Friday, August 23, 2013

The Question of Progress

There's an interesting debate brewing here at Raider Take about accountability and progress as it relates to the new regime of Reggie McKenzie, Dennis Allen and, by extension, Mark Davis.

Let's start here: This is a team that managed to eke out two consecutive 8-8 seasons under the "leadership" of Tom Cable and Hue Jackson, all amid an era of organizational chaos. 

Of course, those seasons followed an epic run of sustained failure, and after throwing so much good money after bad on the draft and free agency, maybe it was just a matter of the blind squirrel eventually finding the nut. For example, acquiring Carson Palmer mid-season may have been vital to reaching 8-8 in 2011, but it also screwed us in future drafts and was ultimately a bad move. 

By the time Reggie arrived, we were in the first circle of salary cap hell, our draft slots plundered, and our roster bloated with overpaid (and often underperforming) veterans.

So it was understandable that we may have needed to take one step back to take two steps forward. Last year was obviously a step back in the win-loss column.

The question is: when should we expect (or in Mark Davis's case, demand) to see a firm forward step or two? 

What is the line between acceptable and unacceptable this year? Five wins? Seven wins? 

At some point, tangible progress must be evident, no matter what hand you were dealt at the beginning of the process. I know things were bad. But I also know that they've got to get good at some point, or heads will eventually roll. See: Mark Davis circa last year: "I want to see progress. I don't want to see regression."

I would say that if anyone's seat is heating up, it's Dennis Allen's. We've had a tough injury right off the bat. Our quarterback situation is unsettled thanks to the Carson Palmer fiasco that was inherited. Talent and depth are thin at many positions.

So excuses abound. But progress nonetheless must transpire, and it starts at the coaching level. This is the NFL. There has to be a way, and our guys need to find it.


Anonymous JONES said...

The task is HUGE. Mr.Davis was still writing everything down, computers were not used. Talent was slim and the attitudes were pathetic. The Org truly was in the 'dark ages'.

Those still crying about Hue, why is it, no Raider fans can remember Hue saying in his last Press Conference that he wanted to make changes because the players weren't good enough? Who remembers that? Why do Raider fans still say that "they were building a bully"? No they weren't, they got 8 wins by Cable and 8 by Hue and that was the PEAK. They weren't close, they played in a shit division and if it was a tough division, that team would not have gone 8-8.

Now it has to be redone, and to start off the new regime had to have a draft that didn't start till the 4th RD. This yrs draft can't be expected to lift this team to bigger heights. Also, they are hit with over 40 MILLION in dead money, so how can the roster be upgraded to the standard needed?

The Vets are going to have to take this team by the horns, if they still have it in them, if this team is going to do anything this yr.

I'm hoping for the best, but this isn't a quick fix. Next year they have the cap space to fill spots, some draft picks to build on and more stability. Really, looking at the mess that was, what could we really expect? I believe in Reggie and I believe the job will get done, just stay the course and move forward.


11:54 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

My benchmark will be a min. of 8 wins in 2014. This year my expectations are sadly very low in terms of wins.

My hope is that a core group of guys prove themselves this year to bring forward into 2014 AND we add significant talent in the draft and free agency concentrating on the lines.

I believe DA and Reggie deserve to show their worth through next season before a decision is made to turn the cart upside down again and start over. Again.

3:03 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

I don't know. I think there has to be some benchmark, at least for our head coach. How far does the "pass" extend? Four wins? Three? Two? I mean, at some point you reach the point of no return. If we go 4-12 again, will you still be convinced we have the right head coach at the helm?

7:07 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Turns out Lane Kiffin was right... Raiders needed to "blow up the whole building." The problem is it takes time to rebuild. I don't really have a magic number for wins, particularly now that we've lost, IMO, the most important player on our roster in Veldheer.

Normally, MVP might fall to the QB but the Raiders are very uncertain at the position this year, which might further compromise the W-L situation.

My 2013 expectation is tangible improvement in playcalling and execution, i.e., from last year (which shouldn't be much of a reach) and as the season progresses. This falls heavily on coaching.

7:10 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Bad first series. Bears stack everybody in the box on 2nd and short and the Raiders run awayway. Good teams adjust to that. Then on 3rd down Flynn dumps off too soon, right when a TE came wide open. 4th down and Raiders punt.

7:17 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

I don't see how Cribbs can make the roster. He has no explosion, and he muffed then fumbled in his first two KO returns. We have to have a better option.

7:23 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Flynn looks horrible 2nd week in a row... despite slightly better pass protection.

Hayden and now Ford best plays so far.

7:31 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

...starting to get flashbacks. Does the clown car apply in preseason?

7:42 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

NFL Network commentator on tonight's game so far: "The Raiders look like a team in disarray...not on the same page."

I don't know if that's a fact, but he's right, that's what they look like right now.

8:07 PM  
Anonymous JONES said...

Yeah, it's ugly, just hope the game planning and play calling will be different when the real games begin.

DJ Hayden is already the best Corner on the team. The guy is glue.

D-line looks bad, no time on the field though. Houston is getting burned on the run as is Burnett.

Can Jacoby Ford stay healthy? Where is McFaden?


8:15 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

No clown car in the preseason, but I might have to blow up some animal balloons if this keeps up...

8:32 PM  
Anonymous JONES said...

Looks like Pryor is the #1 QB, Flynn looks like a backup, just his demeanor on and off the field. Add in that he provides no spark...if the Raiders could play like they do as these game progress, at the start of games...they wouldn't look so bad. D-line gets more work, O-line gets more work...there is a chance that they can still be respectable. Streater took a shot, looks like he may be out for a while...injuries are really crippling this team AGAIN.


9:12 PM  
Anonymous JONES said...

Take asks "how long does the past extend"?

Until the effects of it are gone, still in cap hell, still was very short on depth and starters. Looks to be getting remedied, depth is better than it has been and the 1st RD pick looks like a keeper to me. It's coming, you can see it, it's rough around the edges but you can see a team forming, need more playmakers though and more leaders.


10:01 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

I'm just saying that there's got to be some sort of measuring stick for DA and company. There has to be some sense of impact and progress, right?

The Pryor/Flynn choice is a good example. So is the DJ Hayden pick. The right decisions need to be made. I don't know what those are. Such decisions are above my paygrade. But they need to be right. That's what our staff and management are paid for...They may not have a lot to work with, but they need to get what they have right.

If they do that, we should see impact and progress. If not...

10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I like how you are not sugar coating it.

Maybe the team was a mess but I am sorry there is not a job in the world were you get three years to make progress as CJ suggests.

McKenzie in his constant complaining to the media has basically created a reality among some of the fan base (most people commenting here) that he is doing a good job. I am sorry McKenzie needs to take some responsibility and stop blaming the Great Late Al Davis.

You have to make progress regardless of the situation. Lets face facts Reggie has not improved the team at all as of today. Look at his draft picks Bergstrom not starting, Burriss injured but was not going to start, Briesel crap. Matt Flynn lol.

In fact I feel more sympathy for Allen though he seems way too green he truly does not have any weapons. At least Al's last pick (Pryor) looks good.

Hey its pro sports its big business you don't get multiple years to make progress. As Take points out the team was screwed during the Cable and Hue Jackson years and they eked out 8-8.

Lets be honest the Raiders are in a deplorable state its the worst talent base in their history, the stadium is the worst in the NFL, the team is broke. We are not cleaning up we are going backwards. Can you even say that Reggie or Allen are providing some charismatic leadership and reinvigorating the team. It does not seem so.

Thanks Raider Take love the blog and love that you call it like it is

5:44 AM  
Blogger nyraider said...

IMO, Flynn is the 3rd best QB on the team. This might end up being one of the decisions by management that doesn't pan out.

Flynn doesn't see the field well, and he is quick to dump off short regardless of the pressure.

Pryor adds escape-ability and doesn't stop looking at options until the play is over.

Given the status of the O-line, Pryor is my clear choice to start the season. His backup, as of right now, IMO, is McGloin.

1st team D got torched. The Bears owned the edges and, once again, there was no pass rush.. Michael Bush has to be patting himself on the back for leaving.

Going into the season, I’d like to believe with Pryor, Ford, Moore, McFadden, Reece and some of the new talent on offense, the Raiders could find and exploit some mismatches.

6:03 AM  
Blogger nyraider said...

McKenzie simply had too much to overcome to be judged so quickly. IMO, any GM would need a couple years with full compliment of draft picks and salary cap. The Raiders have had neither to offer him.

On the other hand, games will reveal if the coaching is bad, as it did last year. These are mostly McKenzie's and Allen's players.

6:18 AM  
Anonymous JONES said...

Any other job does not give you what McKenzie has had to deal with. He has to rebuild just about the whole Org, that won't happen in a year or 2 when the Org was at rock bottom.

No assets, cap hell and a structure that was from the dark ages. McKenzie took it over half way through an offseason and had to get a whole new coaching staff to boot.

I think last year they just wanted to see what they had. By all the purging, you can see there wasn't much there. So how can ANYONE rebuild a team with no talent, no cap room, in 2 years? = impossible.

Progress has been made, stability is returning, the F.O. is now ready for this Century. Wait till the real games begin to see if there is progress on the field. Using preseason games to judge it, is not frugal IMO.


9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two part take - sorry, it won’t let me post it as 1.

Part 1 - I agree with the sentiment of the anonymous poster that says no job in the world allows you three years. I also feel the teeth of the argument that Jones, CJ, NYR and others offer in varying degrees regarding cap space, draft picks, etc. So all we have left to do is judge based largely on the staff hirings (coaches and scouts) along with signings and draft picks. So to RT's point, what is the appropriate timeline? CJ offers 3 years. It is reasonable to accept that last year should be a complete wash. Ok, but given that we are now starting year 2 of this process, how this is starting to pan out this year seems like we are setting a relatively low benchmark.

The major positive I see is that McKenzie has addressed the salary cap issue. Next year offers new hope in FA possibilities. Wish he had dealt more aggressively last year with pieces like Seymour but given I am not versed in their contracts, I accept whatever their reasoning was and would say, this is massive improvement.

I also think dismissing Knapp was the right decision (after having made the wrong decision) but for the sake of argument, DA gets credit for doing what needed to be done. The moves on ST seem positive as well and so the area on the team that can be addressed the most readily certainly appears to be upgraded in terms of personnel and coaching. So, McKenize gets some kudos that DA, his hire, addressed his initial coordinator selections, and McKenzie gets credit for improving ST personnel as a whole (Lechler could not be avoided).

From here out though, I think there are some legitimate questions that should be brought up. With the draft, the number that gets thrown around is that only 1 pick from the last 2 years of drafting will be a presumptive starter this year (Sio Moore). While I agree with CJ that it is early and the season has not yet born out with people coming back or starting later in the season, at minimum we should call into question our first two choices this year.

They may have enormous upside & could be great, but did the risk of Hayden & the upside of Watson provide the return needed for the OL & DL which McKenzie stated had to be addressed? I believe it is entirely fair to question that trying to out think everyone based on potential, was not the most prudent decision currently in this rebuilding process. If line help is what we needed, why were those not addressed earlier in the draft? Not trying to second guess this post-Veldheer but clearly, we have issues on the lines that Hayden, Watson, Moore, Wilson, Kasa, Murray, Rivera (first 7 picks in order) have not addressed. In fact, they seem to merely exacerbate the reality that our GM, the one we are trying to measure, has not addressed the problem that he identified as the areas of primary need.

Blue Monday

9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Part 2
I am not a draft expert nor did I set up their draft board but if those are who the scouts said were best available, then I think it is reasonable to say that it calls into question managements ability to differentiate between need and best talent. Every organization has to weigh these decisions. I would love to always hire the most talented person but if that talent does not fit my most critical need, then I am not addressing what the organization has to do to improve. Maybe in year 3 & 4 of McKenzie's plan that competition level needs to take more shape as that builds depth and comes about because you have some level of existing talent, but how in the world do you create competition & improve your organization if you do not acquire initial talent? It is akin to getting cosmetic surgery while what you need is a procedure on your heart.

Competition comes in time but it certainly couldn’t have been our first step this year in our draft? Didn’t we need to be more foundational in this process? Was creating competition at our DB position, which is obviously improved, our most important need? It can’t be because management told us it was the OL & DL. Yet here again, if the lines were the most critical area to build talent and competition, then we seemingly missed because no one can reasonably argue that are lines are better than last year. Again, the lines are the area McKenzie identified, which calls into question either his identification of needs, or his ability to address.

So, if it is competition that is our greatest need and what we want, then we need look no further then our QB's. While I am no advocate for Flynn or Pryor, based on our determinism with the ZBS last year, I have no confidence that we won't take the same dogmatic commitment to sticking with Flynn no matter what this year. Again, I am not an apologist for Pryor, but if we swear by Flynn simply to swear by Flynn, how is that principally any different then Mr. Davis simply forcing all of his defensive coordinators to adhere to his defensive scheme? And Wilson at QB is apparently a failure in terms of talent assessment and thus a poor choice in the 4th round. I know it is easy to second guess but it is relatively an acknowledged axiom that OL have less risk given versatility of positions than a QB.

So, after writing this dissertation, I would say it is fair at this point to call into question the decisions that have been taking place. While we might need to offer a longer period to let our ultimate judgement marinate, I would say at this point McKenize is grading out at a D+. That's not great for a franchise whose fan base is worn thin on patience, not particularly profitable, & has no place to call its home next year. That's my take.

Blue Monday

9:08 AM  
Anonymous JONES said...

No, Flynn is not the 3rd best QB, he should be the backup. McGroin, as Plunkett calls him, is still way too raw. As far as Flynn panning out...he was brought in for a 5th RD pick, big deal. He brought some depth to the QB position that was needed once Palmer told them he wanted out.

Pryor, like Wilson in Seattle, is just taking his job away...I would much rather see that then a team that just hands him the job no matter how well those are playing around him (scholarships)...let the best man win and right now, IMO, that is Pryor. Flynn will be a good backup in case Pryor starts to falter.


9:11 AM  
Anonymous JONES said...

Hey only have to push the button once :+}.....Nice write up Blue. Did you watch how DJ Hayden played last night? The kid is a stud, has near death on the field, works his way back in record time, 1st time he steps on the field, he shows that he is already the best CB the Raiders have without playing a pro game before and not playing in any game for a year.....long sentence, but worth it.

Hayden is going to be a very good player, can see it already. Watson, if he can be in Hayden's league, he will start soon too. Streater is a starter, he wasn't a pick but a very good pick up.

D+ is very harsh for what they faced. I would give a C+ pending what happens this season. Ragging on this years draft class is very premature, IMO. Wilson needs some work, a 4th RD pick isn't usually looked at as a difference maker right away...Wilson needs time. Last yrs draft started at the top of the 4th RD, so ragging about that is misguided, IMO.


9:28 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Nice take, Blue Monday (I deleted the accidental repeats).

This is shaping up to be a great debate here...Thoughtful stuff from both sides of the argument.

I think we're all in sync with regard to understanding that the new regime was dealt an awful hand, and we all want the Raiders to find their way back sooner rather than later.

Patience may be the best prescription, and it may be unfair to judge DA and Reggie too harshly at this point. We've all suffered through the dismal results of annual impatience without a master plan (firing coaches every other year, running with scissors in the draft, overreaching and overpaying in free agency...).

But...I still expected a winning spirit to take hold sooner than this. Right now, this looks like a team stuck in neutral after 18 months with Reggie and DA at the wheel. I feel like I'm looking for something that's not there. A spark, an anger, a decisiveness, a galvanizing player, people stepping up...

There's still time. It's only preseason. Maybe Pryor seizes the day and lights a fire. I don't know who, what or when.

But I do know that I'm still waiting. And that concerns me, and if something doesn't change soon, I'm going to have my doubts about these guys' abilities to field a winner in year three and beyond.

9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The capcha feature kept telling me to reenter the two words but was apparently posting my take. Haven't studied hieroglyphics in some time which makes proving I am not a robot difficult at times. Obviously, I really wanted everyone to read it...a lot of times.

Thought Hayden looked fantastic. And while I think hoping on Watson is fine, I just don't think it was the right call to hope that a draft pick's upside will be realized or coached up. At this juncture, I simply think it was a misstep. Time will tell. Regardless, tried in my dissertation to acknowledge that it is early and avoid where I was criticizing this years draft. I didn't touch last year in my take though you may not be referring to my post in that.

However, what I am critical of is what was said (address the lines) and then what we in fact did. I believe it is a reasonable critique from the lens of the draft because I would grant the point that our cap constriction this year limited what we could do in FA. I also think we need to begin to review DA. This is a McKenzie hire who is ultimately responsible for executing on the field. The OC and ST coordinators last year were acknowledged disasters. Maybe Knapp and Hoffman were the best we could find or who would come. No idea. But at some point, DA has to begin to demonstrate some ability that is simply measured in wins and losses. McKenzie owns this on multiple levels. I very much want McKenzie to succeed. I am tired of the only team I care about performing so consistently poorly. It has been a long decade.

Blue Monday

10:03 AM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Nice take Blue Monday.

I try to rationalize the decision to NOT draft established "low risk" OL or DL players due to the simple fact the Raiders needed to upgrade every position, and McKenzie/Allen selected who they believed were the best players available. Unfortunately, that doesn’t explain drafting, say, Watson in round 2. We have been burned too many times reaching for potential, so I totally get that frustration by fans. On the other hand, McKenzie made an impressive trade down to get Hayden and add a 2nd round pick for Watson. Time will tell but these guys could both be tremendous.

At least initially, McKenzie is being asked to race Formula 1 with a Chevy Chevette.

IMO, starting Pryor over Flynn will reveal these guys are ready to do whatever it takes, and refuse to be held to conventional thinking.

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

I think it is absolutely clear that Tarver is in over his head as DC. No push up front for 3 preseason games is deplorable; and I think that is going to be our achilles heel in the regular season. We cannot give QBs a consistent 12 seconds to pass.
There has been no creativity in the defense. The main problem I see is over-pursuing the running game by the line and linebackers; and no pressure in the pass. It's like they sit and hold their line as if expecting a run. It looks like we are in a constant read-n-react defense; but we don't react because they don't know what they are reading.
Poor game planning on the defensive side of the ball equals an incompetent DC. After this season Tarver should be gone. I feel that he should've been let go after last season like Knapp.
That brings us to the question at hand, what responsibility as HC does DA have in all this? I believe if he doesn't interject himself into the defense (which he has every right) and help improve it, then DA (in my opinion) should be just as responsible and let go. If he does interject, and the defense improves, then letting go of Tarver alone should be suffice.

My second point has already been touched on by some. I think after the last 2 games, and the way our O-line is struggling, Pryor should be our starter. The things he does with the ball, and how he can make plays does nothing but build the confidence of the O-Line. Yes, he made some poor throws the past 2 games; but that is part of the growing experience. He knows when he makes poor choices. Let him experience those, and improve. Give Pryor the starting job. Flynn is too vanilla; which is why he lost the job at LSU to JaMarcus Russell. I don't see the poise or confidence in him that Pryor brings.

12:48 PM  
Anonymous JONES said...

Nate, chill out. A lot of new players on that Defense and with 3/4's of the starting D-line missing just before last nights game. On top of that, vanilla play calling with little or no blitzing. Tarver had a mediocre lineup playing as a good quality Defense for the last part of last year. Way too early to be calling for Tarver's head, IMO, it's still the preseason.

I think the Raider coaching staff is doing a lot of evaluating, not always putting their players in the best spots (in preseason) to make plays, just to see how they react, could be wrong, but I think that is what I am seeing.

IMO, they don't really care about winning in this preseason, they want to see what they have, a lot of new faces AGAIN and they don't have the luxury of the other teams who have played together for years, like Chicago and N.O's. Coaches need to be able to trust their players as much as the players need to trust their coaches. That comes with time and the Raiders are short on time for this season.

Blue Monday....I think Reggie is looking past this year, I think he wants to build a foundation for what is coming when he has close to 50 MILL cap space to fill the needs on the Lines. I think Reggie drafted with the future in mind, not for what was needed for this season, IMO.


1:49 PM  
Anonymous JONES said... saw that fire last night when Pryor came in, the other players take to him and want to play for him. I would also like to see that 'fire' come from some of the Vets, Woodson, Roach, Branch, Houston, I want these guys to be the leaders.

That playing soft is not acceptable and THEY (leaders) will enforce it. This is what made former Raider teams GREAT, they had the Vet's who knew what it took and made sure the others did too.

There has to be a level of play that is not acceptable...and we saw that in the 1st half last night, it was not acceptable and it seemed the team got that message during halftime.

Pryor is a fire right now, he has to be the starter, he brings a certain 'something' to the table that the rest of the team can feed off of. We need playmakers and that's what Pryor is, he just needs to understand that he has to stop with his mental letdowns a certain points of a game. He needs to 'reel it in' just a little, become a little more composed and this kid may be a real weapon.


2:00 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

I've seen enough to believe that Pryor should be our clear cut #1.

With a suspect OLine, Pryor's athletic and improvisational abilities is the spark the O desperately needs.

2:44 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Raiders shouldn't care about winning in preseason but they should be concerned about their first team players going down by 20 points in the first half of two straight games.

Flynn looks powerless when he's out there. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

4:09 PM  
Anonymous JONES said...

I think Allen Addressed the team at halftime last night. Heard he gave them a 'speech' and the players responded. Allen has to become a leader, he wants to designate but he has to realize that he is looked at as the leader. He needs to act accordingly and he seems to be learning as he goes.

Allen is on watch but he needs a bit of room too, for a 1st time HCing gig, this is going to take a little time to digest and go about it the right way...just like us fans, we are treading in uncharted waters trying to make sense of it.

Allen seems to have a good head and should be able to figure it out...if not, on to the next one...but I sure hope he stays HC for a long time, then we will know the stability and coaching is fine....just need the players.


4:40 PM  
Anonymous JONES said...

Last night, Flynn must have been saying to himself..."glad McFaden is not playing, now I might get a block when I need it". NOPE, Jennings blows the 1st blitz and BAM, down goes Flynn, again.

2 top RB's need to know how to pick up a blitz, even with Pryor in there....that must drive the coaches nuts, when the RB's can't read a blitz and the QB gets killed.

Maybe God doesn't want Flynn to be a #1 QB, the guys luck is just poor. He could do well, in a certain setup, Seattle wasn't, now it looks like the Raiders aren't. Maybe third time lucky, Matt?


4:46 PM  
Anonymous Raider00 said...


I think Reggie made a big mistake in off season by not resigning TE, Brandon Meyers.

Meyers was a young player finally emerging, and presto, he's gone.

Then Reggie had to use 2 draft picks on the TE position.

Picks that otherwise could have been used else where. And boy, do the Raiders need help all over.

I just do not see any credible wide receivers on this team.

And the 0-line, & D-line, still look aweful.

I don't really have a set number of games I want the Raiders to win this year.

I just want them to compete, and be close in most games.

Right now, that looks like a far away dream.

6:06 PM  
Blogger bazjoz said...

You can't turn a bankrupt business around in a year and a half with no resources, whilst repaying the accumulated debt... I think it's obvious Reggie has his sights on 2014 as our year out of the pit, and is sticking to the plan... we were sinking and grasping at short term "fixes" that were ridiculously expensive for a decade, because Al Davis knew he had little time and could only focus on the now.
It would be pointless to 'right the ship' without repairing all the holes, and there were many.

The biggest question mark I see has to be at HC... can he do it? he's a proven DC yet can't get our guys work in sync, or even look like an NFL defense... yes they're a patch job, but still it's not a talent free zone, so why do reasonable players come to Oakland and under perform... is it the scheme?

Personally, I don't care about wins/losses this season, after begging for a decade for a GM to be brought in and a complete front office change, I think we got the right guy and just need to be patient... next year, totally different expectations, we'll have the $'s and the draft pics, and we better show up big time... so for now I'm not sweating, just got a little HC concern...

Also I could care less what the pundits and haters are saying, it's always the same,they've never liked us... can't wait till they fear us again... meantime effem.

12:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Give them time-3 years. You don't rebuild a nation, in a day, month or a season.

Take, seriously-you whine a little too much-be positive and positive things will come.

Any knowledge citizen of the nation knows Reggie and DA had a tall order to fill.

Nothing but good comes from hard work.

2:26 PM  
Anonymous memdf said...

Still not sure why there is no resounding endorsement of Pryor by DA. He should have started the last four games of last season. Read that Mark made the call to start Pryor against SD. Willing to give the benefit of doubt but it's frustrating.
Progress will be defined like porn-you''ll know it when you see it.

5:56 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

I really don't see my concerns as whining. I've been blogging here for eight epically bad seasons, so maybe I've developed a healthy (or unhealthy) paranoia when it comes to the direction of the team.

I keep hearing "give it three years." Fine, but Reggie was hired in January 2012, so we're already 18 months (halfway through) the three-year mark, and right now the team is looking rudderless on the field.

For years I was saying that the Raiders needed to hire a GM and give him the time and independence to build a winner. It's something we should have done long ago.

But rudderless isn't going to cut it for much longer. Call it whining if you will, but I'm only echoing what the owner himself has already said.

6:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Disclaimer here,,, I was only able to watch from 5:37 left in the second quarter on...

I'm not going to make any additional critiques of Flynn based on lowlights,(because that's all there were.)
What I did catch was a hungry qb that tries to make something good happen EVERY down. I caught a QB that DOES have the skillset, dynamic attributes and ability to be a starting NFL qb.....Hell no I'm not talking about Flynn...
What has anyone seen that gives them confidence that Flynn is the answer??
Terrelle Pryor is a RAW talent that if properly developed and utilized can provide us the answer at QB.
I don't know how some say that because our line sucks Terrelle is better for the situation. I would expect Plunkett to say it, because he comes from the school of all you need is an arm, but Tom Flores Too? Why are we backdooring Pryor into the starting job. Why cant they just say it? Lets just say it. Ok, I will say it. Pryor is BETTER than Flynn. With a better line, Pryor would/will do better than Flynn too.
For me, it comes down to the intangibles. I believe Pryor has them, and I believe Flynn does not.
As for DA not naming a solid starter, my hope is that he and Olson know finally that Pryor is the choice but are keeping the competition going to fuel the fire that burns...
O-Line, I will get to you, you aren't off the hook but I just want to focus on imo the bigger issue right now.

I can offer a little bit more but not a complete critique of the defense, as the first team did play into the third quarter. What I saw, was a faster defense. Less overall holes than last year.
The dt's are a worry, but I think to myself, who the 11 starters were last year and who are the starters this year, and I feel like there are more upgrades than more losses. I think Tarver has adjusted to the NFL. Jones hit the nail on the head when he mentioned the intensity of the defense the final four games last year. The improvement from start point to end point is a reflection of the DC. The scheme last year was sound. Us fans FINALLY got to see more complexity in the form of disguised blitzes from the linebackers and multiple forms of coverage by the secondary, to include a good nickel package by the end of the season. Tarver has not yet let the dogs loose. For the defense, I feel "it is only preseason." My only concern is how soon all the new starters blend to form a cohesive unit

7:00 PM  
Anonymous JONES said...

Scar, maybe the coaching sees how to motivate Pryor is by treating him as an underdog? That they aren't going to give it to him, that he has to earn it? Like you say, it is for competition reasons, IMO.

Maybe these coaches know what motivates Pryor, they seem to have helped him develop in the last yr and a half....who cares if they announce it or long as the best player is starting come opening day. All these fans, getting all riled up cause they aren't announcing this or they aren't doing that...IT's PRESEASON, jobs are still being won. Let it play out and see what happens on opening day.


7:58 PM  
Anonymous JONES said...

Take...when the Owner said that, He was mistaken. Mark was under the impression, as I was, that the talent left by his Dad was good enough, it just needed the right direction. And DAMN, did that ever turn out NOT to be the case.

IMO, since then, the Owner and myself, has realized the shit storm it really was and there would be no quick fix.

The leaders for next year, are starting right now to show if the can or can't to this regime. EVALUATION is ongoing and if you can't cut it, your gone, or more talent will be brought in to replace you. The team was overhauled AGAIN this offseason, it will TAKE patient, what's another yr or 2, lol?

Right now is a building of a foundation, later comes the cream as 50 mill in cap space will give Reggie plenty of options. Having over 40 mill in dead money is a KILLA, would any GM be able to field a top team with that handicap?

8:08 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

3 years is IMO a reasonable baseline to assess DA/Reggie and the progress of the Raiders.

As the curtains were pulled back over the past year, it was revealed just how bad of shape the organization was in.

The payroll, talent level, draft pick situation, and culture were a big mess to be fixed and cleaned up.

9:01 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

"Flynn, who was 3-for-6 for 19 yards with two interceptions [against the Bears], also had tendonitis issues last season with Seattle, during which time Russell Wilson seized the starting position.

Big opportunity for Pryor... IMO, just secure the ball and engineer a couple good drives against Seattle.

DA is throwing Watson into the fire at LT. Sounds a bit too desperate. Watson only played 19 games in college and all on the right side.

I would think moving Barnes to the left side (his natural position before the Raiders moved him over) and Watson to the right side would make more sense. We'll see!

5:13 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

I'm excited for Pryor, and I think he will shine out. Seattle is tough, and they are going to blitz, and get creative defensively. I think Pryor will be prepared, and let's see if he can keep the mistakes minimal.

I'd like to see something from our defense. I'd like to see pressure, creativity, and a few turnovers. We cannot give Russell Wilson all day to throw, but we can't over pursue him either. This will be a great game to test our defense's discipline and strength up front.

6:31 AM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

It has been apparent to me that DA hasn't wanted anything to do with Pryor from the day he was named the Raiders' HC. I felt when Allen started Pryor at the end of last season, it was intended for Pryor to fail. Remember he had been the number three all season. Logically it should have been Leinart to start that game in replacement of the injured Palmer.

But then Pryor did very well and showed more leadership in the huddle than any QB we'd seen since Gannon. Yet Allen downplayed the effort.

The "open competition" between Pryor and Flynn was never open. Flynn was given the job when he walked on to the premises. In spite of that, Pryor outplayed Flynn completely in the leadership category, and showed more potential than Flynn.

Since he can't beat him, Allen is now attempting to get Pryor killed or permanently injured. Think Joe Theisman here.

The position most responsible for protecting Pryor against Seattle will be manned by someone who has NEVER played the position before.

Watson was a project when they drafted him. He has only 19 college games of TOTAL experience (and most of those at the Junior College level). We're talking about someone who wasn't even a football fan until he'd played the game for a year.

He missed all but the last day of training camp, and only even played RT in unpadded OTAs. And now he's supposed to protect Pryor's blind side against one of the NFL's top defensive lines.

My advice to Pryor... After every snap run hard right for your very life. Don't worry about winning the job on Thursday. Just worry about protecting your health.

9:29 AM  
Blogger nyraider said...

That's a bit harsh, BR. I wouldn't assume the Raiders are oblivious to the risks. I assume they will script plays to help Pryor succeed, or at least stay upright. Pryor will do the rest himself.

The key is to get valuable playing time for Pryor and keep him healthy.

I don't think anything the Raiders do here will be as bad as Rex Ryan putting Mark Sanchez back into a preseason game in the 4th quarter with a backup OL... and Sanchez getting injured.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...


I like the way DA has handled Pryor from the start of last year up until now. DA has done an admirable job of instilling the work ethic, hunger, and competitive element to Pryor's mindset.

As far as Pryor getting the start in the last game vs. SD, it made perfect sense to me. What would be the point of starting Leinhart?

In view, it was the perfect opportunity for Pryor to get a full game under his belt to understand how much hard work he needed to put into the offseason to become a starting QB in the NFL.

6:30 PM  
Anonymous memdg said...

Not sure if the credit you are giving DA in developing Pryor is deserved. As I believe I read somewhere that Mark made the call to start Pryor against SD, not DA. This Tendinitis thing naming Pryir the starter seems by default. I contributed money to the Get a GM billboard so I need to chill, but Pryor and the pre injury Dmac on O give us a punchers chance. If DA can't see that I'd like to know what he does see.

6:24 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

Did I just read a BR post? Dude, it's been awhile, good to see ya back.

I think Pryor has been a project since he was drafted. He does fit within the QB mold that Allen wants. I don't think Allen or McKenzie dislikes Pryor, or he would have been gone after the season. At the same time, they didn't want to just rush him out, especially with Palmer at the helm.

I think Pryor has a lot of upside. I was one of the guys who was happy they picked him up. He is a talented athlete with poise; and he has proven that he is teachable. DA has always said of Pryor that he wanted to see him improve as a QB, and here is what he said a few days ago:
"When you look at OTAs, when you look at minicamps, when you look at what we’ve been through in training camp, the three preseason games we’ve played, I don’t think that’s necessarily going to make that decision anymore difficult,” Allen said. “There’s been some competition. I think both of them at times have done some really good things. Both of them have done some things that need improving. That’s really where we’re at with the quarterback position.”

To BR's point though, I've played QB, and I have seen more upside to Pryor than Flynn. Flynn's strength is his ability to run through his check downs; he's methodological (robotic), and tries to be cerebral (though he is not good at it). Pryor is raw talent; but exciting. He makes things happen, and sometimes (like he did in the first preseason game vs the Cowboys) tries to force things that are not there. I think that is where Allen is displeased with Pryor. He would like to see Pryor be more cerebral in the moment with his choices.

7:02 AM  
Blogger nyraider said...

IMO, Flynn hasn't shown much ability to read through his check downs. I certainly don't see that as a strength. He mostly telegraphs his passes or goes right to his outlet receiver, sometimes missing opportunity at wide open targets down field. It's been ugly, to say the least. Pryor has far more poise and can things happen on broken plays.

IMO, the decision to be made by Dennis Allen is when to inform the media that Pryor is opening day starter.

And that's not to say that Pryor will be a successful NFL QB; only that he is by far the Raiders best option right now.

9:49 AM  
Anonymous JONES said...

"Since he can't beat him, Allen is now attempting to get Pryor killed or permanently injured. Think Joe Theisman here."

What a crock, ....same old BS from BR.


10:45 AM  
Anonymous Raider00 said...

OK, so let's review.

We have a "raw" QB talent in Pryor.

He can play behind an average, at best, 0-line, with a "raw" LT in Malik Watson.

The best receiver from last season, Brandon Meyers, is gone.

The best RB, Mcfadden, never plays a full season.

The best offensive weapon we have, Janokowski, is hurting.

And, to top it all off, we are told the defense is still in the "planning", stages.

This is shaping up to be a loooooooooong year....again.

But, on the bright side. At least we have our #1 pick again this year.

Hey, maybe we can pick a guy coming off his death bed.

5:30 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

"Having grown up in Manchester, England, as a soccer player before gravitating to basketball and then even dabbling in boxing before being talked into playing football, Watson has uncommon footwork for someone who is 6-foot-4 and 315 pounds.

Before Veldheer, we tried a #2 pick - sure thing at LT and failed. Watson has some key attributes, so isn't it a bit early to label him a failure?

IMO, the thing to remember is McKenzie and Allen inherited the Raiders at rock bottom. Forget the 8-8 record, the team was destined for implosion. These guys are climbing the ladder and deserve a little more of our patience to do their job.

4:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Before I have to see another post from you Oaktownblues?? This thread has had quality well thought out posts,,, then you come along. Care to elaborate oaktown blues? You might not come off looking like a troll.

8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It has been a while since I've been here. Nice to see some thoughtful and intelligent debate for a change.

For me, an indication of progress will be limiting mental errors (penalties, turnovers, clown-car play), competitive play against the better teams (they don't have to win but at least seem like they are in the same league), and show the ability to make game time/half time adjustments. Improvements in these areas will show progress, regardless of wins/losses. Of course more W's is the goal, but the reality is that W's are going to be in short supply this season (again).

11:37 AM  
Blogger Resigned Idealist said...

To expect a mostly gutted team to show cohesion during preseason, especially when injuries abound, is an exercise in pre-cognitive powers.

I personally am not expecting many wins out of this season. There are too many needs and not enough money/talent to address those needs this year. But that doesn't mean I'm not expecting progress.

Progress to me means 1) finding 1-4 playmakers to build a team around, whether that be TP, or S. Moore or DJ Hayden or McFadden; 2) getting some sort of stability in at least three units. The corners/safeties are getting there but we need more stable units; 3) finding some way of scoring more than field goals in red-zone situations.

If we can get all three goals before the end of the season, I can consider this year a good year. As an example of how we don't have the necessary foundation yet, see how many returning vets RM has renegotiated contracts with: 2 on special teams. That's not a foundation, that's barely a roof.

4:14 PM  
Anonymous JONES said...

NO INJURIES and who cares beyond that? Just come out healthy for opening day, I'm sick of watching preseason....shithawks suck.


4:15 PM  
Blogger OakTownBlues said...

Scar, I am not here to entertain you, nor am I here to impress anybody. I sincerely apologize for inconveniencing you. I hope you find some whimsy, intellect, and pre-season ether from the other posters buddy.

I believe that blowing up the house meant rebuilding. I look forward to some semblance of a football team over the next two drafts. Until then, I get to laugh at the bodies that fill Jerseys #15 and #81. If you can appreciate what you see wrapped in Raider unies as professional football, well, i am pretty sure you bought LA KISS season tickets too.

See you around, amigo.

Twenty Sixteen. I'm patient.

6:21 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Gameday thread is up, bad first drive for our defense...

7:20 PM  

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