Tuesday, May 29, 2007

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.

91 Comments:

Blogger Pete said...

This morning I was thinking "damn, it's time for a new Take. Where is that guy?"

And BAM! I got my wish. Time for a new round of comments, where I hear more insightful editorials about Raider football than in all other media combined...

PS

6:09 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

Take, I'm on the same boat. Kiffin has brought leadership in the Head Coaching position, and has a staff in place that also provides quality leadership and guidance. That is foundation to any team. I truly think this has been the Raiders' #1 problem since Gruden left. The inability of the coaches to guide the players, and work with their strengths.
That leads me to my concerns for this season. Our offense went to the pots shortly after Gannon went down against the Bucs. We lost a quality player, and a leader. I've often said that every since we lost Barrett Robbins, we've had no leadership on the O-line. He was the anchor for our guys up front, and I wonder how our team would be different if he was still here. Gallery, Sims, Slaughter, Grove, Boothe, and Carlisle all have had the potential to step up and be the missing leader on the O-line; but have failed thus far. We do not need someone who is outspoken in the media, we need someone who is going to lead by example, and be able to understand and read what the defense is doing; call a blocking scheme that helps the QB (especially a young QB) run the play efficiently, the way Barrett helped Gannon. That is usually the Center, who has the best view, but could be the whole line through efficient communication with each other.
The coaches can lead and guide the players effectively, but at some point you need a leader on the field. We haven't seen any type of leadership offensively on the field since Robbins and Gannon went down. This is the year where we need to see it. Our season depends on this.
This is why I think the battle for QB comes down to Walter and J-Russ. They need to show what kind of leader are they going to be if they are truly the QB of the Future. In order to win that title, you have to show it now, because the future is now! This is why it is a make-or-break season for Gallery, Sims, and Grove.
The Raiders have always had the talent to excel from what Gruden left; but have fluttered. You can really put the blame on a lot of different things like player laziness (like false starts), lack of team chemistry, not understanding their positions, discouragement, quitting on their teammates (LaMont and Moss), etc. But that all starts with a lack of leadership on the sidelines and on the field.
We have remedied half that problem with the hiring of Kiffin, and letting him bring in his staff. Now we need our talent to remedy themselves.
That is why I have hope that we will win more than 4 games. But I also have comments of the players from last season swimming in my head, and it sounds the same as last year, "We believe in this system. This system will lead us back. We know what we want to accomplish with clear direction." So I'm torn with indecision on the player's front. If they truly buy into this system, we win a lot of games, and dare I say, make the post season. If we get the same performances from LaMont, Porter, the O-line, and QB positions, we win 4 games.

6:20 AM  
Anonymous r2g said...

Great to have you back Take! The collective insight of Raider Nation was sorely missed. Just a question: who do you think we stand the best chance to beat in our own division and how many AFC West victories do you foresee? I think if we can win at least 3-4 in the West and with teams like Detroit, Cleve, and Miami on the schedule, a .500 record is reasonable.

6:59 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

I say let's run the table against the AFC West! I think that the Chiefs are the weakest of our divisional foes. I don't think we were too far from taking one game each from Denver and San Diego last year, either. So I certainly don't think that taking at least three of six from our divisional foes is too much to ask this year.

7:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome back RT.

Nate 75 - Good point on the lack of leadership. We lost so much over a short period of time and we haven't won since. Lincoln Kennedy, to me was the biggest loss outside of Gannon. Then there was Rod Woodson, Jerry & Timmy.

Having Kiffin is a great start. You can't just come in like Shell did and say "Moss is our leader", or "Gallery is our LT" without even seeing work put into earning such roles. I can't stress enough how great it is to see legitamate open competition again. Leaders will emerge in this type of environment. Hopefully Gallery is one of those guys after he regains his confidence. And of coarse JaMarcus has the potential to fill a huge void once he gets playing time.
Right now Sapp is the sticky substance holding our team together. Unfortunately his reach doesn't stretch that far onto the offensive side of the ball. We'll be fine once again on defense as far as leadership but it would be nice to see younger guys like Nnamdi and Morrison pick it up over the next few years before Sapp hangs it up.

Psycho

7:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can see us sweeping all AFC West games. It probably won't happen, but I would not be surprised. Starting the season off with a weak schedule should help get some confidence. Yeah Denver, I called you weak.

Psycho

7:25 AM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

Nice take, Take.

In terms of the OL, this is the way I see it. I still hold the same opinion I held last year at this time, that there is nothing archaic about the Gilman. The Raiders failed last year in implementation. When you're running a straight up blocking scheme, every player needs to be on the same page or there are big holes in the line. I never realized, until I started hearing from the players themselves, how badly the coaches mishandled this unit.

And this is ironic, because one of the things I never really shared last year was the one problem I really had with Shell during his first stint. It was that, of all people, he let the quality of the OL fall apart.

The biggest thing for this upcoming season, I think, is the acquistion of Carlisle. The reason this acquisition is so important, whether or not he is a starter, is what he can tell the rest of the unit that the division rivals are saying about them. I would imagine that to be rather degrading and insulting. It just might spark some productive attitudes.

Also, when Gallery excelled in college, it was in a zone blocking scheme. Sims was best in Calahan's zone blocking scheme.

There is no question that the OL should be much better this year. But there will be a fair number of false starts, and other such penalties. Don't forget that that would be fairly common for an OL learning a new system. It wasn't really those types of penalties that killed us last year (although they certainly didn't help), it was the express lanes to the QB.

Worst case (lots of key injuries) - 6 wins. I expect .500. For Dancin' in the Moonlight of the season? 10 wins.

So there, I've said it and stuck myself out on a limb.

8:51 AM  
Anonymous scorpio said...

hey take, i suggest you take some altoids after reading this guys - take.

http://www.411mania.com/sports/nfl/
55118/The-NFL-Column:-NFL-Offseason-
Recap.htm

this guy must hate the raiders and/or the NFL.

8:55 AM  
Blogger Tim Mo said...

You and your dang optimism!

9:06 AM  
Anonymous H said...

Ok Take, once again yours is probably the best blog going. But, I want to know if you and anyone else out there read the analysis by Don Dumas at 411mania.com? If I were him I would have posted my first article under an assumed name. And maybe he did, because the nickname Don Dumbass came immediately to mind.

He stated Jamarcus Russell was, “a beast of a man who can do superhuman things with a football,” then says he was the wrong choice and that this was “just another step in the wrong direction." What???? How can taking a man who can do superhuman things with a football be a step in the wrong directions?

He appears to be a big Tom Brady fan, as well as a Brady Quinn fan and thinks Quinn was the best quarterback in the draft. He based this on Quinn having more starts in college. This is something pointed out by many pundits as why Russell will fail. Now, I’ve about had it with all these so called pundits spouting this statistic. These same clowns also think Tom Brady is the greatest thing since perforated toilet paper.

Well, with five minutes research I found out that Jamarcus Russell started more games in college than Tom Brady. Brady, the 3 time Super Bowl MVP, started 25 games. Russell started 4 as a freshman, 11 as a sophomore, 12 as a senior and 2 post season games for a total of 29 started. He also played in an additional 7 games as a freshman. This is a grand total of 36 as a collegian. At least 7 games a year are played against teams in the SEC. Overall it was much tougher competition than Notre Dame faced during Quinn’s tenure. And, when they went head to head in the Sugar Bowl, Quinn folded like a cheap tent and Russell was the MVP.

I emailed these facts to Mr. Dumbass. Now, is it just me or are you guys getting tired of doing the research for these so called “experts”.

H

10:04 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Nice work, H!

10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice to have you back,

I have to agree with BR, 6 wins is a bad season, 8 is realistic and anything more than that and I am slamming shots of Patron all damn day.

And it does come down to that damn O-line. I like the addition of Newberry, Carlisle but especially Cable.

As for the West, I see 3-4 wins, I cannot see a sweep.

Roy

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I posted this interesting little article at the end of the previous "Take" so I don't think anyone saw it. This is about Gallery and Zone Blocking:

http://www.raidernews.com/article.php?story=20070529070436806

Here is the most interesting part of the article, where Gallery is compared to the top LT's.

"In comparing Gallery's performance over his first three years to the performances of great LOTs today, we see some similiarities. Below are the names of those linemen, the number of games played their first three years, and the number of sacks allowed in that time span, the total number of sacks allowed in that time is in parenthesis...

Robert Gallery 16-3, 16-3.5,
10-10.5...(17)

Orlando Pace 13-6.5, 16-8.5,
16-6.5...(21.5)

Jonathan Ogden 16-3, 16-7.25,
13-6.0...(16.25)

Walter Jones 12-2, 16-6,
16-6...(14)"

Psycho

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RT...can't say it's good to be back but it's good to see the Raiders on their way back....I left my heart in Cambodia with my new wife.....

Up!..Up!...Up!...Because there is NO other direction we can go after being in the "Abyiss"....

The future looks great to me and until it is proven that we "Suck" I will hold onto our new found hope....after all...it is said that in the NFL every new season is a new dream and a new start for every team and that does not exclude the Raiders....

In Free-Agency -n- the Draft we have made several moves and in my opinion they are very positive....

As for the QB's...I think Josh will get the start with JR and Walter fighting it out for #2...

As for the WR's...it has already been declared that Curry is one starter and I think Mike Williams and Porter will compete for the #2 position....with very good depth like Morant...Buchanon....etc

As for the RB's I think Bush will win out by the end of the season but the other Free-Agents will battle it out early on for the starting position....with Fargas as a situation player and Jordan on the trade block....

As for the "OL"....???????....We just don't know and have very little info to draw from....but I have to beleve we will be better because it is not posible to get any worse....and just having so much improvement at the "BackField" positions has to give imeadiate help to the unit...

The "D" looks healthy with the addition of a "PassRusher" to play oposite our only "ProBowler"...and we have some young talent ready to step up in the middle to play the "Run"....

Forcast...lookin at our schedual...10-6....or if we "Suck"....6-10...because we play tooooo many other teams who will "Suck" worse....

PantyRaider...Excited!!!!

10:58 AM  
Blogger CutThroat said...

RT...out of service for tooooo long and forgot my PassWord again so now I will be posting as "CutThroat" but signing off as "PantyRaider"....just a note to authenticate so you know it is me....

PantyRaider....BrainDead!!!/__

PS....Before I left for Cambodia I mentioned I would like to have a Pre-Season "GetToGether" with the "Posters"....maybe up in OakTown....maybe during the "RaiderKickOff" celabration...or maybe someone else has a better idea...but I am open to it and willing to travil...it would just be fun to know some of the "Posters" we are talkin to....

11:17 AM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

PantyRaider, you old sea dog! Welcome home!

12:17 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Ahoy and welcome home! Congatulations to you and Mrs. PantyRaider! I'm going to miss the handle PantyRaider. We need to find your password.

1:00 PM  
Blogger TheFreakingPope said...

RT,

Honestly, I was starting to get worried. Not that you'd given up on us, but that you might be cheering for the Silver & Black with St. Peter. Glad you are alive and well.

Kiffin has me believing.

My prediction: 9 - 7 or better.

Just win, baby!

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Panty:

A preseason get together sounds like a great idea!
I would love to be a part of that celebration, peace my brother!

I also just came back from a grueling 6 day trip to mexico city, wonderful time!

I also forgot my password!

I believe that we are going to end up with an 8-8 record.

raiderdecoachella

1:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll be happy with 7-9
But I honestly think we're going to surprise people with something like 9 or 10 wins. Kiffin has these guys believing, and our division games can be won. Like RT said, we may drop one or two to the likes of the Dolts & Donks, but the Chiefs are no threat.

Psycho

2:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the O-line, you can run the Gilman, or the tripple-lindy, but nothing's going to work if they run multiple outside blitz packages and all your guys just 'stand thier ground' (which is what we did mostly, and defenders just ran around them).

Of course Lamont was blocking like my grandmother (she's dead) which didn't help much.

I digress.

Robbins was great for awhile. Can't wait to see Barry Bonds turn into a bi-polar freak now that he's off the 'clear'.

Barret and Romo were both beasts on the field. No disrespect intended to either, but both would have been average players without it (again, no disrespect, lots of left nuts would be given to be an average professional ANYTHING.)

Bottom line:
Jake Grove would probably be as good as Robbins if he had the chemical assistance.

Worst to First, Baby!!!!!!!!!!

-BamaRaider

PS: I'm unemployed now, with 2 months severence.
I think I'm going to break down and drive to napa this year.

2:50 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Altoid fresh indeed. We should definitely do some damage in the AFC West. Only Denver looks to have reloaded. I think KC and SD both took steps back. KC has lost its strength on the OL, and SD is starting with a new coaching staff at HC, OC and DC. Despite their player personnel, the complete transition of their coaching could benefit us.

I read and responded to the article by Don DumAss. I was able to bring him to his knees in three tiny sentences... one being "do you think when you speak or do you just speak?"

He emailed me back, begging for forgiveness... said he might have jumped the gun a little, etc... Best of luck for 2007 he said. What a whimp. If you got balls to say that S%#%, then back it up.... errrr.... nothing! Needless to say, I was very disappointed.

Welcome back Panty....errr Cutthroat.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

i think the worst team in the afc west this year is going to be san diego. norv turner only had 2 wins against conference opponents as coach of the raiders. if he were out of coaching for 10 years like shell was, he'd be just as bad. he has no knowledge of defense, and they lost their 2 coordinators. the only "bright spot" the dunder dolts will have is tomlinson.
the chefs will have the second worst record, they have a below average defense, and a below average receiving core (outside of tony gonzales). if they keep green, will they start him, or huard. qb controversy in the making there.
so it will come down to the 2 team, the raiders and doncos. both teams have qb questions. cutler is unproven, but so is walter and jruss. rb is not the problem with the doncos, but their receiving core is average. their d-fense is pretty strong in the secondary, but not the front line. our offensive woes are at qb and the o-line. i think we are solving our problems at rb, and the receivers are always top notch in oak-town. with decent play from our o-line, we can be the first place team very easily. if we don't get decent play from the o-line, give it to the doncos now, and we'll swap places with the chefs.
i hope for a 10 win season. anything more than 4 wins though is a step in the right direction.

3:41 PM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

I like the idea of a get-together... Depending on how many, I might have a suggestion. If there's more than, say, 7 my idea won't work, and I don't want anybody excluded who wants to join in.

Denver has spent every dime they have on a crap shoot of free agency. I think they overpaid for most of what they got. If Denver doesn't go down this year, they'll go down in the coming few years for cap problems. Don't forget, Donkey fandom is one of the "things to do in Denver when you're dead."

5:11 PM  
Blogger Raider67 said...

Great to see a new Take today, been checking daily for a week now.

This group is certainly like-minded, I've been telling anyone who will listen for the last month that the '07 Raiders will go 8-8 at a minimum and 9 or 10 wins could happen.

Bottom line is Kiffin looks like the real deal. Broncos look vulnerable, Chiefs are shakey and Turner in SD? WTF were they thinking? I'm actually considering traveling down for that one, rack up my first live road game and maybe see an upset in the process.

What has it been anyway 2 or 3 full seasons without an AFC West win? If we get 3 of those this year it will be a quantum leap forward.

I can't wait to see this season unfold, pass the Altoids baby!

7:54 PM  
Anonymous memdf said...

Raider Nate is right on. The difference making will be in leadership. Unfortunately I don't see any on the player side, yet, outside of Sapp. And I am not so convinced of that either.

Leadership, however, is not lacking at Raider Take especially now that Panty is back. Welcome!

7:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know how I am going to measure progress this season? If we win at least two divisonal games and if we beat Houston and Cleveland, then I will consider progress being made. Houston has beaten us two straight times, and Cleveland has beaten us three straight times, and if we can defeat those two juggernaut opponents *sarcasm* then I will be a happy camper. But come on people, get real here. We wont finish higher than 3rd place in the toughest divison in all of football, the AFC West. Denver and San Diego are too good. San Diego is so loaded with talent, that even Norv won't screw it up. We barely addressed the offensive line this offseason, and that is going to come back and bite us in the ass for sure. Go and ready Jerry McDonald's blog today, and read about how well the offensive line is coming along. I know it is only the month of May, but a turd is always a turd, and you can't polish a turd. I feel we are going to regret choosing Track Star Project Bowie, over another offensive lineman. But Al had to have his track star, fast defensive back. Thanks for that one Al.

8:02 PM  
Blogger kvn said...

" I’ll spit Altoids in their faces until they, too, are feeling minty fresh."

Hell yes! Get 'em in the eyes, too.

9:11 PM  
Blogger Raider67 said...

Last year's Raiders, 2-14 record and all:

• ranked third in yards allowed (4,557 cumulative or 284.8 per game);

• were tops in the NFL against the pass at just 150.8 yards per game, 8.5 yards better than the No. 2 Indianapolis Colts ; and

• allowed just under three TDs per game at 20.8, right about average for the league.

Bottom line is the offense only has to be average to get the team to 8-8, read the article I lifted the above stats from here:

http://www.realfootball365.com/nfl/articles/2007/05/raiders-dee-fense300507.html

9:15 PM  
Blogger Pete said...

I think some folks are getting a might fired up. We probably aren't going to the playoffs, and we aren't going to contend for the division.

We still have a lot of holes. Our LBs are thin. Our D-line is thin. Our O-line is both thin and suspect, and our entire offense is as-of-yet unknown. We still need another solid draft.

We should be better than the improvement in our personnel indicates, because our coaching improved so dramatically. Somewhere between 6 and 8 wins is pretty likely. But 10 wins and contending for the division? I can't see it.

PS

5:57 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

memdf,
i see leadership on defense outside of sapp. derrick burgess is the leader on defense. kirk morrisson is also stepping up nicely. we could see namdi and routt step up and do the same. i think fabian washington may turn out to be another chaz woodson. thomas howard and robert thomas are also showing leadership qualities.
on the offensive side of the ball, i believe that it should be a guy on the o-line. people are looking to gallery, but i think if he stays healthy, newberry could teach grove a few things, and grove could step up as the leader of the offense. curry, right now, to me is the true leader of our offense; a former qb too. right now offensively, we have too many potential leaders that need to prove themselves. gallery, andrew walter, jruss, michael bush, dominic rhodes, lamont jordan, jerry porter, mike williams, etc.

6:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jerry McDonald released a few OTA notes. Here is the scary part:

" – There were some serious protection issues during a team session, with the first offensive line unable to prevent defenders from poring in from all angles against Josh McCown, Andrew Walter and JaMarcus Russell."

This is the 2nd week in a row the line has looked bad. I know, I know, it's still early and they're still experimenting with guys in different spots. But "poring in from all angles" ???

I said it before, I'll say it again. Sapp & Burgess aren't even there so our pass rush should be operating at like 50% and this is not a good sign. I'm not at the 'freaking out' point yet but I'm just watching close.

Psycho

7:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Sixptstar:

I keep hearing about what great things our defense did last year. But those numbers are decieving. We were always behind, so opposing teams never were forced to go out and beat the defense. The defense was never really tested in a true 'gunslinger' contest because we showed up to the gunfight with spit-wads.

We need to see if our defense can stop game winning drives. We need to see them shut down opposing offenses that are trying to get back into the game. Thats the mark of a great defense.

As far as winning games in the West, all I really care about is beating the badonka-donkeys. I would be okay with another 2-16 season as long as the 2 wins were against Denver.

7:56 AM  
Blogger Doobie said...

As someone said earlier (was it Doobie?), I’ve got a mouthful of Altoids.

Heyyyyy, I *did* say that, didn't I? :)

8:42 AM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

Psycho:

While you're well justified in worrying about the OL, what I'm currently hanging on to is that they aren't even in pads. Pouring in from all angles without pads is a lot different from pouring in from all angles with pads.

We've got hope that Cable and Kiffin find the glue that holds this unit together. Perhaps that glue is Newberry. I think the OL needs leadership at center (the natural position for the leadership to emerge).

8:56 AM  
Blogger Doobie said...

Not only that, but the missteps of the past few years aren't going to be remedied overnight. Unlike last year, let's hope this round of re-training works.

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blanda - I'm hanging on to whatever I can when it comes to the O-line. I'm with you on Newberry, I can't wait for him to get back. Leadership will definately be the key for the O-line, and he seems like the only candidate considering everyone else is either young or unproven (and Sims is not a leader).

I guess when I hear bad things from the OTA's I feel like maybe we're all putting a little too much stock into the ZB scheme as a fix. It always comes down to a man blocking a man in the end. Hopefully these new coaches can get them playing lower and stronger than they have in the past. Much of last year you can chalk up to scheme, but I still saw guys get pushed around way too much. I think someone in here called them "Five Fathead Cutouts"?
At any rate it's good to see Cable yelling his ass off every day. That should translate to tougher play eventually. I hope.

Psycho

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

another thing about the o-line though. kiffin has been calling the offensive plays during the camps and ota's, with exception to the end of practice. he allows the coordinator's to call the plays to see who gets the bigger meeting room (see stu's blog on raiders.com).
so was the o-line being crushed all day (like j-mc claims)? or were they dominated in the competition for the large meeting room? no offense, but i would trust stu over a beat writer that has a distaste for the raiders' organization.

10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think Jerry McD would bash the Raiders out of spite. He's been fair as long as I can remember. I trust him more than 99% of the rest of the knuckleheads out there. But like you said, Stu is closer.

Psycho

11:44 AM  
Blogger resigned idealist said...

Welcome Back Take, glad to have your words to read again.

After last season, I'm slowly letting myself feel encouraged about this season. I keep feeling Hope wanting to rise up in my chest to become a full-blooded scream of cheer and mentally suppressing this feeling. Wish I had your optimism but oh so glad that at least one of us is optimistic.

It's only a little over a month now before pre-season starts and I can't wait to read your takes. Keep spitting those Altoids at the nay-sayers!

2:09 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Resigned Idealist, I do feel your pain. I'm still trying to shake off the nightmare of our opening game last season. I was geeked up for weeks prior to that night, and by the time I got in my seat at the Coliseum, I was freaking out with excitement...Only to get a horrendous glimpse of the lost season to come.

I've still got some reservations, mainly about our lines on both sides of the ball, but I'm also convinced that the turnaround has begun, and that it could very well be swift. So call me a Concerned Optimist!

2:53 PM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

What is never a good sign is swapping around positions so that the coaches can determine "the best guys to put out there." This shows that there are no standouts.

Not having any standouts would not necessarily be a bad thing if they were all good. But we've known about the lion's share of these guys since Calahan's last year. In spite of my own optimism, what I'm hearing tells me that the the OL and DL are going to be the weak links this season.

I'm hoping that coaching genius and scheme keep us floating this season. Great work has been done improving every unit, but these two units still lag behind. And this is why I expect an 8-8 season. I'm figuring that personnel improvements, scheme improvements, coaching improvements, and attitute improvements will prop us up another 6 games from last year.

Next off season, we focus on the OL and the DL, and we're back in the playoffs for 2008.

4:00 PM  
Anonymous raider00 said...

I look for a 6 win season for the Kiffin led Raiders this year.
2 division, and 2 road wins will also break the ice.

As far as the 0line goes, let's face it. Simms was through two years ago, but it looks like he'll be the LT again.
Gallery, who officially, could never even beat out Simms for the job, was handed the position last year, but stumbled, and flopped all over the field.

I think we'll be ok on the inside, guard to guard, but on the outside, well, the Qb's better wear extra protection.

4:16 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Welcome back PantyRaider & congratulations on your marriage. My wife is from Thailand. Your unbridled enthusiasm for the S&B and humor was sorely missed at the RT Pub.

I would concur with BlandaRock in terms of making the best out of our current DL & OL but reloading for 2008. I am still hopeful that we can snag a vet DT or OL over the waiver wire in the next month.

My mouth is not quite as full of Altoids as some of the posters but my breath is still minty fresh. My initial prediction (subject to change after the completion of exhibition season) is 7-9; 5-3 at home; 2-5 on the road; 2 to 3 divisional wins.

Before you mock me for not predicting 8-8 or better, you need to put things in perspective.

When Gruden took over in 1998, the Raiders had a 4-12 season the year before. He forged a 4 game improvement with a 8-8 record.
Most Raider fans would agree that this was a solid improvement in wins & losses but also more importantly, Gruden changed the culture of the team. The Raiders played a competitive brand of football even in the losses. We knew after the completion of 1998 that we had turned the corner and were on the right track.

For all the folks predicting playoffs, keep in mind it was in Gruden's 3rd season that the Raiders reached the playoffs.

Kiffin is taking over a 2-14 team. A 5 game improvement would be an excellent start to a new era. I think it would be more realistic to project the Raiders being in the hunt for the playoffs in 2008 and definitely a playoff contender in 2009. This timeline would also be in synch with the growth of Russell from season 1 to seasons 2 & 3.

Cheers!
Calico Jack

6:05 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Correction on my prediction: I meant 5-3 at home and 2-6 on the road. :)

6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll be concerned with the O-line until I see them dominate people in real games. We definately need to watch the waivers close. What keeps me going is knowing that we have guys like Zach Miller and Justin Griffith now who can help the line block. I'm not sure how good a blocker Rhodes is, but he has to be better than Jordan. Plus the subtraction of Moss improves our blocking on the edges no matter who you throw in there. Overall we're an improved blocking team personnel wise, plus whatever the scheme/coaching can bring. Judging by OTA comments we're nowhere close to where we need to be, but at least we're on the right track.

Psycho

7:17 AM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

Calico:

I'd say that the Shell 2 season and the Bugel season are very comparable. But in spite of the fact that Shell 2 had 2 wins, and Bugel had 4 wins, I think the team (after the off season shuffles) that Kiffin inherited is slightly better than the one Gruden inherited.

Without going back to the books (using only my memory), I'd say that the QB situation is superior (Russell, McCown and Walter v. George & Halas). With the acquistion of Miller, Kiffin's TE is better, as well as the overall quality of the receiving corps. Except for the DL, Kiffin's whole defensive unit is better. I think Kiffin's current crop of RBs is better, and the OLs are comparable.

It seems to me that Gruden's first schedule wasn't that difficult, and Kiffin's is much more of a challenge. They saved Gruden's toughest season for his second, making 8-8 a disappointment that season. In fact, it seems to me, that it was pulling out the win in their last game of the season at KC, after falling way behind early, that saved Gruden's job and allowed him to come back for a 3rd year. If the Raiders had gone 7-9 that year, Gruden would have been out. At that point, the last winning season the Raiders had was Shell 1's final 9-7 season, and they had not yet had a winning season since moving back from LA.

Al Davis only trusted his philosophy that brought in Gruden to a point, slowly releasing more authority to Gruden as Gruden proved himself. With Kiffin, Davis seems to have gone "all in" and really committed himself. So Kiffin is also receiving more support from the front office.

I think you can feel comfortable in pumping up your prediction by one game.

8:47 AM  
Anonymous HartsRaider said...

With an offense that emphasizes moving the chains instead of constantly trying to go for the quick strike and that will attempt to develop a punishing running game in order to control the clock all phases of the Raiders as a team should show marked improvement. Porter, Curry, and Zach Miller should all fit nicely into this offense. They are very good at running short and intermediate routes with good hands. Justin Grifith will be a huge addition as a lead blocker. In this offense, the guards will be crucial to the running game. Josh McCown will be the starter at QB to open the season because of his mobility. Based upon what I have read the Raiders will be utilizing a moving pocket which should make it easier to protect the passer. McCown's athletic ability fits into this strategy perfectly. If the offensive line can just play adequately and help us maintain the ball close to 30 minutes per game, the Raiders should be in contention for a playoff spot. If the defense isn't constantly put into bad positions by the offense expect the Raiders to be near the top defensively. Again, everything is contingent on the offensive line being able to hold its own. They don't even have to be greeat or even very good, just adequate. I also think we go 4-2 in the division. Expect Chargers to win division but for the Raiders to be a wildcard team.

9:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last year our O probably put our D in more tough spots than any other D in history, and we still managed a top D in the league. So yeah, they'll be good.

On paper we're looking pretty good right now but I'm not going to say playoffs just yet. As we all know, sh*t happens no matter how good you think you are, and 10 wins seems to be exponentially more difficult to reach than 7 wins in the NFL. Baby steps, first we have to block.

Psycho

12:50 PM  
Anonymous Holy Roller said...

I see the Raiders going 6-10 this year with a couple of victories coming from within our division. The AFC West should be a lot of fun this year. I'm just so happy that the Raiders finally look like they have a future. You wait, in three years we're going to be contenders, I can feel it in my bones. On the flip side of the coin, being stuck here in KC, I get to watch the Chefs implode this year. Bad coaching, unhappy players, no direction. Sound familiar? The rednecks are crapping their pants in KC! Autumn wind is a Raider!

1:48 PM  
Anonymous scorpio said...

psycho, speaking of defense....
after this year, we'll need to say bye-bye to nnamdi:

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news
/story?id=2889689

IF and i say IF he does get anywhere close to last year's production, he's as good as gone. for sure he'll want to test the free agent waters to cash in. use the franchise tag on him you say? can you do that for a player who can void his contract after this year? OHHHH so THAT'S why al got so many db's recently.....

you knew this was coming because DAMN those whiners for OVERPAYING nate clements. i mean, this cat isn't even close to champ bailey good. just think of the green nnamdi's gonna get.

btw, it's good to hear that bing is doing well back in his natural position in the OTA's.

3:33 PM  
Blogger LooneyRaider said...

Every year, like most Raider fans, I get excited about the up coming season. With so much talent on this team, why wouldn't you?

But then, reality hits. Last years pre-season was the highlight of the season. So the off season for me started Monday night against the Chargers.

But while I was watching the games last year, I couldn't help thinking that if we had a half competent offense, 2 things would have happen. Our excellent defense would have had less playing time on the field...(ranking them even higher) meaning the opponents would have scored even less. And 2, we could have scored more.

In other words, we weren't that far off from having a great team.

Yes, I'm optimistic every year. But this year seems different. The words "I'm In" are huge. We have a TEAM forming. That in itself translates more wins.

I wouldn't be shocked if win the AFC west next year.

Looking back to last year, we were in all but one game in the AFC west. The first one. And that's with last year’s offense.

I just wanted to say this year, I'm expecting big things. I disagree that we're 3 years out. The leadership and coaching staff of the team is trickling down with positive reinforcement. The drought is over. This season will be fun and exciting.

Don't forget what Kiffin said in his first press conference. "I will bring an explosive, powerful offense to this franchise,'' Kiffin said. "We will utilize our skill players, our big-time players, in the best way. We will get them the football. They will play happy, and they will play hard.''

From what I see, there's no reason to doubt that Kiffin will not deliver. At the time he said that, I thought he was speaking about Moss. But I see now that he was speaking to the team, and to those who want to be on the team.

Sorry for the long wind, but this has been on my shoulders for a long time, and I'm just fed up with all the negative commentary. So if I'm wrong, I'll take it like you did Take... 6 months after the season is over I'll admit it. But I don't expect to be.

Raider Nation, the only place to be.

LooneyRaider

4:24 PM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

Don't worry too much about Asumagua just yet. Al Davis does step up and pay players what they are worth if he feels they are important to keep. Davis sometimes has an unnerving way of doing this. Remember when Brown became a free agent. Brown wanted Davis to negotiate in Brown's final year, but wouldn't do it. So Brown declared free agency, ultimately signing an agreement with the Donkeys. Davis matched the Donkey offer, and Brown remained a Raider.

4:30 PM  
Blogger CutThroat said...

Wow!! Thanks for the "WelcomBack"s

We all know this year where our weakness is..."OL"....and it's kinda nice to only have one huge weakness instead of several...but it is a big one....

PantyRaider...Hoppin-in-da-"O"!!!

4:31 PM  
Blogger CutThroat said...

BlandaRocked:
The only reson Gruden's team finished 8-8 the first 2 years was because of Willy Shaw's "D"....they kept us in games and won some games for us because the "O" sucked....I remember 2 seasons of "SuckAss" "QB"s who could not win a highschool game...ending with RickMirre.....

Along comes Gannon and sudenly Gruden looks like the "RealDeel"...but look at him now without that quality leadership at "QB"....."SuckAss".....he took a "Winning" TB into the "Abyss"...so now did he get his "QB"????....He wanted Russel....

PantyRaider....Happy-Wit-#1!!!/__

"JR" will shine!!!!

10:38 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

Blanda said:
In spite of my own optimism, what I'm hearing tells me that the the OL and DL are going to be the weak links this season.

Unfortunately, those are never good things to hear. If you can't win the game in the trenches, you're not going to win.

10:19 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

With PaintyRaider riffing again on the Raiders, optimism reigns in the S&B world. Your clever and original word play is so uniquely you. I can read 1 line of a PR post and immediately identify who it is.

1:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pro Football Weekly just picked you clowns to go 4-12 and y'all should be thrilled with that. After all, that would be doubling your win total from last season, and how can y'all not be happy with that kind of improvement? hahahaha

1:52 PM  
Anonymous heartland raider fan said...

How can the Raiders possibly have any deficiencies entering this season? After all....drafting Russell was the answer to the Raiders offensive woes. Drafting a QB to sit on the bench was much more important than fortifying both the offensive and defensive lines with the extra picks obtainable from trading down.
I know.... Tom Cable has been quoted as saying that the Raiders currently have the talent on the offensive line to be successful. We'll see.

Nothing would help push this defense to a championship caliber more than a solid, intimidating, pass rusher and a run stopping tackle. The talent and speed is already there in the secondary.

I can see 6 or 7 wins this season which will give all of the potential boo birds (Russell fanatics) 9 or 10 games to cry for a QB change.

2:52 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Heartland: "How can the Raiders possibly have any deficiencies entering this season? After all....drafting Russell was the answer to the Raiders offensive woes. Drafting a QB to sit on the bench was much more important than fortifying both the offensive and defensive lines with the extra picks obtainable from trading down."

CJ: Arguably the worst Raider team in the entire history of the organization cannot be rectified over night. Drafting Russell, a potential franchise QB, was IMO the best way to try to secure long term success. Russell will get off the bench as soon as he is ready to lead the team. Whether that is week 1, week 8, or at the end of the season is undecided.

Heartland: "I can see 6 or 7 wins this season which will give all of the potential boo birds (Russell fanatics) 9 or 10 games to cry for a QB change."

CJ: McCown should be able to hold down the fort and allow time for Russell to be properly groomed. What is wrong with that? The bottom line is that Kiffin will insert Russell in when he is ready and gives the team the best chance to win. No one knows (a) how McCown will perform (b) when Russell will be ready.

The important thing IMO is to build the team with an eye towards long term success. There is no doubt that with our current roster, there will be plenty of ups & downs that will need to be rided out until we are able to further reload in 2008. It took Gruden 3 years to reach the playoffs. It is unreasonable to think that the teams fortunes will change overnight.

3:39 PM  
Anonymous heartland raider fan said...

Yeah.... I'm an idiot!
When I build something I start with the foundation or frame to ensure "long term" structural stability.

5:23 PM  
Anonymous heartland raider fan said...

Or as my Granfather would rhetorically ask....."Do you pull up your pants before or after you take a crap"?

5:27 PM  
Blogger CutThroat said...

HeartlandRaiderFan:

Before-n-After....just think about it...why would I have pants on while taking a "Shit" unless I had pulled them up earlier...Pulled them Down and Up again?????....GrandMa was a "Smart" woman....maybe you just missunderstood....

"Structual Integrety"....I love it sence I was an engineering student and worked in the steel trades for 35 years....

First, prior to laying out a Foundation or FrameWork...I would hire a "DesignEngineer"...."Superintendant"...."QC"....and if there was a very bright young unproven college student who showed a great deal of promice....like "JR"....I might put him on my "PayRole" for the future of my company....before the compitition hires him and he "KicksMyAss"....

Just a Thought!!!!

CalicoJack:

It's really nice to be back on-line wit YaAll!!!...It was really painful in Cambodia because I could not establish a good conection and had to wait until May 7th when I was back in Thailand to find out what happended on draft day....but the "LittleWoman" relieved my pain so I got thru it "OK"....

"DL"...I think it will be OK...with the addition of the outside PassRusher in the draft we have taken some preasure off the "DT"s....Their "O" will have to double at least one of our "DE"s and maybe two....but the key is our "O"....if they can be consistant it will stop the enemy from playing "ConservitiveFootball" and running it down our throats....and that was the weakness in our "DL"....stoping the "Run"...

"OL"....?????....If the new "BackField" is consistant in it's play the "OL" should look much better....I see alot of improvement at the "QB"s....and the "TE"-n-"WR"s should shine....and that should open it up for the "RB"s.....but if the "BackField" fails to deliver we can't depend on this "OL" to protect long enough for the "O" to make plays....

I wish we had a "Video" of our new "O" so I could see what we have....guess we just have to wait for the "PreSeason"....TwoMoreMonths....

PantyRaider....Anxious!!!!

10:15 PM  
Blogger PantyRaider said...

Still trying to get "PantyRaider" back!!!!/__

Test---Test---Test!!!!/__

Oh!...It works....

So now I can be "PantyRaider" or "CutThroat".....

10:43 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Heartland: No one including myself has ever called you an idiot. I will say that you are apt to take things others say and get things twisted in your own negative, sarcastic viewpoint more times than not.

Look, I realize that the Oline is a very important foundation for any successful team. I also believe it is prudent to draft a franchise QB when your team was in the situation the Raiders were in. When you mention the stuctural stability the 1st 2 people that come to my mind are our new Head Coach and a franchise QB. The HC & QB are the alpha dog leaders of any successful franchise, bar none.

Also, the point I was trying to make with my previous post is that you can't always cover all your deficiencies in 1 draft. I fully understand your logic of drafting down to stockpile picks. Would you rather have Joe Thomas on our roster and our QB situation be unstable? Once again, it is a matter of priorities.

I personally believe that the Raiders have made some good strides to improve our blocking. Guys like Griffith (FB), Miller (TE), Cooper (OG), Newberry (C), Henderson (OT), and most importantly, the hiring of Kiffin, Knapp, and Cable will make a difference. Next year the OLine will need to be a priority & further bolstered with free agency & the draft.

BTW, I pull up my pants after I've done my business. WTF does that have to do with drafting Russell? You talk about the boo birds crying for a QB change. It sounds to me from many of your posts that you are gleefully awaiting for Russell to fail. That is a sad hypocrisy.

11:50 PM  
Blogger kvn said...

"So the off season for me started Monday night against the Chargers." –– looneyraider

I have some of the same misgivings now that you might have felt after the Raider's first performance last season. I don't see the line being very good,

However, overall, I have a much more optimistic feeling about the 07 team. In fact, I expect to see a blow-out or two early on in the season. Seriously, with our new depth at RB and our defense, I can envision some one-sided victories, But, all of this optimism is tempered by the, admittedly early as hell, reports coming out about the OL.

1:50 AM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

Heartland:

When Plunkett finally went down, we didn't have a SB calibur QB again until Gannon - from '85 to 2000. That's how difficult it is to find one, and when you think you've found one, you have to snatch him up. Having 3 draftees last season become starters is an abberation, not the norm.

The OL, however, is always a work in progress. You can't judge an OL by individuals, but by how they work together. Since it is apparent that our OL wasn't given any consistant coaching last season, it's harder to judge them than Walter's performance. The OL is likely the thing that Kiffin would find hardest to judge by watching film. The best way for Kiffin to judge the OL is to see what Cable gives them and how they respond to it.

That's likely going to take a season of mixing and matching to identify the holes that they will plug in the next off season.

Your comment about when to drop you pants is another example of your only seeing things from one direction. If you are a long distance pilot or astronaught in a flight suit, you wear adult diapers and drop trou later on. So the answer to that question is, it depends upon the circumstances.

9:05 AM  
Blogger StickUm25 said...

"Adult diapers"? Classic!

I think we all understand that our defense suffered due to the offense. One way to quantify that is to look at the first half of our games from last year. Although I can't find any stats that show pure rushing yards in the first half of our games, the scores are available. We started the season horribly, and the last month of games reflected that all hope had been lost. However, I was surprised to find that from games 3 thru 12 these were our results

Raiders led 7 times
Tied 1 time
Behind 2 times

In addition to this we never entered halftime down by more than 13 points. IMO that reflects the strength of our defense. It also reflects how horrible our in-game coaching was, considering we had 8 legitimate opportunities to win, but couldn't make the necessary adjustments to close out the game. This supports the arguement that improvement by the offense will not be wasted by the defense. And although we don't have the evidence from last year, I'm willing to bet the defense will be able to play more aggressively, and take more chances next year. They couldn't afford to give up ANY points last year. This year they can take a few more chances and worry less about the downside. If you combine these factors I can see why they didn't worry so much about the defensive line. Next year yeah, but this year there are too many other things to worry about.

11:50 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

The old cliche' of "Rome wasn't built in a day" is very appropos of the Raiders offense. It starts first with an entirely new offensive coaching staff & Head Coach finalizing a roster, teaching technique and new philosophies, implementing & installing new game plans, using new schemes, etc. Our offensive unit was arguably the worst in NFL history. It should be obvious to everyone that for all practical purposes, the O Unit is starting from ground zero. There will need to be continual strides over the next few years to bring the O back to a top 15 unit.

As Stickem points out, we have a lot to be proud of when it comes to our D. Their effort in the face of adversity and lack of support from the offense was simply outstanding. However, IMO, when you dig through the numbers, our D has the need for much improvement. Don't be fooled by the #3 ranking on yards allowed. Although our offense stacked the deck against our D, there are many areas that the D needs to improve. Here are just a few of the areas:

Stat/Ranking:
Scoring Avg: 20.8 (18)
Sacks: 34 (19)
Rush Avg: 134.0 (25)
Turnovers Created: 23 (27)

In all of the stats listed above, the Raiders D ranks in the bottom half of the league. I do believe that with another year of Ryan's leadership and player development of our young squad that this D is ready to take the next step. To be one of the best defenses in the league, the Raiders need to create more sacks, create more turnovers, and be more stout against the run.

3:13 PM  
Blogger PantyRaider said...

CalicoJack:

In "Defence" of our "D"....

The deck was stacked against them....it's difficult to get sacks when the "O" is not throughing the ball....they just ran it down our throughts in a "ConservitiveAttack" because they never had to worry about our "O"....

Also it is more difficult to get "TurnOver"s when the enemy is running the ball....but our "D" improved alot over the year before as far as "TO"s....

The "Scoreing" was set-up by our "O" making stupid "TO"s deep in the "BackField"....how much can we blame the "D" for that...it was already in Field-Goal range....

But YES...we were weak against the "RUN"....but a "D" is designed to take something away...in our case we took away the "PassingGame"....a "Great" "D" could take everything away....and hopefully that's what we will become....

When we stop the "Run"-n-"Pass"....Block "FieldGoal"s on "SpecialTeam"s....and "StrikeDeep"-n-"Run-wit-Athority" on the "O"....we will be back in "Stride" and have another "SB" Trophy to add to the list....NOT this year....but I think it's comming soon.....

PantyRaider....JustSupportinBaby!!!

8:59 PM  
Blogger Pete said...

Couple other stats related to our D's performance:

Raider Offense
Time of Possession: 28:14 (28)
Turnovers: 46 (32)
Points: 10.5 (32)

Considering those stats, our D outperformed expectations.

There's no doubt we could have used a #3 passrusher, or a #3 runstuffer. But we needed a #1 QB, and a #1 TE, and a #1 FB, and at least 3 OL. I'm not sold on the OL, but the rest of the moves look pretty good, and I wasn't expecting to fix all our problems in one year.

One thing I'm encouraged about is that it appears we will attempt to mask whatever deficiencies we still have with scheme. I remember screaming at the TV last year to keep a TE in to block, or put a back out to help Gallery, or to move the pocket, or to fricking throw the ball already! And it always seemed like our O figured that somehow, despite all the previous plays, this time the blocking would hold! I think that if our coaching just recognizes that the blocking is suspect and calls plays accordingly, that'll fix a lot of problems. Hopefully I won't spend the whole year thinking I know more about offensive football than our coaching staff...

PS

5:31 AM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

Pete:

Thanks for the Time of Possession stat. Regarding our D, I think that's the most important stat in the books. Without looking at the numbers, I'd say that when you compare offensive proficiency and TOP with the rest of the league, having the 3rd ranked D is almost miraculous.

Granted that the D wasn't near as good under Bugel as Shell II, but Bugel put the D in the same kind of positions with disasterous results. The next season, with Hallas as QB, the Raiders went 8-8.

I see some holes in our D, but nothing that this team's superior moral and attitute can't overcome.

8:41 AM  
Anonymous Heartland raider fan said...

Wow....the sme guys in ealier blogs saying the Raider defense wasn't that good because opposing teams were sandbagging are now praising it. Can you san Flip-flop?

"The opposing teams were holding back because the Raiders had no offense and were no threat to come back". That was the rationale behind drafting Russell for a number of you.

10:27 AM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

Heartland:

What?!

10:54 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

The defense was good and at times great last year. I wouldn't call it an elite unit quite yet, and it may be true that some of the stats were skewed because the opposing offenses were taking it easy because they knew we couldn't score, but our defense is strong and remains pointed in the right direction, and may be on the verge of elite.

Meanwhile, our offense was squarely pointed in the wrong direction. That's the rationale behind drafting Russell, as well as acquiring Rhodes, dumping Moss, and drafting Bush and Miller, etc.

It all smacks of good old common sense to me.

Let's cut to the chase: if you think the Raiders made wrong moves during this offseason, tell us what they are. If you don't like the Russell pick, tell us your alternative, not just for the first round, but for our QB position.

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

it'll be the same argument with heartland. he wanted o-line picks, and d-line picks in the draft.
i agree that we could've drafted a dt, and certaintly should've drafted more o-line heavy; but you can't say we had a terrible draft with who we picked. you can't say that we've done nothing, or we've wasted picks. that's ridiculous! you don't draft by experience, you draft by potential, and jruss has outstanding potential. will he bust? don't know. will he be all that we dream and hope he will. we hope so, but truly don't know. just like anyone else in the draft. but we made great choices in the draft. to complain about how we drafted is showing a lack of understanding; or out right bitterness.
i'm sorry, but joe thomas was not a suitable first pick, and you knew we weren't going to trade down. as well, we stole michael bush in the 4th round, and filled a nice void at rb. we did pick up mario henderson (who may start), quentin moses (who will start), and zack miller (who will start). when was the last time the raiders truly had a good blocking and receiving tight end? can you say todd christianson? having a good blocking tight end, is going to benefit our line nicely. when was the last time the raiders had 2 quality defensive ends? can you say howie long and lyle alzado?
the raiders filled foundational voids this offseason at qb, rb, te, and a solid de who will compliment burgess.
don't forget, the offseason is not over yet either, and i think we will land a veteran dt before it's said and done.

11:20 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

It is real easy to take pot shots at posters you don't agree with you, players that you don't like. It is even easier to make cryptic, sarcastic remarks complaining about decisions that have been made. Here are a few novel suggestions:

- Make your viewpoint clear. By that I mean, enough of the vague references, metaphors, and general WTF bs. How bout' some plain english that all of us can understand and debate like, you know, actual civilized intelligent, respectful human beings.

- If you don't have the balls to name a person & be accountable, don't bother with the 3rd grade name calling bs.

- Instead of bithching like a whiny little girl, tell us what you would do differently. For example, if you didn't want Russell, explain what your plans would have been for the QB position for this year and 2008.

3:29 PM  
Anonymous heartland raider fan said...

Kiss My ass....your memory must be as long as your pecker.
I've made it clear that I didn't want to waste the 1st pick on Russell and that I'd have rather traded down for more picks to address "real" immediate needs or taken Johnson.
What's the problem? you must be the one to have the girly thing going, as in wanting your woman's perogative to change your mind or total reasoning and not be called on it.

4:26 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Be called on what, exactly? Once again, more rhetoric backed up with nothing concrete or specific but filled with vile and bs.

Show me one post of mine where I have ever "flipped flopped" on anything. I haven't changed my mind on 1 single thing. My view on the draft, the Raiders D, building the team hasn't budged 1 iota.

You quote "The opposing teams were holding back because the Raiders had no offense and were no threat to come back". I know I have never expressed these sentiments.

You write: "That was the rationale behind drafting Russell for a number of you." It wasn't my rationale. My rationale was the Raiders QB depth chart sucks, the Raiders have the #1 pick, Russell is an awesome QB prospect. Take him. Period.

Bottom Line: Show me 1 time where I flipped flopped or shut your pie hole. Don't lump me in with bits and pieces of other fans opinions. It is one thing to have a difference of opinion but it is quite an entirely different animal when you you make shit up that simply isn't true.

As I have said countless times, I understand the reasoning behind treading down for mulitple picks. I don't agree with it for the situation the Raidres were in but I understand the logic. The 1 thing that we obviously disagree about is the importance of building a franchise by upgrading the QB position. It is your belief that Russell was a wasted pick. It is my belief that he was a supremely talented and unique QB prospect that could be the cornerstone of a revamped offense.

Under your plan of trading down we would be wasting another year with marginal QB talent waiting for the 2008 draft/free agency right back at the QB trough.

If your goal was to get under my skin & irrate the hell out of me with your unsubstaniated claims, congratulations.

7:09 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

BTW Heartland, if you had any doubts about my beliefs on Russell, I suggest you read this:

http://silverandblackforever.blogspot.com/2007/04/chosen-one_13.html

7:17 PM  
Blogger StickUm25 said...

Remember the number of rushing attempts when considering how the defense fared against the run. We allowed 542 rushing attempts last year - by far the worst in the league. However, the 4.0 yds/rush allowed tied for 11th. Not elite, but certainly not weak considering all of the offensive woes, number of defensive plays we were on the field, etc, etc. Again, I believe that improvement by the offense combined with the defense being allowed to play a bit more aggressively will allow the D to continue to shine.

7:51 PM  
Blogger CutThroat said...

Heartland::::

Maybe you are talking about me....I have "PHlip-PHlop"ed on some prior statements....and the way I did it was to come in and simply state "I was WRONG!!!"""...like about CoachShell....and than proceed to make corections to my statements...like a "Man"....Now I realize that takes "Gut"s but it is NOT too late to start....and believe it or not....people accually respect you for it....even if you are "Wrong".....

"The opposing teams were holding back because the Raiders had no offense and were no threat to come back.

I made a statment similar to this but in a totally different context....I said the "D"s #1 against the "Pass" rating was helped by the fact that other teams did not have to worry about our "O" and just ran the ball down our throughts....and that if we had a decent "O" our "D" would have been tested more often....which I still believe to be "True"....but if they had tested our "D" more often I believe the "Int"s would have been up and we may have won another game or two....but they played "Conservitive" to "Avoid" the posibility of "TO"s....smart football for them.....

"'"they just ran it down our throughts in a "ConservitiveAttack" because they never had to worry about our "O"...."'" I said that @ 8:59 pm....Sunday Night!!!!

It's all "Kool" if ya "Quoat" me but please....get it in the right "Mood".....I know sometimes things are a little "Confusing" but just "Copy-Paste" and it will come out "O"-key....."D"-oh-key!!!...Ya dig!!!!

PantyRaider....Corectly!!!!

8:26 PM  
Blogger PantyRaider said...

Do ya believe in "#"s?????

"Lindy's Pro-Football" was on the shelf and I just had to read it...

Page 209 under "Rating the Teams"

The "Raider"s got's # "64.5"...Whooooopy!!!!

But what is interesting is that the "Donk"s are # "65"....as is JacksonVilla so we are like about "Even-Steven"....now that accounts for 3 games this year which should be "Win-a-ble"....

Only 3 teams are vastly superior...
Indy---# "74"
SD-----# "69.5"
Chicago# "68"
Which accounts for 4 games we should "Loose"....

Now the other 9 games are against weaklings who should get their "AssesKicked"....which includes:
KC-----# "61"....so the "Raider"s should be fighting it out for second in the West with the "Donk"s....

What does it all mean???/__

Well, my "PreSeason" prediction is for "10-6" so now that seams much more reasonable....don't ya think???...if we loose the 4 games we should loose and win just 1 of the 3 "Winnable" games and beat the "Crap" out of the teams we should beat....why we would be at "10-6" for the year....

Schedual Week to Week....
63----Detroit
65----Denver
63.5--Cleveland
61.5--Miami
Bye
69.5--SD
61----KC
62.5--Tenn
62.5--Huston
68----Chicago
59----Minn
61----KC
65----Denver
62.5--GB
74----Indy
65----Jackson
69.5--SD

Could be just alot of "Crap" but at least someone give us a fighting chance.....

PantyRaider....ReachinHigh!!!!

8:59 PM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

Heartland (and this is probably pointless):

I don't know of anyone who comments on this site who hasn't said that the Raiders' OL needs a lot of work. I don't know of anyone who hasn't acknowledged that our DL could use an upgrade. I also don't know anyone on this site, with the exception of you, who believed that we could afford to stand pat with Walter in the backfield.

The OL and the DL play as units (however, the DL tends to be a lot more mercenary). Chemistry is very important. One must find a base to work from, identify the holes, and fill those holes with a player or players who display the lacking qualities. Building a solid OL is a multiple season project, regardless of where you pick up your players (draft or free agency). But there are a lot more good offensive linemen in the NFL than good QBs. Also, you can "cover" a hole in your OL but you can't "cover" a bad QB.

Almost everyone here believed that after last season, Walter deserved a fair shot. But the Raiders are not ABOUT Andrew Walter, so a fair shot includes the BEST competition available.

A franchise QB is one of the hardest things in the NFL to find. Before Gannon, the last one the Raiders had was Jim Plunkett. We're talking about a span of FIFTEEN YEARS! It didn't take 15 years because Al Davis is an idiot. It took 15 years because that's how hard it is to find a franchise QB.

The coaches are working the OL the way it needs to be worked. They are trying to identify who the best players are for the 5 positions. I imagine that we will see one or two more linemen come in after the cuts later this month. After that, the only real way for the coaches to determine the progress of their work is to see how their developing unit does against NFL competition.

I hear that Walter is getting better by the day, confronted by the excellent competition from McCown and Russell. So we'll start the season with THREE competitive QBs rather than one QB who feels he has something to prove with no push from behind because there are only "also rans" behind him.

Personally, I don't see a thing that this coaching staff is doing wrong. Now, so you don't later put words in my mouth, that doesn't mean that I think this coaching staff is perfect. How effective they are at building a winning team remains to be seen. But so far, I'm absolutely on board with everything major that they've done.

8:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any minute now we're going to see something that begins with "Kiss my ass!" I can feel it...
Psycho

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This offseason is kicking my ass! When are we going to start HITTING!?!

Hey RT, please put together a 20 page, ground-breaking, insightfully hillarious and insparational Take, complete with haiku! Because the rest of the media is boring. It'll be easy. I hope that's what you're up to right now.

I'm even willing to join the 'fun' with heartland and risk having my pecker being called short. Anything but going back to work is fine with me.

Thanks,
Psycho

1:41 PM  
Blogger PantyRaider said...

Well we have "Beat the 'OL' to Death"....who's next???/

How about "Da Donks"....lookin at the "QB" position they have "Jay-be-Tray" who failed to prove himself at all last season....in fact the "Donk"s were in the lead of the West when they benched "Jake-da-Fake" and incerted "Jay-be-Tray"....and than ran themselves out of the "PlayOff"s....

For depth they now have PatrickRamsey who some were asking for the Raiders to pick up....

So lookin forward to week #2...9-16-07....do we have much to fear from this team....

Their running game went south last year but now they have TravisHenry who @ 5'09" 215# is expected to rush for 1400 yds...."Dreamin"...

TeyoJohnson is their "TE"...how scarry is that???

They are dumping their "DL" and replacing it with 3 "R"s from this years draft....

Now for the first time their "D" will have to play against the same style "OL" as they run...."CheapShot"s to the "Knee"s-n-"Holdin to da Ground"...if we can get away with it the same way they do....

So lookin ahead to week # 2....does this look like a winnable game....We all know week "1" will be because we play the "DetroitPussy"s....

PantyRaider....HungryForAction!!!

2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the Donks are very beatable. But week #2 in Denver might be a little too early to reclaim our rightful place at the top of the AFC West during our come back.

Good point on the Donk's young D line. It might be a confidence builder for our guys up front and we won't have to "beat" on them so much. Plus they're missing Al Wilson, the heart and soul of their D. Who's left to lead, Lynch? How many years does he have left, 1?

Speaking of the Donks, I went over to look for a Donk blog to talk shit and guess what I found... TheBroncoNation.com

WTF?? I know this 'Nation' thing has spread like wildfire throughout all professional sports. But to have the Broncos of all people blatantly throw up a website with such an obvious rip-off of their most hated division rival is just crazy. If I were a Donk fan I would be pretty ashamed to be associated with such a thing. As a Raider fan it makes my blood boil just knowing that they're comfortable with this. 50 years from now I will be reminding people of who was the first, and only true Nation. Hopefully by then we'll have like 53 Lombardi's in our lobby, a man can dream!

Psycho

4:39 PM  
Blogger CutThroat said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:57 PM  
Blogger CutThroat said...

Psycho:

I just had to take a look....that guy is an "Idiot" and it appears "NO"body is interested....at least I can't find any comments on his "Stupid" site....but ya know....he reminds me of "AnnoAss' the "DonkyFan" poster who was in here last season with his trash mouth...the same type of "Re-Dick-You-Less" Crap....and who else would try to copy the "Nation" that way....only the "SadFranchiseWinnerEmpire" would...

Personally....I think Shanon is "Sinkin-down-da-Dumper"...."DesperationMoves"....Rejected by Williams and now signs Adams who has about nothing left....

Come-On "PowerRunnin" Game....Right down their throats...

It appears to me that Lane is targeting the "Donk"s...and he brings in 2-3 "OL"man from DonkyLand to help teach the system....so I think week #2 is a "Targeted-Date"....

What could you expect to see in "DonkyLand"....alot of "Crap"....

PantyRaider....JustLaughinBaby!!!!

8:00 PM  
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