Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Case for Hope

So what is my case for hope? I really don't know, I just liked the sound of it.

To be honest, I'm not very hopeful about this season. How could I be?

NY Raider pointed out this unfortunate little observation from the newspaper: "This offense is the NFL's worst in total offense, net passing yards, passing average per game, pass completions, pass completion percentage, passing touchdowns, overall first downs (tied with the 49ers), passing first downs, red-zone possessions, red-zone touchdowns and fumbles lost."

NY Raider added: "This 2009 team has a good chance to rank statistically as the worst offense (worse than B&B) and defense the Raiders have ever fielded. How is that even possible?"

How, indeed? I just don't foresee a quick turnaround at this point. So it's all about 2010 and beyond at this point.

Some folks get mad when I make negative observations about the Raiders. Well, give me positive information, and you'll get positive observations. Garbage in, garbage out, right?

At the same time, I'm getting tired of being the garbage man. I wish the Raiders would stop filling up the trash cans at a record rate. The repetitive nature of so many consecutive seasons is mind numbing.

I want to be hopeful. I want to be jacked up about my team, and to recapture that feeling of the Raiders being a force, not a farce.

I do not agree with those who want to run Al Davis out of the building. What I want is Al Davis to get the help he needs and deserves. Why he has been unwilling to do that, in the wake of so much failure, is beyond me. What will it take?

To say that Al Davis needs help is not disrespectful. All great leaders need help. The president has a vice president. Generals have lieutenant generals. CEOs have VPs. Where's the shame in that?

The hallmark of greatness isn't doing it yourself. The hallmark of greatness is getting it done. It's not about intentions, philosophies or anything else. It's about results. Just win, baby.

But we are not getting results under the current operative mindset (far, far from it). The operative mindset of the organization needs to be radically rebuilt before the team can be rebuilt. That much is obvious.

I've always said that we'll know when true change is afoot when you can see and taste the change. It won't be a tweak or an adjustment, a nudge or a nuance. It will be a fundamental shift that will be evident to all of us.

Dare I hope for something like this? It's the only case I can make at this point.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

One Postgame Take

Once upon a time, we were dazzled by the Mad Bomber, Daryle Lamonica.

Today, we are confounded by The F-Bomber, JaMarcus Russell, who produces little more than profanity from the mouths of the Raider Nation.

I'm not sure what to say tonight. This was the Raiders' worst home loss
ever in terms of points margin. It was the most sparsely attended Oakland Raiders home game since 1968, for good reason, apparently.

Sure, the offense stinks. But the defense didn't exactly step up, either. Allowing more than 300 rushing yards isn't acceptable under any circumstances, especially at home.

We now have just
one wide receiver with more than five catches total after seven games. It's mind boggling. Murphy, our only receiver to exceed more than five catches total after seven games (16 total), is on pace to lead our receivers with a total of 37 catches.

Benching Russell was the right thing to do. The wrong thing to do was to create a QB depth chart with absolutely no depth, leaving our hopes in the hands of Bruce Gradkowski.

We are now 31st in the NFL in total offensive points (62, just two points ahead of the Rams), and we are currently trailing our offensive points-per-game average of 2006.

What else can I say? How can we find ourselves in such a dismal state, still, after so many seasons?

For once, I am at a loss for words. Take it away, amigos...

Who Let The Dogs Out? (Jets Pregame)

Who let the dogs out? Prior to playing the Eagles last week, the Raiders blitzed less per defensive snap than any other team in the NFL.

Then, suddenly, they decided to bring it, blitzing like crazy, sacking Donovan McNabb six times and notching an improbable victory.

Afterward, Nnamdi Asomugha said that defensive coordinator John Marshall admitted he might get "yelled at" for employing such a defense, which tells you something, does it not?

With the the Jets and their rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez struggling lately, it seems to me that the Raiders should continue to mix things up and bring pressure when warranted.

Don't put the dogs back in the pen!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

One Postgame Take

Bravo! The Raiders delivered a stout defensive performance and won one for the home crowd. It was a true effort, one that turned the ugly tide of the previous three weeks.

Leading up to the game, Tom Cable and staff taped articles around the locker room quoting Antonio Pierce about the previous week's "scrimmage" against the Giants. The Raider Nation did essentially the same thing, rising up en masse to smite the malingerers.

Shame was the last resort of motivation for both Cable and the Raider Nation, and apparently it worked.

Now maybe we can get back to the business of exerting 100 percent effort to the final whistle, and to salvaging the remainder of the season.

This win reminds me of the startling defensive shutdown of the Steelers at home in 2006.

Let's hope the comparison to 2006 ends there, that lessons have been learned, and that momentum is, finally, on our side.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Eagles Pregame Take

Or is it a pre-scrimmage take? We shall soon see.

It's been interesting to listen to the Raider Nation over the past three weeks. I am now far, far from alone in believing that the threshold of unacceptability has been breached. Even the most loyal fans in the world have their limits, it appears.

Thus, we have our second consecutive blacked-out home game, as well as countless vows of abstinence with regards to merchandise and ticket purchasing until things change for real. That's what happens when you shamelessly produce a scrimmage-level effort while on the verge of extending the NFL record for consecutive seasons of futility.

Maximum effort from each player, for a mere 30 minutes of actual game play on each side of the ball, 16 times per year, for millions of dollars, is not too much to ask.

If things are going poorly, I want to see JaMarcus Russell huddling with his teammates and coaches on the sideline, trying to figure things out, and pumping each other up to go at and reclaim the momentum. If someone pulls another stupid foul or stunt, I want Cable in his grill. If the Eagles are picking us apart, I want to see some smart, swift adjustments.

In other words, I want to see some real fire and energy; not, in the words of Antonio Pierce, a "scrimmage," a bunch of inert jerseys, falling to the ground.

Speaking of smart, swift adjustments, I want to see them on the organizational level as well. I want to see true change that you can see and taste, as I've said before.

When I said these things last year, many people would respond, "Well, who the hell are you?" and "Your opinion has no leverage whatsoever."

Who the hell am I? Apparently, I am the Raider Nation, judging by what I'm hearing.

As for the Raider Nation's supposed lack of leverage, well, things are getting pretty interesting on that front, eh? The fans' subsidizing of serial mismanagement and reckless disorganization is no longer a given.

Which brings us to tomorrow's blacked-out game. Just win, baby? Let's start with maximum effort, baby, and see where that takes us.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

One Postgame Take

Earlier this week, someone who thought I was being too negative about the Raiders said, "What will you say if the Raiders beat the Giants?"

Well, that settles that.

The opposing coach removed his starting quarterback out of mercy, and CBS pulled the broadcast plug in favor of a Lions game. That's all you need to know about today's drubbing by the Giants.

The Clown Car is picking up speed, and now it's being chased by a Napa police car. The forecast for the remainder of the season is, to use a charitable word, grim. We have been outscored 96 to 16 over our past three games.

I hate what has happened, and is happening, to the Raiders. A little part of me is dying inside. I have been screaming for substantive and significant change, change that you can see and taste, but there's nothing I can actually do about it. The organization has to want change.

Until then, we are all left wanting.

P.S. I would be interested in everyone's thoughts on where do we go from here? Memdf said, "Now what?" That's a great question.

I think we know what the core problems are (at least most of us do, the rest are running away, plugging their ears). But how to go about solving them sooner rather than later?

Mid-season coaching change...again?

Bench Russell...and then what?

Hire a GM...when?


It's easy to say do this, or do that, but how do we do those things in the most efficient and effective manner possible, so that we don't end up on a 12-year plan to reaching the .500 mark?

Giants Game Thread

You play to win the game, not for "moral victories."

Beat the Giants, and please don't make me break out the Clown Car (again)!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

One Postgame Take

Ladies and gentleman, what we have here, just four games into the season, after setting an NFL record for consecutive years of 11 or more losses, is yet another dumpster fire.

When will it end?
Today’s first graders were tumbling out of the womb the last time we consistently played competent football. Two presidential elections have been held in the time it took Rich Gannon to go from team leader to banned in Alameda.

When I pointed out earlier this year that our head coaching “search” was a farce, that our resistance to hiring a general manager was reckless, that our draft was bungled and that our preseason was an exercise in bad mojo, I was pilloried here for being “negative.” In fact, people are still wagging their finger at me for being “negative.”

What some folks call “negative,” I call simple observation.
It's up to the Raiders, not me, to change the tone of the conversation. Don't like negative? Do something positive.

Today, we had a chance to prove that last week’s game was an aberration, not a sign. We had a chance to right the ship. Instead, we steered it straight into the iceberg. We couldn’t catch, we couldn’t tackle, and we couldn’t coach.

In the three drafts since the offensive debacle of 2006, we have chosen three offensive skill players in the first round. And yet, a quarter of the way through this season, against less-than-stellar competition, our offense is rivaling the incompetence of the 2006 model.

We have scored three offensive touchdowns in four games, which means we’re on pace for 12 total. Would you like your breakfast in bed?
We're serving the 2006 Special this morning.

Don’t look now, because here come the Giants, Eagles and Jets. This could get a lot uglier in a hurry.

But maybe I’m just being negative?

Texans Game Thread

Six words: Run the ball, stop the run!


Six words: Can't catch, can't tackle, can't coach.