Sunday, September 27, 2009

Broncos Postgame Take

Well, that was just unacceptable, plain and simple. What do you want me to say? I could point out the obvious, but why bother? Russell, two picks and 61 yards total? Zero catches for Heyward-Bey? More than 200 rushing yards given up to the crappy Broncos on our home turf?

Well, at least we vanquished our real enemy today: Rich Gannon.

In my pregame take, I wrote: "It's only week three, but I believe that this game will tell us a lot about where this team is headed."

Unfortunately, I think I might be right, but not in the way I wanted to be.

This Rich Gannon business is regrettable. Today’s game is blacked out, the Broncos are in town, we are trying to establish a new regime and leave the years of epic failure behind...and our executives are worried about what a television commentator is saying? Don’t we have bigger fish to fry? It’s weird, and it’s belligerent.

We nearly failed to sell out the opener against a division rival, and now we have a blackout, against another division rival, no less? Wow. Sure, the economy is bad. But it’s bad everywhere, and only the Lions and Raiders games are being blacked out today. The Lions have lost 20 straight games, so that explains that. But the Raiders? It must be the marketing chicken coming home to roost.

For example, the Raiders made little effort to get me to renew my season ticket package this year. Their communication was essentially limited to threats about my seats being in "high demand," and that I would lose them. It was no carrot and all stick.

Suddenly, they’re tossing carrots all over the place, with discounts and coupons for everyone, and the Coliseum still isn't sold out. I’ve been saying for a long time that the Raiders will eventually pay for their poor marketing, and the bill has now come due. It's really sad if you can't figure out a way to get the NFL's most passionate and loyal fan base to sell out your stadium in week three against a division rival after a win on the road.

Well, onward and upward, the stadium might not be full, but I am confident that it will be loud, because I expect the Raiders to put the hurt on Donkeys. Won't that be fun?

This is nitpicking, but on our last scoring drive in Kansas City, with timeouts in our pocket, in the red zone, with over a minute left, we snapped the ball with 19 seconds left on the play clock. We scored quickly thereafter, giving the Chiefs plenty of time to mount a final scoring drive. That type of clock mismanagement will bite us in the ass if we’re not careful.

It's only week three, but I believe that this game will tell us a lot about where this team is headed. I am encouraged by what I've seen during the past two weeks. There's a fresh sense of toughness on defense, and if our offense can find a way to start clicking, I think we could make a run for the division title.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Chiefs Game Thread

Despite some immature play in our passing game last week, I believe that coaching, more than anything else, let us down and cost us a victory.

The Chargers play the Ravens this week, and we missed a marvelous opportunity to possibly put them in an 0-2 hole while positioning ourselves for early command of the division.

On Monday, our coaches abandoned two things that were clearly working for us: an aggressive defensive scheme and a rowdy rushing attack.

Our running backs rushed the ball 21 times in the first half for an average of 4.9 yards per carry. Yet in the second half, we gave our running backs just eight carries while JaMarcus Russell was tossing fluttering pigeons all over the field.

I don't need to mention what happened to our defense. All I'll say is that we inexplicably went soft on the final drive with predictable results.

Today, we just need to turn up the heat, and keep it up. Run the ball. If it doesn't yield big results early on, keep at it. If we give Bush and McFadden time and opportunity, they are bound to reward us.

As for the defense, they don't need to do anything different except not get cute at the end of a close game.

Oh, yeah, one other thing. The joint is going to be loud. Watch the false starts and stupid penalties. They always seem to happen at Arrowhead. But not today, right?

Last Monday was a beacon of hope. Now it's time to light the bonfire.


Monday, September 14, 2009

One Postgame Take

When I was growing up as a Raiders fan, being pleased after a loss was unthinkable. However...Everything in context. Which is why, tonight, I have smile on my face.

The toughness and energy displayed tonight felt like fresh blood in the veins. I'd almost forgotten the feeling. Wow! Seymour, Bush, McFadden, Murphy, the offensive line...If Russell could have hit the broad side of a barn on half of his throws, and if the officials had not continued to perpetuate the biggest conspiracy this side of Roswell, the game would have been ours.

Sure, our defense broke down in the waning minutes (surprise!). But this was still a game to hang a hat on. This was a game that made the ESPN announcers nervous, their voices quivering as they tried to comprehend and cope with the reality of the Raiders smashing the mouths of their darling Chargers. This was a game played with vigor and intensity, focus and purpose. This was competitive football. In Oakland. In prime time. Long time coming.

This was ultimately game upon which hope can be built, and upon which momentum can be established. Don't hang your heads, Raiders. Job well done. Just make sure you close the deal next time.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Time to Restore Order

The San Diego Chargers are the most overrated team in the NFL. They went 8-8 last year in a weak division, yet everyone talks about them with hushed reverence. Show me another 8-8 team that gets to strut around as if they laid the golden egg, and as if they've already won their division before a single ball has been snapped.

As much as I've scratched my head about the Raiders lately, I am hopeful that they can pop the air out of San Diego's over-inflated balloon on Monday night, sending both teams on opposite trajectories.

We have the opportunity to break two mind-boggling streaks in one fell swoop: 11 straight losses to the Chargers and 10 straight losses on prime time television. If our time is not now, then when is it?

The key to the game is so obvious it's almost insulting to mention it: stop the run. On that front, Richard Seymour gives hope where there was precious little just seven days ago.

The Broncos just beat the Bengals on a fluke play at the end of the game. The Chiefs nearly beat the Ravens. Crazy stuff is already happening in our division.

It's time to crazy it up even more. It's time to shut L.T. down, and to shut 'Lil Phil's trap. It's time to paint another pained grimace on Norv Turner's face. It's time for the return of true Raiders football, and for order to be rearranged and restored in the AFC West.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Time to Grill The SeaChickens

Okay, no real take here, except that I hope we leave the clown car in the garage and play some real football.

Also, with this thread, I hope to clear out some of the noxious air that blew into the comments section of the previous take.

We can always agree to disagree. Vociferous debate is the lifeblood of this site. So have a take, and defend your take, but please keep it classy and avoid the personal stuff. I'm not going to let this site become another run-of-the-mill forum full of unproductive finger pointing.

We are all Raiders fans. At the end of the day, we are a team, and we stick together. It's the other teams that we need to start beating.