Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Picture of The Week: How to Sack

As this photo attests, there are four stages to the classic Raiders sack:

1. Launch
2. Impact
3. Choke
4. Slam

Today, a sack is a statistic. In Ben Davidson's day, it was an event.

If anyone wonders why we Raiders fans are so sentimental about the 1970s, it's because we haven't seen anything like it since. Those Raiders were once-in-a-lifetime artists, like Bach or Baudelaire or Picasso. Well, not quite. But you get the drift.

Commentators on my previous take launched a great discussion about which team is the most hated in the NFL. It is a crown once worn by the Raiders, and which is now open to debate. Hated or not, the Raiders were certainly once the most feared team in the NFL, for reasons evident in this photo. But our defense scared no one in 2005, and hasn't for years (I'm talking about our defense as a whole, in terms of collective attitude and ferocity).

The Raiders and their fans are frequently accused of being stuck in the past. I say it's time, indeed, to get stuck in the defensive past, the past of Ben Davidson, Jack Tatum and Howie Long. Players who incited fear. Players who got in your head before the first whistle was blown. Art Shell remembers. We remember. It's time for our defensive unit to remember.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hell yeah. The Raiders D needs to get back to keeping track of "limp-offs" and "knockouts", as they did in the days of Tatum and Atkinson

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it won't be too long away before we start playing that kind of defense again. A potential hard hitter like Tatum on our team right now is Asomugha, and Huff his a pretty hard hitter too.
If Shell can teach Asomugha to play with his head in the game; along with his hard blasts; he can be wicked good.
That is what I was trying to get across with my last take. You can agree/disagree, I don't really care; it's just my opinion.
The other thing I was trying to get across, is that the Raiders are consistently hated by other NFL Teams, and Refs. We may not be hated now, which is rare; but you cannot close your eyes to the fact that the majority of rules like "QB Protection" etc, have to do with how the Raiders played. When Referees consistently make calls that change the course of the game, against you (like the Snow Job Tuck Rule); it's not coincidence! It's because the NFL does not want to hand it's hardware to the Raiders at the end of the day.
We may not be the "most hated" now, but it's in the air, and teams, and the media are getting antsy because they know that the nasty is coming back soon. The real question is, "How soon?"

10:59 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

In the past few years we didn't have the defensive personnel in place for DC Rob Ryan to deploy an attacking, blitzing, aggressive D.

Like his papa, Rob Ryan believes in disrupting an offense and creating turnovers by mixing & matching different blitz packages.

Here are some of the keys / improvements in the Raiders D:

1. Better offense/play with the lead

2. Additional edge rushers (Johnstone, Brayton)

3. Additonal blitzers (Huff, Howard, Bing, Williams)

4. More athleticism & speed (Howard, Huff)

5. Better coverage of backs & tight ends (Howard, Huff, Bing)

Huff, Howard, Bing, and Sam Williams have the potential to be knock-out, lights out hitters.

I long for the day when the Raiders defense returns to a feared, menacing, intimidating unit.

7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know if I agree that the NFL officials are against the Raiders. It's true they are terrible, but they are terrible in every game. Did anyone see the Super Bowl ? Just the worst. Well, maybe they are a little extra bad during Raider games, I don't know. They just seem to turn my stomach every game. I, like RT, long for the golden age of 1970's football, when very few flags were thrown, and the game moved along with great flow. Now, these blind bats, throw flag, after flag, only to be proved by instant replay that the infraction never happened. So yes, it would be nice to see the Raiders return to headlock sacks, and helmet flying hits, but nowdays, those little yellow flags would surely follow. Remeber 2 yrs ago when they called a penalty on Gallery for blocking. Amazing. The NFL officials are the worst in the world.

7:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can just see the blizzard of 15 yard flags right now, if we try and return to those days, the zeb's will be licking thier chops.

It's nostalgia, it's sentiment, and it won't work anymore WITHOUT DISCIPLINE and SMART PLAYERS.

Do we have both those things? we'll see, it's great talking about smacking people upside the head and being nasty, but does it translate into a tough ferocious defense, or a complete shambles?

Does it keep thier offense on the field with penalties, or does it give us a defense that gives up under 17 pts a game?

That said i'm very optimistic about this defense, anyone who knows football could see it wasn't the 'D' that sucked last year, it was simply dragged down a by a truly pathetic 'O'.

We ran away screaming from the Quarterback question once again (quelle surprise!) - but we did take the best defensive player avaiable, Huff was at least not the trad reach, or headscratcher.

IMO any offense whose four most important infulences are Art Shell, Tom Walsh, Aaron Brooks and Randy Moss is a disaster waiting to happen it has real timebomb potential.

Can you really see Moss respecting Brooks and a caterer when things don't go well?

I love the potential of the defense, the offense absoluteley terrifies me.

3:39 AM  

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