Sunday, October 08, 2006

Five Postgame Takes

1. This is not a rebuilding year, as some have asserted (mainly as a coping mechanism, I presume), because it did not start out as a rebuilding year. If it had been a rebuilding year, then we wouldn’t have started the season with Aaron Brooks throwing to Alvis Whitted. However, we might want to embrace the idea of a “forced rebuilding,” in which we don't really have a choice now that the whole craphouse has gone up in flames. Unless, of course, you choose to bench Andrew Walter in the midst of his second start, in a game that was out of reach, and in which he played relatively well. So much for rebuilding, eh? Why are we driving around in circles? What’s the plan here? Where’s the road map? I follow this team very closely, yet I can’t begin to answer these questions. Scary.

2. I take back everything I said about Justin Fargas (Brittle! No moves!). This guy has played like a monster over the past two games.

3. The Browns booted Trent Dilfer and handed the reins to Charlie Frye before training camp commenced. Frye was drafted in the third round of 2005, just like Walter. The Chargers booted Drew Brees in favor of Philip Rivers during the offseason. This is how you develop your presumed quarterback of the future. You give him a year or two to watch and learn, then you start him and stick with him until you have sufficient information on which to base his long-term prospects. In the cases of Kyle Boller and Joey Harrington, you find out that they don’t have the right stuff. In the cases of Eli Manning and Carson Palmer, you find out that they do have the right stuff. The jury is still out on guys like Alex Smith and Charlie Frye. But the only way to acquire the requisite information is to play them, for an extended period, through thick and thin. Bookending a second-year guy with Aaron Brooks and Marques Tuiasosopo within a four-game span is not the way to do it. Which leads me to believe that the Raiders do not consider Andrew Walter their quarterback of the future. Brace yourself for more Aaron Brooks to Alvis Whitted, because it’s coming soon to a Coliseum near you.

4. I liked seeing Madsen out there at tight end. After yet another absurd drop by Williams, it was nice to see a tight end with actual hands. I don’t know much about his blocking capabilities, but at this point I don’t care, as long as I don’t have to see Anderson and Williams putting easy balls on the turf.

5. Sorry to be so negative, folks, but a beating at the hands of the Niners will do that. To be honest, until Walter was benched, I was relatively chipper for a guy who’s team was getting blasted on San Francisco soil. I thought that, despite his miscues, Walter was looking pretty sharp for a quarterback making his second start. Fargas was on fire. Curry was involved. The offensive line was finding a measure of redemption. The playcalling was much improved. We were losing, but it was a more fertile way of losing, one in which you might plant seeds of hope. The forced rebuilding was underway! But then Tui got the call…


Blogger Doobie said...

I agree with RT about the dread he felt when Walter was pulled. That fumble was Jordan's fault, not Walter's. If Jordan had just fallen on the ball, we probably wouldn't have seen Tui at all. The future of this franchise rests with Walter and playing Tui had no hope of accomplishing anything. When you're down by more than two TD's in the 4th quarter, you want your big-armed prospect on the field. The only way you bring in your lesser-armed backup is when that guy is named Blanda but, unfortunately, he hasn't been around for a few decades.

I'm beginning to fear that we may be a spectator to one of the most infamous, yet noteworthy, seasons in Raiders...if not sports...history.

In dropping to 0-4 by losing perhaps the two most winnable games on their schedule in the last two weeks, it begs the question of whether or not this team is capable of winning any games this year. Right now, it appears the only hope the team has is in week 13 at home against Houston and with the NFL anomaly that even the worst teams can pull off an upset. The only problem is that, until proven otherwise, I have to question the heart of this team. It seems to me that they would sooner fall apart and quit than battle back. I hope I'm wrong.

If this keeps up, we may be watching the NFL equivalent of the '62 Mets, with the exception that this isn't an expansion team and the losers here are hardly lovable. If the 2006 Raiders finish with three wins or less, what exactly will their legacy be? Right now, the story just may be how a renegade owner finishes out his career doing it his way one last time...with a HOF coaching staff (Shell, Slater, Biletnikoff, Willie Brown) that just can't seem to take their success and teach it to their players. The moral of the story may be proof to the adage of "those that can, do; those that can't, teach". But hey, if this team gets serious, turns it around and sticks it to the Raider haters with a playoff appearance or better, this season could be worthy of a movie on ESPN.

5:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NY Raider Fan said...

I've said all along that I will watch every play that Walter is involved, even if we lose all 16 games. As RT states, playing Walter is the only way The Raiders will know if he's the guy. When they put Tui in the game, I was so disgusted I had to walk away. Some genius, perhaps art Shell, thought it might spark the team. Instead, it dashed any hope that a larger purpose existed, and totally deflated a Raider Nation.

Brooks to Whitted... OUCH!

Very down but not out...NY Raider Fan.

6:20 AM  
Blogger StickUm25 said...

I can half understand pulling Walter. If you want to do it for a series or two, settle him down, COACH him, then yeah it makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is letting him sit off by himself. The 2nd pick was Walter’s fault – the throw was flat footed, all arm – but you can remind him to step into his throws. You’ve got to put the lateral all on Jordan – no way it should have been Walter’s issue. Things were starting to snowball against him, no doubt. If you want to keep his confidence up, settle him down, no problem. But where was THE COACH?! Not Shell – I’m talking McElwain or one of the other offensive coaches. Shouldn’t a 2nd year quarterback making his 2nd start have SOMEONE on the sidelines to coach him?! Even if he had a headset on, we might assume he was talking to someone in the booth. But there was nothing to indicate he was getting ANY help! Absurd!

And that first series of the second half. Good coaching diagnoses what the defense is doing at half time, adjusts the game plan, and gives the offense a good game plan for the 2nd half. We go 3 and out, get the punt blocked, and lose out on a huge opportunity to extend the lead and grab momentum. That stat that showed Tui’s TD pass was our first second half touchdown of the year speaks volumes. With all the garbage time we’ve had to get the ball in the end zone . . . just sad.

The two routes they showed Moss running into the end zone were the most effort I’ve seen from him this year. Still, the drop and the overall lack of production does nothing to change my opinion that he has lost it. If he catches that first ball, it’s 10-7 and momentum is on our side.

Langston Walker & Randall Williams – time to ride the bench. Fargas has showed he has talent. But again, his contributions were limited to a single half. He’s earned playing time. Give him 10 carries, give Jordan 18, and I think the running game will begin to be a factor.

The left side of the line played a lot better. Maybe Gallery is starting to turn it around.

The defense was sporadic. They showed a lot of heart in stopping those two 4th down plays, and keeping the niners out of the end zone at the start of the 4th quarter. The pick by Routt was a thing of beauty. On the other hand they allowed way too many rushing yards and there was no QB pressure. The fact that they didn’t force a punt until the end of the game is discouraging. But still, with all the youth on the defense, I think they are on the right track. They are closer to making plays than they have been over the last few years, but are just a step off. As they gain experience over the year I think the linebacking and secondary will begin to pay dividends.

7:21 AM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

Walter v Brooks and a theory which I've been developing since late in preseason.

What Walter was guilty of in the game against the 49ers was a belief that he was in there to be the spark plug for the team. He simply tried to do too much. When a player is inflicted with this disease, the first thing that happens is that he fails to hear the instructions of the coaches, trying to give them more than they asked for. This is likely why Walter was pulled. I have no idea who will start next week, but remember, Shell said that the job still belonged to Brooks when Brooks got injured. Agree or disagree, it's Shell's call - both in regard to Walter's development, and the changing directions of the season.

My theory, I think, makes some sense of what Tim Brown, Rich Gannon, and even Moss have been saying. I believe that for the last several years, the only enforcer of fundamental team play was Rich Gannon. Gruden was a strict disciplinarian during his tenure with the Raiders, but I think once he acquired Gannon, he relegated much of the enforcement responsibility to Gannon as an on-field player/coach.

Some coaches are detailed enough to always work on fundamentals, some are basically glorified coordinators. Both Gruden and Shell are oriented to fundamentals. Callahan was not, and neither was Turner. For that matter, neither were Mike White nor Joe Bugel. Callahan and Turner both relied on Gannon to enforce fundamentals, but when he went down with a career ending injury, fundamentals were never reviewed nor enforced. There was some talk from the players during preseason that indicated this was true.

When I'm talking about fundamental football, I'm not just talking about avoiding penalties, I'm talking also of things like always covering an incomplete lateral pass (which you learn in Pop Warner) and avoiding passes to the flat when the receiver is double covered. Fundamentals cover just about every aspect of football, but on the professional level, coaches (even coaches who focus on fundamentals) expect that the player has been so immersed in the fundamentals that most of them are unnecessary to enforce.

The breakdown of fundamental football also leads to something else. It leads to a kind of "me first" culture and destroys the fabric of the team. I think this is what both Brown and Gannon are talking about when they say that there is no leadership on the team. They mean that there is no longer any on-field enforcement of sound fundamental football. Red flags should go up whenever a team elects a player like Randy Moss, who is an island, to be team captain. However, when Moss talks about nobody caring, I think this is what he means, and it is his ineffective approach to leadership (to say that if nobody else cares about fundamentals, why should he).

This "culture" has reared its head in Raiderland once before. Fundamentals broke down during the White/Bugel campaigns. It took Jon Gruden two full seasons to change that culture.

What's the cure. The only cure is to constantly pound the point home, and to hold every player accountable, no matter how green, no matter how experienced, and to focus off season mini-camps on fundamental football. You have to breed a culture where every team mate demands the most of his fellow team mates.

Will this happen quickly? Not a chance! I think Shell came on board a little clueless in regard to the depth of the Raiders' problems. I think he saw the turnovers, and the penalties and focused on getting rid of those in the off season and preseason. If there were coaches who actually declined any HC offers from Davis, I believe that the declining coach reviewed film of the Raiders and decided that the team, as is, is uncoachable - that it would take a number of years to rebuild. A lack of fundamentals is rearing its ugly head in almost every new situation. Shell will have to devote off season mini-camps to purely addressing how to play winning NFL football (just as Gruden did), and hoping that on-field leadership will emerge. Key acquisitions will have to be made (perhaps with leadership in mind).

Bill Walsh spent his first year in San Francisco changing the culture, going 2-14 in his first year. It was by acquiring leadership through free agency that he was able to turn the ship around. The same is true of Gruden, who turned the ship around after acquiring Rich Gannon and other veteran leaders.

On the defensive side of the ball, I have some criticism of Ryan. I believe that Ryan has the makings for a "shut-down" defense. But in order to become that, they are going to have to become an aggressive defense instead of a passive one. By "passive" and "aggressive," I mean a defense that attacks rather than a defense which reacts. Ryan plays almost a constant zone, waiting for the offense to come to the defense, and then relying on speed to close the holes in the zone. I think this defense would be far more effective attacking, and then relying on the team speed to recover from overrunning plays. A key example of what I'm talking about is how far Ryan has his linebackers play off the line of scrimmage on 1st downs. This virtually assures five yard gains on first down running plays.

The long and the short of it is that this is going to be a long season, and we may not even do any better than 8-8 next season. The 49ers are currently a couple of years ahead of the Raiders in changing their culture of losing football. I think Al Davis over John York assures that the Raiders will be able to do this faster than the 49ers have. I think it would be counter-productive to say that we need to completely clean house of players, coaches, and ownership. The Raiders are Al Davis' life long legacy. The team he leaves behind is how he will be remembered, not the one that he created in the 60s and 70s. He will not allow that legacy to be one of "average" or "inferior" football.

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The"D" held up fairly well until the "O" gave up field position repeatedly, blocked punt, 4 int's, loose lateral, what can we expect? The time of possision was an issue and the SadFranchiseWinners had a short fild!!!!

Even after the mess of the second half the stats were very even except for the take aways, or shoud we call them give-aways!!! A&W looks good for a second start QB who made rooky mistakes in the second half, he was over 60% pass compleation even with the drops. Just play the guy, not Brooks or Tui!!!!

WR Moss went over the middle, is this something new for him??? He had no excuse for the end-zone drop but he made a spetacular knee-catch for the other touch-down so I like the guy, 5 catches he was involved. Madsen was a pluss and now we need to get Morant into the mix, we have a very prommissing WR core!!! Bucannon on the pratice squad and PortSter in the DogHouse???

"O" line improving every game, run blocking is working with all most 350 yds in 2 games!!! No sacks??? Not for a loss anyway!!! 370 yds total!!!

This team can win games when they finally put a compleat game together, not just a first half!!! Or when we have a team that shoots itself in the foot the way we have, it will come but I don't know when, maybe an upset, lets dream a little and point to the Donkies, PukeOrangeJackAssMuleHeadedHorseFlies-w-BeedyEyedMagotCoach Donky-on-a-Spicket!!! MuleBurgers for dinner Sunday night??????


10:43 AM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

Just to add one thing to my previous post. Each fundamental, as it has arrisen, Shell has addressed. First and foremost, it was the overall play of the offensive line. The improvements are coming every week, and it appears that Langston Walker is the remaining hold out. I think that he will soon be replaced by McNasty. However, on some of the pass plays against the 49ers, Walter had enough time to pour himself a cup of coffee waiting for a receiver to come open - and the running game is vastly improved.

Then there was the issue of the team taking too much time to get to the line of scrimmage. On many occasions yesterday, Walter had the time to virtually write his own offensive scheme in between arriving at the line of scrimage and the snap of the ball.

But with the cure of each problem, a new one arrives. And Shell has virtually no choice but to take valuable time from preparing for the next contest to focusing on whatever fundamental has come up from the prior game.

It's going to be a very long season. The one bright spot is that the Chargers (can't remember the exact year, but the one they played against the 49ers in the SB) they started out 0-4 but won the next 12 to acquired the #1 seat in the playoffs. That's deffinately not going to happen for the Raiders this year, but it's possible.

10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BlandaRocked-Love you insite bro!! VERY positive!!!


10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my takes:

1) art shell SUCKS as a head coach

2) tom walsh SUCKS as an OC

3) defense SUCKS (no pressure on the QB and extremely POOR tackling)

4) al davis SUCKS.

5) OH did i mention that al davis SUCKS?

i will go on record as saying that the raiders WILL NOT win a single game in '06.

what a damn shame! this organization has been run into the ground by al f-ing davis. you al davis lovers out there are BLIND. wake up and smell the kool aid.

all we have to look forward to is the one winning team we have and that's the oakland a's. what a GD DISGRACE that oakland raiders have become. i'm f-ing PISSED that we LOST to the GD whiners. you think we'll beat anybody this year? hell f-ing no. even the GD texans have the edge over us since they beat our asses last year.

so that's it folks. no wins this year. mark my words.

11:18 AM  
Blogger x said...

The bizarre thing about the idiotic Walter benching, beside the fact that it happened at all, was the timing. Why did they yank him after a play where his RB drops a catchable swing pass and then fails to fall on the fumble? If he had come in and thrown a bad INT for his third of the game, then maybe. Maybe.

Besides Fargas, I did see some positives in the O-Line play, Langston Walker's mistakes notwithstanding. But then again, the SF D-Line is no Fearsome Foursome or anything.

The Special Teams and defense against the run - those are two areas where the Raiders are regressing. The punt block was maybe the game's turning point. Gore ran wild. As Schweigert said, when your FS is making all your tackles 8 yards downfield, something's wrong. Not looking forward to watching them try to stop Denver's run game next week.

11:27 AM  
Blogger Joaquin said...


1. Art needs to get over the Porter incident and play the guy. Is Porter the cure? No, but sitting the bench in street clothes sure isn't!
The Titan Stomper got a 5 game suspension for a whole lot worse. Get over it Art!

2. Whomever decided to pull AWAL should have his head examined!
That game was not out of reach and besides, what was Tui going to bring? Tui is not our future, AWAL is and to take PT time from AWAL is pure nonsense.

3. I'm just about done with Randee.
The guy muffs a duck in the endzone, short arms a couple more and jogs through 60% of the plays.

4. Fargas comes in and runs his ass off in the 3rd then barely steps on the field in the 4rth.
Was was the point of even briging him in??

0-16 this year? In a cocaine heartbeat!

11:30 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

I appreciate the positive energy and analysis from BlandaRocked and PantyRaider. BlandaRocked made a good point about Art Shell methodically addressing the fundamentals. In that, I can see purpose and vision.

But I'm missing a sense of purpose and vision in the benching Walter yesterday, in the continued benching of Porter while Moss jogs his routes, in the trading of Gabriel for the privelege of playing Whitted, in the selection of Tom Walsh to lead this offense, in the inability to throw the red flag for an easy and crucial down last week, etc. I appreciate Shell's quest for vision and purpose, but this quest is off to a pretty rough, and often counterintuitive, start.

Let's revisit the context of the Walter benching. He is benched after LaMont Jordan has a brain freeze on a lateral pass, the same LaMont Jordan who has just been upstaged by Justin Fargas. The response? Bench Walter, not Jordan, and leave Fargas on the sideline while you seek a spark from Tui. Huh?

Lastly, I'm disappointed that our defense is reminding me of the past three years: they play just well enough to give you hope yet always find a way to break down in the end, especially against the run.

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great insight RT.

I hate losing with a passion but if we are going to lose, we might as well be productive about it and find out what we've got on our roster. Time to go all in.

Insert Walter into the starting spot and write it in concrete. Move Curry to the starting lineup. Morant should get about 15-20 snaps a game. I don't care if it's at Whitted and/or Moss' expense. Fargas and Jordan should get roughly equal carries, maybe alternate series and see who gets hot. With this offense, Fargas might be a better fit as he hits the hole like a madman. Put McQ at right tackle and leave him there.

Time for the forced rebuilding and I say bring it on.

The Angry Irishman

11:58 AM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

Raider Take:

I generally don't take a position when a coach makes a personnel decision during a game. The coaches have far more information to work with than the fan watching the game. It could be that Shell felt that Walter was falling back into bad habits. He would then be faced with the knowledge that an 18 point deficit was going to bring a ferocious pass rush, causing Walter to rely even more on bad habits. Shell knows Walter better than we do. And don't laugh when I say a ferocious pass rush from the 49ers. That's the one thing they do well. What they don't do well is stop the run. The pass protection displayed by the Raiders against the 49ers should be very encouraging. Don't be fooled by thinking, "well, but its the 49ers."

As for Porter, I've said before that the Raiders want to trade Porter before the deadline a week from tomorrow. They've received no offers. However, if Porter gets injured (even a minor injury) they won't be able to trade him prior to the deadline. The Raiders have no way of judging his durability (he was injured in camp) because he worked out on his own the whole off season. If they can't trade him by then, then they'll play him because it will no longer matter.

Gabriel is the tricky one. The only other time the trading of a WR was such a mystery to me was when they traded Malcolm Mohammed to the Redskins in the 80s. Mohammed had been one of the Raiders' most productive WRs, and they traded him during camp (if I remember correctly), just like Gabriel. It caused the Redskins to smile like the cat that ate the canary because they thought at last they had bested the great Al Davis in a trade (which didn't actually happen until the Schroeder trade). Mohammed had a terrible season for the Redskins, and he was out of football a short time later. So the Raiders knew something nobody else knew, but whatever it was, it wasn't obvious.

Gabriel has done well thus far for the Patriots. But that's the Patriots. A team that has far fewer issues than the Raiders. I doubt that Gabriel's numbers would look anywhere near that good playing for the Raiders.

One thing I have noticed about Gabriel is that he has a tendency to take his mind off the relatively easy passes, and then dropping them - while making the apparently most difficult catches. This is the same affliction that Dudley had, and it could be that it made the Raiders nervous.

12:24 PM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

I'm not as optimistic as I sound, to this degree: I think this season is going to the dogs no matter what. I don't expect to see the Raiders do much better than 8-8 next season, but I doubt they'll do much worse. What will be addressed for the remainder of this season is the reestablishment of fundamental football. Until that is effectively addressed, this team has no future. Just more of the same.

That said, I don't think it's too early to discuss what the Raiders should do with their #1 first round draft choice. I still think that Walter is their QB, so they won't need Quinn (add to this that the Raiders don't play rookie QBs). I think they should trade that draft pick for a mid to later 1st round pick, and a 2nd round pick. With their later 1st Round pick they should look for a WR. With their two 2nd Round picks, they should look for depth on the OL and the DL.

Then they should seek to acquire a stud D-lineman and a stud center with leadership skills in free agency.

1:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try and rationalize all you want, it gets harder and harder each week to believe in what can't be logically explained. It pains me to say, but I truly believe this is a poorly coached team, and until they show me something, nothing can convince me otherwise. Don't get me wrong... I'm a huge Art Shell fan, as a player and a person, but not as a coach (not in the 90's or so far this year). Yeah, I'd like to think there's some larger purpose to everything I've seen this year, but who are we kidding? I refuse to believed the emperor is wearing clothes when I can see that he is plainly not. And for all you west-coasters who think the 49ers was "the game," think again. It will make our collective Raider Nation season if we can just beat the Donkeys once, and wipe that s-eating grin off Shannahan face.

NY Raider Fan

2:15 PM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

Raider Rick:

Right you are, again, sir! But I think the league had a higher view of Muhammed than track star. 1983 was a Super Bowl year for the Raiders. And Muhammed showed much promise. Washington thought he was a great acquisition to add to their "Smerf" wide receiver corps.

Muhammed was starting to emerge as one of my favorites during that year, and the LA press griped about the trade almost as much as they questioned the Gabriel trade, which is what brought it to mind. I lived in LA during that period, so I remember the press comments.

I was at the game in 1985. That playoff game against the Patriots. While Hester was a disappointment, the game's biggest disappointment was Mark Wilson. That sent the Raiders into a QB quandry that wasn't resolved until the acquisition of Hostetler. I thought the best QB that the Raiders could have gotten from that time was Steve Beurline. He would have been the Raider QB through the move back to Oakland if his agent hadn't gotten greedy.

NY Raider fan:

I don't agree that Art wasn't a great coach his first time around. Just review the rosters from those seasons and you'll see what I mean. And I would agree with you regarding Art this season, except that this has been going on for three years. Those people who we feel were the greatest of coaches all took a couple of years to turn the culture around - Lumbardi, Shula, Johnson, etc. The exceptions are Madden (who didn't have to turn anything around - he only had to keep them winning) and Flores (who inherited a team that was previously 9-7 from Madden).

Shell, on the other hand, was a coach who turned a team around in one season. But he had the team for more than half the season the season before (as Shanahan was fired after the first several games).

2:24 PM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

After further review...

Raider Rick: My bad. I said "Malcolm Muhammed," but I was not thinking of Clavin Muhammed, I was thinking of Malcolm Barnwell, who was traded to New Orleans, and they almost immediately traded Barnwell to Washington where he was almost worthless - and then was out of the NFL the following year. And that all happened in 1985.

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I truly hope you're right! I am more than willing to stick it out. In fact, I have routed for rebuilding the last couple years. However, if nothing else, for now, I would just like to see more live-game interaction. Maybe throw a red flag every now and then... Art Shell can't believe the refs are right every time. In that vien, I think you might agree that he needs to hire better assistant coaches. From my arm-chair vantage point, somebody has blow a key play-challenge two weeks in a row.

Qu: You guys archive much more of this stuff than I do, but wasn't the '85 game the one in which Matt Millen hit the Pat's GM with his helmet and Howie Long told him that when his son turned three he was going to send him over to kick his ass... That's classic.

NY Raider Fan

4:06 PM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

NY Raider - the only lasting image I have of that '85 Pats game is Lester Heyes sitting on his helmet at midfield - devistated - after the game.

A note for those who all believe pulling Walter was the worst thing Shell could do. In the second half, Walter led the team down the field, and then threw and interception in the end zone. The 49ers took the ball back up the field and scored a touchdown. That's a 14 point turnaround. On the very next series Walter threw an interception to a man double covered in the flat - a fundamental mistake - that put 3 more points for the 49ers on the score board. On the very next series, Walter threw wide and behind Jordan. Even though Jordan made no effort to cover the ball, it is more than possible that the ball would have been recovered by one of two 49ers converging on the play. While it may not have been a touchdown, it's still possible that the 49ers would have had the ball on the 12 yard line. While Jordan was guilty of an error that a Pop Warner player wouldn't make, the turnover was still mostly Walter's fault.

In one quarter Walter was responsible for a 24 point turn around. In such a case an HC is faced with two considerations. "Will it completely demoralize this guy if I leave him in there, or will it completely demoralize him if I take him out?" I think Shell felt that Walter was crossing the line from inexperienced play to desperate play, and made the call he thought he needed to make at the time. And Shell knows Walter better than we do.

4:30 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

NCraider, I appreciate the pep talk. Sorry about my dark mood; part of it is the fact that I was so stoked going into this season...I'm dealing with some serious letdown issues.

You are right, things have gotten progressively better over the past four games, although our opponents have gotten progressively weaker (Chargers to Ravens to Browns to Niners).

If you take Norv Turner and Kerry Collins out of the equation (which we all seemed to agree was addition through subtraction), what are we left with? A starting lineup that looks a lot like last year's, with the exceptions of Boothe, Huff and Howard (I don't count Whitted, because it was our decision to choose him over Gabriel, presumably for the better, and not worse, right?).

So I'm a bit perplexed by the notion that this is a team that would naturally be expected to get worse this year compared to 2005 (and so far it's much worse). It's just not adding up to me. I don't get it.

There are a lot of bright people in here who can help me do the math. Where am I wrong on this?

4:56 PM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

Raider Take:

As you know, I was as hyped as you at the start of the season. I too am dealing with some major letdown issues.

I think the math is this. The Raiders had far bigger problems than Turner and KFC. The big clue was what the team looked like prior to Turner. And the fact is, I don't think the Raiders have bad players. What I think is that for the past three years, prior to Shell, this is a team that has worked on the philosophy that a new offensive scheme, or a new player, is what makes a winning football team. Players have not been required to look within themselves. They have not been required to demand perfection from themselves or their teammates.

I think the players believed (with the exception of Porter) that Shell coming in (by itself) was going to turn things around. Yes, they talked the talk about what Shell expected of them, but they didn't walk the walk. They are getting an education every week, but too late to turn the season around.

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Take Doobie.

I do believe, however, that we will win the Houston game.

Here's how I figure,
Back in April, Houston passed on Bush, Young, Lienart, & Cutler.
The Raiders only passed on Lienart, & Cutler.

That means Houston is even dumber then we are. This is our best chance for victory.

If we don't win that game, then look out.

5:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Not to keep living in the past, but I did a little research... it was the 1985 playoff game with the Patsies. The Raiders were heavily favored and the owner's son Patrick Sullivan was tauting Howie Long from the side lines during the whole game... "where were you on that play Long, etc." After the game (we know the result), Millen and Long were approached by Sullivan, at which time Millen clocked him.

While not exactly a high-point, it does define an era when the Raiders were a great team.

NY Raider Fan

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The worse is yet to come. I have said it before and I shall say it again. Art Shell cannot coach. His handling of the team is obvious. I have never really like Rob Ryan's defensive scheme. The Raiders have played zone for the last 3-5 years and it hasn't done anything for them. Then Ryan thought wow lets go 3-4 and that was a disaster. Every year we draft more and more defensive players and yet nothing has been improved. A couple of lights have gone on but nobody is home.
There is no sound football from week to week. I am just lost as to why we cannot go out there and play smart football. Look we don't have to be great or always have the best players but at least have some players who can play well and provide some foundation for the rest of the team.
Al Davis, what will you do. If we go 4 straight losing seasons, what do you all think is going to happen? There is no coach in the world right now who would even try to come in and coach us. We are going to be the laughing stock of the whole NFL for several years to come. Just like the bengals before us, until Davis understands he must forget the past and move into the future.
Jimmy Johnson wanted to coach the Raiders when he left Dallas. But on one condition, Al Davis must not get involved. Jimmy knows that would never happen. Davis has been known to talk to Jimmy now and again. But Jimmy won't coach for us. Why? Because God won't let anyone coach us correctly.
But Al is letting Art control the team and look at whats happening. Al needs to get involved. Really, you all think his not involved? Please.

7:12 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

N.Y. Raider fan - If you want to read a funny and insightful post on the Millen incident, go to Stick'ems blog "The Raider Way"

(also check out the comments section.)

Our offensive line has shown solid, steady improvement from Week 1 to Week 4. It looks like McNasty will be replacing Walker at RT. Rookie RG Boothe was a beast vs. the Niners and is looking like a draft steal.

The only conceivable scenario where this season will be a total loss is if Walter isn't given a full, fair opportunity to play the entire season to develop.

One final note: I wish Shell would take a page out of Shanahan's coaching system and go with the "hot" back. If Fargas is running roughshod over the D, leave him the F in. If Curry is consistenly getting open, catching the ball, and picking up 1st downs, keep going to him. When something is working the coaching staff needs to stick with it until the D proves it can negate it. Simple common sense in coaching would go a long ways toward continued improvement.

7:13 PM  
Blogger x said...

Yes, Fargas needs to get on the field more. If there's anyone who deserves to play, it's him. If all the other Raiders showed the passion and desire he does, this team would compete each week.

I was actually calling for the team to cut him last year, as he was taking up a roster spot and ran like a cupcake. Don't know what's gotten into him this year.

His smack on Bryant on the onside kick made the #1 "Jack-Up" on ESPN.

Love the Blandarock, but have to say he's smokin' crack if he blames Walter for that lateral/fumble. That ball should have been caught by Jordan in the first place. He got his right hand on it down around his right knee. Secondly, the ball didn't bounce that far away from him. If he wasn't standing there, he could have easily pounced on that ball before the Niners did.

I like Jordan a lot, but you have to pin that on him.

And the reasoning that Walter was benched because he was losing his fundamentals makes some sense in that his last INT was thrown off his back foot, but isn't that what QB coaches are for? Or even the HC for that matter? Don't you take the young guy aside and stress the fundamentals and let him go back in there and correct his mistakes?

Where's the damn coaching?

7:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Do you really think the O-line has shown improvment, or is it that our last 2 opponents were almost as bad as we are ?

I think we'll know more about this O-line after the upcoming run of tougher teams we will face.


At this point, I'll take a "forced", rebuilding, but a planned rebuilding would have been better.

The Raiders would be in a lot better shape if they had Leinart/Cutler, fighting Walter for the Qb job.

I think we all can agree now, that you don't start a rebuilding proccess with a saftey.

8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hats off to my man CJ for bringing up the lone good memory of that bitter day on 1/05/86. Had the game on the car radio in Tahoe in a snowstorm. When the chains snapped and wrapped around my front axle at the half, the Raiders had a good lead. When I pulled my frozen, soaked ass out from under the f'ing car an hour later, it was the scoreless 4th quarter. You know the rest. Thank God for true Raiders like Millen. Are there any on the roster today?

8:51 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Well, Raider00, that's what's got me tweaked out, the revisionism that this was somehow a rebuilding year from the outset. It may be becoming a rebuilding year, but it was not one at the outset.

Swap Collins for another outcast veteran in Brooks, and add one rookie o-lineman, and you've basically got the same offensive unit as last year (barring the late and mystifying decision to choose 32-year-old Whitted over Gabriel and Porter). That's not rebuilding.

Like you, I would rather rebuild with a clear plan than rebuild by default through force of circumstance. But, at this point, I'll take a forced rebuilding over more denial.

8:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speculation here: I like the young players we have in relief like Morant, Fargas, Madsen, Buchannon, ect, but they work with the 2nd team or the scout team in practice so maybe they are put in for the plays they are familiar with but not for the whole game???? Little by little as they learn the "O" they may get more playing time, I hope!!!!

A&W -vs- Brooks???? Art said Brooks is the starter and is replaced by A&W until he is healthy??? I do not like it but maybe that is the case this year??? I would rather see A&W play and learn but if Art feels there is still hope for the season than he will want to put his best man in position to win a game???? After the mid-point of the season and we are out of it for sure than it is time to play your young tallent to let them mature.... As I said----Speculation-w-Antisipation!!!! but NO accurate knowlege...

I did not like the Tui thing but Art needs to know what he has so put him in and see if he can come in and save a game in relief----NOT-A-CHANCE----- but now he knows that, no need to see it again!!! But again this is Speculation-w-TryToUnderstanding????

NCRaider64: Remember who played for Dallas while Troy was getting ready?? We drafted him and traded him--- Steve Burline---and kept Jay Shreoder and BillyJoeHobert??? I worked security for the Raiders training camp in Nappa and got to meet Steve and BillyJoe, we made a mistake because Jay was offering to give back some of his pay-check because of his bad play while Steve was trying to hold out for more money and BillyJoe was buying more GUNS??!!!.... That was a big mistake by everyone, including Dallas because they benched Steve and put in Troy who fell on his ass in the play-off, hind-sight can show shit in your face from having it shoved up the ass when you can't see thru your ShitEye!!!

The lesson: What do we do in a few weeks if this team starts winning, when the turn-around comes??? You who shit on our Hall-O-Famers, will you eat your shit and white a retraction??? Or hide in your missery, convicted of conduct UN-becoming a Raider!!!! We all make mistakes, but only a few own up to it and admit they were wrong!! Like our Hall-O-Fame owner did about firring Coach Shell. That makes him a very big man in my eyes, and I am more than willing to give it my suport, I mean if the GodFather can do what he did how the hell can I as an insignifacant RaiderFan turn my back on it, especially so early in a new season????? But that is for each one of you to answer, I can only speak for myself, never to bash the Hall-O-Famers who wrote our gloriuos history... Call me OverComitted, FanaticallyLoyal, Blind-As-A-Bastard ect ect ect, OK, I am,


9:34 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Raider 00 - You might be right about it being difficult to get a true read on the O-line's improvements based on the competition. Regardless, the comments from the QB and coaching staff about the O-line, my viewing of the games, and the statistics all back up my basic conclusion. The sacks allowed progression 9-6-4-1 and rushing for over 6 yards per carry the last 2 weeks points to improved pass blocking and run blocking. I will be interested to see if McNasty further stengthens the line and if more of the run plays are designed to go to the right side where we start 2 rookies.

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know something, the Raiders just don't have good fundamentals. Good sound football begins by having leaders step up to the plate and say," What the hell is going on around here? " I mean someone who can stand up to everyone and lay the smack down. It has to begin at the top of the team, all the way down to the waterboys. No one on this team has done that since Brown or Gannon. Losing is one thing but losing with no dignity is an entirely different ball game. I am saddend that we have gone down as far as we have since our SB year of 2002.

At least one Oakland team is playing well. The A's is something we should look at as a team with not much of a bank account, but they can win games based on pure sound fundamentals. They believe in something. The Raiders haven't had someone show them how to believe in themselves. It all begins with " you." Anyways thats what I think

9:58 PM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

In an earlier post I mentioned that Shell was faced with a serious question regarding Walter in the game against SF. Essentially, "Does it hurt him more if I leave him in, or if I pull him?" This is question that coaches frequently face when starting inexperienced QBs. Different coaches approach it different ways, but there is plenty of precedent for both answers. Historically, Raider coaches have not been shy about pulling their QB. But it's not just true for the youngsters. I've seen Lamonica, Stabler and Plunkett all pulled for being ineffective, even at the height of their careers. I thought Shell was right in this. Walter had made game changing mistakes on three consecutive drives. Lamonica, Stabler, and Plunkett all would have expected the same.

And there is something else on the horizon that is going to piss people off here. But it is going to happen as sure as night becomes day. When he's able, Brooks is going to start again - probably within the next two weeks. How can Shell be so stupid, you'll ask? It's not an Art Shell question. It's a Raiders question. It has been the Raiders policy for as long as I can remember (and I'm going back to the 60s here) that no starting player loses his job because of an injury. When the injury is healed, the player returns to the starting line-up.

The only time this ever appeared to happen was when Plunkett replaced Pastorini in 1980. The difference was that Pastorini broke his leg and was out for the season. The following season Pastorini hadn't fully recovered so they went with Plunkett permanently. But Plunkett (few remember) was pulled for ineffectiveness in 1981. He led them to another Super Bowl in 1983.

So Brooks will start again. As far as the Raiders having designated Walter as QB of the future. The Raiders have never made that claim. The press has assumed it because the Raiders didn't draft a QB. I believe, in fact, that Walter is the Raiders designated QB of the future.

However, the Raiders do not give the starting QB job to anyone. John Madden tells the story of the young Ken Stabler walking into his office and demanding to start. Madden told him, "Nobody is going to give that job to you. You're going to have to take it." And those words describe the Raider way.

If Walter is going to be the Raiders starting QB, nobody is going to give him that job. He's going to have to compete for it, in game time and in practice, and he's going to have to make the offense his. If Walter can't do that, he's not a Raider QB, just a stop gap, and the Raiders will have to look elsewhere. The same would have been true had the Raiders picked one of the young QB studs in the last draft.

Personally, I wouldn't want it any other way. I want Walter to take that job, and I don't want to see him babied into it.

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

again,blandarocked,you did it again. yeah,art is really gaining the confidence of the team and changing the culture....... he is adding to the poor culture,can you not see that??? his game day coaching is atrocious,his bringing in a new culture as you call it is worse than the culture we have had the last 10 years. his culture has the players shaking their heads saying to themselves "even if we don't beat ourselves,i'm sure art will coach us into beating ourselves". art is in way over his head and if you can't see that from the gameplans we have to the game day coaching we get,you are then either in complete denial or you just don't know what you are watching.

8:24 AM  

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