Friday, July 21, 2006

Empty Your Glasses

Where have all the pessimists gone? They usually circle Raider Take like sharks, ready to take a bite out of the first sign of optimism. Yet here I am preaching the Glass Half Empty this week, only to find that my cranky congregation has mysteriously vanished. Where have you gone, my gloomy friends? Must I trudge this difficult path by myself, a lone voice of negativity in a happy wilderness of unworried Raiders fans?

Well, I sure hope not, because today I’m turning my pages over to you.

This is no time to be shy. We have already addressed the running game, the secondary and the quarterback position. But perhaps your worries lie elsewhere. Perhaps our offensive line still scares you. Perhaps you’re concerned that our defensive line will still be no match for the powerful running games of our division rivals. Perhaps the sight Sebastian Janikowski makes you break out in hives. Perhaps you just can’t get over the fact that our offensive coordinator was last seen running not an offense, but rather a guest ranch in Idaho. Perhaps you’re getting nervous that Kerry Collins is still unsigned and that we are one torn ACL away from bringing him back.

Perhaps your fears are so dark and twisted that I can’t even imagine what lies therein?

Need I remind you that about this time last year, you were feeling cocky, smug in the certainty that our offense—newly invigorated with the additions of Moss and Jordan—would cut a lethal swath through the NFL in 2005? And how did that work out?

Don't you want to be able to tell us, "I told you so!"—just in case things don't work out again?

Yes, the time is now to unburden yourself on Raider Take. Bare your negative soul. Confront those monsters hiding under your bed. Empty your glasses, so that you might finally refill them with the refreshing elixir of optimism.


Blogger The Analyzer said...

Tom Walsh scares me. I hope he still has what it takes. I miss the days of Rich Gannon, who if he didn't agree with a play would audible and then argue with Gruden on the sidelines afterwards. I don't think Brooks or Walter have that much knowledge of the game yet.

If Lamont Jordan goes down, we are screwed.

If Warren Sapp goes down, we are screwed unless Tommy Kelly becomes a superstar.

5:56 AM  
Blogger TheFreakingPope said...

I'll tell you what scares me. It's quite simple really. The idea of Aaron Brooks becoming the next "Great Black Quarterback". Personally, I find the whole media coverage subtly racist to begin with. More to the point, the moniker has typically been laid at the feet of quarterbacks with average numbers who recklessly place their bodies in harms way, talk about their effort rather than the teams, or throw perfect spirals to the other team's secondary. I actually heard a commentator point out that a certain quarterback didn't play like a "black" quarterback because he spent too much time in the pocket. WHAT?! It is my hope, see how that optimism sneaks right back in, that if Aaron earns the starting job that the media can avoid the temptation to make it about race. Yes, Aaron is black…SILVER & BLACK.

6:31 AM  
Blogger StickUm25 said...

It's the OC that has me most worried, because that's the guy that has the most to prove.

It’s not unreasonable to assume Brooks should improve with better receivers.

It’s not ureasonable to assume the offensive line will improve, not only over last year but as the season progresses.

It’s not unreasonable to assume the pass rush will improve based on personnel changes.

It’s not unreasonable to assume productivity from the 3rd linebacker spot will improve.

It’s not unreasonable that a young secondary should improve with experience.

It’s not unreasonable to assume the team will be more disciplined and focused with Art back as coach.

It is unreasonable to assume a guy with no history of creating a dominant offense will suddenly be able to do so. It could have been due to talent – I don’t know that anyone could have excelled with Schroeder or Marinovich at QB, and I don’t think you’d find a legit #1 receiver among Fernandez, Gault, Ismail, or a young Tim Brown, who didn’t hit his stride until his 4th year in the league. The team reached 20 points less than half the time, and had far too many games in single digits. That won’t cut it, even if our defense does play better than last year.

Taking it a step further, and being conservative, assume the team does play better under Art. The defensive unit makes moderate strides, we don’t get slammed with injuries, Brooks is a bit more than “Collins with legs”, etc. We get into a game, the team plays tough, and we go into the locker room with the score close. The other team’s defense makes adjustments – will we be able to respond? Is Walsh going to be able to make the subtle, necessary, changes to give the guys a chance to succeed? If they start to neutralize our bread-and-butter plays, will he be ready with ways to take advantage of new defensive alignments? In effect, will Walsh be able to think 2 or 3 steps ahead of the defense? Only time will tell . . .

7:15 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Finally, the Analyzer finds something to worry about. I was getting worried about that!

FreakingPope, at least we know that the Raiders won't be making a ruckus about this. In an era when so many pat themselves on the back for doing the right thing, Al Davis and the Raiders have quietly blazed trails in both race and gender in football, seeking not approval but rather excellence.

Stickum, I think, speaks to the darkest fear in the Raider Nation these days. Everything is pointing in the right direction, yet there's this weird wild card wearing a headset that's freaking everyone out.

9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a former football coach who has seen personnel changes, I think some people may be overlooking a small name. John Shoop. Now I know that he is TE coach now, but that could be in title only. Management kept him around, and while he did have some struggles as a very young OC, he did have a few sucesses as well in Chicago. Maybe, just maybe, Tom Walsh is OC in pay grade because he is Shell's boy, but Shoop may have considerable sway in the game plan. If Walsh is smart he will insist on a contemporary offensive mind to have input.

Not really a glass half empty post, unless John Shoop scares you more than Walsh!

9:51 AM  
Blogger The Analyzer said...

If Shell does eventually take over as GM, it may be easier to hire coaching candidates. Maybe Parcells next job will be in Silver and Black....

10:30 AM  
Blogger Raider Raza said...

My biggest concern is the fans. It is the fans that don't sell out the games, so we never get to be on TV.

11:24 AM  
Blogger TheFreakingPope said...

Regarding Tom Walsh. I have to go with Shell on this one. I know this is a more appropriate response for next week, when optimism returns, but I might argue that either way, this is part of the glass that is still full. Norv Turner is, according to many, one of the modern offensive geniuses. Mr. Walsh may have spent some time away from the sport, but the sport hasn’t changed all that much. The combination of power, speed, and heart, when applied in the appropriate proportions, wins games. That’s not something one forgets, no matter how long they’ve been gone. One thing we know about Norv, he had no heart.

1:39 PM  
Blogger Roy said...

Tom Walsh scares the hell out of me. His time away from football is big because he has never accomplished anything big.

3:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

all of the above and then some. This is another 4-12 season if we are lucky to take that many games.

1:45 PM  
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6:20 PM  

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