Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Playoffs or Bust

If we don't make the playoffs this year, we have failed again, in my opinion.

That may be an unpopular opinion, but so be it.

We're in an awfully weak division, and numerous teams have gone from losers to contenders within the span of a year. We see it all the time in the NFL.

We've had plenty of years (and high draft picks) to figure out how to do it ourselves, and there's no excuse for not finally doing it.

Cable said we'd get to the playoffs this year. Now it's time to hold him and the organization accountable. Who here has a problem with accountability?

Playoffs or bust, amigos. Raise your standards, raise your expectations. Too many Raiders fans have become accustomed to enabling, excusing and accepting. No more.

That's not a lion on our helmet. That's a Raider. Time to play like it.

Join me in raising the bar and please spread the word. Let's light a fire and keep it burning.

46 Comments:

Anonymous scorpio said...

another bleacher report moron:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/200748-raider-fans-who-is-the-lesser-of-the-three-afc-west-evils

so is this cat a raider fan or a charger fan?

10:00 AM  
Anonymous scorpio said...

my gawd they let anyone write for this bleacher report column:

http://www.examiner.com/x-12984-Oakland-Sports-Examiner~y2009m6d16-Raiders-cant-let-Vick-scramble-to-Oakland

my question to him is - WHY is it a nightmare situation if garcia comes in? the guy's a winner and one hell of a worker and leader. idiot!

OH and yes i do agree with take. we SHOULD make the playoffs this year with a weakened division.

10:17 AM  
Anonymous scorpio said...

whoops - sorry :o) last guy wasn't from bleacher report but rather the examiner. another rag.

10:18 AM  
Blogger H said...

I'm in.

H

10:42 AM  
Anonymous scorpio said...

take, i agree with you that in a weakened division we should expect to see the playoffs BUT i wouldn't go as far as to hold cable accountable for his job. at least yet anyway. this has been our problem these last several years. coaches in, coaches out. there is no stability. shouldn't he be given that chance to build his way from the ground up?

11:28 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

I agree, he shouldn't lose his job over it. (But maybe our GM? Hah, just kidding, folks. After all, we don't have one, right?)

But Cable, and we, should consider it a failed season if we don't make the playoffs.

I already hear Raiders fans grading on the curve for 2009, suggesting that seven or eight wins would be some sort of moral victory.

No, it won't be. It will be a failure. It would have been a moral victory in 2007. No longer.

As fans, we need to participate in setting the winning tone, and we need to do it now, louder than ever.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

In 2007, the Ravens, Falcons and Dolphins combined for 10 wins total.

In 2008, each of these teams started the season with a new coach and new quarterbacks. Two made the playoffs, and the other won 11 games, a total that would easily win the AFC west.

Why should I expect less of the Raiders?

12:56 PM  
Blogger StickUm25 said...

Playoffs should be the goal, yes, but a failed season if we don't make it? That's a bit harsh. As much as everyone expects the bolts to continue to go downhill, do you think we have more talent at this point? I think we've closed the gap, but I don't think anyone would say we're clearly better at this point, and we definitely lack the experience. If we don't take the division then we need to beat out several teams for the wild card, which is another tough proposition. I'd say 9 wins is a good season, 8 is adequate, and 7 or less didn't meet expectations.

It's not an apples to apples comparison looking at last year. The Ravens always have a tough D and the Dolphins would not have won if NE didn't suffer through so many injuries - Brady, Maroney, etc. If Brees goes down for the season in game 1 and they have other problems then I'd agree playoffs or else. Failing that, if 9 wins doesn't get us in the playoffs I wouldn't say it's a failed season.

1:15 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Okay, StickUm, at least you're holding some sort of line there with nine wins.

I figure that eight wins won the West last year. Denver should be worse, and I'm not sure why the Chargers should be better, so I'm taking it a step further: Playoffs or bust.

There's always some excuse why other teams can turn it around quickly, but the Raiders, after six years of preparation, can't.

Don't you think the players themselves fall into that trap, especially if the fans are backing them up and reinforcing their excuses? And we wonder why the team just never quite gels and unites and rises to the occasion? It's not all about talent (although we have plenty of that, too). It's about motivation, expectation and attitude, three things that have been lacking, but that are surely not out of reach.

I'm out of excuses. Our hour is now. Carpe diem. Light a fire.

1:27 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Take, you’re on a roll.

Cable's determination to make the playoffs this year would carry more weight if his owner hadn't conceded it will probably take longer. I’m hoping the coach is right.

The fact is, we finished the 2008 season with considerable momentum. To not carry that momentum into the 2009 season would be a failure in and of itself. We need to win games early against our own division. IMO, this will largely determine our success or failure in 2009.

2:28 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Thanks, I'm fired up! The nap did me good, now I'm fully awake.

2:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take, nice to see you back. Playoff is definitely the bar for a successful season but I think hitting 8-8 would be a nice measuring stick.

Certainly teams do go from worst to first but it is not that common. Examine the top teams, they are the same teams year in and year out. Steelers, NE, Indy are the cream of the crop.

Sure Atl, Ariz do come and pull off one year wonders but most teams take steps not leaps. So for me 8-8 is perfectly acceptable. I want to see progress in QB play and progress in D.

I think real progress would be actually playing good ball in the beginning of the year. How about going into the second half of the season in the playoff hunt.

Roy

3:01 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Roy, can we aim just a bit higher? If we don't, who will?

Meanwhile, DHB pulled up lame again today, and Mitchell is too sore to practice.

I hope that DMac's turf toe is healed.

Next we're going to hear that Jamarcus has chronic fatigue syndrome.

Paging our trainer...

5:23 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Let's raise the bar and a pint glass high in the air.

In my view, the Donkeys are falling apart at the seams with the departure of Cutler and the inevitable exit of Marshall. Think about it ... Cutler has been replaced by "neck-beard" Orton and Marshall will be replaced by SF castoff Lloyd. Can you say "downgrade".

The team went from a stable, fairly well oiled machine with ShanaRat at the controls to a wet behind the ears McDaniel. Is there any reason we shouldn't sweep the Donkeys for 2 divisional wins? I EXPECT us to demolish the Donkeys by running it down their F'N throats.

The mustard and ketchup Chefs are in my estimation, the most talentless team in the NFL. I would be shocked if Cassell isn't take out on a stretcher by game 2. His lack of mobility and OLine protection will make him the tin man. Is there any reason we shouldn't sweep the "condiments"? I'm counting on 2 more divisional wins.

The Bolts have gotten progessively worse under Norvell Turner. Although still the team to beat, the Chargers are on the downhill slide. The Bolts have an absolutely brutal schedule and their window is nearly shut. I EXPECT us to split the 2 games with the Bolts.

Right there we've got a 5-1 record in our divisional games. Is it asking too much to go .500 in the other 10 games? I don't think so.

IMO, the difference from making the playoffs and just a slight improvement (6-8 wins total) are these 3 things:

(1) Russell's development in accuracy, reads, and leadership.

(2) Solid improvement in run D by using the LBs more aggressively at the LOS.

(3) A revamping of identity on D where the LBs are used aggressively in blitz packages.

I hate to boil down a long 16 game season into 3 weeks but ... those first 3 games (vs. SD, at KC, vs Den) will be a barometer for the success or failure of the Raiders.
Anything less than 2-1 would be a failure and lost opportunity in my book.

The theme of "Playoffs or Bust" should ring true every season and is a reasonable yardstick of accountability.

BTW, I like the return of the new, old RT ... the guy who puts his cards on the table, voices his opinion clearly and decisively, and would never think to apologize for how he feels. Cheers, RT. Keep on drawing the line in the sand.

6:32 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Now THAT's thirsty, my friend!

6:33 PM  
Blogger TheFreakingPope said...

I'm in.

6:53 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

The most interesting man in the world ... RaiderTake!

Stay thirsty, my friend. :D

9:35 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Is that the best commercial or what? I love the one where he's emerging from the lunar module. Genius.

9:47 PM  
Anonymous ButteryPat said...

Calico, I think you're right to say that those first three games are going to be the real barometer for the potential for success on the season. Beating the Chargers would be huge, to me, not just for the win itself, and for beating a good team, but for demolishing that "losing culture" we've all talked about. I too shudder at the idea of being dismantled on Monday Night Football again, but if the Raiders beat the Chargers, even if they are in decline, I think we'll know we have a season we can get excited about.

Beating the Donkeys and Chefs would seem to be, at this point, just proof that we can win the games we're supposed to. But, there's a chance that McDaniels, Haley and Pioli are crazy like foxes, and maybe those teams get better. I don't see it happening with the talent in KC, and Denver looks like a complete disaster with Brandon Marshall now wanting to leave. But, stranger things can happen. All in all, it's not just the wins out of the gate I'm looking for, it's whether or not the team is standing up to fierce opposition and staying in games. If we get demolished by the Chargers again, I'm not sure I can view wins over the Broncos and Chiefs as signs of real progress. Conversely, if we beat the Chargers, but maybe lose to the Broncos and Chiefs in squeakers, I might still look at things as positive overall. Those would be ways in which win-loss record might be a secondary consideration. But no matter what way you slice it, those three games will be able to tell us a lot.

On the positive front, Jamarcus Russell wants to get all the wideouts and tight ends together for a special practice to work on timing. That's great to hear, and I hope he has the pull to get them all together. Maybe even Javon?

On the negative side, yeah, more injury problems for Mitch and DHB, even some more problems with Murphy. I don't know what this is, if rookies come in and get cramps and muscle pulls a lot until their bodies get used to the higher tempo, if this is just a bad coincidence, or a sign of something, but I hope it goes away soon. All three of those rookies can make an impact right away, but they can't if they're on the sideline.

Oh and lastly, yeah, that is a great commercial. Actually, every time Calico types "stay thirsty my friends" it brings a little smile to my face.

12:21 AM  
Anonymous scorpio said...

ok, you have GOT to be kidding me! russell giving his own QB camp? and he's accomplished what in the nfl?

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/06/18/SPVR1893EF.DTL

1:15 AM  
Blogger RaiderRealist said...

From Jmac:

Russell said afterward the plan is to get the receivers together for a gathering at an undisclosed location to work on their timing.

“We’re going to get the receivers and tight ends a week away from everything, just go along by ourselves and accomplish something that would make us a lot better during the year,” Russell said. Just work on our own, with nobody out there but us, get ready for camp, get ready for a new year.”

Cable was glad to hear it.

“I think it’s a big step. It’s kind of what we’ve been talking about all along, and to hear about that is obviously a positive from a coaches’ standpoint,” Cable said. “It will be good to hear how that goes and what his plan is.”

That's what Russell is working on, Scorpio. Getting the timing down with his receivers.

3:09 AM  
Anonymous Raided Nate 75 said...

What is the possibility of the Raiders making a trade for Brandon Marshall of the Doncos?
I don't think the Doncos would trade straight up with us, nor would we with them. Especially a trade like Derrick Burgess for Brandon Marshall. I would not want to see Burgess twice a year. BUT, this trade can happen if we can find a third team who needs a DE.
It is no secret that Burgess wants out of Oakland, and Marshall (like Cutler) wants out of Denver. So my question, would a three way trade for Marshall work? If so, who would the 3rd team be, and who would they give up?

On the other hand, Take, I'm torn with this. I agree that we should do well in the weakest division; but I don't want to get my hopes up AGAIN! I'm taking the "PROVE IT" attitude. The Raiders need to prove to me what they are capable of doing.

6:24 AM  
Blogger H said...

PLAYOFFS!! DON’T TALK ABOUT PLAOFFS!! YOU KIDDING ME, PLAYOFFS! I JUST HOPE WE CAN WIN A GAME!! PLAYOFFS!!

Now that I have Jim Mora out of my system.

Good post Scorpio, to paraphrase the movie Tombstone, I have two glasses, one for each of you (Scorpio and Take). I’ll raise them both. Speaking of which, stockpiles are getting low, I need to make a run to the brewing store.

I like the idea of Russell and all the receivers heading off somewhere on their own. I hope at camp he starts doing things for the OL like Snake used to do. If it’s successful look for the NFL to crack down on these types of things.

61.3% full and rising.

H

6:26 AM  
Blogger H said...

Addendum,

Insert "Calico" for "Scorpio" in my previous post. No offense Scorpio but I was refering to Calico's post. I'll still raise a glass to you but I'll need three hands.

H

6:36 AM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Is it that Burgess wants out, or is he simply sticking to the off-season program of solitude that he has demonstrated over and over.

From what (little) I know, Burgess has been very professional in accepting his less-than-favorable contract terms in previous years. Has he strayed from that?

Does he want out of Oakland, or has his demise been exaggerated by the media?

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Arkansan Raider said...

Scorpio, are you serious?

JR's taking the opportunity to be a real leader and working on the timing and routes they've been given, and you're actually complaining?

Dude.

You need to chill.

---Jeff

11:18 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

When JRuss gets the gang together, DHB can limp around and get them water and snacks.

Mitchell could act as a goalpost, since he's not moving too well these days.

Let's just hope that Walker doesn't have a trip to Vegas planned for that week.

12:22 PM  
Blogger RaiderCat said...

RT~
Don't forget the portable obstacle course for Garcia so he can run all over the place from obstacle to obstacle... we need to ensure that he has enough to do to hustle around...!

~`Cat

2:22 PM  
Blogger H said...

I'm with you on that on Arkansas.

H

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Tinfoil said...

This is what I know:

Since Norv, I recorded the games - if they won I watched. If they lost I hit Delete.

Very liberating.

I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired of my once proud team.

Take's Take was dead on. We Raiders fans pay a lot of money for tickets, gear and other items and have the right to demand a competitive product be put on the field each weekend.

Hell, even the perpetually woeful SD Chargers (worst team in the league says the Manning family)are competitive every few years or so.

Take is right and has my full support.

And, Welcome Back Take!

4:47 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Tinfoil's got the 'tude I'm talking about!

It's about time someone demanded a competitive product and accepted nothing less.

Cat, let's just hope that it's not Jamarcus that Garcia's running circles around!

4:59 PM  
Anonymous scorpio said...

arkansan / jeff and all,
i read it wrong - i humbly admit - it's my own fault! i quickly glanced at the article thinking that ostler was looking for something to bash on russell. i read it quickly - too quickly and thought he was putting on a QB camp. i'll make sure i don't pull that trigger on my glock too soon next time. sorry!

5:07 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Take, you're being awfully hard on the WRs aren't you? It's not like our leading WR had 22 rec, while no other WR exceeded 19 rec., or that our would-be #1 WR had only 15 rec.

Because that would be an impossible display of ineptitude.

6:58 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

RT's mindset of "Playoffs or Bust" cuts away all the fat (excuses, low standards, lack of accountability, enabling) right down to the bone.

Whether the team reaches the playoffs in any given year is an entirely different matter.

The point is that management, coaches, players, and fans should never expect less or strive for less going into each new season.

Of course there are always a series of goals that can be reached;

(1)earn a playoff spot
(2)win the division
(3)earn the highest possible seed
(4)advance in the playoffs
(5)win the conference championship
(6)win the Super Bowl

Accomplishing goal (1) means you have the opportunity of reaching goals (2)-(6).

7:06 PM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

Hey, guys...

I'll be back soon. Been on the road for work doing 15 plus hour days.

NYRaider, Davis never said we couldn't make the playoffs. He said we weren't ready for the Super Bowl, which in and of itself is an outlandish statement for Davis. The Davis philosophy has always been to shoot to win it all every season.

There's an old philosophy that the Saloon Girls used to have, that I always liked. "Make the playoffs, then steal the Super Bowl."

I'll go on record here and say that I have never once advocated winning 6 or 7 games. You always shoot for top honors and nothing less. Funny, six bad years never diminshed that in me.

Be back soon, folks. I miss you all.

7:15 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Great to hear from you, BlandaRocked!

NYRaider, that's largely why I was suspicious of the DHB pick, our track record of handing bags of money to WRs is pretty dismal lately. I hope those weren't scissors in our hand again when we ran to the phone and made him our top pick.

Great points, Calico Jack. Our collective DEMAND for excellence just might help restore our COMMITMENT to excellence.

7:46 PM  
OpenID mike88p said...

come on. Its June brothers. We have some coaching consistency, we have retained our best talent, been smart in free agency, hired some high-risk high-return players (those who doubt - what were you saying about drafting Nnamdi in his first two seasons? huh?!) - your with us, or against us. This is the raiders, guys, if it isn't in your blood, go route for the steelers.

9:57 PM  
OpenID mike88p said...

NOW IS WHEN WE HAVE TO BELLIEVE

10:37 PM  
Anonymous Arkansan Raider said...

Roger that, Scorpio. Done that once or twice myself.

Guys, I'm with ya' on the high expectations. I always say Super Bowl bound at the beginning of the year.

I also take what victories come my way as the blessings they are.

As sucky as the last six years have been, I refuse to slide into pessimism. Life has taught me that you can't allow history to drag you down. You always expect the best, while preparing your contingency/insurance plan so that if the worst happens, you don't lose out.

In this case, I get excited about all of the promising developments, but I don't stake my entire outlook on life on how my team plays its season.

/soapbox

This is a good crew. You guys are real fans--who else would be here this far into the abyss?

//gallows humor

---Jeff

10:50 PM  
Blogger H said...

Scorpio,

Is that the 9mm or the .45?

Arkansas,

What you said.

Calico,

“RT's mindset of "Playoffs or Bust" cuts away all the fat (excuses, low standards, lack of accountability, enabling) right down to the bone.”

Isn’t that the mindset Cable has publicly stated? Isn’t that why after being at the helm a few weeks players started being benched in favor of those willing to do the job? Isn’t that why Hall and others were cut loose? Hasn’t Cable said this team can win now? Didn’t he state he believes this team CAN make the playoffs? Didn’t he publicly apologize to Raider Fans for the past six years when he had very little to do with it? And, didn’t he say he knew how to fix it?

That may be a record for me with consecutive questions; however, it would appear to me Coach Cable is in agreement with this take. He has made some bold statements concerning this team. He has also made some heavy demands on the team and some players – publicly.

NYRaider,

“Take, you're being awfully hard on the WRs aren't you? It's not like our leading WR had 22 rec, while no other WR exceeded 19 rec., or that our would-be #1 WR had only 15 rec.”

If you will remember, we basically had a revolving door at wide receiver, play caller and that little head coach thing. Most of Higgins’ and Schilens’ catches came in the last three games. Also, people seem to forget Zach Miller caught 56 passes. In the last two Super Bowl wins by this team our season leading receiver was a guy named Todd Christensen, so I have no problem with the tight end being the leading receiver. But, hell I keep forgetting that was over six years ago so it didn’t really happen. Do we need more production from the wideouts, absolutely. That will make Miller even more effective.

I realize taking a snapshot like the last three games and extrapolating it over a season doesn’t always work, but if you look the production of Miller, Higgins and Schilens in the last three games it works out to 159 catches for 2,347 yards. That doesn’t include the backs and other receives who will rotate in and out. If you compare that to Russell’s total for the season of 2,423 in 15 games there is definite reason for optimism.

Maybe I’m using rose colored glasses, but it beats running around with blinders on only seeing the negatives.

H

5:34 AM  
Blogger H said...

One more thing. The things I cited are by no means excuses. They happen to be facts. Not once did Cable or Russell cite any of them, but it is undeniable that they had a direct impact on the teams performance last season.

H

9:56 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Alas, the biggest impact on last season was our GM running with scissors in free agency and waiting for the start of the season to initiate the clearly inevitable firing of the head coach.

12:57 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Hands down, the bane of our existence last season. Clearly, the GM’s agenda early on was not about football. He left that to others who also were not interested in football, at least in the NFL.

As you can tell, I sour quickly whenever this topic is brought up. Unfortunately, it will (and should) continue to haunt us until clear change is complete. And I'm not talking about a couple wins late in the season. We can't even scratch our way out of a top ten draft seed.

6:59 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

H: I agree about Cable's actions and words being in-line with raised standards and expectations.

The essence of Cable's coaching philosophy is that he wants guys to play their guts and hearts out for each other which is centered on a total team first approach.

I'll drink to that. :D CJ

7:14 PM  
Blogger PantyRaider said...

"Raider Kool-Aid"...

Serve me up a double portion please as I have NO problem speaking "PO"s Baby...And we should expect it every new season regardless of what has happened durring the past few years as we have "HISTORY" on our side and that's a hell of a lot longer than the 6 piddly short seasons that we have spent down in that "Black Hole"....

Fact is that when we finaly get out of that dungeon we will just apreaciate the "V"s a whole hell of a lot more than had we never been down there...And it will be just that much sweeter to shove our "V"s down the throats of all those "Haters" in the end...As is written...

"The one who laughs last" and at last that will be the "Raider Nation" and the rest will just morn...

"Adventures In Paridise"....

Ya! Right!....Just a little up-date on the woes that seem to follow me around the world...

Veitnam sells a terible little toy that allows a crook to sprey you to sleep so he can rob you in your sleep...Wonderful...So that explains how we lost my wife's new 4 month old motorbike 3 nights ago...And this toy comes complete with a small light so you can make sure of where you aim it...

So it happened the second night in Kabrien...I locked up the motorbike under a bamboo hut and tied it off with rope and stuck several things into the spokes like a rake and poles and my little wife tied 2 ringing bells on to it...Buckets over the handle bars hung-up on the mirrors and such and than we proceeded to sleep above it on a bamboo floor only inches away and I'm a very light sleeper...Well at least I was...

The bastards come up close to the hut and sprey some chemical and than sprey it in a plastic bag so they can reach it in with a stick next to your nose to make sure your sleeping well...Than they just walk right in the hut and with a knife cut my booty-pack loose and now have my money and the keys...They carry the bike a short distance and unlock everything and make their escape...

There are dogs around who bark at everything but they carry some fresh meat wraped up in small plastic bags to give them and the dogs don't bark...I think they are made to sleep also after eating it...

Fortunatly I seperate my money...In my wallet was about $7 in Khmer Reil and in the pouch with our Pass-Ports about $105 in Reil...They saw this and were over joyed enough to leave the bag and go...Had they looked further I had 8,000 Thai Baht ($240) in one pouch and $350 in cash in another which they did not find...They wont take the Pass-Ports because that sparks a large investigation and they don't want to kill an American because they will be hunted forever...But this is far beyond any situation I want my young wife to be in...

So I count my total losses...$585 MotorBike -n- $112 in Khmer Reil...And count my blessings...My wife and her girlfriend are OK and I was not hurt...Just my pride as a fighter because I had NO opertunity to play some "Smash Mouth" Football with these punks...But that will happen later...

If they strike once they will strike again...So now I will return with another bike but now I understand the game...They wont like the way I play it...

To Be Continued...

PantyRaider....Angrey But Happy!!!/_

12:06 AM  
Anonymous Arkansan Raider said...

Stay safe, PR. Everything you lost can be replaced, including your pride, my brother.

---Jeff

8:37 AM  

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