Monday, August 31, 2009

Raiders Fan Reparation Plan

Well, the Raiders say they are “embarrassed” by Saturday’s “effort” while many fans are declaring this a “wake-up call.”

You'd think that the wake-up call might have been the Falcons game last year. Or the pathetic showing in 2007. Or the 2-14 record the year before that. Or recently setting the NFL record for most consecutive seasons of 11 or more losses. Or maybe the 275 rushing yards given up to the 49ers last week.

We've become the Rip Van Winkle of the NFL. Nothing wakes us up.

Now we have Greg Ellis calling out his comrades for partying instead of game planning. And no one is even pretending that Ellis is mistaken in his perception.

Credit JaMarcus Russell for admitting that Saturday’s performance was “disrespectful to our fans, ourselves and our family."

Then Cable said: "I am excited about the fact the we really show a lot of remorse."

Who said Raiders fans have nothing to be excited about?

And people wonder why I wasn't confident enough in this group to renew my season tickets this year? I can’t tell you how happy I am to not have subsidized the turd that was laid on Saturday.

Season ticket holders are required to buy tickets to the preseason games. They are thus owed, at the very least, a professional effort in the preseason as well as the regular season.

Therefore, I feel that all season ticket holders should be offered a full refund for Saturday’s “disrespectful” display of unprofessionalism.

Put your money where your remorse is, Raiders, and give back the money you essentially stole from your fans on Saturday.

They were sold tickets to a professional football game, and what they got was an abomination staged by a bunch of unprepared, hungover clowns. Reparations should be made accordingly, and immediately.

P.S. Follow Raider Take on Twitter.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Beatdown by New Orleans

After today's beatdown, Tom Cable said, "I'm embarrassed."

You know it's bad when you're embarrassed by a preseason effort, or lack thereof.

I'm sure I'll hear the all-too-familiar refrain: Don't worry, be happy. It's not that bad. It's not part of a trend, or indicative of a pattern. It's just preseason. Just because our defense has been awful for years, and just because it's been awful this preseason, doesn't mean anything.

We live in a world of dots, not to be connected. Or so I'm often told.

Well, sorry. I'm with our coach on this one. I'm embarrassed.

The question for the Raiders is: How many times can you be embarrassed before you no longer can legitimately claim to be embarrassed? It's becoming an empty word. It's practically becoming a slogan: Oakland Raiders, We're embarrassed.

So go ahead, try and convince me that there's nothing to worry about. Tell me why I shouldn't fear that our head coach might be in over his head, that our defense isn't just more of the same old cirque du soleil (clowns flying around, hitting nothing), and that our offense isn't suffering from arrested development.

It'll all be fine come September.


Monday, August 17, 2009

The Cable Incident

I was initially amused by the reports of the Raiders players rallying around Tom Cable, chanting rather creatively "Cable Bumaye!" in support of their coach after it was reported that Cable had been in an altercation with an assistant.

I liked the fact that the players were circling the wagons and exuding a sense of spontaneous team unity. I created a shirt commemorating their chant.

However, my friend Calico Jack has opened my eyes to a different perspective on the matter, as detailed in the following comments. I don't want to contribute to anything that is perceived as condoning off-field violence or mocking a victim of it. That was not my intention. Therefore, I have removed the shirt.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Hopefully, it was just a brief skirmish in the heat of the moment, one that can serve as a positive rallying point for the team. The concern is that it was a detrimental lapse in professional judgement, and that there is a mean-spirited undercurrent running through the situation.

I'll wait for more details to emerge before having a true take on the situation.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Give Al Davis His Due

A lot of folks get upset with me for criticizing Al Davis as the man most responsible for the state of the Raiders over the past several years. These folks prefer to point fingers elsewhere.

Well, the problem with failing to apply most of the blame to Mr. Davis is that it also robs him of what he most deserves: the credit.

After all, if the Raiders get on a hot streak and make the playoffs this year—which I think is possible, especially given the state of the AFC West, where eight victories won the division last year—who should get the most credit? Our general manager? Oops, we don’t have one. Tom Cable? Sure, he’ll get some of the credit, but not nearly as much as the man who had the vision to tap him for the head coaching job.

See how this works?

People forget that I’ve been an ardent defender of Mr. Davis against those who would say that our success earlier this decade was all the work of Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen. It was all Gruden’s work? Are you kidding me? First off, Mr. Davis is the one who had the vision to tap Gruden. Also, don’t tell me Mr. Davis didn’t have a firm hand in our free agent signings and draft picks during that era. He always has, and he always will.

I’ve always said that you can’t blame Mr. Davis for the bad times without giving him the credit for the good times. But if I’m being intellectually honest, then the inverse is also true.

More than any other owner, Mr. Davis’s hand is on our results, both good and bad. The problem is that the results have been mostly bad lately, and the blame must be assessed accordingly. I suspect he would agree with me.

I had to laugh when I criticized Mr. Davis for our dreadful free agent activity in 2008 (during which we threw bags of gold at DeAngelo Hall and Javon Walker, among others), and folks actually wanted to blame Lane Kiffin for those signings. Say what? You mean you let that punk—whom you already distrusted, whom you knew didn’t have the organization’s best interests at heart—write blank checks in free agency? Geez, that would be even worse and more blameworthy than writing the checks yourself.

The same goes for the hot topic of just how much influence Mr. Davis wields over our defensive schemes. It’s the subject of much debate and speculation here at Raider Take, with some suggesting that he's not culpable in what transpired on our defense in recent years. Yet Jay Richardson the other day called it the “Al Davis defense,” apparently without a hint of sarcasm.

Well, what’s so wrong with that? I’d rather it be Mr. Davis’s defense that failed over the past several years than the alternative—which would be that he was just idly letting Rob Ryan run with scissors year after year. Better to try and fail than to be blind and absent.

The upside of all of this is that when our fortunes take a turn for the better, Mr. Davis will be the biggest beneficiary of the accolades to follow. Now wouldn’t that be cool? At his age, to show that he’s still got it, and to poke a sharp stick in the eye of his jealous haters? I can’t wait, and I’ll bet he can’t, either. I hope it happens as early as this December.

The bottom line: Let’s be intellectually honest now, so that when the time comes, we can legitimately give Mr. Davis what he will amply deserve: the credit.