and heeded? I won’t hold my breath, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.

Mr. Ratto, will you be my Valentine?

37 Comments:

Anonymous Stick'em said...

All though I am more likely to pull a St. Valentines Day massacre on Ratto than send him a box of chocolates, here is the key phrase which lets us know Ray is finally paying attention:

"He (Shell) knows all too well that he takes the job with the sympathies of many of his friends, who know how much he will have to do to de-breed a paralyzing culture of losing without caring."

The apathy with which KFC has "led" this team the past few seasons is but the most glaring example of a culture of modern bozo players infesting the Raiders like cockroaches.

We have gone from the old school of "hitting them in the mouth, lining up and smiling, then hitting them in the mouth" to the new school of players who laugh and joke during a game in which they are losing.

These players seem not to even notice being a Raider means wanting to beat the Denver Doncos like a rented mule as soon as you wake up in the morning.

The crux of the problem with the Raiders is attitude. They have a bad one (and I do mean "bad" in a derogatory way).

Many fans blame Al or the HC for the losses of seasons past, but I place the blame on the only ones who actually touch the football on Sundays--the players.

I pray Art can give them some direction, for they are truly lost in the wilderness.

Welcome home, Art. It ain't how you left things...but it is clobberin' time!

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Stick'em said...

Tack this on to the end of my last post:

"Only one (current) player, linebacker Kirk Morrison, was in attendance Saturday (at the press conference). This suggests Shell has quite the challenge in building camaraderie (sic)."

http://www.timesheraldonline.com/
sports/ci_3502344

Kirk just got my vote for Captain. Beam the rest of 'em up, Artie. There is no intelligent life down here in this locker room.

6:12 AM  
Anonymous LK said...

RT-- I know how you feel. I almost gagged on my straight black coffee when I saw Ratto's byline on that article. Gotta give the man his due...

7:03 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

LK, you have inspired the following haiku:

While sipping coffee
that’s roasted by Otto, I
gagged reading Ratto.

7:27 AM  
Blogger Doobie said...

This from the Dayton Daily News: "Art Shell's first order of business as Oakland Raiders head coach will likely be to kick QB Kerry Collins to the curb.

Don't be surprised if Collins surfaces in Baltimore. His former coach with the New York Giants, Jim Fassell, a Ravens assistant, loves him. After all, they went to the Super Bowl together (2000 season). A QB controversy featuring Collins and Kyle Boller would be fun to watch."

Personally, I'm not buying a word of this, although I'm all for ditching Collins at this point. Besides, why is this coming from a Dayton, Ohio newspaper?

9:13 AM  
Anonymous Stick'em said...

This indeed is the litmus test for Shell. A lot of fans aren't convinced Shell will do anything unless Al decrees it, but if Shell boots KFC--poof! instant HERO!

I doubt anyone would trade for KFC given his $12.9 million salary cap hit for next season (unless they have recently overdosed on cough syrup, that is) but the acceleration would only be $1 mil if Collins is cut. Personally I'd like to see Collins stay in the AFC West so we can beat up on him twice a year...

BTW, I'm still a bit blogger retarded. How do you make the links come up nice'n'blue instead of the messy links I post that you have to cut and paste?

Thanks, Doobie, my Brother!

10:06 AM  
Anonymous LK said...

Kerry walks the plank-
Raider Nation rejoices!
Big Art's on the job

10:42 AM  
Blogger Doobie said...

Stick'em: it's a bit of a pain in the ass, but it goes like this:

(a href="http://website.com")Text you want linked(/a)

example: If you want to get Raiders' fans opinions on the team, (a href="http://raidertake.blogspot.com")this website says it all(/a).

Will appear as: If you want to get Raiders' fans opinions on the team, this website says it all.

Note: you need to replace "(" and ")" with "<" and ">". I had to format it the way I did above otherwise my instructions would appear as a link.

Also, if you view the page source (depending on your browser, it's something like "View...", "Page Source") you'll see the exact HTML formatting.

11:53 AM  
Blogger NFL Adam said...

It seems like Raiders fans are far too in love with Shell’s overall record and your reverence for the past. But how soon we forget that the Raiders were picked to represent the AFC in Super Bowl XXIX and finished 9-7. The Raiders opened the season with two blowout losses and finished by marching up and down the field against KC only to lose in the end.

The problem will always be Al. You will not get a fresh face because Al will not relinquish control. Hot-shot coordinators will instead hold out for the next year or opt to go down to college. So in the end you are stuck with retreads such as Shell who, quite frankly, weren’t all that great to begin with. If you are honest with yourself you know that much of Shell’s success rested on Hoss. He does not have that option this time around. So while the old attitude of the Raiders (including unnecessary roughness penalties) might return, the old glory (whatever that was) will not.

1:04 PM  
Anonymous LK said...

Whoa, Nostradamus. Art's been coach for two days, give the guy a chance

1:20 PM  
Anonymous raider00 said...

I like Art Shell saying he will bring much needed toughness,(especially to the current soft OL), back to Raiders. He also implied he would like to see a little bit smarter play from everyone(shoving, & pushing after play proves nothing). I believe Art can toughen up the Raiders. I didn't like Shell slobbering all over KFC,"He has been a great Qb in this league". I do not believe big Art can turn things around without a HUGE improvment at Qb. At the same time, I do not want to see Davis trade away the 6th pick for a broken down vet. I pray every night that A. Walter, unlike poor Tui, will be given a REAL shot at the starting job. We'll see.

2:20 PM  
Blogger NFL Adam said...

Toughness has not cost the Raiders in recent years. Hanging on to the "old way" certainly has.

3:21 PM  
Anonymous raider00 said...

Not all of the "old ways", are a bad thing. If all of the current offensive linemen block next season the way Art Shell used to, I think that would be a great thing. Remember, run blocking is all about toughness. When there are no holes for the running backs, it's because the o-line is not selling out, not playing hard. I don't think Art Shell will stand for that. In another sense though, nfl adam is right, making KFC tougher, will not make him better. We need a new/improved Qb.

3:32 PM  
Blogger js said...

Doobie,

That rumor is in the Baltimore papers as well, and it's gone from there to the rumor list at ESPN. We'll see if this rumor is a premature fact or not, but I've no doubt that Raider Nation would be happy to cover Collins's plane ticket and moving expenses, if it came to that.

3:50 PM  
Blogger js said...

Oops. Brain fart. The Baltimore papers haven't picked it up yet. ESPN and the Sporting News have though.

4:06 PM  
Anonymous Stick'em said...

Here's Collins training to be all he can be
for Doobie.

Look what I can do! LOL!

4:18 PM  
Blogger frkyraider said...

i agree, KFC must go. i say sign and trade C. Wood and throw in Collins for Ray Lewis (i'll even eat some of KFC's contract if thats what it takes). #6 pick then would be Mario Williams. Bam!!! top ten D. maybe we could grab a saftey later in the draft or sign one, there are quite a few on the market this season.

by the way. my name is Jeff, i am new here, been reading this and calico jacks blog for quite some time and have just recently gotten fed up enuff to voice my opinion. felt we need another positive out here. howdy all, i'll be checkin in time to time.

5:01 PM  
Anonymous Stick'em said...

Howdy, Jeff!

I'm all for dumping KFC like a psychotic girlfriend, and my patience has worn thin with Woodson's agents, the POStons. But I'm wondering how this proposed deal would work…

Lewis is scheduled to make an average of over $6 mil/year for the next 3 years. That might be a bargain for the Ray Ray that showed up in the AFC Championship vs. the Raiders in '01, but now he is coming off a season in which he played only five games due to injury and has lost a step when healthy.

Baltimore is stacked with DBs (Reed, McAlister, Rolle) so they don't need Woodson, and Oakland already has two MLB types in Clark and Morrison, so Lewis doesn't quite fit.

How would you feel about cutting KFC (cheaper than eating some of his salary in trade) and letting Woodson walk (he is a UFA and the Raiders really have no leverage unless his heinous agents cooperate or Al franchises him)?

Then we could draft AJ Hawk, who should start at WLB from day one, and maybe grab SS Adam Archuleta (UFA). Everybody thinks Archuleta was Al's real target the year we got stuck with Radio Gibson...

I love Mario Williams (I'm an NC State alum) but I wonder if Hawk wouldn't bring more of a sorely needed commodity--leadership.

Would that work for ya?

7:31 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

Stick'em: It appears that KFC is putting more thought into that slice than he did with his two-minute offenses...or five-minute...or eight-minute...

8:17 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Welcome Jeff. Your positive outlook is sorely needed to balance out all the negativity spewing from media, Raider-haters, and Raider fans alike.

I would love for the Raiders to release KFC, C-Wood, and Radio Gibson and continue to develop the D with building blocks such as AJ Hawk or Mario Williams. We need to consider targeting a free agent SS & perhaps a young OG.

I would love for A-Dub to compete for the starting QB job. Although I see this as a long shot, I would be happy to suffer the initial growing pains of Walter maturing and developing under live fire sooner rather than later.

The biggest and by far most important decision facing the Raiders is the starting QB position. Would it make sense to sign a UFA like Kittna or Griese or Volcek as a bridge for Walter in 2007? Releasing KFC would give me hope that the ship is being turned around in the right direction.

I love that Arthur wants to get back to the basics; run the football with power and stop the run on D. If Arthur can get the O-Line playing some nasty, smash football coupled with an improving D, I would be confident that the teams fortunes would rise immediately. Most importantly, the attitude would change while the swagger and toughness returns.

8:20 PM  
Anonymous Stick'em said...

Calico: Word is (from Gil Brandt, for what that is worth) that Gallery will be moved back to LT next year, Sims goes to guard, and Grove at center. Amen.

The big FAs on the market (unless they get franchised) are Chad Hutchinson (who might be crazy to leave Walter Jones) and LeCharles Bentley (who would be crazy not to leave the 'Aints).

IMO, Hutchinson is the best O-lineman in the NFL and the Raiders should throw the checkbook at him. I like Bentley too, but he wants to play C and the Raider way is homegrown centers (Otto, Dalby, Mosebar, Robbins) so not sure that will happen.

The draft holds some good guards, and I would love to see Al draft MaxJean-Gilles or Davin Joseph in the 2nd round. I'm not sold on Deuce Latui from USC, but someone's gotta be opening all those holes for White and Bush...

Thoughts?

7:57 AM  
Anonymous LK said...

I like Hawk alot at #6--fills a need, so does DeMeco Ryans.

I like CWood to fire the Postons and re-up for reasonable jing, considering he's been hurt, and return to the pro bowl as a safety in 2006 [considering the emergence of Nnamdi A, Washington and Routt]. Raiders then have best secondary in football, a Raiders tradition...

If Collins renegotiates before he's due his balloon payment, it could be one of two things:
1-we're committed to try him in '06
2-we re-did the deal to make him tradeable. If there is no new deal, I suspect he'll be released, meaning the Raiders will be heavy into the FA QB market [for starter or vet to compete w/ Walter]

I really like Hutchinson but we may not have enough $$ and I agree with stick'em that he would regret leaving Jones side. We also have big Langston coming back...

Ray-Ray is un-day

2:17 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

Come April, I think we should get a Raider Take Yahoo chat room going to critique the draft.

2:18 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Sims' kyrptonite has been speed rushers. Moving him to Guard would solve that dilemma. I think we should release Ron Stone. Max-Jean and Deuce would be both be excellent 2nd round picks. I also like Darnell Bing (USC SS) as an early 2nd round pick. I think that the deck will need to be re-shuffled on the O-line. Walker and Slaughter should compete for the RT slot. I was VERY impressed with Slaughter's performance in the last game of the year vs the G-Men. He absolutely destroyed and manhandled Michael Strahan.
How about this potential O-line?
RT - Slaugter
RG - Max-Jean Gilles
C - Grove
LG - Sims
LT - Gallery

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Bing will be long gone before the 2nd round.

I don't want to give anyone Teyo Johnson flashbacks, but what do you all think about Marcedes Lewis (TE UCLA) if he's still available in the 2nd round? Probably not the ideal TE for the power running game, but his upside on the receiving end is huge. Also, Dominique Byrd (TE USC) would be another option if he's still available...probably a much better blocker.

1st round must (I agree with all): Williams, Hawk, or Ryans

4:32 PM  
Blogger frkyraider said...

thanks for the warm welcome guys. now that said, i'd agree to any ol' way of getting rid of KFC. cut him, trade him, take him out to the desert and leave him for dead. there had been talk of a c-wood for ray ray deal a while back was the only reason i brought it up, that and he's been cryin he wants outa balt. hellova player and wouldn't mind taking a chance on an aging ray ray. it'd be nice looking at a strength at the LB spot, instead of what we've been lookin at. ray lew-morrison-clark sounds like music to these ears.

as far as the draft goes i love hawk, not sure he'll fall to us at #6 (hopefully 6)but i would be happy to see williams there if we miss hawk. if we miss out on hawk, williams AND vince young then.....then.....well hell i dunno but we better not. i figure lienart and bush will go too early for us to even consider. d'brick ourght to be gone, if not someone has really screwed the pooch and i'll be happy to capitalize on their mistake. wow tho huh, how would that work out with gallery,(sims will be lucky if he mearly get demoted to gaurd)i can't imagine in shells first draft back that we'd pass on d'brick at #6 when we have issues there. i personally want HAWK!!

5:36 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

I'm with you Jeff aka Frykraider on dumping KFC by any means necessary. I would love to see KFC traded to Baltimore for additional draft choices instead of for Ray-Ray.

Unfortunately, D'Brickshaw Ferguson won't be available by the time the Raiders pick in the 6/7 slot. Unless there is some trading picks or juggling of the draft order, ESPN Isider has the 1st 8 picks projected as follows;

1. Houston Texans (2-14): +Reggie Bush, RB, USC
2. New Orleans Saints (3-13): Matt Leinart, QB, USC
3. Tennessee Titans (4-12): +Vince Young, QB, Texas
4. New York Jets (4-12): D'Brickashaw Ferguson, OT, Virginia
5. Green Bay Packers (4-12): +Mario Williams, DE, N.C. State
6. x-Oakland Raiders (4-12): A.J. Hawk, OLB, Ohio State
7. x-San Francisco 49ers (4-12): Jimmy Williams, DC, Virginia Tech
8. Buffalo Bills (5-11): Haloti Ngata, DT, Oregon

By March KFC is due a hefty 2.5 million roster bonus. The Raiders forking out this bonus would not be a good sign.

7:40 PM  
Blogger frkyraider said...

so if we lose the coin flip (that we should have won already) we could miss every one of them. just my opinion but i think the talent level takes a large step down between the 6 and the 7 pick.

10:02 PM  
Anonymous Stick'em said...

Calico: You must be one of Dionne Warwicks' psychic friends, 'cause you just read my mind, baby!

Slaughter did a huge job against arguably the most well rounded DE in all of football in Strahan. Strahan is speed and power.

Slaughter's shot to his face is EXACTLY the punch'em-in-the-mouth style Art is talking about. It's not drawing a penalty, it's not AFTER the play; it's just line up and hit 'em, repeat.

I'll bet you nailed the lineup if a rookie is brought in and a FA is not. We definitely need competition on the right side.

Langston Walker has always seemed soft to be as big as he is. I like what Chad would bring to the Slaughterhouse five instead...and most importantly (LOL!) I get the feeling Chad Slaughter is one of Al's favorites, and we all know what that means...

5:24 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Stick'em 37: I would prefer that we save our nickels on an OG and use the draft considering there are 3-4 OGs that would be solid 2nd round pick-ups;

Max-Jean Gilles (Georgia)
Deuce Lutui (USC)
Darvin Joseph (Oklahoma)
Rob Sims (Ohio St)

I like your knickname of 'Slaughterhouse 5'. Has a nice ring to it. You better patent the name before Amy Trask gets wind of it.

I get the feeling that Slaughter will catch Art's attention for the following reasons;

1) his size (6'8" 340)
2) his jersey number (78)
3) his college (Alcorn St.)

Let's see, a big, rough OT wearing #78 from a small college ... sound familiar?

6:53 AM  
Anonymous LK said...

Doobie--the draft board is a great idea.

frky, I wouldn't worry about a talent dropoff between six and seven. Somebody always goes off at the combine and moves near the top

More Ray-Ray--even though I think he's done, if it meant Collins was on the next bus [as was suggested], I'd be all for it. Funny thing is Ray-Ray likes to play behind fat DT's [we got that covered] who keep blockers off him. If Raiders stayed at 6, still need to draft OLB...

7:42 AM  
Blogger NY Raider said...

Although better, I still think he needs to read a few more chapters in "journalism for dumb asses".

10:50 AM  
Blogger frkyraider said...

i hope your right LK, but i don't think thats gonna happen.i agree that someone always raises his stock at the combine (hoping that my nefew does that)but they rarely move up to the top few spots. into the first or second round maybe but the guys sittin on top right now are gonna be there in april still, with a great big dropoff right behind whichever one goes 6th.

4:55 PM  
Anonymous Stick'em said...

Tell Trask Kurt Vonnegut probably has the copyright on "Slaughterhouse 5" already. I would be satisfied if the O-line just didn't play like the Jackson 5 again next season. LOL!

Good point on Slaughter wearing #78. I remember Gallery wanted that number after meeting Shell at the draft, but "settled" for Wiz's 76 instead.

Keep an eye on Davin Joseph from OK. The kid is a champion wrestler, and as a former wrestler myself, lemme tell you it really helps establish a solid, wide base. Joseph looked good at the Sr. Bowl too.

He's overshadowed by the gigantic Jean-Gilles and Latui, but Joseph is a four year starter with the versitility of playing guard and tackle. We all know how the Raiders like lineman who can play musical chairs...

Joseph likes to pull and trap, something we haven't seen the elephants on parade in Oakland do since Wiz left. Davin would be my guard pick in the 2nd (if there's not a BPA) since Max should be gone by the time the Raiders are slated to pick.

I am worried Latui will eventually eat himself into the Customer of the Month HOF at Golden Corall. Deuce's picture may hang right there next to Leonard Davis and Mike Willams from the Longhorn school of rib eatin'.

Other guys I would look at in the 2nd are WLB Thomas Howard from UTEP (a great coverage LB and gawd knows we haven't seen that in a while) and Joseph Addai from LSU.

Addai is the most well rounded RB this draft, and may run the fastest 40 of the RBs at the Combine (we all know what that means--can you say Huggy Bear?). Anyway, LaMont Jordan's pass protection and hands don't exactly remind anyone of Marcus Allen and Addai could be a much better 3rd down back.

I really like Michael Huff at safety, but no way Huff lasts till the 2nd. I'd like to see this kid named Dwayne Slay at safety. The guy's not that great in coverage, but he hits like an asphault truck. Picture Rodney Harrison...anything to get Al Davis over his infatuation with Radio is a blessing.

8:41 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Stick'em: Nice draft analysis. Have you been working as an intern for Mel Kiper Jr? There is an outside chance that Bing will still be available in the early 2nd round. Other safeties I like are LaRon Landry (LSU) and Ko Simpson (So Carolina). Simpson is a ball hawk who fills hard vs. the run. If we can come away with AJ Hawk and a solid OG or Safety in the 2nd round we will be in much better shape. My only question is whether or not Al is going to pull the trigger on a veteran QB by trade or free agency. I see that RT is heating up the discussion on our next potential QB with his latest blog entry so I will save my thoughts for now.

9:43 PM  
Anonymous LK said...

frky--I should have said there are always more than seven good players in round 1--you're right that they don't always fall to the top of the round--Shawne merriman is perfect example from last year

6:09 AM  
Blogger frkyraider said...

LK, totally agree, lots and lots of good players to be had, my point was that the top 6 are almost sure things if there is such a thing. bluechippers is what their called comin outa highschool, studs is what i usually call em.

i really like ryans as you mentioned earlier, very fast for a LB, hell of an athlete (altho the people around us would freak at the pick, OH NO another davis reach for the athlete and not football player!!!) i say bullcrap this kid is a baller. just don't think he lines up with where we'll be pickin, 6 is too early for him and 2nd round is too late. won't see bing in the second either. landry....maybe. huff-lol, no way.
simpson?....hmm don't know much about him, i've read his stats and stuff but whose seen him play? what did you think. can he bring it?

love the sound of a guard thats a GUARD!! someone to pull and trap like a guard. i miss that. the wall of meat is a decent stratagy if your gonna throw the ball every down, but balance is what it's all about. power and play action is what is gettin it done today and has been for years and years. (but we've got an outdated philosphy, LMAO)

5:17 PM  

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