Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Paging Doug Gabriel

A few weeks ago, I accidentally recorded an ESPN2 sports talk show called 2 Live Stews. I was about to erase it from my TiVo when I heard that they were going to interview Jerry Porter. I was subsequently a bit stunned at what came out of Porter’s piehole during the interview. This may be old news to some of you, but I was compelled to save and finally transcribe the interview, which speaks for itself:

2 Live Stews: Head coach Art Shell is back at the helm. Have you talked to Coach Shell and what are your impressions of him?

Porter: At first I wasn’t a fan of him. I thought we should have gotten Mike Martz as our coach, because it was our offense, our offense we had, we ran basically the same offense that St. Louis had, and I though that Mike Martz would come in and I guess be a better play caller and do more…It would be less work for us, we’d be like, the offense that we ran, we could just go out and he could call the plays, and we’d just get to be the greatest show on grass instead of the greatest show on turf. But we got Coach Shell and, I mean, he’s come in and tried to implement his whole hard ass thing going on, but (shrugs) we’ll see what happens.

2 Live Stews: Wow, man, hey I mean Art Shell pretty much was brought back in, anytime you talk about the Raiders, you talk, you know, the media says a team that’s not really disciplined, and that’s why Al Davis allegedly brought him back in, was to bring some discipline back to you guys.

Porter: That’s not true at all, I mean, our team, we had, we were perfectly disciplined. We didn’t have any guys doing anything they weren’t supposed to do. It’s just that we had a lot of injuries, and certain positions, guys just weren’t, fact of the matter, they weren’t playing well. Our offensive line could have done better protecting our quarterback, our quarterback could have played better, our receivers could have played better. And as far as defensively goes, a lot of players that we had, they got hurt or they didn’t know what they were doing, it was a brand new defense to them. It’s like you can sit up and make excuses all day, but the bottom line is we didn’t play well.

2 Live Stews: Well, moving on, because it’s obvious that you might not like what’s going on in Oakland, so lets talk about some other stuff, man…(At this point, the interview leads into the subjects Aaron Brooks and Randy Moss, about whom Porter was upbeat).

In addition to the bizarre notion of a perfectly disciplined team on which nobody plays to their potential, I’m a bit mystified by Jerry Porter’s passive-aggressive assessment of his new coach. I thought that getting booted out of Art’s office might have sobered him up. Apparently not.

Do we have a defector on The Return to Nasty? Time will tell, but here's my take for now: Paging Doug Gabriel, the number two slot is calling.

P.S. For a great take on this developing Porter situation, be sure to check out Raider Nation Podcast.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Vultures Shot Down Over Oakland

Like slobbering vultures, Eddie DeBartolo and Carmen Policy are circling and searching for roadkill on the NFL’s yellow brick road to Los Angeles. But when they tried to ambush the Oakland Raiders, they found themselves caught in the jaws of a much fiercer and more principled animal called the Raider Nation.

Here’s how it went down: Eddie groomed a lapdog at Sports Illustrated, who then shamelessly invoked Mr. Davis’s “walker” to prop up a
totally unfounded story about Eddie potentially buying the Raiders and moving them to Los Angeles. The San Francisco Chronicle, which is often praised for its investigative reporting, then gave the uninvestigated “story” credence while, of course, maintaining a careful distance (ie: they said it, not me! so don't blame me for repeating it to a million newspaper readers).

Thankfully, the Chronicle’s own C.W. Nevius, whom I’ve always considered a class act, neutered the story in
his blog. I disagree with Nevius on one thing: his statement that if the story isn’t pinned down, “the magazine is going to look really foolish. And as a rule, Sports Illustrated doesn’t do foolish.”

Actually, Sports Illustrated is becoming quite adept at doing foolish. This is the magazine that hired Jay Mohr as a commentator. Worse yet, it hired
Jenn Sterger as a commentator. Sterger’s credentials? Flaunting her assets as a student at Florida State. I'm not kidding.

This is also the same magazine that, in
a recent feature on sports blogs, whined that blogging takes traditional journalism “away from facts, reporting and professional decorum.” You know, the type of facts, reporting and decorum that you get from Mohr and Sterger.

This entire episode is a journalistic embarrassment to Sports Illustrated, with collateral damage to the San Francisco Chronicle. As for Eddie and Carmen, disgraceful behavior is par for the course.

But Amy Trask shot all of the vultures out of the sky, and Mr. Davis beat them with his cane, and once again the Oakland Raiders are victorious in matters of integrity.

P.S. For an excellent autopsy on this Sports Illustrated piece, check out Glenn Dickey's blog.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Picture of The Week: The Will to Win

When Kerry Collins scrambled (although to my eyes it was more of a lurch than a scramble) for a touchdown in last year’s slothful loss to the Dolphins, he elicited raised eyebrows and high praise. So low were the expectations for KFC that any improvisation from the pocket, no matter how unspectacular, was met with shock and awe.

But if I’m looking for guts and determination, I will look elsewhere. I will look back to November 16, 2003, when the lowly Rick Mirer—pressed into action due to a rash of QB injuries—was so driven to beat the Vikings that he gave up body and soul in pursuit of a touchdown. I had the good fortune to be in Row 5 of Section 127 on that day. I thought he might helicopter right into my seat.

The Raider Nation erupted into an ear-splitting roar in appreciation of Mirer’s will to win in the twilight of a lost season. And win he did, joining a masterful defensive effort to help orchestrate one of the few bright spots in a largely dark season.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

News You Can't Use: Idiot Edition

According to this petulant little article, the Oakland Raiders are “idiots” for choosing Michael Huff over Matt Leinart. It’s fitting that the author uses a simpleton’s term to match his simple-minded analysis.

Now, I am on the record as saying that I thought Leinart would have been a good choice. I’m anxious for our QB position to settle down a bit. However, I’m also anxious for our defense to add some pop, and Michael Huff does just that. To suggest that the selection of Huff makes the Raiders idiots is…well, to borrow a phrase, idiotic.

Leading up to the draft, what the Raiders knew that I (and a lot of people) didn’t know was their own internal comfort level with Andrew Walter as either a strong backup or challenger to Aaron Brooks in 2006. It now seems that their comfort level is pretty high, and if that’s the case, then selecting Huff over Leinart makes even more sense.

Which brings us to the crux of the matter: our author states that the Raiders are “anointing Brooks as their quarterback of the future.” I must have missed that press conference. Conveniently, our author doesn’t make one single mention of Andrew Walter anywhere in his piece.

It’s the same old Raiders Haters tactic: begin with your premise (I hate the Raiders) and selectively backfill your information accordingly. How can you write an article about the Raiders' QB situation and not mention Andrew Walter?

For the Raiders Haters, a keyboard and an internet connection is the intellectual equivalent of running with scissors. They get most of the way down the hall before tripping and hurting themselves, impaled by illogic and bias. It’s quite sad, really. If they didn’t hate us, I might even feel sorry for them.

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

Thursday, May 18, 2006

AFC West: For The Taking

Expectations were high for the Raiders last year and we bombed. Expectations are low for the Raiders this year and I’m licking my chops. If you listen to the talking heads on Sirius NFL Radio and elsewhere, you’d think that the Raiders are primed for another 4-12 season, that the team is nothing more than a reclamation project. Personally, I can’t wait for the Raiders to smite the mockers and shut some pieholes.

I have no doubt that the Raiders offense will unleash much more of its explosive potential this year. In the wake of the recent draft, the defense should also be (and had better be) much improved. And while the AFC west is surely one of the toughest divisions in the NFL, I see some cracks in the competitive armor:


flipping off the home crowd in Denver (and who here hasn’t wanted to do that?) in 2004, Jake Plummer decided to get down with the Rocky Mountains and grow a Sasquatch beard for the 2005 season. Along the way, he managed to contain his personality issues and led the Broncos to their first AFC Championship since the 1998 season. His reward? The Broncos traded up to snag QB Jay Cutler in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft. I’m sure Plummer is thrilled and handling the situation with the utmost composure. Meanwhile, the Broncos’ fabled luck with their running game is about to run out as they field the fearsome tandem of Tatum Bell and Ron Dayne. Yes, the Broncos got the injured malcontent Javon Walker to bolster their receiving corps, but how can Jake throw an accurate pass to Javon while looking over his shoulder at Jay?


The San Diego franchise’s lone Super Bowl appearance was a loss that came eight years before the Raiders’ most recent (and fifth) Super Bowl appearance. With playoff-challenged Marty Schottenheimer at the helm, the Chargers' fortunes won't likely change anytime soon. In fact, Marty starts the season as a lame duck as friction grows between the coach and general manager AJ Smith, who, against Marty's wishes, dumped Drew Brees in favor of rookie Philip Rivers. From the team the brought you Ryan Leaf comes another unproven QB who was chosen over a Manning. In other words, the Chargers are perfectly poised for a meltdown. Personally, I can’t wait for Mr. Burgess to introduce himself to Mr. Rivers.


The zebras ripped us off not once, but twice, against the Chiefs last year. Now comes new coach Herm Edwards, whose clock management skills rival those of Norv Turner. I think Herm Edwards looks the part, but I’m not convinced he ultimately has the right stuff. This is a team in coaching transition, with a quarterback who isn't getting younger and a receiving corps that, aside from tight end Tony Gonzales, fails to impress. Their defense, touted as "much improved" early last year, barely ranked above ours by the end of the season (like us, they focused on defense in the recent draft). Barring more zebra heists, there's no reason we can't make this team pay for last year's heartbreaks.

In summary, the AFC West is for the taking. I think that the Raiders can win at least one matchup against each of our division rivals, for a minimum total of three divisional wins. I also believe we can beat the Niners, Cardinals, Rams, Jets, Browns, Texans and Ravens. All together, that would mean ten victories—far more than most are predicting for the Raiders this year. Heck, I think we can beat anyone on the right day. Losing record? I don’t see it. Put me down for eight wins minimum.

In other words, the playoffs are definitely in reach. Cue the Hells Bells, because here come the Raiders.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Picture of The Week: How to Sack

As this photo attests, there are four stages to the classic Raiders sack:

1. Launch
2. Impact
3. Choke
4. Slam

Today, a sack is a statistic. In Ben Davidson's day, it was an event.

If anyone wonders why we Raiders fans are so sentimental about the 1970s, it's because we haven't seen anything like it since. Those Raiders were once-in-a-lifetime artists, like Bach or Baudelaire or Picasso. Well, not quite. But you get the drift.

Commentators on my previous take launched a great discussion about which team is the most hated in the NFL. It is a crown once worn by the Raiders, and which is now open to debate. Hated or not, the Raiders were certainly once the most feared team in the NFL, for reasons evident in this photo. But our defense scared no one in 2005, and hasn't for years (I'm talking about our defense as a whole, in terms of collective attitude and ferocity).

The Raiders and their fans are frequently accused of being stuck in the past. I say it's time, indeed, to get stuck in the defensive past, the past of Ben Davidson, Jack Tatum and Howie Long. Players who incited fear. Players who got in your head before the first whistle was blown. Art Shell remembers. We remember. It's time for our defensive unit to remember.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Raider Take Reader Hotline

Raider Take is grateful for the various readers and commentators who email me with a variety of takes, tips and insights on a regular basis. Following are a couple of recent Raider Take Hotline items that the Raider Nation might find interesting:


Raider Octopus tipped Raider Take off to SuperCharger Tom’s blog and his corresponding Official Raiders Haters Universe web site. I noticed that, in the midst of a rather infantile rant on the Raider Nation, SuperCharger Tom makes a big point about Raiders fans not being able to spell…and then immediately misspells the word “accusing.” How’s that for righteous karma? Now, Raider Take does not profess to be a paragon of spelling and grammar, which is why I don’t go around saying that Chargers fans can’t spell (although I might say that the closest they’ve come to a Lombardi trophy is the Los Angeles Raiders). However, if I did say it, I'd probably run spell check, at least on the next sentence. Since our friend’s blog will likely be corrected once this take is published, I am providing the following screen shot for the sake of posterity:

SuperCharger Tom also says that Raiders fans “defend their pathetic football team and organization in spite of the current facts.” Here are some current facts that he might find helpful: AFC West titles won by the Chargers in this decade: one. AFC West titles won by the Raiders in this decade: three. AFC Championship appearances by the Chargers in this decade: none. AFC Championship appearances by the Raiders in this decade: two.


Raiderdecoachella from Palm Springs wrote to tell me about his son “Michael Raider.” Not as in nickname, but as in birth certificate. How cool is that? Michael, whose official middle name is Raider, is 15 years old…Do we have any other official “Raider” kids out there, and if so, what are their ages? Who is the oldest Raider, and who is the youngest?

I asked Raiderdecoachella how he managed to pull it off, and here is his reply: “When he was born I had to go to the administration office to give them Mikey's name and the girl looked at me and said, 'Are you sure you want to do that?' And of course I said yes, and he got the name. When I went back to my wife's room, I told her, and she was more like, 'I knew you were going to do something like that!'"

And how did the rest of the family take it? “My family is a blend of Spanish and English speaking. The elders find it interesting and the youngsters find it awesome, my whole family (because of me) are Raiders fans, and I know that most of my nephews and nieces would name their kids like Mikey. Who knows, maybe they will end up giving their kids Raider as their first name. Mikey is the proudest kid in the world when it comes to his name!”

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The McQuistan Chronicles II

Last time we heard from Diehard Raider Josh, Raider Take’s Official Northwest Paul McQuistan Correspondent, he ignited a powder keg of good vibes with his eye-opening personal take on our third-round selection. Josh now writes again, having spent a little post-minicamp time with McQuistan:

“Paul and family stopped by the house the other day, asked him to sign my tat, of course no problem. You’re right about this kid. Off the field one of the nicest people you'd want to be around, family oriented, polite, well mannered. On the field, well time will tell. My belief is he is going to run the opposition into the ground head first and I'm not just talking him up because he's a local and my buddy's bro-in-law (ok maybe a little). He said that he really enjoyed the mini-camp but doesn't want to get his hopes up until he makes the 53 man roster, I have all the faith in the world for this kid and wish him all the luck, but I believe his hard work and perseverance is going to pay off for this monster of a man ....We’ll keep the Raider faith strong baby.”

Diehard Raider Josh kindly shared the accompanying photos (which I have cropped for enhanced detail). If I ever meet Paul, I’m going to ask him to write a haiku on my back.

And so concludes Paul McQuistan Week here at Raider Take. We have all given him the warmest welcome possible, and perhaps the goodwill expressed to him by the Raider Nation will help accelerate his adjustment to the NFL spotlight. Perhaps we have raised his comfort level just a bit (after all, Oakland is a long way from Weber State), which in turn might give him an edge, which ultimately might result in Paul McQuistan not only making the roster, but smacking down some Chiefs, Chargers and Donkeys in 2006 and beyond.

Friday, May 12, 2006

McQuistan Haiku Fest Recap

Raider Take would like to thank the haiku masters of the Raider Nation for their poetic participation in the 1st Annual Paul McQuistan Haiku Fest, which set a record number of comments for a single take on this site, including more than 50 original works of haiku.

After much deliberation, and after a long consultation with Mr. Davis (just kidding), I have chosen the following Touchdown Award Winners. The Touchdown Award is reserved for works of extraordinary finesse, imagery and emotion. They have the pop of Jack Tatum and the grace of Randy Moss.

But wait…there’s more! I have constructed a Paul McQuistan Haiku Fest Commemorative Program (PDF format). In addition to the Touchdown Award Winners, it features Instant Replay Winners, the Personal Foul Award and the Iron Man Award. It also includes a Starting Lineup composed of every haiku submitted (as of noon on Friday). You see, everyone is a winner in the Paul McQuistan Haiku Fest. Just email me at to request your copy.


Red mullet machine

Brings the lineman to their knees
By Raider Nate 75

White goal line beckons

Crouched in the trenches, he waits
Follow the Scotsman
By AllyOop

Flame headed field ox

Plowing the painted green turf
Making grown men cry
By Doobie

Mullet maned war god--

Scorched fury of the Midwest.
Defense falls, wheat-like.
By Penn73

Bronco Linebacker

Chalk outline on Black Hole Field
Mulleted Slayer
By Raider Navy

Quick footed beef slab

Claret crowned, raging Raider
The new Wisniewski
By Anonymous

Gear of The Week #2: 66th Mob T-Shirt

As you know, “NASTY” has been a familiar Raider Nation battle cry since the hiring of Art Shell. Such was the inspiration for Raider Take’s THE RETURN TO NASTY: OAKLAND 2006 shirt featured earlier this week.

Today, a reader kindly brought to my attention the 66th Mob’s own BRING BACK DA NASTY shirt, which predates mine. Any similarities are coincidental and unintentional, as I was unaware of this shirt until now. Nevertheless, I feel obligated and inspired to feature the 66th Mob’s shirt as Gear of The Week, as I have immense respect for the 66th Mob and what they represent. Click here to purchase.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

1st Annual Paul McQuistan Haiku Fest

As you know, Raider Take is proud to be the official home of Oakland Raiders Haiku. In fact, I captured the entire 2005 season in haiku, from the soaring optimism of the season kickoff haiku to the dismal depths of the final game haiku.

While haiku is a centuries-old Japanese art form known for its delicate use of language, it has also proven ideal for succinctly capturing the Oakland Raiders ethos of long bombs, hard hits and outlaw ambiance. How can this be? Let's just say that some mysteries are best left unsolved.

Which (surprise!) somehow brings us back to Paul McQuistan.

Now, I must tell you that I tried not to write another Paul McQuistan take this week. I've been yapping about this guy ever since this take. I don’t want to become a one-trick pony. However, sometimes I must allow the rising tide to float the Raider Take boat, and this is one such instance. The outpouring of love for this big kid has been sudden and seismic. So let’s just call this week what it is: Paul McQuistan Week. He even got his own fan club. We can get back to regularly scheduled programming on Monday.

I don’t want to hear that Paul McQuistan hasn’t proven anything yet, and that he is therefore unworthy of such grassroots enthusiasm. The fact is that the enthusiasm exists, no matter how irrational you think it might be. Trying to rain on the Paul McQuistan parade is like arguing with Beatlemania or pet rocks. The Raider Nation is throwing a party on behalf of Paul McQuistan. Why? Who cares? Just pour me a beer and turn up the music.

On that note, and without further ado, Raider Take launches the 1st Annual Paul McQuistan Haiku Fest. If you would like to participate, just let it rip in the comments section. Haiku rookies are encouraged to attend the Raider Take Haiku Minicamp before taking the field. Now allow me to blow the whistle and get things started:

Flaming mullet: a
beacon of nasty, back to
glory he guides us.

So there you have it. Let the games begin, and may the best poet win.

P.S. Special thanks to AllyOop for the idea, and to Raider Nate and McQuistan Fan for greasing the poetic wheels…

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Gear of The Week: The Return to Nasty

It's the dawn of a new era in the Raider Nation as we pave the way for THE RETURN TO NASTY in 2006.

Therefore, it is now time to serve notice across the AFC West, the United States, the world and outer space with the RETURN TO NASTY t-shirt, brought to you by Raider Take.

There are two versions: a $12 bargain tee with the NASTY image on the front; and a $17 two-sided tee with the NASTY on the back and Raider Take logo on the front.

Click here to purchase.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The McQuistan Chronicles

As predicted here at Raider Take, Paul McQuistan continues to make a rapid ascent from “who?” to cult hero. Indeed, his new teammates are taking notice and even joining the nickname fray, as evidenced in the following minicamp excerpt from the Sacramento Bee:

Derrick Burgess was asked about a rookie on offense, and like most veterans he wasn't sure about his name. "Seventy-nine ... mullet?" Burgess asked.

"Mullet" is actually tackle Paul McQuistan, the team's third-round pick from Weber State. After two days of practice, he has shown the nasty disposition the Raiders desire.

"He looks like one of those tough guys," Burgess said. McQuistan's surliness was evident in morning pass-blocking drills. McQuistan was physical with defensive end Tyler Brayton, eliciting a shove from Brayton after the whistle.

McQuistan traded nastiness for humility after the morning session. "I don't really put too much stock into that," McQuistan said. "It probably takes away from the game and what I'm trying to do as far as getting better."

Translation: “Next time Brayton shoves me, I’m going to pop him in the mouth.” Suddenly, I’m not feeling so gloomy about our offensive line.

And so begins a periodic Raider Take feature called “The McQuistan Chronicles,” in which we monitor and celebrate the life and times of Mr. McQuistan. We want to embrace Paul “Braveheart - McNasty - Malachai - Red Scare - Mullet” McQuistan and welcome him into the Raider Nation. We want to help him make a smooth transition from this to this, and from this to this. Oakland is a long way from Utah, and not just geographically.

Paul, you just take care of the nasty, and we’ll handle the rest.

Monday, May 08, 2006

News You Can't Use

I’ve had the following News You Can’t Use in the hopper for a week or so, but I’ve been too busy obsessing over Paul McQuistan to deal with it. Now it’s time to catch up, because while the Raiders Haters can run, they can’t hide.

In this instance, we have Sport Illustrated’s resident Raiders Hater slamming the organization and saying that
Michael Huff is a bad fit for the Oakland Raiders. Direct quote: “I hate to see great talents wind up in dysfunctional organizations.”

Since any top 10 pick in the first round is going to be considered a great talent, and since he gives no other specific reason why he thinks Huff is a bad fit for the Raiders, what our columnist is really saying is that he hates the Raiders and that there is no such thing as a good fit in Oakland. So under the guise of draft "analysis" he finds yet another excuse to blast the organization.

Of course, we cannot forget that this is the same columnist
who actually stated that “the Raiders need him (Kerry Collins) more than he needs them”—on the very same day that the Raiders signed Aaron Brooks! He wrote that the Raiders should sign Collins “quickly” because “it's the only logical move for a team that rarely makes sensible decisions.”

Let’s just say that when this guy starts wielding the word “logic,” we should all be afraid. Michael Huff: bad fit for the Raiders? Kerry Collins: great fit for the Raiders? You can hurt yourself with logic like that. It's the mental equivalent of running with scissors.

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

P.S. Thanks to Calico Jack and Stick'Em for alerting Raider Take to this piece.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Pride & Poise - Author Interview

Jim McCullough has given a gift to the Raider Nation—a new book that takes “a definitive look into the formation and turbulent early history of the Oakland Raiders.” More than any book published to date, Pride & Poise: The Oakland Raiders of The American Football League details the formative years of what would become the most dominant and colorful franchise in football.

So who is Jim McCullough? He is a Raider Nation fixture known as “Krunch” on gameday. Pride & Poise is his first book, and it was truly a labor of love, one that took several years of his time, all on his own dime. He self-published the book, and it is now available for purchase online. (I have not read it yet, but will soon).

Raider Take was inspired to ask Jim about the motivations behind the book, and the process of researching and writing it. Following is our Q&A via email:

Why did you write Pride & Poise: The Oakland Raiders of The American Football League?

Quite simply because I wanted to read it and it didn't exist. I spent many hours on the internet trying to find a book on the Raiders that was complete, accurate and fair and was disappointed by what I was able to find. There are a couple of really good books on the Raiders out there, but to me they all miss the point one way or the other. We've all heard the stories about how these players would drink and play air hockey or golf. I won't tell a writer what to write, that's on them. But the fact of the matter is, none of the topics I just mentioned are why I'm in skulls, spikes and face paint on Sundays. I do that because the Raiders I grew up watching would line up and smack their opponents in the mouth on every play. And with coach Shell back, I'm expecting the current brood to continue this tradition of domination.

What’s different about your book compared to other books on the Raiders?

I just touched on it a little by sticking with real Raiders football. As far as I know, this is the deepest anyone has gone on the formation of the franchise. Also, this is the only week in week out chronicle of the Raiders early years. Or of the Raiders period! I go into detail of every game, win, lose or tie to give those die hard Raiders fans an opportunity to see what went on back then and what made the team great and what separates Raiders from mere football players. Also I think the readers will be quite surprised by some of the deals that were made to get some amazing athletes into Silver and Black uniforms.

How long did it take to write, and what did it entail?

Three years to research and write, one year of editing. The research part of it required no less than 30 trips to the Oakland Library from Stockton just to gather the information. I brought home 5,500 pages worth and each page cost me 15 cents! Also there were pictures for which I had to fork out $25-150 apiece.

Who or what were your sources?

Primarily microfilm of the Oakland Tribune, from 1/4/1960 when the first article was published on the Raiders, a real short one, maybe 100 words, through 1/12/70 when the AFL merged the the NFL with the Chiefs beating the Vikings in Super Bowl IV. I read nearly every article published on them through that period! No less than 99% of them published, I may have missed one or two here and there but I got my facts and figures correct. In fact, I'll take the Raiders press guide to task because I won't just give you a score, but a recap. Also it allowed me to get quotes from players, coaches and executives, some of which have passed on. It was as close as I could come to hopping in the way-back machine with Mr. Peabody and Sherman and living it for myself.

Click on “Comments” below to read the remainder of Raider Take’s Q&A with Jim McCullough. Click here to purchase Pride & Poise: The Oakland Raiders of The American Football League.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Picture of The Week: Paul McQuistan

I've been considering a "Picture of The Week" feature for quite some time. However, I feared it might be perceived as filler, or a bit gimmicky. But now I have no choice. This photo of rookie Raiders guard Paul McQuistan from today's minicamp is just too cool. I love this guy. We all love this guy. Check out those forearms. Those aren't arms, those are clubs. The path to our quarterback just got a lot narrower, and lot more painful. The nickname process is well underway (see comments under previous McQuistan take). We've got votes for McNasty, Braveheart, Malachai and more. How about The Red Scare? We know he'll put fear into opposing lineman. I'm sure his teammates will weigh in on the nickname matter, too. This guy is a walking nickname, and perhaps a legend in the making.

News You Can't Use: College Edition

Okay, for starters, we need to go easy on this guy. He writes for a college newspaper in Santa Barbara. I’m sure he’s distracted by beer, beaches and girls. This is a place where they start planning their Halloween parties in June.

your article concludes with you “hoping that the Black Hole and Raider Nation do not take offense to the above comments,” you’d better prepare for your “above comments” to endure some scrutiny, and you’d definitely better not write the following:

“What this shows is that sometimes the choices that seem like no-brainers aren’t so obvious to the higher-ups in the football world. Raiders fans, when Kerry Collins is turning 36 two seasons from now and putting up a 75 QB rating, just think: You could have had Leinart.”

When our enterprising reporter Googled KFC’s QB rating, how did he miss the fact that Collins was cut by the Raiders two months ago? At this rate, this guy is going to
get recruited by Sports Illustrated.

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

P.S. Thanks to reader Jason for tipping us off to this piece.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A Big Brick in The Nasty Wall

The selection of guard Paul McQuistan in the third round is looking better by the day. Not only has he already acquired two nicknames—The Irish Giant (courtesy of yours truly) and Malachai (courtesy of Stick’Em, in reference to the Children of The Corn character)—and not only does he have a twin brother who was selected by the Cowboys (for a grand total of 630 pounds worth of McQuistans drafted last weekend), but he is also responsible for the following email received by Raider Take from Josh, a diehard Raiders fan in Oregon:

“I don't mean to brag but the third round draft pick of the Raiders is a local boy here in Oregon. His brother-in-law and sister were at my home when he was drafted by the Silver & Black. Trust me when I say it was utter pandemonium. Anyway, I think that you and all other Raiders fans need to know this kid is nasty and will fit right into the Raider image. Mark my words on this one!!!”

That clinches it for me. I’ve just got a good feeling about this one. How could you not? This dude’s been on our team for a week and he’s already got his own lore. I think we should have drafted the whole McQuistan family, the brother, the sister, everyone. Spread them across the line and our quarterback will be sitting pretty.

It may take Paul McQuistan some time to get acclimated to the NFL, but in the long run, I’ve got a feeling that he’s going to bust some chops, bang some heads and add another big brick to the nasty wall.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A Raider Take Milestone

Raider Take reached a milestone over the weekend, topping the 100,000 site visits mark since its launch on August 29, 2005.

During this eight-month span, I have published 170 individual takes. More importantly, Raider Take commentators have brought more than a thousand additional takes to the table, inspiring the lively, thoughtful and ongoing discussion that is the lifeblood of Raider Take. This discussion is global, with takes regularly coming from Japan, Thailand, England and elsewhere. Even Mr. Jim "00" Otto has chimed in.

As I’ve said before, you folks are the brains of this operation. I compare Raider Take to the local tavern where all the savviest and funniest people in the neighborhood hang out. I'm just happy to work the beer tap, oil the dialogue and keep my ears open. I consider it a privilege to be in your company, and to play a small but exciting role in this cultural phenomenon called the Raider Nation.

I would also like to thank, Raider Nation Podcast,,,,, Deadspin and other news outlets and blogs that regularly publish links to Raider Take. It’s an honor to be on your radar.

I have some fresh takes in the hopper, and hopefully a new trick or two up my sleeve as we march toward the 2006 season. Please stick around and keep those takes coming! This is going to be an exciting year, and together we will help pave the Return to Glory.