Saturday, September 23, 2006

Raider Take Express for 9/23

Here is the latest edition of the Raider Take Express, our weekly roundup of input and observations around the turf of Raider Take. Please keep sending your ideas, tips and feedback to

1. Trevor S. wrote to inform me of the following excerpt from a column by Bill Simmons on ESPN: Matt S. in Santa Barbara writes, "This weekend I was hanging out with two of my buddies, one of whom is a hardcore Raiders fan, when we came up with one of our best ideas in a while. When Al Davis finally dies we're going to throw a party where we celebrate his death by wearing jumpsuits and gold eyeglass chains." See, these are the things we would be showing if they ever put me in charge of ESPN6: live footage of the "Al Davis is dead" party in Santa Barbara.

I think it’s shameful to speak joyously of someone’s death in a major media outlet. No, I’m not being a prude. The email itself was sort of funny. But then the columnist takes it a step further, from questionable humor to sheer malice. How dare this cockroach dance on the future grave of a Hall of Famer!

Not surprisingly, this is the same columnist (and network) who recently devoted an
entire column to emails trashing Art Shell, on the heels of another column trashing Art Shell. This dude is obsessed with the Raiders, and ESPN has given him free rein to rant like an intellectual infant.

I’d now like to hear from those folks who think I exaggerate the influence of the Raiders Haters in the mainstream sports media.

2. Speaking of which, many in the media are positively gleeful over the Raiders’ recent losses. Worst team in the NFL! One of the worst teams in history! Won’t win a game in 2006! Dan Patrick and Colin Cowherd of ESPN are at the forefront of this shrillfest.

It’s funny that the Raiders are now one of the worst teams in history while the Buccaneers are just…well, you know, they’ve got Jon Gruden, and he’s the anti-Al Davis, so there’s just no comparison, right?

Let’s compare, shall we: Both teams are 0-2. Oakland has scored six points this year, while Tampa Bay has scored three points. Oakland has the 32nd ranked offense (yards per game), while the Tampa Bay offense is ranked 28th. Oakland has the 10th ranked defense (yards per game) while the Tampa Bay defense is ranked 22nd. Oakland has played the 1st and 2nd ranked defenses (admittedly, the Raiders helped them earn those rankings), while Buccaneers have played the 1st and 11th ranked defenses.

Jon Gruden has been at the helm of his team, and his system, for years. Art Shell is just getting started in Oakland.

But it’s the Raiders who are the worst team in NFL history, and it’s Jon Gruden whom the Raiders should have never let go, and who gets a pass right now. Got it?

3. With regard to the Raiders’ offense, there’s been much discussion in the Raider Nation about where the playcalling ends and the poor execution begins. In other words, the playcalling has been questionable, yet you can’t blame the playcalling for dropped snaps, dropped passes, hesitant running and lack of effort (see Randy Moss impersonating a statue while Ray Lewis bobbles an interception, falls to the ground, then gets back up and runs 25 yards).

Amid this discussion has emerged a novel theory—that regardless of whether or not Tom Walsh has the chops to make adjustments, the Raiders offensive unit is simply not capable of implementing anything more complex than downhill running and deep routes. In other words, our playcalling isn't a problem, even if it sucks, because our guys can’t handle anything more than the plays that are being called.

This theory holds that sideline swings to our running back, play action passes, short drops,
quick outs, slants, rollouts, shotgun formations and even gadget plays are too complicated for our guys, including veterans such as Brooks, Jordan, Crockett, Moss, Sims, Gallery, Grove, Walker, Anderson, Whitted, Curry and, yes, Porter.

So I ask: When did our offensive unit suddenly turn into the football equivalent of kindergarteners?

4. I received a cool pep talk from Damon B. after the Ravens game. Here’s an excerpt:
We lost again today, but I feel a lot better than Monday night. The defense showed tremendous heart, and it showed when the offense turned over the ball early in the game but the defense held the Ravens to field goals. That last touchdown was on the offense, the defense was worn-out tired by that time…. I think folks can shut up about us being the worst team in the league. Tampa Bay is 0-2 and scored only 3 points with Jon Gruden at the helm. I do believe they were a playoff team last year, yet they aren't catching nearly as much flak as we are. The Chiefs stink too, and they've got L.J. However, I'm not going to hold my breath for a kind word from Peter King. I'm not giving up yet. Hang in there, I truly believe the Raiders will get better this year.

Thanks, Damon, I needed that.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really agree with point #3. Remember the '02 team, how it was written that they thirsted for more and more additions to the playbook? All we've done since that is draft guys who are said to be team leaders and smart guys, a la Gallery, Grove, Walter, etc. I can understand building a foundation before you expand on it, but I hope the coaches aren't treating our players like children and handling them with kid gloves. Check out this quote from Pro Football Weekly:

"There was speculation that Art Shell’s choice for offensive coordinator, Tom Walsh, six years removed from the game, would have a difficult time adjusting to the new schemes utilized by NFL defenses, and one source close to the team told PFW that the game plan in the opening loss to San Diego “was so vanilla and predictable and lacking in adjustments, it wouldn’t have worked with the Colts’ personnel in there.”

Scary, right?

6:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're all frustrated, but pointing out that the media is slamming us while not slamming another team accomplishes nothing. We're catching hell from the press right now because we suck beyond bad. We can't get plays off. We can't adjust to all out blitzing. AN EASY THING TO DO. The blitz is really only supposed to work when the offense doesn't know it is coming.
It makes us look worse thany other 0-2 team. Our first two opponents humiliated us. Instead of bitching about it, let's accept it as truth until we show them differently. Right now we're falling back on "Well SD and the RAvens are tough, man. THey are so physical and awesome... that's why we got our asses whipped." Bullshit! When a team religiously send 7 rushers flying at your QB you have to make them pay. You got Ronald Curry, Randy Moss and Jerry Porter. Think Bill Parcells couldn't draw up something to slow that down using our WR corp? Any NFL coach could. We just don't have an NFL coach. Freddy B please step aside and let someone else work with the WR's. Walsh, for your own dignity please step down and let us fill the position with someone else.
The 800 lb gorilla in the room is that everyone (we included) know that what we are seeing now is a continuation of the 87-98 years, but worse. No one should talk in jest about anyones death... that's just asking for bad karma. Sadly though, th egame has CLEARLY passed Big Al by. What to do? Now we're sending in a guy that was suiting up against Yale, Brown and Holy Cross last year... uh, yeah, I feel better. I surely hope there are more adjustments than that coming.
I read a comment from Ray Lewis where he said something like, "We saw after we tackled 'em a few times that they weren't really wanting to play football." That tells me that the offense doesn't believe in what they are running. They don't think it'll work. It's a violent game and if you're just a tackling dummy with no hope, how can you get into it?
Walsh is so far in over his head he has to be fired. They can barely get up to the line of scrimmage! That's terrible! Three time outs in five plays??? Got their first first down in the middle of the second quarter?? Any modern OC could run SOMETHING to at least grab ONE first down early.
I'd like to see Crockett get as many touches as Jordan. Crockett's not a premier back but at least he hits the hole hard and would give the OL some hope. Enough already of Jordan's timid dancing around/falling down.
Look for whomever is at QB to start checking off into something they feel works. Whether it is Walter or Brooks, you can bet Porter, Sapp, Moss etc are off, prvately, suggesting to both signal callers that they start running their own game... a'la' Hoestetler. Maybe our guys on "O" can somehow figure something out on their own. I hope.
At the least let's pound the ball 40-50 times a game on the ground. MAke a committment to get physical and learn to RUN THE FOOTBALL.
After this season, I think Mike Price would be a good selection for coach if he could name his own staff.

6:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The absence of media bashing of Tampa Bay is bigger than just the Raiders (although the Raiders are clearly fodder for the media).

Let's review: Tampa is QB'd by Chris Simms, son of former QB turned median-man Phil Simms. If the media were to come down on the Chris Simms-led Bucs, that would be like coming down on their own.

That said, the Raiders are easy targets. Simple as that.

We, as fans, should be happy to get so much attention. All successful marketing comes from things that are feared, hated and/or loved. Well, love is out, so feared and hated are in... well just hated right now. Not bad. If our team was in Cleveland (also vying for a top draft pick in 2007) then complacency in the national media would be supreme.

Question: How long before our defense throws in the towel because the offense can't score?

Or will they continue to play hard purely for pride?

At least we can say that only half our team sucks right now.

Suggestion: Give John Shoope control of the offense and give Andrew Walter the ball from here out. As a fan (since birth), I'd rather see Walter lose while maturing as a QB this year, than watch him struggle next year when Brooks and his back-loaded salary are sent packing next year. Or worse, Brooks plays, we don't learn any more about Walter and we won't know whether or not to draft or sign another QB.

This is a team with a young core of players. Al has always resisted the notion of "rebuilding," but even the great one has to see the writing on the wall.

6:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where did you read that Davis tried to trade Huff for Volek? On a Jack Daniels label?

8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mike huff will be a star in this league for a long time. Pipe down Lindy.
I was very happy we took him over Leinart. I nearly had a stroke fretting we would take Leinart. He just isnt Raider material. Watching him play in the preseason, I saw him put up great stats. HOwever, I really dont believe he has an NFL arm. Not sure for Al's beloved vertical offense, but for any offense. The bull looks like a fluttering duck every time out. Eventually that will show. You have that guy trying to get the ball downfield to moss, we would have an even bigger circus and chaos than we do now.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Here's my 2 cents on your 4 observations;

1. I don't appreciate the needless piling on the Raiders while they are down plus classless attempts at humor. However, whether it is fair or not, the team's performance the 1st 2 games has brought on this avalanche of hate.

2. The media's spotlight on the Raiders' struggles does seem excessive and bias. But once again, until the Raiders demonstrate a competent brand of football, it to be expected. The comparisons to the Bucs are pointless. How well the Raiders play on the field will dictate and influence the media coverage.

3. The execution by the players and the playcalling of Walsh have both been atrocious. Blocking, catching, and running are all elementary. Ajusting the plays to negate the blitz is plain common sense.

4. Damon's "pep" talk makes me sick to my stomach. Although I'm proud of our defense's efforts, the team got destroyed in both games. The misery of other teams (ie. Bucs, Chiefs) doesn't change this fact or make me feel any better. Peter King (and the entire media) isn't going to have a kind word for the Raiders until they get their act together.

Lindy - I'm very curious what your source is regarding Huff being traded since it isn't even remotely credible. Huff will be a big star in the league and I'm excited about Walter becoming our franchise QB.

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


What's that you say ? Matt Leinart doesn't have an NFL arm ? You mean an arm like Kerry Collins, or Jeff George, is that the type of arm you mean ??

But wait, aren't a lot of Raider fans now calling for slants, screens, dump offs, and play action ? I know Leinart can make those throws. As a matter of fact, I'd bet Leinart is going to do just fine in the NFL for a long time.

There's little doubt that the Raiders would be in much better shape today if they had Leinart, & Walter fighting for the starting Qb spot.

No knock on Huff, but that's just how I feel about it.

3:27 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Damn, Calico Jack, you're in a foul mood. Of course, we're all in some form of foul mood right now.

All Damon said was that he was proud of our defense, that the media hatefest for the Raiders doesn't stand up to analytical scrutiny, and that he's not giving up on our team. I'm with him on all of those points.

I have no problem with the media observing that the Raiders have played horribly. Fair enough.

I do have a problem with the media being so giddy about it, and devoting so much time to it. It's just another form of bias, and Raider Take is, among other things, an ongoing record of media bias against the Raiders.

My comparison to other teams (I used the Bucs, because the Gruden element is particuarly interesting, but I could have used the Titans or Packers, too) is not to say that things aren't bad for the Raiders, nor is it to take delight in other teams' failures; rather, it is simply the most instructive and objective way to scrutinize the media's behavior in this instance.

If you're going to say that the 2006 Raiders are the worst team in the NFL, and even one of the worst teams in history, then you'd better back it up by comparing apples to apples. Two games is not a season, nor is it a basis for historical comparison.

7:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Very Interesting" but ya-all forget one thing:

It has always been the "Raiders against the world" so why should now be any differant???

Look for the real motive in all the vocal crap:

#1) The Raiders sell too much NFL gear so they want to use every opertunity to bash them and stop or slow the fan groath of the Raiders in the league.

#2) Some of these bastards got their asses slaped by the Raiders in the past and are still angree about it so their only hope is to see us fail.

#3) Raider haters come out the woodwork like Magots to atempt to pretend to be RaiderFans just so they can bash us and every one in the organization, just like bamma 7 who sounds exactly like them, pumping up the compitition, don't make the mistake of believing their toxic waist, let them eat their own dammn shit.

OK, We Suck! at the moment, acnollage and get over it! Try to see the positives as the team tries to move forward. This is not the first time we have been down is it?? Show some toughness and some "Nasty" and get on the haters asses!! I don't know about some of you but I played on a winning team as a sophmore but the team became a looser in my Jr and Sr years and I had to learn how to take crap and keep playing. Our players continue to play hard so don't believe some nerd who never put on a jock and talks shit. These player love the game, they are going to play for their jobs and the future, show-case themselves as much as posible even when it is bad! Anyone who talks this crap never played a down of sports!! Get Real!! The Quaterback going to take over the team???? Who the hell would believe that CRAP?? Hoss did not take over the team, he had a spat and got benched, Vince Evans finnished the game in his place and Hoss apologised publicly you dumb ass.

So, tomorro I will watch the BlackBuzzards and the DogShitBrownies and see what will be our compitition next week. I have a mouth full of feathers from last week and a bad taste in my mouth from loooosing and want it to stop it so I will hope to be able to kick the DOG-SHIT out of the MONGRILS in the North, and have a Cambodian style DogMeatCookOut, very tasty, I love it!!! Eat Dog and Live Happy!!!


9:00 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

RT - I hope you didn't take anything I said the wrong way.

I (just like you) don't like the media bias and Raider bashing although based on our 1st 2 games, some of it is warranted.

I (just like Damon) am proud of the Raider defense. Unfortunately until the Raiders get their house in order and take care of business on the field, we have left ourselves open to these media attacks (fair or otherwise).

Until then I'm not interested in debating who is the worst 0-2 team in the league.

I am hopeful that our D will continue to play well. I am excited about Walter getting the chance to turn things around on offense.

One thing that we can all agree upon is that a "W" vs. the Brownies will lift our spirts.

12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Lindy do you Swing?

12:15 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Not at all, CJ! You make good points. In fact, I'm heartened by your takes. We've come to similar conclusions about the playcalling and execution, despite our naturally positive outlooks.

I just wanted to clarify where I was coming from on the media front.

I won't make a habit of comparing the Raiders to other 0-2 teams; but the media are doing it for us by spending so much gleeful time on the subject. By calling a team "the worst," they are, by definition, making a comparison to other teams. Their bias is exposed when that comparison doesn't hold up to scrutiny.

But the bottom line is that winning a game or two would really help and would shut some pieholes.

7:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rt it's crazy to compare the Buc and Gruden to the Raiders. No comparsion. Gruden is a much better coach than Art and it was the worst move that your dumb idol Mr Davis ever did letting him out of Oakland. Now I'm not a hater i'm actually a life long raider fan. I just think it's time for big Al to step aside. Art Shell GM, Jon Gruden HC, Rich Gannon OC, Rob Ryan DC. Hey that sounds like a recipe for success. Ah but that will never happen, will it big Al. Maybe we can salvage a winning season in the next 3-5 years, maybe.

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watched two college games yesterday. Georgia/Colorado and Florida/Kentucky. Both Georgia and Florida were heavily favored and a big part of that was due to the fact that both teams have unbelievable defensive front sevens. Georgia's Charles Johnson and Quentin Moses will both (if both DE's stay healthy) be first round draft choices, no doubt. Florida is even deeper. Both LB corps are stacked as well. They are very agressive up front. Yet, Colorado should have beat Georgia. Kentucky religiously gets slaughtered by Florida but actually made a game of it (though it eventually got lopsided, the game was actually 12-7 for a long time). How did both, under-manned, lesser teams do so well? Their staff combatted the aggression. They ran schemes that got rid of the ball quickly, moved the chains and controlled the clock. They ran misdirectional plays with both the RB's and the QB's. They shifted the pocket. They rolled the QB's out. They ran the QB's. They threw quick hits, screens and looked for the tight ends for 8- 10 yarders all day long. In short, they did what is required of an HC and OC... gameplan for the situation and adjust as the game goes on.
I watched both games and just shook my head. Here were two college level staffs that new what kind of defenses they were up against and they designed a scheme to slow and frustrate the opposing team. And did it quite well. Great preparation by their staffs. I'm sorry fellow Raider fans but San Diego and the Ravens are good defensively but they aren't so good that a little NFL talent and a decent OC can't at least make a competitive game out of things.
The Brownies should have beat the Ravens today. Charlie Fry threw for almost 300 yards (298). And worse, the Ravens offense looked a bit inept. I'll give Art and Walsh only one more chance. They have a bye week to prepare for an average NFL team in our own back yard. Two weeks to show Raiders fans something. The Browns will undoubtly watch our tapes and do the same thing as San Diego and Baltimore did to us. We will HAVE to adjust and slow the assualt, which means short/quick passing and effective running. Problem is that looks so alien to Walsh. If he has no answers in this game then all Raider fans should be in mass revolt until Walsh is sent back to the B&B. The bas^%$# is just picking up a check.
And scariest for me, is that while we think our defense is good, it may not be. Marty Snottenheimer never really employed a gameplan against us. Didn't have to. And said as much after the game. Whenever they needed a little yardage, a little more breathing room or Tomlinson to get them something, they got it. It was very easy for them. I mean, heck, Tomlinson had 100 yds in the first half, right? And Baltimore doesn't look like an explosive offense at all. I think the jury is still out on our D. Burgess and Johnstone are really at their best when playing ahead and the other team is passing. And Brayton is just not very active. a second stringer.

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

""""Thank you oh great lord of football for bringing Mr. Al Davis to lead our beloved football organization all these exciting years.""""

Wonderful that we don't have to have some idiot like CrudDumb lead us into the abyss like the TB Sucks!!!! No deserters allowed!! No sell-out-turn-cuats who look for jobs in the middle of a winning season!!! The best thing we got out of the bastard is 2 draft picks and $8,000,0000. Death to chucky!!!!sucky!!!

Art has had only 2 games in a season, not 4 years like CrudDumb had!!


7:17 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

The game against the Browns will be a moment of truth for the Raiders players and coaching staff.

- The Browns are 0-3
- We are at home
- We've had 2 weeks to prepare

If Walsh/Shell don't game plan to slow down and combat the blitz, we are in for a very long, dismal season.

9:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a Browns team, that by all rights should be 1-2. They should've beat Baltimore. But they choked in the end.
This is not going to be an easy game, but our offense has to catch up with the rest of the team. They have to get over the Porter thing, and play him or trade him. We need that talent on the field, or we need to acquire talent that will replace him.
We cannot drop back and pass every down, even when we fall behind. We have to stick to a running game, we cannot dump our running game. This is the NFL, you have to earn your rushing yards! Let's pound the ball, hit the tackles, swing it wide on the runs, and get some yards. Then let it fly off a play-action.
I really hope that we can do something offensively, other than get sacked, fumble, and throw an INT.
Here's hoping for a "W".

6:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should change the name of this blog to:


4:23 PM  

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