A Mouthful of Altoids
Hmm…Where was I? Sorry I’ve been a bit out of touch lately. I took a vacation. A mental one, not a physical one. Even Raider Take has an offseason, I guess.
Anyhow, last year about this time, I was routinely flapping my gums about the dawn of the Art Shell era and the return to classic Raiders smashmouth football. Well, you know whose mouths got smashed, and my jaw is still sore.
Last year about this time, I was howling about the injustice of the annual football guides all predicting that the Raiders would be a disaster. Turns out, they were right, and I was wrong.
So I might be inclined to tread lightly right now. After all, we have an unproven head coach and bunch of new skill position players playing behind virtually the same offensive line. Some would say we are entering the unknown here, and that I should keep my mouth shut until I’m given a real reason to cheer.
Well, to hell with that, because I've got plenty of reasons to cheer already. I’m here to declare that I’m feeling minty fresh. Yes, minty fresh. I’m not talking about a stick of peppermint gum, either. As someone said earlier (was it Doobie?), I’ve got a mouthful of Altoids. The Raiders Haters can come in here and run their tired smack. I’ll spit Altoids in their faces until they, too, are feeling minty fresh.
I called it right rather early last season when I said that we had a serious coaching, and teaching, problem on our hands. Not that we didn’t have a player problem, too. But we had a serious coaching problem, and there’s been ample evidence since the end of the season to suggest that our team was, indeed, mired in anachronistic thinking, disorganized leadership and overall coaching incompetence.
No longer. I’ve been totally impressed with the poise and authority exerted by Lane Kiffin as the leader of our team. We actually have a coaching staff that has been engaged in the daily grind of the NFL, that is up to speed, experienced, and able to implement normal competitive football in the year 2007. I also think that we have been significantly refreshed and reloaded at the positions of quarterback, running back and wide receiver. I think that our execution and performance will improve accordingly.
So I was happy to see Pro Football Weekly’s 2007 NFL Annual put us down for a total of four wins this year. I’m not buying it. We were a few bad breaks from winning a couple of close games last year, despite our absurd circumstances. I know, a loss is a loss. I’m not going to argue that we were better than 2-14 last year, because the record says we weren’t. But I will argue that we are better than 4-12 this year. Mark my words.
On that note, let me declare the end to the false starts on the Return to Glory. The future is right now.