Monday, October 24, 2011

One Postgame Take

Before the game, I wondered: Boller or Palmer? After the game, I had my answer: Take your pick.

I guess this is why Palmer didn't start the game. He just wasn't ready. Then again, you have to ask why the guy we did start, our #2 quarterback (!), was equally unready.

A lot is being made of our key injuries as being instrumental in the loss. Sure, they might have been instrumental, but they didn't tell the whole story. Missing Janikowski was largely irrelevant to the storyline of this game. Losing McFadden was bad, but it's not like Bush, Jones and Company are slouches. There's no way your quarterbacks, under any circumstances, should toss six picks, including two pick sixes. Our offensive line looked squishy at times, and the playcalling verged on gimmicky.

Getting shut out by the Chiefs at home is humiliating, under any circumstances. There's no reason this team should be imitating the Art Shell II era.

Part of being a winning NFL organization is managing your depth chart and overcoming adversity. It's safe to say we have work to do on both fronts.

Let's just hope this is a blip on the radar, not a sign of things to come.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Chiefs Gameday Thread

Boller or Palmer? We shall see. It's never boring around here, that's for sure. And now that the Jets are coming back against the Chargers, we find ourselves in a great position to possibly take the lead in the AFC West. GO RAIDERS!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Carson Palmer: Foolhardy or Fateful?

Welcome Carson Palmer to the helm of the Raiders offense, hopefully for several plentiful years to come.

I feel like I should be disturbed by this trade. By the questions surrounding Palmer's checkered health history and potentially diminished abilities. By Palmer's age and questionable longevity. By the fact that he put himself on ice rather than report to the Bengals, who've been doing just fine without him. And most of all, by the high cost of making this panic move.

Now, calling it a panic move doesn't mean it's a bad move. But when you wake up on Monday morning and Kyle Boller is your quarterback, let's face it, that's what you do. You panic. Also, the guy on the other end of the negotiating table knows that Kyle Boller is your quarterback, and so you come to that table with minimal leverage, and you end up paying for it.

It probably shouldn't have come to this, but it did. Jason Campbell isn't exactly Iron Man, and a cursory glance at the depth chart would have told you that we were playing with fire. And when Campbell's collarbone got cracked, the flames began to crackle.

So here we are, and while I feel I should be disturbed...For some reason, I'm not. There's something that feels right about this, and I can't put my finger on it, and I could be flat wrong.

But an elite quarterback has been our missing link for so long, and there's a sense that Palmer still might have a bit of elite left in him.

It could be wishful thinking, but there's a sense of fate surrounding this move, too. Think about it. Our only viable starting quarterback goes down for essentially the season, and the best guy available just happens to be someone who enjoys a positive history with our head coach, a head coach who is leading the team to the next level and carrying the Commitment to Excellence torch for the recently departed Al Davis.

Carson Palmer had better be in it to win it. If he's not, then we're screwed. But if he out. Here come THE RAIDERS!

P.S. It's never boring in the Raider Nation, eh? This season is already epic, and we're only six games into it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Postgame (Non) Take

Okay, I didn't see the game. Wish I had, but I was on the road, and haven't yet had the chance to view my recording. But I've read the reports, and what a bittersweet win it was.

On the one hand, it was a fate-driven victory for Al Davis and the Raider Nation, one that put the Raiders squarely in the playoff hunt. On the other hand, Shane Lechler can't be our full-time QB, can he?

We saw this coming, didn't we? Here's what I said just a few months ago:

"Another elephant in the room now that the lockout has been lifted is our lack at depth at the most important position in the game: quarterback. It's Jason Campbell, and then a drop off the cliff. And there are some who would argue that Campbell himself isn't that far from the cliff."

AND: "Replacing Bruce Gradkowski (whom some would argue was our best quarterback in years) with Trent Edward as our backup QB is a step backwards."

AND: "I'm not particularly sold on Vince Young, but I will say that if the Raiders don't do anything about the weak depth chart at QB, it's going to bite us in the ass in 2011. Mark my words. I can see it from a mile away. Can the Raiders?

Whom would you rather have at QB next Sunday: Gradkowski, Boller, Pryor or...My vote is for Gradkowski. So why is he backing up a rookie in Cincy instead of backing up Jason Campbell in Oakland?

I hope I was wrong about our (lack of) QB depth biting us in the ass. The Raiders are poised to make a significant step to the next level. I guess it's time for Kyle Boller to make it happen.

Consider me cautiously optimistic.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Raiders v. Browns Gamedeay Thread

Today's game is an opportunity to position the Raiders squarely in the playoff hunt, and to make Mr. Davis and the Raider Nation proud. Go out and JUST WIN, BABY!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Mark Davis: Badass

You know what I like most of what I've heard from Mark Davis? Nothing.

That is, I like that I've heard nothing from Mark Davis. Well played, Mark Davis. Well played.

This isn't some guy who was born on third base and, at the first chance, is going to strut to the podium like he just hit a triple. Google "said Mark Davis" and you come up empty. The dude lives in the shadows. Sound familiar?

Certainly, his father cast an intimidating shadow.
But with every day that goes by without a peep from Mark Davis, it seems that intimidation isn't what has kept him silent for so long. His silence is being revealed as something more noble.

In his own way, Mark Davis is adding a new chapter to the classic Raiders mystique. According to this column by Scott Ostler, Mark Davis is, in many ways, the polar opposite of his father: laid back, easygoing, not quick to hold grudges. And yet here we are, guessing about his next move, and wondering about how involved he is, and trying to figure out what he is thinking...Just like we were with Al Davis.

In this era of nonstop noise and glory seeking, it's downright refreshing to know so little about Mark Davis.

In the best-case scenario, Mark Davis keeps the team in Oakland, understands his strengths and limitations, delegates appropriately, and leads the Raiders in a modernized direction that nevertheless maintains the Raiders' organizational spirit and cultural legacy. It can be done. It can be done.

Of course, when the only thing on your resume as operating owner is a stirring last-minute victory that honors your Hall of Fame father, you're going to look golden.

Technically, Mark Davis hasn't done anything yet to advance the organizational ball downfield, at least as far as we know.

But then again, what do we really know? And that, my friends, is my point. Mark Davis, like his father, but in a different way, is a badass. His competence has yet to be determined, but his silence bodes well.

We've lost Al Davis, but so far, the ownership mystique is alive and well.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

A Win for Mr. Davis

I'm going to make this quick, because you all saw it, and words pale to the raw emotions of this victory...

1. Wow, what a scene with Hue Jackson at the end, kneeling on the turf, weeping in remembrance of his boss and mentor. Dude's a true Raider, through and through. Mr. Davis, you picked a winner.

2. Gotta love the trio of Raiders crashing down on Schaub late in the quarter to force a field goal, and Tommy Kelly busting a vicious face mask hold to drop the hammer on Schaub in the next series.

3. Game ball to the entire team. It wasn't always pretty, but the entire team got the job done, and won a tough game on the road against a formidable foe. The arrow is pointing up.

4. Awesome "Al" shield stickers and patches on the helmets and jackets. A fitting tribute, in true Raider fashion.

5. The team did Mr. Davis, and the Davis family, proud today. Folks, we have a football team that is heading to the next level. It may still take some time, but it's coming. Here come the Raiders. HERE COME THE RAIDERS!!!

Texams Midgame Thread

This game is within reach. Momentum is shifting. Go Raiders!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

A Legend Passes, A Legacy Remains

Al Davis has passed away, but his legacy burns brightly.

Words otherwise fail me at the moment. So I will simply give thanks.

I give thanks to Al Davis for creating a remarkable team culture around which my family could rally and bond over the years and decades. For helping forge the NFL as we know it today. For assembling some of the most colorful winners in the history of sports. For being the touchstone of the Raider Nation. And for once again putting the Raiders back on the path to excellence.

They say that the Autumn Wind is a Raider. On this October morning, it blows strongly with reverence and remembrance.


To the 2011 Oakland Raiders (players and coaches), October 8, 2011


Perhaps the greatest NFL name in the history of the sport died today. Modern football is nearly the pure creation of Al Davis’ mind and will. As of today, your names will forever be linked with his. No matter your youth, you are the end of an era, the end of multiple generations. No season in Raider history will be remembered more than this one.

I believe no Raider team since before the team returned from Los Angeles had more Al Davis fingerprints than this one. Since Al Davis was the individual personification of the Oakland Raiders, this season, more than any other will serve to vindicate the legacy that Raider football is winning football.

Al Davis believed in all of you and knew that you were capable of far more than you’ve accomplished. He was so certain of it that he fired Tom Cable for not getting you to the playoffs. It is time to fully commit to Raider football and to believe in Al Davis.

Remember that brilliance is born of opportunity. Opportunity comes from being in the right place at the right time. You find yourself in the right place at the right time when you know, perfect, and complete your assignments. There isn’t a man on the team who is incapable of delivering at least that much, but from that much, more will follow.

Your duty is clear, and the duty of Oakland Raider fans is clear. For you, “just win, Baby!” And no more needs to be said. For us, we’ll stand beside you every step of the way.


Sunday, October 02, 2011

On The Brink: Patriots Gameday Thread

Well, here we are...on the brink of a new era.

Indeed, if we win today, I think it would be safe to declare that a new era is finally up on us. To beat a formidable foe for a second straight week to reach 3-1 would signify a radical departure from previous years.

If we lose, and go to .500, then it won't be the end of the world, and the team will still be better than it has been, but you'll have to wonder if the Raiders are truly ready to make the leap to a serious playoff contender.

We shall see very soon. GO RAIDERS!