Saturday, November 11, 2006

Raider Take Express for 11/11

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. The Raiders have not scored an offensive touchdown over the last 33 possessions. Think about that for a second. Consider that, between kickoffs and punts, you probably have an average field position around the opponent’s 30 yard line. So that’s 33 failed chances to go, on average, about 70 yards for a score. That’s verging on supernatural. Mark my words, this streak will end on Sunday. It has to end on Sunday.

2. In the Spotlight section of its home page on Friday night, ESPN featured two stories under the NFL header. Following are direct quotes from the story summaries. Story 1: “How badly do the Raiders stink?” Story 2: “Oakland is the worst team in the NFL.” Wow, you can slip a disk hating like that.

3. Horsecollar Jack wrote with a link to
one of the ESPN pieces. In this piece, the author writes: “As the Raiders' ineptness reached new lows, the fellas in the booth took turns welcoming Christian Slater, Brian Bosworth and Michael Wilbon to the broadcast.” Look, I don’t have a problem with the guy calling the Raiders offense inept, but don’t blame the Raiders for this asinine pattern of interviewing so-called celebrities during the action on Monday Night Football. It’s starting to piss me off. For better or for worse, and usually for the better, the NFL rules its own image with an iron fist. Yet it allows a network to hijack its games with celebrity interviews? This has to stop. Raider Greg at Raider Nation Podcast also rants about this regrettable trend on his latest podcast.

4. Remember, the Broncos beat us by a score of just 13 to 3 in Denver, so I’m not going to be pessimistic about our chances. If we rattle Jake The Fake Snake, and if we can break this supernatural spell on offense, we can beat these guys. The three keys to winning this game are: (1) establishing the run; (2) stopping the Denver run; and (3) not dropping easy balls. Go ahead and call my analysis simplistic, but that’s simply how I see it. We know our offensive line will break down. We know Walter will be pressured. We know that Denver will try to compensate for the Fake Snake’s shortcomings by trying to jam the Bells down our throats. Therefore, we need to establish the run to alleviate the pressure on Walter. We need to ring some Bells. And we cannot afford to let easy balls hit the turf (memos to Moss and Anderson!). There’s no way to quantify our dropped balls to date, but they have been plentiful and lethal to many drives, and may have ultimately cost us some games. The time is now to turn the corner, turn the page, and at least give ourselves a chance to win the game on offense.

5. Come Sunday, the Raiders will now have been on local television for five straight games, which means that they have met the official sellout threshold for each of their home games this year, despite an uninspiring record. This is a magnificent development that speaks to both the new marketing programs of the Oakland Raiders and the fierce support of the Raider Nation through thick and thin. There will be no shortage of people ready to make some glue out of those old Donkeys on Sunday.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Raider Haters at ESPN are having a field day this year, but let's face it, the Raider offense really is as bad as they say. No offensive touchdowns in 33 possessions? Please.

Even ESPN notes that the Cardinals are expected to be terrible because the Cardinals are always terrible, but the Raiders are expected to win. The Raiders set the bar higher for themselves, and it's fair for sportswriters to expect more of the Raiders.

When you used to be the winningest team in pro football, and you're now on track to have your 4th straight losing season--for the first time ever--then you can expect some ribbing.

And the Raiders get extra flack because they're the Raiders, but it might be worse if they just ignored us, like they do the Cardinals or Lions. I'm having a harder time getting riled at the bad press the Raiders are getting when the team has 3 hours on TV each week to show what they are made of. And what the team has been showing has been absolutely horrible (except for the defense, that is).

The least the media could do is write something funny about how bad the Raiders are. I'm dying to laugh so I can stop crying ...

3:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing about point #5...For years Ignacio De La Fuente, Dave Newhouse, and other Al Davis haters, blamed the lack of sellouts on the Raiders' W-L records...What's more likely to happen? Those people coming forward and saying they were full of it or a Brittney Spears/Halle Berry sex tape being released?

5:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tokai Japan Outpost: I agree with you 100%. Some of us (I'll raise my hand) have been moaning all week about the joke that Walsh (and ultimately Shell) have turned our offense into. i can't cry foul if people who don't love the Riaders see the same thing. I do, however, take exception to the "worst team in football" angle. The Cards have "won" that title by having less wins than us and ultimately losing to us head to head. But "we're not the worst" is hardly a rallying cry I ever expected to lean on as a Raider fan!

Anonymous: Here's to hoping Newhouse and his ilk keep their mouths shut if that would open door # 2!

RT: I know you're a realist because I read your posts this week, but I admire your optimism. I'm cut from the same cloth, which is why it pains me to say what I really think lately...

5:54 AM  
Blogger Stick'em said...

RT: The Shanarat formula for beating the Raiders is to run the ball on offense and simply wait for the Raiders to make enough mistakes (penalties, turnovers, sacks, etc.) to back themselves up into a deep, dark hole. It has worked for years.

The Doncos played very conservatively last time, which means they aren't going to be prone to making a lot of mistakes. The Raiders will have to play equally efficient football to have any chance of pulling this one out.

Being down by 10 or so doesn't sound like much, but it is when you have the "O" the Raiders have. This is not Jim Plunkett or Kenny Stabler's pull-it-out-of-your-a$$-in-the-4th-quarter Raiders.

Hence, your game plan to run the ball and stop the run is a sound one. We know the DumbBells and the CutBlockers are coming...

In the big picture, if both teams rely on their defense to win the game for 'em (which seems rather likely to happen), the Donco D-fense unfortunately is perhaps the best in the NFL this season...

I don't know who stole the Raider mojo, but I do know I have my Shanarat voodoo doll waxed up and ready for some 3-inch nails...

BTW, when did ESPN become the Oprah Winfrey Show? What's next? Tom Cruise will come in the booth and jump up and down like a monkey blabbering about L. Ron Hubbard?

While I like Christian Slater as an actor, but it was pretty obvious he had no clue about what was going on in the game.

When asked if he liked football, Christian replied. "Oh, I've got some friends who do. I remember Joe Namath waving his finger."

Ya know what's scary? Tony Kornholio doesn't know much more about football than Slater does.

Where is Paul McGuire to bust Joey Theesman's balls and call 'em out for gibbering like a baboon?

ESPN is doing to my football what MTV did to my music.

6:06 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Great takes, thanks!

Bad press is to be expected, and it is deserved under the circumstances. However, I found it telling, and worth noting, that ESPN put TWO "Raiders Are Dead" articles at the top of the NFL ticker; but like I said, I can't argue with the observation that the team (offense) stinks right now.

Amid all of the negative press, only a handful of articles will merit "News You Can't Use" treatment. Such articles earn special attention due to sloppiness, illogic, bias and/or outright hating. These articles are a persistent minority.

Like Tokai, I'd at least like to read something clever and funny.

Anon, I'm not holding my breath. A few weeks ago, I highlighted a local columnist who wrote, after the Raiders gained control of their ticketing operations last year, that it won't matter if the team isn't winning. We haven't heard from him, either.

I have to try to be optimistic, which is indeed quite challenging under the circumstances. If we stink up a game, I will tell it like it is...But a game that hasn't been played yet? There's always room for optimism when it comes to the future.

Stick'Em, I'd say the odds are 50-50 for a Tom Cruise ESPN booth sighting by the end of the season. He was already seen hanging out with Dan "Money for Nothing" Snyder. I just hope he brings his alien baby, and that his UFOs come down and zap one of our AFC West rivals.

P.S. Save a voodoo nail for me.

7:09 AM  
Blogger nyraider said...

RT: "(Raiders) need to ring some Bells." NICE! Let's hope so!

Stick'em: The Donkey MO is just what you say, "play conservative football and allow the Raiders to beat themselves." That was never more obvious than the first meeting this year. Even with the score as close as it was, Shanahan never wavered from that, as if he knew (and he did) that the Raiders could not score.

The problem I see is that if the Raiders force the Donkeys hand by actually scoring TDs, the Donkeys are more than capable of opening up their attack.

I believe RT's simplistic approach will need to be implemented on offense, but we will also need a defensive performance similar to what we had against the Steelers, i.e., force the Donkeys out of their game plan and disrupt their adjustments (yes, they actually make adjustments).

As much as it pains me to say, Shanahan is no dummy. He knows his run run, then run game plan from last meeting probably won't work this time (he's not that predictable).

I apologize that I keep harping on this, but I believe J.Porter is a major key to our immediate success on offense (particularly in this game). Moss and Anderson are proven sieves, and Walsh refuses to use his backs in the passing game. The mere presence of Porter will take coverage pressure off Moss and may take pressure away from the pass rush. Once upon a time, Jerry Porter made Chump Bailey look like a high school bench warmer. Elephants don't forget.

7:35 AM  
Blogger Alan said...

Your take on the Bronco game is perfectly on target. Run the ball, stop the run, don't drop passes. We do those things and we'll win.

11:07 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Good job RT w/the weekly roundup.

Here are some additional points and opinions about your 5 points:

1. The Raiders have only 6 offensive TDs in 94 possessions; 1 TD for every 15.6 possessions or .75 avg TD per game. Yikes!

2. The Raiders have become a free lunch ticket for all of the ESPN writers and sad to say, even if it is excessive, most of it is justified.

3. ESPN MNF is in danger of losing or turning off their core audience...true football fans who want the focus of the telecast to be on the game and for the guys in the booth to give intelligent, football analysis not small talk with "B" celebrities.

4. Your plan for the Donkeys game (establish the run, stop the run, don't drop passes) is the type of common sensical approach that all of us "arm-chair" coaches/QBs are begging for.

You can bet your last dollar that Shan-Rat will load up the box to stop our run. There are 2 things that I don't want to see in this game. (1) us abandoning the run like in the Sea-Chicken game. (2) us running east and west instead of north and south. The stretch, outside running plays simply won't work against the speedy Donkey LB corps. Once again, common sense will go a long ways to our success.

5. I can't quite explain the 5 consecutive sell outs at home especially the Brownies and Cards selling out. I realize that marketing/customer service/fan friendly events (ie. Tail Gate Zone) all play a big part in the ticket success. However it is also alsolutely vital that the Raiders put a winning, competitive product on the field to sustain this ticket success.

12:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you guys are looking for a reason to be optimistic, check out another fine job by Jerry McDonald in his blog:

12:51 PM  
Blogger x said...

Not like Gallery is making us forget Art Shell at LT, but looks like he may be out tomorrow....more offensive line juggling may be that's all the Raiders need.

6:05 PM  

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