Sunday, April 30, 2006

A Draft Day Debriefing

Leading up to the first round of the draft, I said that I would choose a QB like Leinart from the heart, and a need-filler like Huff from the head. I will gladly live with the latter, just as I would with the former. I’m just happy it’s not neither, which would be the case if I were a fan of the Bills or Texans (sorry, I just don’t buy the Williams-over-Bush equation, particularly for that team).

I have to admit that when Leinart was still there at number seven on Saturday, I was rooting for him (from the heart) as the pick. I think he’s poised and prepared for the NFL, and that he's got magic, too. More important, I’m just sick of the QB position as it relates to the Raiders. Aside from the Gannon intervention, it’s been an extended drought. I understand that QB talent is difficult to predict. The evaluation minefield is littered with detonated names like Leaf, Druckenmiller and Couch. But it’s also populated with successes like Manning, McNabb, Palmer and Roethlisberger.

Remember when Robert Gallery looked like a smart sturdy pick in 2004? Eight slots later, the Steelers selected Ben Roethlisberger. That’s what I’m talking about. We need to get this position under control. I’m hoping that Brooks and Walter can do that. I have faith. But Brooks is a castoff from the Saints and Walter hasn’t taken an NFL snap and has been injured for two straight years, so I think it’s reasonable that my faith will remain tested for the short term. Meanwhile, check out what JS has to say about the QB position in relation to the secondary. Good food for thought.

Okay, with that said, can I still be stoked about Michael Huff? Yes I can. Sure, I’ve expressed reservations about the Raiders taking yet another turn on the DB hamster wheel. But this guy is different. I’m sure of it. It’s a totally reasonable selection that will elevate our ability and intensity on defense.

The jury is out on Howard in the second round. Stick’Em ribbed me for my sudden USC fetish, but with both Winston Justice and Lendale White falling to the second round, I thought either would have been worth the risk. Both have baggage. Both are also acknowledged first-round talents. Are we looking for the best athletes or the best citizens? Baggage is a Raiders tradition. I’m not saying go after these guys in the first round. But when they’re sitting there in the second round, like ripe fruit hanging from the draft tree? I don’t know. Call me crazy, but…

Anyhow, a big welcome to Michael Huff. By all accounts, he’s a character guy, one who is genuinely excited to join the Raider Nation. He puts some serious nasty into The Nasty that Art Shell and the Oakland Raiders will wield in 2006.

Addendum at 8:34 a.m.: I should have said "best football players or best citizens" in my take. This use of the word "athlete" for "football player" is something I don't want to perpetuate.

Justice and White may not have been the best "athletes" in that 38th slot, but they are proven football players and acknowledged first-round talents. The Eagles nabbed Justice right after our second round pick, and the Titans, who know a thing about power running from the Eddie George era, selected White shortly thereafter. This is no coincidence. These are two teams whose coaches don't take crap from players, and who exert discipline from the top down. Justice and White didn't rob banks or smoke crack, and they've proven they can play football, the game, not the track meet.

It's just a bit ironic that we're restocking our defense at the top of the draft again, and specifically our secondary in the first round. We have to believe that THIS time they've got it right. Huff makes that belief pretty easy, so I'm not complaining.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Welcome to Oakland, Michael Huff

As predicted by the Raider Nation in the Blogger Mock Draft, the Raiders have selected Michael Huff in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft. This guy can fly, hit and pick. He will raise the level of intensity on our defense. The return of "nasty" starts now.

I would have liked Leinart, too. Hopefully, this means that the Raiders still have a high opinion of Andrew Walter as sufficient competition or backup to Aaron Brooks. Could a trade still be in the works for Reggie Bush? I doubt it. I hope that Bush's talent doesn't get lost in the losing tradition of the Saints. That would be a tragedy.

So what next, in round two? Offensive line?

Rise and Shine, Raider Nation!

The top two jobs in New Orleans this early morning are coffee vendor and telephone technician, because the lines at Saints headquarters are going be lit up like a Christmas tree from darkness through dawn.

Now let me say that I think the Texans are nuts. Freakin’ nuts, I tell you! That sound you hear is David Carr weeping.

Virtually every expert’s mock draft has suddenly been obliterated at the eleventh hour (Stick’Em being a notable exception, as he coolly strutted into my previous take and confidently predicted Williams as Houston’s choice hours before it was announced).

Now, we know the Saints are, if not nuts, at least bewildered. Isn’t it just like the Saints to have this gift dropped in their lap, only to already have a bunch of money tied up in Deuce McAllister? There’s a black cat loose in that franchise, and it’s been loose for decades.

Mr. Benson, it’s Mr. Davis on line one…I mean, how could Mr. Davis not at least make the call, not put out some feelers? This is the Saints! You’ve got to at least try to take candy from that baby.

Even if Mr. Davis isn’t dialing New Orleans, even if the Saints select Bush, things are already looking up for the Oakland Raiders, especially if it’s true that they are in the QB market. The Jets may make a play for Bush in the two slot, trading places with the Saints (who don’t need a QB after signing Brees for top dollar). In which case, either Leinart or Young will almost certainly be available to the Raiders in the seven slot. I know there was already talk about Leinart sliding, but the Jets and Titans could still easily gobble these two guys up—but not if the Jets make a play for Bush (or if the unthinkable happens, and Bush falls to the Jets). And if the Raiders’ sights are already on Mike Huff, then it’s smooth sailing.

Of course, if Mr. Davis is dialing New Orleans, and if he does make a deal for Bush, remember—
you heard it here first.

Now grab the beer and cereal and get this party started. Out.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Cold Thoughts on A Hot Draft

My older brother said it best several years ago: “Stick me in a freezer and thaw me out on game day.” Now we say it every year, right around the second Raiders preseason game—on some hot August day when we can’t take the anticipation any longer, when September can’t come fast enough, when we’d rather join the TV dinners and frozen fish than live with the clock ticking so slowly toward the start of the regular season. Ever had that feeling?

Well, the draft is now starting to feel that way, too. It may not be at freezer level, but certainly refrigerator, or even ice chest. I can’t recall a draft with this much hype and discussion and anticipation. I can't wait, and it's killing me, so just put me on ice.

Maybe it’s the caliber and star quality of the players (by comparison, Aaron Rodgers and Alex Smith were hot topics last year). Maybe it’s the growth of NFL-dedicated news sources such as NFL Network and Sirius Satellite Radio. Maybe it’s the explosion of blogs and other internet sports resources, which amplify the 24-hour white noise of speculation and discussion. I don’t know. All I know is that this draft business is exceeding triple digits on the anticipation thermometer this year. The draft is everywhere, nonstop at high volume, consuming everything, the NBA, MLB and world politics.

Is Michael Huff the answer to our prayers or the latest in a dubious trend of first-round DBs? Do we need to draft a QB, or is the QB of the future already on our team? What about those front lines? Who's going to help LaMont Jordan carry the load this year? Is Jerry Porter trade bait? Should he be? These are all unanswered questions that will, or might, shape what goes down this weekend.

I don’t profess to be an expert or a psychic. I won’t presume to tell you who I think the Raiders should or will pick in the fourth round…

However, here are some parting thoughts before I make my bed of ice cubes: If we go the QB route, I would prefer Leinart over Young, but I also like Young’s upside if it comes to that. My heart tells me that it’s high time that the Oakland Raiders groom their own QB of the future. Is that QB already on the roster in the form of Andrew Walter? The answer to that question lies in the team’s internal opinion of Walter, which just begs another question without an answer. My head tells me that the Raiders should play it safe and fill a glaring need in the first round, such as safety, linebacker, defensive line or offensive line. The Raider Nation, and specifically many of the brilliant characters who are kind enough to comment on Raider Take, have convinced me that Mike Huff would be a solid first-round selection, despite my first-round DB phobia. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Raiders make a blockbuster deal to move up and nab their favorite pick (whoever that might be). I wouldn’t be crushed if Jerry Porter became trade bait—we’ve got a lot of depth at receiver, and I think the image of Jerry Porter exceeds the reality, and thus we might be able to get more than fair value for him. I think we need Justin Fargas to step up fast, and if the Raiders have lost confidence in him, then I wouldn’t be surprised to see them select a sleeper running back or fullback in a later round, as depth is becoming an issue on that front (although I concede that it’s possible Zack Crockett was a casualty of Norv Turner’s inanity last year, and that he might have more to offer than we’ve seen lately).

Thank you for listening. I’m now going to turn on the air conditioner, pour a cold one and have a seat next to the ice cream.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Leinart Over Young

Rumors persist that the Oakland Raiders—despite Raider Take’s selection of Michael Huff in the Blogger Mock Draft—will pursue a quarterback in the first round. So we need to be prepared for this possibility. Call me a reactionary traditionalist, but I’d take Matt Leinart over Vince Young.

There’s a lot of talk about Young’s elusiveness and athleticism, and about how he would add an “x” factor to any offense with a Vick-like ability to take off and run. But I’m not sure I want my QB running around. I want him to get the ball to Randy Moss. Can Young take snaps under center, stay calm in the pocket, make progressions and hit Randy mid stride at 30 yards? Are you sure? Or will he just take off running again? Remember, the Raiders play the vertical game, not the diagonal game.
This is not to suggest that Vince Young isn’t an incredible talent with tons of potential. I could be eating my words in a few years. But I wouldn’t bet my first round pick on it.

Matt Leinart played a pro-style offense on the biggest stage (USC) in college football for the past two years, and did nothing but win (except for when Young’s Longhorns smacked the Trojans down in the Rose Bowl, of course). You could say that he won because of an awesome supporting cast (Reggie Bush, Winston Justice, etc.), but that’s what winners do: they win with good players. Losers lose with good players. If the Rose Bowl left a bad taste in your mouth regarding Leinart, then rewind to his fourth-quarter performance against Notre Dame last year. National stage, huge plays, gutsy audible with the game on the line. Victory.

I also like Leinart’s football maturity (he stuck around for his senior year, Young is a junior). Yeah, he’s become a bit of a celebrity down there in Los Angeles, but that’s probably good training. Winning quarterbacks in the NFL become celebrities, so that’s another thing we know the guy can handle. I think that this guy is cool under pressure. I think he can make a seamless transition to the NFL. What exactly does that mean? See Ben Roethlisberger vs. Alex Smith.

The knock on Leinart is that he’s the “least physically gifted” of the three elite passers in the draft (Young and Cutler being the other two). I keep hearing about Jay Cutler’s arm strength, about how his ball will “cut through a wind” better than Leinart’s ball. But who’s ball will best cut through a sea of hands, not just a stiff breeze? Yes, I am invoking Ken Stabler to make a point.

I would be fine with Aaron Brooks and Andrew Walter duking it out for the starting role, and with the Raiders filling a need at another position in the first round. But if the rumors are true that they are in the QB hunt, then I’d vote for Leinart over Young and Cutler.

P.S. Click here to view a nice Trojan propaganda piece featuring Leinart's final drive heroics against Notre Dame (thanks to Anonymous for this link).

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Gear of The Week: Team Colors

Ever dreamed of painting the baby nursery silver and black? Ever thought about painting the outhouse blue and orange? Now you can do it with perfect NFL accuracy as The Home Depot announces Team Colors, a line of paints specifically calibrated to the unique colors of each team.

While sure to cause household strife across the nation, Team Colors is a vital resource for any Raiders fan with a paintbrush and a free weekend.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

And The Raider Nation Selects...

With active guidance from some of the brightest minds in the Raider Nation, Raider Take has selected DB Michael Huff of Texas in the Blogger Mock Draft.

It took some convincing. The Raiders have chosen a DB in the first round in four of the past five drafts. The team then proceeded to set an NFL record for fewest interceptions last year. So selecting yet another DB was initially a disturbing thought. It reminded me of the serial killer who, before leaving the victim’s house, writes on the wall: Stop me before I kill again!

However, many of you made a strong case for Huff, who emerged as the consensus choice. The fact is that we do need help in the backfield, and Huff’s lethal combination of speed and size will make a huge difference for a backfield that lacked killer instinct last year. This dude can blitz hard and close fast.

We had an option to pick Young or Cutler at QB, Ngata or Bunkley in the D trenches, and Justice in the O trenches. But enthusiasm for a QB was lacking. Justice’s baggage makes us nervous. And Huff just stood out and above Ngata and Bunkley at the end of the day.

So there you have it. Thanks to all for your input. The Raider Nation has spoken. I’m sure that cheers are erupting in Alameda and that Mr. Huff has enlisted a real estate agent to find him a nice crib in Blackhawk.

Mock Draft Update

Thanks to all who have provided guidance and commentary regarding Raider Take’s participation in the Blogger Mock Draft (see take and comments below). Collectively, your comments represent the best analysis I’ve seen regarding the draft from a Raiders perspective. History, insight, opinion, implications, considerations and cautionary tales—it’s all there.

Here’s the latest: Bush, Williams, Leinart and Ferguson have been selected. The Packers at number five are now on the clock, followed by the 49ers, and then the Raiders. In other words, we have two picks ahead of us, so there will be several solid choices on the board when our turn comes up. With the understanding that two of these players will be gone before we pick, here’s what we’re looking at: Huff, Hawk, Young, Davis, Justice, Bunkley, Cutler and Ngata.

I think I’ve narrowed it down to one of these three: Huff, Hawk, Bunkley or Ngata.

The consensus pick is Huff, if he’s available. The next consensus pick is Hawk. After that, I’d say it’s Bunkley or Ngata—thoughts?

Justice has too much baggage. Some have suggested Young or Cutler, but there doesn’t seem to be much enthusiasm in here for grooming a QB. AllyOop made a persuasive case for offense, and specifically Vernon Davis, but Huff and Hawk seem to be the consensus picks, and it’s pretty slim pickings after Ferguson (and Justice) on the O-Line category.

My goal is to do the Raider Nation proud with a sensible and reasonable pick. Please keep your comments coming, there’s still time to make your case and set me straight.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Help Wanted

Please help me out, Raiders fans. Raider Take has been enlisted to participate in an NFL mock draft, in competition with other bloggers from around the nation. This ambitious and rather twisted endeavor was conceived by Perry of Chicago Sports Blogs, who exerted blood, sweat and tears to make it happen. Click here to see the magnificence of his labors (along the right side of his home page).

It looks like the Lions are the only team without representation. Are there no Lions bloggers? Or are they just afraid they’ll pick another wide receiver?

Anyhow, if I screw this up, my shame will be epic and the mockery will be mighty. I need to sail into this draft on a proverbial pirate ship, firing cannons of insider knowledge and plunging daggers into the hopes of lesser teams.

That’s where you come in. I am no expert. I will rely on you and your comments to help me navigate these treacherous waters. I thank you in advance.

Helpful hints: (1) Click
here to stay tuned to mock draft headquarters; (2) This draft is for the first round only – we have only one pick; (3) Apparently, trading will be an option, but we have to take it seriously – we don’t want to be known as the team that traded away six years of first round picks and dinner with Amy Trask to swap places with the Saints; (4) I'm not sure of the timing of everything, but it sounds like things will get rolling pretty soon.

Friday, April 14, 2006

And The Raiders Pick...Reggie Bush?

Apparently, I haven’t received enough “You’re nuts!” hate mail lately, which explains why I’m going to float an outrageous idea: How come nobody’s talking about the possibility of the Oakland Raiders maneuvering to obtain the first pick from the Texans and selecting Reggie Bush?

The talk about “best available athlete,” as it regards the Raiders, rarely involves Reggie Bush—who is probably the best true football athlete in the draft. This is largely because there are currently six slots separating the Raiders from the top pick. But is it out of the question for the Raiders to cook up a deal for a shot at Bush? It’s a sexy, weird and possibly dangerous idea. It’s also an idea that could bring the next Barry Sanders or Marcus Allen to Oakland. Worth it? That’s the multimillion-dollar question.

The Texans are in desperate need of depth. They may be willing to deal—for a price. They would ask a lot, and the cost would be several current and future draft picks. How do we quantify that cost?

Go through your mental Rolodex of first, second and third round draft picks by the Raiders over the past several years. How many of these guys would you bundle up in exchange for Bush? How many of them are sexy picks? Immediate impact players? Can’t-miss prospects? Game changers? Legends in the making? Maybe Bush by himself is, indeed, a worth a bunch of draft picks.

Reggie Bush was
a legend in high school, a legend at USC and is quite likely a legend-to-be in the NFL. I know we need depth. I know we need to bolster the lines. I also know that Al Davis wants to win…right now. I know that the Raiders haven’t had a lethal running attack in a long time. I know that abilities of Reggie Bush, combined with the agility of Aaron Brooks and the poetry of Randy Moss, might immediately cure a lot of ills.

Over the past weeks, I’ve watched a dozen experts come up with a dozen different scenarios for the draft. They’re all over the map, which definitely leaves the term “expert” open to interpretation. I’m no expert. And that’s why I’m dumb enough to drag Reggie Bush into the discussion.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Raiders Haters Haiku

Three rings, five Super
Bowls, one not long ago; you
can’t handle the truth.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Stop The Presses

In a rare moment of self awareness, ESPN recently published a column calling for a “Tired Sports Story Ban,” which humorously diagnosed the condition of “topic fatigue” in the sports media. Of course, ESPN did not heed its own columnist’s advice, so it’s back to business as usual: Barry Bonds is still the devil, Brett Favre is still untouchable, and Dan Patrick is still on his shaky high horse.

Nevertheless, it got me thinking about topic fatigue as it relates to the Oakland Raiders. I am now urging media outlets to stop the presses if they find themselves once again tempted by the following tired takes:


Before being tapped as new offensive coordinator of the Oakland Raiders, Tom Walsh resided in Idaho, acted as mayor of his small town, and
ran a guest ranch (which some are calling a “bed and breakfast” to conjure up images of herbal tea and laced pillows instead of the reality of beer, guns and fly fishing). Now, I believe that this Idaho stuff was a legitimate factoid when Walsh was hired. How could you not mention it? I sure did. It was certainly different, and kind of funny (or sad, depending on your viewpoint). However…can we move on, now? It’s getting old. It’s been nearly two months since Walsh was hired, but we still have articles being penned around this theme. I get it, we all get it, so get over it. Tom Walsh is our OC. He's our man now. I'm glad he's been out in the forest drinking beer and shooting guns. Norv Turner ought to try it.


As Mr. Davis ages, he is faced with the challenges of aging. Just like the rest of us. Yet enterprising sportswriters see something more in Mr. Davis’s infirmities. They see cosmic symbolism in the perceived decline of Mr. Davis’s health and the recent misfortunes of the Oakland Raiders. You see, just four years ago, when the Raiders marched to the Super Bowl, Mr. Davis was miraculously as spry and mobile as your average teenager. Since then, however, he has aged in dog years, and thus the Raiders’ misfortunes last year were more about Mr. Davis’s aluminum walker than Norv Turner and Kerry (Prematurely Retired) Collins.

If Mr. Davis is so feeble, how did he make it to Dallas to play an instrumental role in the NFL’s new CBA? His input earned praise from Paul Tagliabue (both men are intellectual giants), and now Mr. Davis is part of the select committee assembled to identify Tagliabue’s successor. So if I read one more story that tries to connect Mr. Davis’s physical health to the Raiders’ on-field misfortunes, I’m going to beat the author with my cane.


Every year, we have to read stories like
this piece of tripe and dodge sniper fire from Raider Take’s favorite columnist and others armchair reporters who judge from afar. The Raider Nation has earned its reputation for being the most intense, colorful and loyal fan base in the NFL. But the slander goes far beyond those adjectives, mischaracterizing the average Raiders fan as violent and ignorant.

A popular variation on this theme is the brave soul daring to go to a Raiders game, supposedly risking both life and virtue, only to find out that…it’s not so bad. Well, it was never that bad. You mean Raiders fans don’t barbecue vampire bats and kick babies in the parking lot? What a scoop.

ESPN has been one of the biggest perpetrators of topic fatigue on this front. Click here and here for examples. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing the spotlight on some of the best and brightest characters of the Raider Nation. But can we at least come up with a fresh take on the subject?

However, in fairness, I must praise one of these ESPN correspondents for truly absorbing and articulating the spirit of the Raider Nation: “The great thing about Raider Nation is that it transcends everything: race, religion, gender, and age. Raider Nation encompasses everything that manages to divide us everywhere but at a football game. Everyone is welcome, and no one is a stranger for longer than it takes to crack open a cold one.”

Wow. That's good poetic stuff. In fact, that's a fresh take. Roll the presses...

Monday, April 10, 2006

Pre-Draft Haiku

Do we fly high with
Hawk? Ngata, Huff, Young? Or is
Justice our vengeance?

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Gear of The Week

Five or so years ago, I purchased this nifty Raiders keychain produced by a company called Peter David. After five years of abuse, the hook finally broke off, so I went searching for a replacement last week and found it on eBay. There are several more available on eBay by the same seller (eBay ID: sisrob), so I am selecting this keychain as Gear of The Week. The price of $2.99 is a steal, which makes up for the shipping being a bit overpriced.

It might sound silly to make a fuss over a keychain, but the quality of this little piece merits praise. It is a sturdy metal replica of the Raiders shield measuring 1.25 inches high. The craftsmanship and detail are superb. While the little hook at the top of mine broke after years of abuse, the shield itself somehow still looks nearly as good as new. Very high quality.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

News You Can't Use: Two-for-One Edition

In this edition of News You Can’t Use, we feature two perpetrators, both from Internet-only sources: Yahoo Sports and something called Football Outsiders (via

The Yahoo column isn’t too bad, and actually takes a rather positive view on Coach Shell. Yet the author cannot resist sneaking in the following throwaway line: “Not that there aren't plenty of hurdles ahead. Other than Gruden's blip of success, Oakland has been yearning for success in the worst way.”

How does winning the AFC West for three straight seasons, culminating in a Super Bowl berth, qualify as a “blip?” And wasn’t Jon Gruden on the other sideline during that Super Bowl?

The insinuation of such a throwaway line is that the Oakland Raiders are on par with, say, the New Orleans Saints or Arizona Cardinals, a team that has one “magical” 9-7 playoff season before retreating back into supernatural mediocrity. The purpose of such a throwaway line is to retrofit reality with a false premise that feeds bias against the Oakland Raiders.

In other words, the headline is written in advance: THE RAIDERS SUCK AND (fill in the topic: coaching, ownership, free agency, etc.), so from there it's just a matter of subverting the facts to backfill a bias. Nothing new, of course. We get this about once a week around here, don't we?

Also, let’s apply some critical thinking to the notion of “Gruden’s blip of success,” because that’s a favorite magic trick of the Raiders Haters: (1) It is impossible for one coach, Jon Gruden, to take two teams to the Super Bowl simultaneously; (2) Bill Callahan is never mentioned as a reason for the Raiders’ success during that Super Bowl season; (3) Since neither Jon Gruden nor Bill Callahan can be credited with taking the Oakland Raiders to the Super Bowl following the 2002 season, that leaves…Al Davis, the "meddling" owner, as the primary guiding force behind that great season. Thank you, Raiders Haters, for clearing that up. We're glad you respect Mr. Davis just like we do.

Okay, let’s pause a second while the Raiders Haters gnash their teeth in protest and resume their screaming about Gruden being the true architect of the 2002 Oakland Raiders. Okay. So I guess Tony Dungy was the architect of Gruden’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers that year? In other words, Tony Dungy, who wasn’t there, won the Super Bowl, and Jon Gruden, who hoisted the Lombardi trophy, lost the Super Bowl. Again, thanks for clearing that up.

Okay, let’s move on to the Football Outsiders (thanks to Scorpio2562 for turning us on to this article). I’ll keep it brief, because this piece is so bad that there’s not much to analyze. These guys don’t even try to manipulate the facts, because facts are apparently too complicated. Instead, they give us bad attempts at humor mixed with errant sniper shots, such as: “Many observers believe that the Raiders will draft Vince Young, and that Brooks will mentor (snicker) the young passer, imparting his vast wealth of football knowledge (snort) and helping Young develop into a great decision maker ... (burst into tearful laughter).”

Maybe I should rethink my business plan here at Raider Take. These guys are getting paid for this? By Fox Sports, no less?

Anyhow, like I said, this piece is so bad that it defies logical analysis, but it’s worth mentioning because we always need to be aware of the newest Raiders Haters on the block.

And that, Raiders fans, is news you can’t use.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

KFC Retirement Watch

I said I wouldn’t write anymore about Kerry Collins, but I can’t help myself. In an article that is astonishing if it’s accurate (and you know we don’t assume accuracy in the sports media around here), one NFL beat writer suggests that Collins is contemplating retirement because he “doesn't have the burning desire to play football the way he once might have.”

Suddenly, a lot of things make sense. In fact, I think Collins might have retired during the 3rd quarter of the Dolphins game last year.

To date, only one team, the Baltimore Ravens, has expressed serious interest in Collins. According to this article, however, the Ravens haven’t offered enough money to “make it worth his while.”

Why do I care? Because if any of this is true, then our Collins problem ran deeper than we ever could have imagined. If Kerry Collins retires because he can’t be bothered to beat Kyle Boller for a starting gig and pick up several hundred thousand dollars in the process, then last year will come into even greater focus.

The Kerry Collins retirement watch starts now—and if he retires, I’m going to be really pissed, because much of last year will be revealed as a competitive hoax, one that will impact us this year because Tui and Walter were denied snaps and experience by someone who had already lost his appetite for the game.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Gear of The Week: Sirius Satellite Radio

In an article that inspired me to get satellite radio last summer, the senior vice president of KNBR (the Bay Area's biggest sports talk station) said: "We cannot go on the air and break down the interior line of the Tampa Bay Bucs. People don't want to hear that."

Au contraire! You mean I get to hear intelligent football talk instead of nonstop blather and bad jokes? Sign me up.

There are two providers of satellite radio: Sirius and XM. Both offer more than 100 channels of music, talk and sports. Both cost about $12 per month. The important distinction is that Sirius has an exclusive contract with the NFL. Sirius broadcasts every NFL game and features a dedicated NFL news and talk channel. This means that if you are driving through Roswell, New Mexico, you can still tune into Greg Papa live as he screams: Touchdown Rrrrraiders! It also means that you are never far from up-to-the-minute news about free agency and the draft during the offseason.

Here are the basics for getting into satellite radio

1. Provider – XM or Sirius? Sirius covers the NFL. There’s your answer.

2. Receiver – Choose one of the many Sirius-compatible units that grab the signal from outer space.

3. Subscription – Once you buy your receiver, you call in your serial number to Sirius to activate your subscription.

When choosing your receiver, I recommend researching your options. I chose a “plug and play” unit called the
Sportster Replay, and I am very happy with it. It can be easily moved from the truck to a companion boombox, and you can pause live radio for up to 45 minutes (in other words, you can pause the radio while you're in Home Depot, then resume it on your drive home and skip all the commercials, sort of like Tivo). There’s also a new mobile iPod-style unit (which has advantages and disadvantages), and many in-dash stereos now offer a permanent satellite radio install.

If you are considering satellite radio, please feel free to email me at with any questions.

Disclaimer: You will hear Raiders haters on Sirius, which is inevitable. Some of the hosts can be annoying (after all, Randy Cross is one of them), which is also inevitable. However, in the balance, the content is very timely and informative.