Monday, December 27, 2010

One Postgame Take

I still can't decide if I'm disappointed or encouraged by our 2010 season. I imagine that our final game against the Chiefs will give me some clarity.

But whether it's one or the other, it beats the way the last several seasons have left me feeling, which is numb and bored. The return of competent, competitive football to Oakland is something to be celebrated.

But while I might crack a beer, I'm not ready to pop champagne corks. There was a moment in Sunday's telecast where they cut to Al Davis, who seemed to be sitting apart from his other suite mates, clad in an oversized Raiders jacket. He was muttering to himself, and while I'm no lip reader, it sure didn't look like PG-rated language to me.

If he's pissed, then I sympathize. Do you think he enjoys being three wins short of the Chiefs, who were 2-14 just two seasons ago? I've been called impatient. Well, I guess I have good company.

It's hard for me to be angry with Jason Campbell for an offense that is simply too inconsistent through the air. It's not like he's throwing to an all-star cast. Also, he has performed precisely as he has performed in the past. Pretty good, but nothing too great. To paraphrase Denny Green, "He is who we thought he is."

Meanwhile, McFadden gets 11 carries on Sunday, compared to 42 throws by Campbell. Our coaching staff seems to have schizophrenia when it comes to our "identity."

Here are some quotes from a few weeks ago, after beating the Chargers:

Cable: "Getting back to our identity. Getting back to what we do best, and that's play hard on defense, battle them in the kicking game and run the football.

Reece: "The game plan was just be us," fullback Marcel Reece said after the Raiders ran for 251 yards and allowed only 21 yards rushing. "Just be us. We're a physical, resilient, bloody-nose team. We're back and we're here to stay."

Gallery: "We had to get back to who we are, and that's physical and smash-mouth. We're not going to win games throwing the ball 40 times."

Is that what you saw on Sunday? Neither did I.

Meanwhile, on defense, the same old problem has reared its ugly head: not stopping the run. We are currently ranked 29th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed.

At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if the Raiders are 10-6 next season, or 6-10. There are enough bright spots to be bullish, yet enough nagging issues to be bearish.

One thing for sure, this isn't the same old Raiders of recent years, and that alone puts a smile on my face.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Colts Gameday Thread

Well, I was hoping for one last "do or die" game this season, but as of this writing, it looks like the Chiefs are going to reach the 10-win mark today.

Regardless, we have an opportunity here, and that is to end the season on a high note, with two consecutive wins and our first winning record in, well, way too long.

Eight wins was my bare minimum expectation at the start of the year. It will certainly be a relief to reach that mark, but a winning record would really set the tone for 2011. GO RAIDERS!

P.S. Sorry I've been a bit absent, it's just been one of those weeks.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Broncos Gameday Thread

Time to give Mr. Tebow a big welcome to Oakland. GO RAIDERS!

Monday, December 13, 2010

One Postgame Take

In a season of Jekyll & Hyde performances, this one was neither. Rather, it was a hybrid of our best and worst performances of 2010.

First off, let's just take a moment to applaud our offense. We are averaging 24 points per game so far this season. Last year, it was 12 points per game.

Here's the mathematical analysis: Hue Jackson - Tom Cable as OC + Jason Campbell - JaMarcus Russell + A Healthy, Purposeful DMac = Twice The Offensive Output.

Anyhow, right after the game ended, I was the first to ask: Why put Boller in the shotgun on third-and-three and then fourth-and-three and have him pass the ball on both downs at a crucial juncture in the game? So I'm not surprised to see that there's a bit of a controversy surrounding that decision, with reports that Cable was miffed at Jackson for the playcalling. Well, why shouldn't he be miffed?

Equally perplexing was the last play of the game, when Campbell threw the ball to Ford at the 22-yard line in the final seconds. WHAT IS THE POINT? Three weeks ago, the Jaguars won a game on a Hail Mary pass on this very same turf, showing yet again why you never give up, and why you alway put yourself in a position to win. Yet we're throwing the ball 20 yards short of the end zone with no time left? WHAT IS THE POINT? Why even take a snap if you're going to do that? Shouldn't the receivers be, I don't know, in the END ZONE with no time left? Why do I feel like I'm the only one OUTRAGED by this utter lack of competitive awareness? You fight tooth-and-nail for 59 minutes, then toss the ball for 16 yards when you need 39? As the kids are fond of texting these days: WTF? Indeed, WTF!!!!???

You can say all you want about how this game was lost on defense and special teams. I suppose it was. But we had ample opportunity to win this game, and we didn't. It was a classic case of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, and in the process we probably lost a winnable division race by the slimmist of margins. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Jaguars Gameday Thread

Well, every week I keep saying it: we're in do-or-die territory today.

The fact that I keep saying it is a testament to the grit of this team and its ability to somehow stay in contention despite its Jekyll-and-Hyde personality.

The Jags are due for a letdown, and it's the Raiders duty to deliver it today. GO RAIDERS!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Chargers Gameday Thread

I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that today's game is the most meaningful game the Raiders have played in more than seven years. For once, finally, we're still in contention for the divisional title in December.

We'll learn a lot about the Raiders today. This is a do-or-die game for the 2010 season. If we win, our chances to contend remain alive. If we lose, it's hard to see us gaining two or more games on the Chargers and Chiefs over the ensuing four weeks.

At the beginning of the season, many of us said that we were in "prove it" mode. Today is the day to prove it. GO RAIDERS!