In addition to God and Country, and those who defend it, I am thankful today for Bruce Gradkowski, a.k.a. The Gritmeister.
The Gritmeister rode the pine, biding his time, never faltering in his practice or preparation, despite the team's increasingly puzzling commitment to starting JaMarcus Russell.
And when Gradkowski's moment came, he nearly engineered a game-winning drive against the Chiefs, only to be undone by DHB launching himself into the ball and bobbling it with his hands of cement.
A week later, The Gritmeister (a.k.a. Dr. Evil, according to Moshbucket), got a second chance to deliver a game-tying drive, and he delivered yet again. This time, we caught the ball. One start, one win. Awesome.
So for now, today, he is our savior. Some are comparing him to Jeff Garcia, others to Gannon and Plunkett: a gritty gamer who seizes his second (or third or fourth) chance and proves everyone wrong.
Never mind that we drafted DHB precisely so that our QB could launch 50-yard bazooka bombs or at least regularly threaten to do so. Our future will be built on the back of The Gritmeister, the second coming of Rich Gannon (and not Donald Hollas).
I'm not totally sold, to be honest. But I am impressed. Gradkowski seems really sharp, and he has already delivered considerable excitement as well as one victory.
So all hail The Gritmeister, may he feast on the Cowboys and make me a true believer.
Well, the hour is nigh, and the Gradkowski era is upon us. One thing is for sure: it cannot be any worse than the Russell era, right?
Of course, I thought nothing could be worse than our 2006 offense, and now look at us.
I honestly think Gradkowski will be a shot in the arm. I'm not saying he's our quarterback of the future, but I think he gives us the best chance to win right now. It's a tall order against the new Bengals, but the Eagles were a tall order, too.
Well, after canceling my season ticket package in a stroke of genius earlier this year, I waited until mid November to dip my toe back into the Coliseum waters.
I arrived at the tailgate full of optimism. After all, we were entering the second half of the season, and some of our players were even talking about the possibility of going 8-0 for the remainder! If we could "just get back to basics" and "turn the corner" and "learn to execute," we would be supermen once again. Plus, we were playing the lowly Chiefs at home! Honestly, what could go wrong?
Well, that'll teach me.
Pathetic would be too generous of a word for what I witnessed. I would rather wash my eyeballs out with Comet than watch that game again. Forget about Commitment to Excellence. Our new slogan should be: A Cure for Insomnia.
Let me tell you: JaMarcus Russell is a bust. Sorry, I've been hedging on this, but now I am certain. I just don't see any potential there. It's one thing to be a young quarterback who struggles. It's another to be a young quarterback who struggles while showing no evidence of potential.
What do you build on with this guy? Accuracy? Acumen? Work ethic? Physical fitness?
Cable said he pulled Russell after two straight plays in which Russell "misread" the situation. Cable also said it was a matter of making a personnel decision that puts us in the best position to win the game.
Which explains why Darrius Heyward-Bey played on 54 of our 63 offensive snaps, right? I mean, there's a merit-based starter if I ever saw one.
The tailgate was a bit eerie. The energy has been sucked out of the Nation. Gone was the thumping music and riotous revelry of tailgates past. Don't get me wrong, it was still a blast, and I can't blame the Nation for having the wind knocked out of it. Still, it was eerie to experience such a subdued scene on the Coliseum asphalt.
The stadium was riddled with empty seats. At one point, things got so quiet, you could practically hear the traffic on 880. Still, the small crowd turned it on several times, showing that there's still a deep well of piss and vinegar that could easily be tapped with some competent football performances.
Anyhow, kudos to the jolly old popcorn vendor in the north end zone, who elicited some of the biggest cheers and smiles of the day with his impromptu dance moves.
Give that guy some pads and a helmet. He has good footwork, and I'd bet he could teach our team of "professionals" a few things, such as how to catch a football.
Will the Raiders leave Oakland again in search of greener grass (and more greenbacks)?
The rumblings of this rumor are getting louder with the upcoming demise of the Coliseum lease combined with the recent lack of sellouts.
I don't believe it, but stranger things have happened, such as the first move to Los Angeles and losing our past 13 games against the Chargers.
Anyhow, this rumor has given rise to a peculiar perspective that has been voiced in the comments section here at Raider Take. Essentially, some folks are saying, "If you don't put your butt in the seats, you'll all get what you deserve if the Raiders hit the road."
I'm not buying the "You MUST spend your hard-earned cash on awful football performances in PERPETUITY or ELSE the Raiders will move" reasoning, as if it's all on the fans to keep the team in Oakland, and as if the Raiders have no responsibility in matters of marketing or performance.
If the most loyal and ardent fan base in the NFL is no longer showing up to your games, then it's time to look in the mirror, not call the moving trucks. Hopefully, the OAKLAND Raiders realize this.
The Raider Nation doesn't deserve a move of the Raiders. The Raider Nation deserves a competent football product. The Raider Nation has done its part, but is losing patience, and rightfully so.
It's up to the OAKLAND Raiders to do something about, not vice versa.