Monday, October 23, 2006

Five Postgame Takes

1. Between the near safety and the recorded safety in the third quarter of yesterday’s game, a certain alchemy flashed through the Coliseum. Up until that point, the crowd of 60,000 strong seemed a bit on edge, a bit tentative. The bitter taste of the Browns game still lingered, reminding us that there is a fine line between a big lead and a blown lead, especially when you’re desperate and winless. But then the Raiders crushed Matt Leinart at the goal line, and the switch was flipped. The proverbial blood was in the water. The Raider Nation rose up as one. Sixty-thousand cells merged to become a singular animal, rabid and riotous and deafening. More than 330 days of pent-up victory-starved energy was unleashed at that moment.

Warren Sapp and gang started whooping it up during the subsequent official challenge, further provoking the crowd. The longest roar was interrupted only by a hail of boos when the zebras held their thieving ground. As the Cardinals lined up for the following play, our linebackers jammed their knuckles into the turf, kicking their feet backward like bulls about to be released from a pen. At that point, the crowd and the defense were mutually plugged into the same high-voltage outlet. A safety at that point was literally inevitable, you could see it, you could feel it, you could sense it. Sure enough, our guys jammed the line while Michael Huff, seemingly shot from a cannon, flew around the right side to seal the deal. The Coliseum erupted as a volcano of white noise, which receded a few minutes later into a long rumbling chorus: Raiii-derrrs! Raiii-derrrs!

2. That scrambling sound you hear is the editors at ESPN trying to figure out how to fill the considerable editorial space that, until 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, was occupied with “Raiders Will Go 0-16!” stories.

3. This game was a testament to the loyalty of the Raider Nation and the recent ticketing improvements made by the Oakland Raiders organization. The house was sold out for a contest between two teams with one combined victory. Absolutely remarkable, considering the historical dearth of sellouts in Oakland. Remember last November, when Raider Take’s favorite columnist said that ticket sales were all about winning games, and
yours truly countered that marketing was equally, if not more, important than winning? What say you now, Raider Take’s favorite columnist? By freeing themselves from the punitive bureaucratic impediment of the Oakland Football Marketing (hah!) Association, and by implementing a sensible pricing/marketing program and improving gameday logistics (opening night excepted), the Raiders have enabled the Raider Nation to flourish, and the Raider Nation is responding. Simple as that.

4. In the wake of the game, Art Shell indicated that Andrew Walter is our starter, regardless of Aaron Brooks’ recovery. Great news—now if we can just keep Walter from getting killed by the guys lining up across from Robert Gallery. This is becoming a serious problem, folks. We can’t have our young QB getting crushed from the blind side, over and over again. Brute strength is useless at left tackle if you don’t have the quick feet and hands to go with it. The jig might truly be up with Gallery. He offers as much resistance as a pair of saloon doors. Let’s try Slaughter—with the caveat that we’ll slaughter him if he makes any more false starts.

5. The Raiders Haters will tell us not to get too carried away about beating up the lowly Cardinals. You know what? I will get carried away. You don’t tell me that the Raiders are the worst team in the NFL, and one of the worst teams in history, and that we’ll go 0-16, and then turn around and tell me that this victory is both meaningless and expected. On top of that, it’s our first win in the past 12 games. It’s been a long time coming. Damn straight I’ll get carried away.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

NY Raider Fan....

NICE!!! It's been so long I almost forgot.

While one game is not representative, special thanks to Andrew Walter and Michael Huff for ending any short-term speculation that the Raiders should have drafted Leinart. In the simplest terms, the Raiders would never operate an offense that Leinart could be successful. That offense has permanently left the building... for better or worse.

RT, it scares me to think your Take #4 is right on the money, but for now I still hold out hope that good coaching can bring Gallery around. However, his play begs the question; how can there possibly be that much separation from his stellar college career to now?

I made the point before that I believe Slaughter should be a starter on the O-line, if for no other reason than his name. However, mental discipline may be more than he can handle.

Other quick observations:
1. running back by committee works! They just need to secure the ball before they run with it.
2. how did our O manage two face masks on the same play?
3. interception or not, it's awesome to see Curry throw the long ball. That play is designed to be a crowd-pleaser.

Watch out, winning could lead to confidence, and confidence to lead to more winning.

Enjoy this win!

NY Raider Fan.

7:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RT your take on Gallery was good. I have been disappointed with his play, but I feel for him like I did with Nap Harris. Harris was an outside LB, and moved to Mid LB, and worked under 2 or 3 defensive coordinators, trying to learn a new position and new playbooks year after year. It had to be difficult.
It's been the same with Gallery. I think Art is going to stay awhile, along with his O-line coaches. Now the OC Walsh, may be gone, but I don't think the blocking schemes are going to change that much under a new OC, since they will probably bring someone in who will run the G. So I say give him the rest of this year to improve, and he should have it down by the beginning of next season. If not, then it's time to start looking to someone else.
I'm still hopeful for McNasty too.

7:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This game goes a long way in justifying the pick of Huff over Matt. I don't think Walter would ever panic the way Matt did under pressure Sunday. People ask me what Huff has done, and I respond with 'he hasn't pissed me off yet'. He's covered guys like Todd Heap and Antonio Gates with good results, and you don't see him getting burned for TD's like we all remember from the Gibson days. Now he's starting to make big plays like that safety. He score 2 more points than Matt did.
Things are finally looking up Raider Nation, even if just a little. We actually have momentum and luck on our side for once with Big Ben hurting. We have a chance to shake things up a bit and shut people up by beating an old rival. I can't wait for Sunday, and I hope Shell decides to stick with Walter afterwards. Cross your fingers for Galery this week, this can be the big turn-around we've been waiting for and he seems to be the critical area of concern.

7:53 AM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...


I guess you haven't heard that Shell made the permanent switch. Walter is the QB until further notice. Regarding that, Shell also said that Brooks' attitude through all of this has been outstanding, and he said that Brooks has offered to do whatever he can to help Walter and the team.

I'd like to say that Brooks is kind of a mystery to me. In NO everyone said that he didn't have any passion. I think it's something else. Brooks seems to lack the killer instinct element of competitiveness. And that's not a bad thing at all as a human being, but it doesn't translate well for an NFL player. I, for one, think that Walter is an outstanding back up for Walter, and I'd like to see him in that position for a long time to come.

Regarding Gallery... From people I've talked to who have played tackle, changing from right to left side is like learning to become left handed when you're naturally right handed. It's not like just learning how to use your left hand, but learning how to make it the dominant hand; the hand you instictively use without thinking.

Gallery is getting better. He's certainly better than the first two games of the season. By the end of this season, at least, and likely before, we'll know whether Gallery can handle the job.

8:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I read was that Shell said Brooks would have to "prove he could play" before getting back on the field, but I didn't read that there was any definitive committment to Walter other than he is starting this week. Personally, my vote for the rest of the schedule is with Walter. Seems like a no-brainer.

NY Raider Fan

9:22 AM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

NY Raider:

Yesterday I had read that Shell had pulled the trigger, and that Walter would be starting until further notice. But in today's press it seems like that never happened. Nothing like consistant Bay Area sports reporting, huh?

Regardless, Brooks hasn't even worked out with the team in four weeks. Even when he's completely healthy, he's going to have to work his way back. At a minimum, even if Shell goes back to Brooks (which I think is doubtful), Walter would likely be the starter for the next three weeks.

One of the things I realized while watching the game on Sunday is that it is better to push a rookie than to pull him. When the Raider's acknowledged that Walter was the QB of the future they were pulling Walter along. When folks were saying that the Raiders should have drafted Leinart, Walter was pushed from behind for the first time and the improvement was remarkable. I think Shell (a wise man) realizes that it is better to push Walter, so he's leaving that threat of Brooks coming back on the table.

9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you include playing left tackle in the Big 10 (where he played at Iowa) as legitimate game experience, then I think Robert Gallery has logged more time at left tackle than at right tackle.

I'm not sure why all of this position change / excuse talk keeps coming out.

Either you're a player, or your not. Either your fundamentally sound, or you're not.

The real issue is that unlike his draft equivalent predecessors (Page, Ogden, Samuels, Boselli, Jones) he could not supplant Barry Sims his rookie year.

That was the real red flag being raised.

Let's face it. He's a bust for a #2 overall pick.

Can he still start and be productive in this league? Yes.

Will he ever be Walter Jones or Orlando Pace? Probably not.

By the way, Betrand Berry had 3 sacks against us....

RT: Great take on the plays that led up to the safety. That's right were my seats are and the place was jumpin'....

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


there is YOUR classy al davis folks!!!!! all he cares about is himself. he doesn't give a fat rats a$$ for us fans, nor for a winning football organization/team. he is setting up to move back to la with his evil yes girl pulling the strings.

call me a hater bandwagon jumper if you want. i will always love my team but despise the evil al davis. i am a paying customer and i am entitled to freely give my opinion if i so choose.

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I just voted. Shell is leading 59% to 29% for Kubiak.

NY Raider.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Robert Gallery question is a tough one.

Gallery is still young, and has not played LT in 2 yrs.
It could be this is like his rookie yr all over again.

On the other hand, Gallery himself said back in training camp, that he was having no trouble at all making the switch.

Also, I believe the Chargers, & Jets are both starting rookie LT's, and having good success.

Gallery needs to be given some time, and he has improved a bit since week one.

But the thing that scares me is, I do not want to see Gallery's poor play result in an injury to up and coming star QB, Andrew Walter.

11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gallery started the season getting lit up by the Chargers Shawne Merriman. Who is now serving a 4-game suspension for steroid use. NOTE: the NFL does not suspend on the first positive test.

Gallery was made to look bad by a guy who was cheating.

I've noticed in a couple of stories that they've noted Gallery hasn't gotten any stronger since he went to the NFL. Good indication that he is NOT using steroids.

Steroids work, which is one reason they are banned. Another is the long-term health hit, and still another is "roid rage".

But their use is fairly wide-spread in the NFL, which is full of short-term thinkers.

I wonder how many of Gallery's other opponents just did a better job of masking their use.

While this doesn't excuse Gallery's play, it does make you wonder how much better he'd do on a level playing field.

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You don’t tell me that the Raiders are the worst team in the NFL, and one of the worst teams in history, and that we’ll go 0-16, and then turn around and tell me that this victory is both meaningless and expected. On top of that, it’s our first win in the past 12 games. It’s been a long time coming. Damn straight I’ll get carried away." THATS RIGHT B***HES!!!

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Good points about Merriman, and the 'roids.

If I'm not mistaken, the Chargers took another player, Luis Castillo, later in that same draft.
I beleive he also had a 'roid issue, coming out of college.

I guess Marty's getting a little desperate to win it all.

1:14 PM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

Re Gallery...

I think one sack he "gave up" can be attributed to Walter. Walter audibled into a draw from a pass, forgot that he did so, and dropped back to pass while the line went into their draw set.

Regardless, where Gallery needs work is hitting his man hard to knock him off his stride, and then staying with him until the whistle. Too often Gallery is trying to set himself, gets hit instead of hitting, and then tries, off balance, to stay with his assignment.

1:24 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

EKG Raider asked me to post this on his behalf:


I cant believe you posted that article. Now if you dont like al davis fine, like you say its your choice.

However is al not allowed to have feelings? is he not allowed to get upset when people bring in his personal affairs? Why does he have to kiss butt just because the person is a reporter?

Then the comment that al davis doesnt care about having a winning team???? WOW that is just....well i wont even start. THAT IS ALL AL DAVIS CARES ABOUT. we may not always agree with his choices or methods but they are always done with one thing in mind WINNING!!!


4:22 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Al Davis is a proud and private man. Some of the stories, rumors, and speculation about his health issues have gone over the line in terms of responsible journalism.

Scorpio is entitled to his opinion. However, in my opinion, Al Davis' singular focus on winning is in fact the true essence of the man.

Anyone who knows Al, currently works for the Raider organization, or was a former player or employee would say that Davis' sole motivation is his quest for another SB championship.

10:32 PM  

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