Monday, August 14, 2006

Five Postgame Takes

1. Our offensive tackles are about as stout as a pair of saloon doors right now. So Aaron Brooks goes into one of Tom Walsh’s seven-step drops, and before he’s set his feet, he’s being blown backward. Thankfully, Brooks has legs to go with his feet. If this were Collins, we’d be looking at sacks for losses of 20 yards. Walker and Gallery need to step up, and soon.

2. Boy, Andrew Walter sure throws a nice interception. And no, I’m not being sarcastic. That second interception was a beauty, at least while it was in flight. So was his touchdown bomb to Morant, of course. It’s not just the arm strength, it’s the flight of the ball. It just looks tight and focused and lethal. I’m not worried about the interceptions at this point. He’ll learn to make better decisions (especially after getting the evil eye from Art Shell). Last week, Walter looked jumpy and nervous. Tonight, he was setting his feet and firing rockets. Measurable progress in one week is a very good sign.

3. Unsolved mystery: stupid penalties. But I’m glad we have Sherlock Shell on the case. Last year, stupid penalties were met with impotent grimaces by Norv Turner, as if it were a matter tottally out of his control, like bad luck and taxes. This year, we’ve got a coach who’s taking notes and taking names, and doling out evil eyes that promise actual consequences. Therefore, I’m not going to panic yet about all of the yellow flags. I think we’ll clean up our act as time goes on. Art Shell will make sure of that.

4. After listening to the incessant drone of the Raiders Haters in the mainstream media for the past several months, it was refreshing to hear Joe Theismann treat the team with respect, objectivity and even optimism throughout the gamecast. Kudos to Theismann for being an analytical adult when talking about the Oakland Raiders.

5. I won’t lie, the first team offense has me a bit worried, and judging by the look on Randy Moss’s face, I’m not the only one. But it’s only August 14. I like how Fabian Washington is playing. Chris Carr and Sebastian Janikowski are on fire, and our linebackers are rising to the occasion, especially with Howard being a rookie and Williams shaking off injury rust. Our defensive line is inconsistent right now, but will likely prove to be strong enough. Most of all, I like the fact that this is a team with a purpose, guided by the vision of a coach who clearly means business. Merit is back in vogue, and that’s going to light some fires. Our guys looked excited and motivated after big plays, celebrating together with vigor. Sapp is on the sideline in the last minute of the second preseason game, shouting encouragement and instruction. All positive signs.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, i liked the way theisman spoke about the raiders too. while tony, tony, tony was ripping them, at least theisman spoke positively about us.

methinks our o-line is in deep, i mean DEEP doo doo.

aaron brooks. wow. i'm tellin ya folks, walter SHOULD start the next game and WILL start season opener! YES he DID make mistakes, but he also made some progress too. brooks did not.

this game like last week's game was U-G-L-Y! but its a win and i'll take it.

9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i don't mean to get too far ahead of myself by naming walter the starting qb, especially since our o-line is so very bad. but geez, let's face it folks, we're not going anywhere this year so why not let the kid get that valuable PT so he'll be all the more ready for next year? he won't get PT sitting behing brooks.

is it me or did i also not see too much passing to the tight ends? i thought the plan was to get the TE's more involved?

one more.... randy moss is gonna be one pissed off cat this year.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

At this point I would like to see both Brooks and Walter play a complete half each. They both need the game snaps to find some level of consistency and become more game ready. Tui is clearly the #3 QB with no chance of moving up. He is an insurance policy at best.

What is the point of Tui taking any snaps away from Brooks and Walter? If Brooks is going to be our starter, he needs to accelerate his learning curve with his new team to be ready by 9/11. This means playing a few extra series. If Walters competes with Brooks and wins out to be the starter, Tui is still the odd man out.

If Brooks lays another egg in next week's game, have Walter start the 1st half and Brooks the 2nd half of game #4. Finally, if Brooks plays better in games #3 + #4, then go ahead and have Tui play the entire 2nd half of game #5 to protect Brooks from injury.

11:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

is it just me, but what's up with the constant 7-step drops? and those new viking uniforms are horrendous. something to take our minds off our crappy offense.

4:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i refuse to watch mnf on espn. i don't like theissman, and i certaintly don't like cornholer. this is the stupidest thing the nfl has ever done, let espn take control of mnf.
i am glad to hear that theissman showed respect to our boys, he'd better since we ripped him a new on in the january '84 super bowl.
reading about it online, most people are giving much attention to randy throwing a fit after being pulled. i would have at least let him finish the drive though.
i agree to let walter start the next 2, or at least let brooks play a quarter or half to get more snaps, because he needs it. if he still cannot accomplish anything, then put walter as starter.
since i'm banning mnf this season, that means that i miss the opener and another one against the seahawks. oh well, i may end up purchasing nfl radio, and listening to it online. better than listening to cornholer and theissman, and having to turn into espn.

6:05 AM  
Blogger TheFreakingPope said...

1. The Line. There is no doubt that our O-line has some issues to work out this week. Based on “reviewing the tape”, it seems this week and last weeks failings are the result of a moment’s pause. Honestly, and I’m not an expert here, but I think they are almost over thinking it. These guys need to learn to trust their instincts. The are waiting a spilt second too long and then it’s too late. Hell, I’d rather they went left when they were suppose to go right than watch them frozen like deer in headlights.

2. Walter. I do love this kid. That’s not easy for me to admit. I still feel Tui deserved a shot he is likely to never receive. Not to get ahead of myself, but I agree with Theismann. Al needs to let this kid go be great somewhere else. There are teams that need someone of his skill set. Now, back to Walter. Much improved this week over last. One thing I firmly believe: Walter learned from those picks yesterday. You could see it in his eyes. And God bless him for facing the “stink eye” from Shell. He took it like a man.

3. Penalties. Naughty or Nice? Shell is keeping a tally in that book of his. And I may be imagining it, but I swear he writes an extra note if you don’t have the courage to face his disapproving gaze.

4. Theismann. The man said he would want Randy on his team! Finally.

5. Offense. That first team offense is troubling. I’m going to resist the urge to lay these troubles solely on AFB (too early?). I haven’t written this guy off, but he better stop smiling. Put your game face on son! This is Oakland. We only smile when our mouths our bloody. And crazy eyes don’t hurt either. Oh, and did I mention that it helps if you only smile when you are standing over a wounded Tom Brady in the snow of a late winter New England home game?

Extras: The tackling was much improved. Did you catch what Moss said about Walter? Let me recap: 1) He can put the ball it tight spaces. 2) He really knows this offense. 3) He’s far more mobile than I thought. He then went on to say that he doesn’t know what his or Andrew’s future with this team is, but he’d love to have him as his QB!

6:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree number 1 issue is the o-line--Gallery looks like an RT playing LT, but I gotta believe he'll get it worked out. Walker looks sloooow--not as confident he can get it done. But 0-line smarts is this staff's strength so I will remain glass half full. Maybe JP will fetch an RT in trade...

I thought the first and second D looked quick, despite the penalty-enabled drive, but some of the blitzes confounded me [like sending OLB on third and 8 vs. veteran QB like Johnson who easily hit the slant for the first with no OLB in the underneath zone], but maybe Ryan just wanted to see some things--gotta remember it's pre-season.

Hard to get a real read on Brooks with all the o-line issues, but can't deny Walter looked comfortable in the pocket and shifted away from the flow more than once to get the ball off. I'm figuring Brooks starts next week but if he gets outplayed, Walter will start game 4 and go three quarters--you can clearly see the potential.

Liked the hitting on special teams and liked Bing going upside Tarvaris's head--Raider football.

6:49 AM  
Blogger Foust said...

I have to agree--the oline looks just plain awful and Brooks (even though he's having to play behind that mess) looks lost out there. No synergy between him and any of the recievers. The defense, however, looks okay if you discount the litany of stupid penalties that led to Minny's touchdown. I hope Shell takes more than just names. Some of them should have a bit of hide removed for being so stupid.

7:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good takes on the game!

May I add just one of my own?

I loved the fact that we have strung two wins together. Like George Atkinson has preached and preached, you can get into a habit of winning or into a habit of losing.

This is a whole new deal, and if all that we accomplish in this offseason is to learn how to come out of a game with a win (however ugly that win may be), then we have accomplished much.

During the waning moments of the game against the Eagles last week, I found myself hoping we weren't going to find that all too familiar way to lose again. Last night, the scales were just about even, but we hung on.

Keep it up, Raiders! The preseason games may not count, but the winning habit will carry much weight in the new season to come.

7:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


7:52 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Thank you all for bringing such great takes! It's safe to say that we're all concered about the o-line. It's tough to truly evaluate Brooks at this point, considering the o-line circumstances. Like AllyOop says, however, we've got two wins on the preseason books. It's easy to say that preseason doesn't count, but it sure counts for a lot of young guys fighting for a roster spot. Winning builds confidence, no matter what the context.

9:01 AM  
Blogger Roy said...

Gallery needs to improve now! I will take Barry Simms and his five false starts a game because at least he could block. I agree that it is too soon to judge Brooks seeing as how the O-Line looks like crap but that sideline interview he did was horrible. He is as stupid as KFC.

Special Teams looks awesome, especially Seabass and Carr.

9:14 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

At one point, I saw Brooks literally cracking up and giggling behind a stone-faced Art Shell, I think it was in the third quarter. I didn't like that. I don't want to be too judgemental about it, who knows, maybe someone just told a really good joke; but after a performance like that from the first team offense, it just didn't seem right. Perceptions are important, and he needs to be careful on that front. He's already got a reputation for being a bit carefree, and the Raider Nation is not in a carefree mood right now.

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The D needed help, and Huff will be a big help. Maybe the Raiders should have made another attempt at the "QB of the future" rather than a retread without a winning record.

Cutler(Broncos)is already starting to look like a starter while none of the 3 Raiders' QBs are looking like they have what it takes to lead any team.

After barely surviving Collins, the Raiders need a leader, a winner, not an interception machine like Walter or Brooks who hasn't even stepped up and defined himself yet!

Sorry, Tui you will probably be holding a clipboard for the rest of your career.

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The good: Overall the defense looked sharp. Played the run well, crisp tackling, good coverage, and showed great team speed again. Also, special teams was outstanding, and Walters' long TD pass got me out of my chair.

The bad: Huff was not around the ball much, Brooks looks lost, Moss is already upset, Tight Ends not involved in game plan, a lot of penalties due to lack of focus.

The ugly: the entire offensive line. what a complete mess. Hope it starts to get better very soon.

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thefreakingpope said this about AFB: "I haven’t written this guy off, but he better stop smiling. Put your game face on son! This is Oakland. We only smile when our mouths our bloody. And crazy eyes don’t hurt either. Oh, and did I mention that it helps if you only smile when you are standing over a wounded Tom Brady in the snow of a late winter New England home game?"

AMEN! I don't want to see him smile until he does something. If he was standing behind Shell laughing, and giggling like a girl after his lack of play the last 2 week; it surprises me Shell didn't look back at him and knock that smile off his grill! This isn't AMERICAN KARAOKE, THIS IS THE NFL. YOU SMILE WHEN YOU MAKE PLAYS, AND GOING 1 FOR 6 FOR 16 YARDS IS NOT MAKING PLAYS! GET THAT GOOFY SMILE OFF YOUR GRILL, OR I'M COMING TO KNOCK IT OFF!

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm feeling all of this, but I'll say one thing: At least it's the offensive line that's the problem. It'll take a long time, maybe well into the season, for this line to gel, but when they do: watch out. Seriously, if you could hand pick the coaches for an offensive line, wouldn't you pick Shell, Eatman and Slater?

Routt, Washington and other DBs were making great tackles and breaking up passes. LBs Clark/Morrison had some real nastiness with their hits and the front four looked solid (Terdell Sands is 350lbs of Ted Washington-esque goodness).

All I hope is that Randy Moss has as much patience as I do for this offense, or it'll be a long season.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't read too much into Brooks giggling on the's balanced out by him clapping after Walter hit Morant for the TD. Brooks seems kind of a loose guy...maybe too loose to lead. I have a feeling he'll be doing more clapping than throwing before long anyway...

11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good takes all.

I don't have much to add other than I thought the defense in general did well on 3rd downs (only allowed 5 first downs on 17 3rd down situations?).

That's been a major weakness for this team. Getting into 3rd and long, and then giving up the big play or the stupid penalty.

Rob Ryan needs to improve the defense in 2 minute drill situations. They have and continue to give it up too easily. When you are dropping 8 into coverage you shouldn't have a guy 10 yards open running up the seam. Although, these weren't the starters, but this isn't a new problem, so the scheme needs to be questioned.

It's nice to see Sam Williams play finally. Now I see why we moved up in the draft a few years ago to get him.

I'm debating my new name for Robert Gallery: 1) Robert Mandarich, or 2) The Matador (since he pass blocks like a Matador moves aside for a bull).

It's been a long time since a left tackle taken so high in the draft has been a disappointment. Ogden, Jones, Pace, Samuels....I guess there has to be one that comes along sometime. Hopefully it's not Gallery.

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BAMA7 Raider:
Here we go again thinking our line sucks... thinking our qb sucks... blah, blah, blah. Take the Gruden years out and it has been the same offensive philosophy in Raiderland for the last forty years. It worked in the seventies and early eighties. Before the game speed increased dramatically. The last twenty years, save the Gruden era, have been painful to watch. NFL defenses became immune to Al's system circa '88.
Shroeder, Hostetler, Marinovich, George, Buerlein, Collins, Brooks... Shell, White, Callahan, Bugel, Turner etc etc etc.
How can it be that all these players and coaches sucked? How, with different personnel, year in and year out we are the most penalized team? How? There is only one constant through it all:
The system.
It's all the system. Al's been failing with his beloved Lamonica ball for the last twenty years. DEEP drops by the QB, scan the field, wait on those long, deep patterns to develope. It doesn't work. It looks so helpless. So impotent. And, it makes players look bad. Take holding and false starts out of the penalty equation and I bet we weren't even in the top ten in penalties all these damn years. The system begets holding and false starts because tackles in our system are jittery as hell knowing the qb is dropping back a mile and the average nfl DE is blazing fast now. Lamonica ball is tailor made for today's speedy end rusher that wants to go around the tackle. Sack. Sack, sack, sack... can anyone say Derrick Thomas (oh Harlow sucked) Jason Taylor... Simeon Rice (oh Simms sucked). Now a great prospect, Gallery, is looking like a bust. You can bet Gallery and Jordan would both be bucking for the pro bowl if they were running Shanahan's offense.
Al's Lamonica Ball MAKES an offensive tackle look bad. Lamonica ball makes a running game too predicatable. Lamonica ball causes OL penalties. Lamonica ball eventually crumbles THE DEFENSE as well. Lamonica Ball makes most QB's look bad. Anyone else notice that the one damn time we had a short drop and then a step back into the pocket was the Walter TD pass? What a rare thing for our QB to do. A short drop and step back into the pocket. Watch it, you'll see. And it worked. Was it a mirage? Was it designed? Did Walter pull a Hoss and say F*&^ it I ain't dropping back 7 yards only to have the salivating DE's bearing down on me like a hurricane?
The problem is very clear to me. An antiquated offensive system that simply does not work.
Could we please quit with the deep qb drops? How about trying a quick slant or out once in a while? How about a running play where we do like Denver and start one way but cut the run back the other direction? Nah, that'd be trickery, chess. We're tougher than everyone else so we just run right at you.Lamonica ball. We're so damn tough we show you where we're going to run it and then just bust you in the mouth and MAKE it work. Bullshit! The average NFL defender is just as damn tough as our guys. Got to have some fu&^%$ chess moves out there. Get the defenses guessing a little. Something please! Jeez! It is so ugly.
The problem is clearly the system. We cannot even evaluate our personnel through this ugly sh*&. Who knows if Gallery, Brooks or walter are any good? Who fu&^%$ knows? Amazing our defense has played so well considering it's pretty much 3 and out every time. I just hate to see what looks like a hard working bunch of guys spin down the toilet in this ugly offensive system. Al could only find one guy left on the planet willing to run it. I'd like to slap Walsh's stupid ass.

And lastly... the defense looks pretty sharp but what in the world have Brayton and Sam Williams ever done to deserve golden starter status? These two aren't playmakers. I say replace both of them with Irons, Thomas, Clark, Bing etc. Heck, at least give 'em a chance against the starters in the next game.

6:04 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Now that's bringing it!

6:41 PM  
Blogger Stick'em said...

Did ya see my man, Joe Hall? We knew he wouldn't make it as a 290# RB...

But as a FB, Joe Hall looks like a pulling Guard; a bowling ball of a lead blocker and quicker than I would have guessed for a man that big.

Methinks he and/or Foschi will beat out Zack Crockett for starting FB duties by the regular season. Crockett is a supreme short yardage RB, but his lead blocking ability is below mediocre.

Zack's got the heart - he's all knees and elbows - but he just doesn't flatten 'em like the defenders are on the Calista Flockhart diet.

Foschi and Hall CAN, baby!!!

6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Anon. it may interest you to know that Al Davis' vertical system, or, Lamonica ball, as you call it, does not soley rely on the deep pass.

A case in point: 1984, the last time the Raiders won the SB, their 2 leading receivers were, Todd Christensen, and Marcus Allen. The idea of the system is to look deep first, but if nothing is there, to quickly pick other shorter options.

You are correct, however, that the Gruden yrs, with a different system aside, the Raiders have not had much success the last 25 yrs.

I think a big reason why is in their desire to go deep so badly, they have forgotten about the shorter passes to the tight end, & running backs, and the runing game too. Art Shell has promised to restore these parts of Raider football, and we can only hope he can do it soon.

8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Walter's going to be a star in this league. I think Brooks will get the nod, but the more snaps Walter gets the better he's going to look.

9:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 6:04,

You are forgetting the fact that 7 yard drops(no matter the system) rely on exceptional blocking by the tackles. Gruden used quite a few of those as well(anybody remember Sims getting worked by Jason Taylor in Miami circa 2001?)
Kurt Warner excelled in a pass happy offense and he had no mobility. He did have one good RT and one excellent LT.

Don't let our piss poor line play off the hook so easy. On the other note, let me be devils advocate. If it was the system that MADE these other players(Schroder, Marinovich etc..) why did they not excel anywhere else?

And Brooks just flat out sucks. We already had a QB who had no heart last year, now we have one who goes 2 for 15 in two games and still finds something to laugh about. Walter may not be long term, but lets find out now before he becomes vinegar on the bench like Tui.

10:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm following up with what raider00 said, "A case in point: 1984, the last time the Raiders won the SB, their 2 leading receivers were, Todd Christensen, and Marcus Allen. The idea of the system is to look deep first, but if nothing is there, to quickly pick other shorter options." In regards to Bama7 Raider's blast (an excellent case too).
The Raiders' haven't always been drop back every play, either. I think Al has always wanted a QB to give them that opportunity, and he does with Walter.
To further bring to light what raider00 said about Christensen and Allen in '83-84 season, let's take a moment to look beyond that too. The late '80s, and '90s. Tim Brown made his career, not going deep, but going slant and breaking away with his speed. Randy Moss (with the Vikings) did the same, as well as go deep. This is what is going to make him dangerous for us. I don't think we will ever get Porter on the same page, and we should rid of his services, for a RB, Draft pick, and maybe a OT. But I think Gabriel is the better receiver than Porter too.
Anywho, I digress. Whatever Moss does (goes deep, or slant), the #2 should do the opposite. With Gabriel, that is possible. I think this would have worked better for Tim Brown, if James "Stonehands" Jett, and "Firecracker" Ismail could have made catches to take some pressure off Brown. If that were to happen, not only would we probably be SB Champs at least once during those years, Brown would be at the top of the career TD list, not Rice. Rice and Brown played the same style at receiver, the difference was Rice had Stokes through the majority of his career, and TO at the end of it, to help take pressure of him. Defenses knew Rice and Brown were the "Go to" guys for their teams, but Rice had other receivers that made plays when they had to; Brown didn't.
I think what we are seeing in the preseason, is setting up for what we want to accomplish with our system. Yes, we will have the deep threat. We are using it this preseason too. But if you notice what Shell has said, and one of the 2 passes Brooks has completed, it wasn't deep. It was to the TE in the seam!
As well, we need to watch how Walter set up the long TD pass to Morant, by going slant to Morant and to Buchanon. I think we are going to see the same all across the board. What even makes this stronger, is a good running game. Which due to the way some in our O-line are (not) playing; isn't looking too good right now.
It's not all, drop-drop-drop, deep ball. It's setting it up, to keep the opposing defense off balance. Looking for the slant, and BAM (as Madden would say), we hit them long. Or have them looking deep with Moss/Gabriel, and BAM, hit a post/slant to Gabriel/Moss for longer yardage; just like we tried to accomplish with Brown-Jett-and Firecracker; except this time it works.
I think our problem lies in a little of both. In order for the system to work, you have to have the talent. Yes the system is old, and the talent today is not as tough as the talent of old. I agree with Madden when he said in his HOF speech, "My team could beat any team today because they were tough. The system we ran required you to run over your opponent, and be physical with them." We have a coach who is developing in these guys a toughness, and the will to be physical. As well, he is one who is developing the talent potential that they have; something other coaches in the past (excluding Shell's first time around, and Gruden) haven't done.

6:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen, Mr. Fleming!

It's the commitment that counts! Turner had no cajones to stick with a system. I firmly believe that when the O-Line gels, tha sparks are gonna fly!

9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me why we used the silent count (in the first half) in a half empty Metrodome?

Besides the false starts, even when they got off the ball it was slow developing.

How about your o-line mastering getting off the ball using a normal snap count first?

We couldn't pick up any line stunts, Gallery is getting beat on first moves by average DE's (had to enjoy this last game where the guy got into Gallery's pads to get him off balance and then just beat him inside...took all of 0.5 seconds)....but hey, let's walk before we crawl and go with the silent count for a half.

Gallery's play has nothing to do with 3,5,7, or Brooks/Walter/Tui-running-for-their-life step drops. He needs to improve now. The move to left tackle learning curve excuse is bogus. He played that position in college and should have the basic understanding of the hand and footwork. This is his 3rd year in the league. There is no excuse.

1:26 PM  

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