Thursday, July 20, 2006

Glass Half Empty: Quarterback

My reputation as a blind optimist has been forever soiled by Glass Half Empty Week. I’m now known as the cranky pessimist who is raining on everyone’s parade, right on the eve of training camp no less. I can’t win. Woe is me. I shall die a martyr.

On that note, I am looking forward to next week, when I can return to regularly scheduled optmisim. But hereafter, when people accuse me of putting lipstick on a toad, at least I’ll be able to say: “Look here, I was a pessimist once. For a whole week!”

But for now, I must finish my dirty work. I considered selecting special teams, and specifically Sebastian Janikowski, for Glass Half Empty treatment today. But that would be like shooting fish in a barrel, wouldn’t it? Too easy.

I thought about selecting our defensive line and linebackers. DT is an area of concern, although a healthy and motivated Warren Sapp can still do some damage. I’m not sure that rookies Howard and Bing should be counted on to make a big difference at the linebacker position, at least not this year. The book on Howard is that he has great talent but raw skills. Bing is a fourth-round pick who is being converted to OLB. These guys might be running around like beheaded chickens for a while.

So where does that leave us? Well, you didn’t think I’d let this week go by without engaging the most inflammatory topic known to Raiders fans, did you? I speak, of course, about the quarterback position.

Allow me to shield my ears as many of you shout: Andrew Walter!!! Andrew Walter!!! Hey, I love the idea of Andrew Walter as savior, too, but shouldn’t we at least wait for him to be officially elevated from third string to backup before we declare him the savior of the franchise? Shouldn’t we wait for him to take his first snap in a regular season NFL game? Shouldn’t we wait for his first injury-free season after suffering significant injuries over the past two years (one at ASU, the other in Oakland)?

If Andrew Walter is indeed our QB of the future, shouldn’t he be clearly competing for the lead role as he enters his second season? Yet it's looking more and more like Aaron Brooks was brought in to lead the team. Consider Carson Palmer, Eli Manning and other so-called QBs of the future. Did their teams bring in high-priced free agent starters as they began their second seasons?

Which, of course, brings us to Aaron Brooks. I’m personally psyched to see what he can do with this team. I’m convinced that he is a major upgrade over Collins. I’m….Wait, I forgot: pessimism, pessimism. Brooks is a castoff from the New Orleans Saints, much maligned in the Big Easy for his questionable decision-making, his casual attitude and his general underperformance. Of course, throwing to Moss, Porter, Gabriel and Curry might admittedly cure some of those ills. But all of them?

Oh, yeah, and we passed on Matt Leinart in the draft. I'm sure you won't pay any attention to Cardinals games over the next few years.

So who is going to lead us to the promised land anytime soon? Tui? You think? Walter? If so, why not start him now and get the ball rolling? Or Brooks? Based on what—the assumption that he will reinvent himself?

And thus concludes my role reversal as a temporary pessimist. Is your glass empty yet? Here, let me refill it—just short of halfway, of course.

P.S. Stay tuned for the final installment of Glass Half Empty on Friday, in which I will turn these pages over to your darkest fears.

18 Comments:

Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

I feel ya RT, it's tough being pissimistic for a whole week. I'd say you had hit the nail on the head with takes about the LB spot, and the DT spot. This is where the majority of "what ifs" are happening, followed by a close second regarding DB. The third "woe" is RB. These are the weaknesses of our team, and the questions surrounding if Art Shell's impact to change this weaknesses immediately, and the question regarding the newbies "Will they be enough?" That's my darkest thoughts. I know, I know; I'm not supposed to post this until tomorrow, but I may not get that chance, so I jumped the gun.
I can't help but not worry too much about the QB situation because my grandma is a step up from KFC.

6:04 AM  
Blogger The Analyzer said...

I think we're holding Walter off until we have a little more solidity on the offensive line. Walter isn't mobile enough if our line plays the way it did last year. Brooks should be able to start until our line gels and then we can put our fate in the hands of Andrew Walter.

6:04 AM  
Blogger StickUm25 said...

I too am more optimistic in regards to Brooks, but let's extend the discussion to the offensive coordinator for a sec. If we're running draws on 3rd & 5 or dumping off to Jordan on 3rd & 10, then it doesn't really matter who we put out there. Hopefully the scheme will be sufficient to maximize Brooks talent. I won't mind the odd mistake if he puts up points and we're not going 3 and out half the time.

Biggest QB fear - Brooks gets hurt, Tui is first off the bench, and we end the year no closer to having settled on a QB.

7:55 AM  
Anonymous cfiorica said...

I am also excited to see what Brooks can do at QB...how much success has Al Davis had at re-starting, refreshing, and fulfilling a QBs career after they have proved near worthless on other teams...Jim Plunkett? A disaster for the Pats and 49ers, 2x SB winner for Oakland. Gannon...Lamonica...even (dare I say) Schroeder to an extent. Brooks may just fit right in with those guys (hopefully better than Schroeder thoush).

8:06 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Of course, since our glass is half empty this week, we cannot forget Jeff George and Kerry Collins.

8:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post RT. Aaron Brooks will not get any credit until he wins in Oakland. I think he can with the talent he has around him, not to mention a better mentor and coach. We'll have to wait and see I guess.(By the way, loved the Sean Salzberry Steak line...way to easy)

9:19 AM  
Anonymous LK said...

After KFC, I don't feel much pessimism at the QB position[sorry]. Brooks is an upgrade in heart and mobility and if he's also an upgrade in brains [he did throw a pass toward his own goalline last year], we'll be fine. I'm excited to see him play in the HOF game and also to see Walter over five games. Glass half empty might be if Brooks brings the underachievment of the Saints with him...hope he's immune to that bug now and not a carrier...

9:48 AM  
Blogger The Analyzer said...

The Aaron Brooks haters generally just look at his last two seasons and ignore some of the little incidents that happened like Hurrican Katrina. Brooks isn't a bad QB. He just had to deal with some bad situations.

10:35 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Oh, you soft optimists! Babes in the woods! Alameda Kool Aid drinkers! Come and drink from the cup half empty! The bitter taste will open your eyes!

11:16 AM  
Blogger sirrastusbear said...

All this talk about Brooks being a bust with the Saints always fails to mention the supporting cast with which he was surrounded. Sure, you have Joe Horn, but an inconsistent running game, a lack of a decent #2 (or #3, #4, #5) receiver, a mediocre defense and questionable O-line play are all factors here. Take the combined 2001-2005 stats of these two QBs:

COM ATT YDS TD INT
1681 2679 18909 141 98
1450 2577 17642 111 78

Comparable, no? The top one is a sure first-ballot hall of famer in Brett Favre, the bottom one is Aaron Brooks. No one is calling Favre a "questionable decision maker" or a liability, even though he's thrown 20 more INTs in the same span. The main difference is Favre's supporting cast. I think we're plenty fine with Brooks in the short-term, and he has this year and next to prove he deserves the job.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Where have all the pessimists gone?

12:28 PM  
Blogger The Analyzer said...

ok, fine.......Brooks could end up being another Kerry Collins who just gets sacked less often and I guess I never saw Collins throw the ball backwards......

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

Tui will not be our second-string QB when the depth chart gets posted. He's had his chances, and he's been a disaster. I think Andrew Walter is our future, but I look forward to Brooks proving some people (myself included) wrong.

1:02 PM  
Blogger js said...

This must be an awkward period for you, RT. I sympathize.

I will say this. When I feel pessimistic about the Raiders, it has less to do with any one player than it does with an understanding that we're bringing in several new pieces (QB and Coach most notably), and I worry about how quickly they'll find the right chemistry. It's one thing to see on diagram where a player is supposed to be, it's another to know it by instinct. Until the Raiders develop that, it's going to be tough for them to play in January.

Maybe pessimism isn't the right word, though. It's more that I don't want to expect too much too soon. Jon Gruden's Radiers went through two 8-8 seasons before the real fun started (and lots of those games ended in a tragic fashion that was almost Sophoclean). This year, the playoffs would be a welcome, but unexpected bonus. What I want to see is a team that plays more consistently, that makes fewer mental mistakes, and that at least plays .500 ball against its AFC West rivals. From there we can build.

1:10 PM  
Blogger Roy said...

It is hard to be pessimistic about Brooks because even if he sucks he is not KFC! I can stomach him messing up because at least he is someone new, what I cannot stand is going out there with the same pile of crap year after year and expecting different results. The only problem I think Brooks has is forcing the ball, but with Randy Moss it is nice to force the ball because he can catch it!

3:38 PM  
Anonymous raider00 said...

I think we can all agree that Brooks is a stop gap QB for the Raiders. If a light goes on inside him and suddenly he's great, well, ok, but so far he's been a very average QB.

The real question going forward is Walter. Will he ever play, and how will he play ? Will he get real chances to grow, and learn, or will he rot on the bench ? Will Al Davis expect him to be Johnny U from snap one, or will he show some patience with a young QB for a change ?

The Nation has to know what the kid has in that heart, head, & arm !!!!

In the meantime, I've been hoping that Cutler goes for a fast ride with Rothlisberger, and Lienart falls for Cher.

7:30 PM  
Blogger LARADR78 said...

Hey, they said Plunkett was washed up...everyone knows what the outcome was.
Hostetler was ok. Gave a couple good seasons.
they said Gannon was done after leaving KC...yeah, done with that crappy organization.
I'm just saying, give Brooks a chance and if he doesn't work out, I'll be the first screaming from L.A. to put Walter in.

8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't think we's be stupid enough to put our future in the hands of another loser like Kerry Collins after passing up on Ben Rothliesberger, but we did anyway with Aaron Brooks after passing on Matt Leinart.

I'll make a prediction, umm right fucking now.

This decision will be joked about on draft day for decades to come. I can just see this appearing on a draft day howlers quiz on the ESPN 2 page on thier website in 2012.

"What food stuff/beverage shot out of your mouth when the Raiders passed on Matt Leinart and took a safety?"

I don't care what they think about Walter, and i like the kid, but you don't pass on Matt Leinart when he is all you have, Brooks is a loser, who is currently having the same makeover from Raider fans that Kerry Collins got, and all the same excuses being made for his shitty career.

Revisionism.

The comparison to Rich Gannon is beyond laughable, one was a gritty, committed winner who make the very best of every oppurtunity he ever had and was true leader, the other laughs on the sidelines after interceptions.

It's July, everything is peachy, no-one has a 'let's see what happens' 'tude, and that's fine.

Let's see how stoked about our QB situation we are in December, we could have taken a look at Walter this year and prepped him to backup, or be some nice trade bait down the line, we could have used this year to bed in the offense and get the line sussed, and then we would have had MATT LEINART to look forward too in '07.

The kid was visisbly shaken and disapointed when his boyhood heroes brushed him off, not as shaken as i was.

This will go down as crowning turd in the waterpipe of Raiders draft history, this will make Jano look a mere trifle.

8:21 AM  

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