Sunday, September 28, 2014

One Postgame Take

I'm not going to dignify this performance with my usual five postgame takes. One is sufficient. It still boggles my mind how the 2014 Oakland Raiders are playing worse than last year's edition, after another complete draft and a ton of money to spend in free agency. How could this team possibly get worse? That fact alone will result in a head (or more) rolling. The buck stops somewhere. 

If you're Dennis Allen and you have to make your case to Mark Davis tonight, your only option is to point the finger at the general manager: Look, we lost three key starters in free agency, including our best running back, we got a bunch of older guys in free agency instead of true impact players, we don't have a true #1 running back or receiver, last year's draft was a wreck, for two straight seasons our presumed starting quarterback signings have proved to be a disaster, I had to start two third-string level quarterbacks last year, and this year my best option is a rookie quarterback, etc.

He may have a point, but that still doesn't explain how this team somehow got worse after two miserable seasons, and how a defensive-minded head coach can't seem to exert any sort of competence on his defense.

Mark my words, we will have a new head coach after the bye week, and the seat under Reggie McKenzie has to be red hot. You might be able to get away with taking a full year to deconstruct a team, and you might be able to get away with minimal progress in the next year. But you can't roll out a sh**show like this the third year, not if you're Dennis Allen, and not if you're Reggie McKenzie. 

We are on the brink of starting over, again. 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This team is bringing back memories of the 2006 edition of the Raiders. If DA & RM don't get this turned around real fast they will have a good chance of being as bad if not worse than the 2006 squad. Who would have thought things could get this bad and we're not even 10 years past that nightmare season?

8:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For many years now, I have struggled to grasp how despite numerous changes (from coaches to management to geography) the struggles remain the same. From consistently leading the league in penalties, the inability to identify a QB, poor tackling, carousel of coaches, need for a General Manager, salary cap, draft selections, etc. etc. etc. All those issues have led to "conclusions of silos", in an attempt to explain the causation of issue. I fell in that trap for years thinking if one issue was fixed, all else would be resolved. For many, we all thought the passing of Mr. Davis was the ultimate cause and his passing would lead to success. This too was a fairy tale. And so like so many, I am indifferent to the explanations or what might be a new explanation. What explains years of dysfunction. I am shrugging my shoulders at the expected firing of Dennis Allen. Reggie McKenzie too...ok. Will it really matter? Has it in the past? History would say that it doesn't.

Let's not kid ourselves, this has been going on for years now. This is not simply a post-Super Bowl 2003 hangover. It is far beyond that. Go look at the records. I chose a 30 year sample size. Could have chosen more I guess or less but regardless, humor the picture. Since 1993, a year we went to the playoffs as the LA Raiders, we have won 140 games out of 480 through 2013. That's a winning record of 29%.

What can possibly explain that kind of epic failure? Singular issues lack the explanatory power. Seriously, how many times can you miss on your draft selections before you start to think something else is amiss. We almost always identify the wrong quarterbacks, coaches, coordinators, etc.??It can't always be the coaches, coordinators, QB's, players, etc...we have been through too many of them.

It has to be a compilation of facts that best explains a culture so steeped in that kind of epic failure. Ultimately, all those facts have to come from a single source eventually. What is that source?

To me, it has been and will always remain, something in the culture; what a company calls their ethos. Watching the Ryder Cup today, I was struck by the same reality. Players change, team Captains change, courses change, tactics change and yet the results are consistently the same. The players on the US team simply cannot win. They are used to losing. It is expected that they will lose...not wanted, but when it comes "crunch time" the subconscious is a powerful thing. If you think about it long enough, dwell on it, eventually you become that what you think about or wish the most you wouldn't be.

I hate to say it, but the Raiders are losers. Through and through, they think that way and thus are that way. It reeks through every facet of the operation and regardless of coaches or players, or a new general manager, or ownership, or stadium, partnership structure, company value, they ultimately lose. In a sport measured in wins and losses, their is no way to state the magnitude of this truly epic organizational failure. A business this bad wouldn't generally survive. Not sure I should be thankful for the NFL cartel or not. Would have been better at the least to have not cared when you look at a 29% failure rate. Hate that I am growing indifferent...have loved this team since I was 1976 when I went to a game as a 6 year old boy.

Blue Monday

8:50 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Blue Monday, that is one of the most powerful takes I've read.

Also, that won-loss record since 1993 is something I've never seen compiled before, and it's nothing short of astonishing and inexplicable.

9:10 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

It is only a matter of time before DA and RM are shown the door. Does anyone honestly think that Mark Davis can fix an organization that is broken? That lacks leadership? If and when Davis decides to pick another GM who will pick another HC, what kind of qualified candidates would be remotely interested in joining this broken franchise? It would be a career suicide.

I will continue to follow the Raiders, continue to hope that a miracle turns us around. However, indifference and a lack of optimism has taken a hold of me as a fan. Wish it wasn't true but I'm no longer 100% vested in Raiders football. Quite frankly, this passion of 40+ years brings me very little joy.

9:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mea culpa gents,

Not sure how I got 30 years stuck in my head. That is a 20 year window not a 30 year window so it should be 140 wins out of 320 games for a winning percentage of 43%. Regardless, my opinion still remains the same.

Blue Monday

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guys we have to hope they loose every remaining game. Its the only way Mark will do something radical like hire Gruden and move to LA. The Raiders need a complete make over at every level.

Looser team worse stadium in the NFL no coincidence there.

They a strong leader who can really change the culture and that is Gruden. He did it once he can do it again. Look at niners with Harbaugh its proof one man can change a team

Open up your wallet Mark and make it happen.

4:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ya DA is clueless when Carr came up limping why did he not call a timeout. Might not seems like a big thing but it shows how truly clueless he is. 99 out of 100 coaches calls a timeout when his QB gets injured he does not let him keep playing.

4:55 AM  
Anonymous Raider00 said...

What's amazing to me is, how can the Raiders keep getting blown out ? Especially in this time of parity in the NFL.

There seems to be little to no preperation by the coaches.

And the players show no toughness or work ethic on the field.

Game after game. Season after season. It's like the whole organization is sleepwalking, and no one can wake them.

As far as starting over, again, RT, I don't think you can really say that.

Starting over from what ? Reggie has built nothing.

4:56 AM  
Blogger nyraider said...

It’s truly unfathomable the Raiders could be this bad for this long. The Post AL Raiders have been a perfect storm of bad personnel moves and bad coaching. Firing Dennis Allen may only be as impacting as firing Greg Knapp was two years ago. I think Davis has no choice but to look at the bigger picture, and that’s starting over.

5:33 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

I don't think there is any doubt that Dennis Allen should be gone. I also think Tarver and Olsen should go. You are as only strong as the coaching around you, and DA's staff has been dismal. You can argue that Reggie needs to go as well, and there are valid points for that.

If Reggie goes, I am fine with Gruden coming in as a GM, but not a coach. Anyone think that we can get Vic Fangio (DC of the 9ers) or the one I'd like to see get a chance Todd Bowles (DC of Arizona) as our Head Coach? Or do we go with someone who has good coaching experience (Del Rio, hell even Wade Phillips would be better)? Or do we bring in a College coach with upside like Charlie Strong (UT, whom the commish is already talking to about his "core values")?

Also, as pointed out by Blue Monday, I think the Raiders' problems go deeper than the product on the field, and it points to the top.

I don't know, but I truly think Mark was hoping to turn things around to bring in a higher $$ value to sell the team. I don't think he's interested in owning this team. As some has suggested, this may be the only way to "change" the culture of the Raiders. It's a sad day for me today. I feel like the Raiders I love died.

6:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good thoughts guys. I agree with you Blue Monday, it is a culture thing, it is depressing to watch the team fail on itself year after year.

If your Davis, the only way to change the culture is to bring in a sure thing guy with tons of success and experience. Throw the bank at Gruden, Cowher, Dungy...someone. They will cover their cash out put 10 fold if they have a quality winning product on the field. There is no need, in this situation, to try and out think this thing. Unload a dump truck of money (call it an investment) on someone who you know without a doubt can turn this team around. No first time GMs, no first time head coaches...time to ante up and pay the piper. Bring in a proven winner. You would think they owe the fans and themselves that much.

If not, we can re-paste opinions, blogs, articles in 3 years by just changing some names.


8:56 AM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

The fact that Allen left an obviously injured Carr out on the field just to avoid using a timeout in a game that had already gotten away should get him fired. But I still think he'll be there through the end of the season.

Calling Davis the most unqualified owner in the NFL is patently absurd. The only thing that qualifies an owner, in most cases, is that they have enough money to buy a team. In Davis' case, he has grown up around the Raiders and has seen the coming and going of every professional who has ever worked there in any capacity. He has an MBA and has been working the business side of the Raiders his entire professional career. He freely admits that he doesn't have anywhere near the football knowledge his father had, but neither does anybody else.

As soon as he took over the team he began to reorganize the organization into a current NFL model.

Exactly what makes him unqualified? You don't like his haircut?

9:54 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

I'm okay with Mark Davis as well. He did what I thought was needed: hire a GM, let the GM hire a coach, and get out of the way.

Unfortunately, his GM has failed him.

Here's where it went wrong, in my opinion: in hiring the GM, he repeated some of his father's signature mistakes.

Specifically, at the precise time he needed to step into the future, he went back to the same old Raider well

He chose an old Raider, Reggie, recommended by two old Raiders, Wolf and Madden, when he should have been making a clean break with the past and interviewing a ton of qualified candidates and an open checkbook at the ready if needed.

It was like the GM version of bringing Art Shell and Tom Walsh back in 2006. (okay, that's a little harsh, but there's some similarity in the process of looking back for the familiar instead of charging into the future).

So that's on Mark for not doing his due diligence and for relying too much on the "Raider way" at a time when he needed to forge a new Raider way.

But he is not the GM like his father, and he is not the coach, and he's not exerting his football philosophies onto the team. This mess is mostly on Reggie and DA.

I look forward to seeing how Mark Davis learns from this and responds to this next challenge of cleaning house.

10:35 AM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Agreed. The process needs to be so much more thorough and professional than hiring simply on the advice of a "trusted source."

Many franchises have team presidents, but that still leaves the owner in a position of hiring a President.

Perhaps Mark Davis should out-source the next hire to a professional third-party.

Whatever way it's handled, my opinion is that highly experienced, highly qualified individuals are needed to straighten out the Raiders’ mess.

No more rookies!

It's penny-wise and pound-foolish.

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

Take said, "Specifically, at the precise time he needed to step into the future, he went back to the same old Raider well."

So my question is do you think that Mark should bring back Gruden (another from the "old Raider well") or go a completely different direction? Who does he target for GM? Who does he target for Head Coach?

I'm of the opinion that it will be Reggie who is given through the end of the season, but something needs to be done with Allen and Tarver (at the very least) immediately. Both defensive minded guys where the defense has gotten worse under their watch. They are more horrible than Rob Ryan.

12:14 PM  
Anonymous Raider00 said...

Nate, you make a good point, but there is a difference between Madden/Wolf, and Gruden.

I think Madden/Wolf are to far removed from the inner workings of a modern NFL franchise.

I also would bet, they have little to no connections at the college level.

So when Madden/Wolf recommend someone. It comes from a very limited pool of choices.

Gruden, on the other hand, is very up to date on the current frontline candidates for head coaching positions.

That goes for both the college, and NFL level.

Not only does Gruden know the coaches, but the players as well. He is constantly looking a games, stratagies, and performance.

I think this is why Pete Carrol, and Chip Kelly were able to turn things around, and have success, so fast.

I think Gruden is in that catagory. It qualifies him to be a GM in todays NFL.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

That's a good question, Nate.

I would be in favor of looking elsewhere. Gruden has been out of the grind for years now. He gets paid to do Hooters commercials. I think we need to make a clean break.

Look at Blue Monday's assessment above, something seems to be wrong at the cultural core of this organization dating back 20 years, that's the only way to explain how after so much change, so many coaches, so many drafts, and now a new GM and owner at the helm, things remain the same (of course, with the exception of the Gruden years).

The problem with the Gruden years in retrospect is that it was probably a perfect storm that the Raiders became convinced was a repeatable model for success: unproven coach, journeyman quarterbacks, a core built on veteran free agent signings...But since (and before) then we've had a succession of unproven head coaches, journeyman quarterbacks and expensive free agents, and it has been a disaster.

Long before this season started, I said I was surprised by how much the "new" Raiders under Reggie resembled the recent Raider way: journeyman quarterbacks, a reach on an unproven head coach, drafting an injured cornerback in the first round, bringing Greg Knapp back, no discernible identity, etc.

Then, whenever we're in a real crisis moment, we always want to go back to the Raider well, to Art Shell and John Madden and Reggie McKenzie and Hue Jackson and Jon Gruden.

The losing culture has proven to be more entrenched that we could have ever imagined. I think we need a clean break, bring in an elite GM and a coach with a resume who are walking into Alameda for the first time, with no baggage or inherited tradition or preconceptions or comparisons.

Clean break, move forward, don't look back.

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

Take said, "The problem with the Gruden years in retrospect is that it was probably a perfect storm that the Raiders became convinced was a repeatable model for success: unproven coach, journeyman quarterbacks, a core built on veteran free agent signings...But since (and before) then we've had a succession of unproven head coaches, journeyman quarterbacks and expensive free agents, and it has been a disaster."

This was the model since Al took over the team. When Madden came aboard as Head Coach, he had no Head Coaching experience. Same with Tom Flores, John Rauch, Mike White, Bill Callahan, Art Shell (the first time), Mike Shanahan, Lane Kiffin, Tom Cable, Hue Jackson, and the current regime. In fact, the only 2 coaches the Raiders have ever hired with previous NFL Head Coaching experience prior to coaching the Raiders was Norv Turner and Joe Bugel; and I'm not counting Art Shell 2.

Now I am in agreement with you, it is time to find a new formula for success. This is why I think it is crucial with Derek Carr. It is the first time we have a rookie QB that has shown the potential to be our franchise QB for a long time. This is further proof that it is time to break away from the old and moldy Raider formula.

The same can be said with the QB situation. Jim Plunkett, Ken Stabler, Rich Gannon, Matt Schaub, Jay Schroeder, Aaron Brooks, Hostettler, Palmer, McNown, Jason Campbell, KFC, and Jeff George.

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Raider00 said...

RT, you can't rule out Gruden based on his ties to Raiders.

Gruden is a proven winner. That is the most important thing.

You mean Raiders are suppose to hire, say, Dungy because he was not a Raider ?

I can'y buy into that.

Ideally, Gruden would be the GM, and he would be picking the HC.

2:10 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Raider Nate, that is true. My point is that Gruden came between two periods of darkness, and it was just enough light to suggest that the same model could still work. It was an excuse to keep doing the same thing.

Raider00, I can't say that I wouldn't want any ex-Raider under any circumstances, but I do feel like there's something haunting this organization, it's really the only explanation for what Blue Monday laid out.

The one constant through all of these years has been this urge to look back, to reach back, to surround ourselves with the familiar, and not always in the most obvious ways.

Remember when we were desperate for a coach after Shell II, where did Al Davis go hunting? USC, his old stomping grounds (he was on the football staff there in the 1950s), mystifying everyone by first targeting Steve Sarkisian and then ending up choosing Lane Kiffin. Who did Mark turn to when a moment came that he should have been completely prepared for? To Ron Wolf and John Madden.

Too much rear view mirror and not enough windshield. The culture must change, and thus so must the approach.

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gruden is an elite coach RT. He is a Raider and would reinvigorate the franchise.

It would also set up the move the LA

4:22 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

It's really amazing how bad the Raiders played Sunday, knowing Allen's job may be at stake.

That alone suggests Allen should be fired.

And I like the idea of a clean break.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Cut and paste this URL to see one of our defensive highlights from Sunday:

4:43 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

The catch to all of this is that we are always in the position of reaching. By that I mean, how likely is an established, proven GM going to join? We are most likely looking for someone who is currently the #2 man / Asst GM / or a Pro Director who is looking to become GM. Same goes for HC ... retreads or OC/DCs without HC experience. The search will need to be exhaustive, thorough, and include both college and pros.

The big question for M. Davis will be if Reggie will continue next year. If not, he needs to start compiling a list and doing his due diligence. And this is where I'm extremely pessimistic. Who is Davis going to turn to to start coming up with a candidate list?

5:25 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

It's official: DA has been fired.

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The5er said...

It's official. Denise is done.

Come on Mark, this is pretty simple...
Call the guy in Fla who works on Monday nights.
Some will say its unrealistic... Open your wallet and do what's necessary. You've only had 3 winning seasons since the return to Oakland in 95... And this man was the common denominator.

Make it happen. Chucky mania will sell 5,000 season tickets the day you make the announcement. That $$ will cover his salary. It might be the only thing that can help you get a new stadium.

Do the right thing Mark. It's not hard.

8:55 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

It isn't hard to make an offer to Gruden but Gruden isn't coming no matter how much money you shove into a brinks truck.

Gruden has gone comfortably soft with his easy, lucrative tv gig and commercials. He has no desire to move to Oakland and put in the 24/7 grind the Oakland job will require.

What would be the motivation for him to turn his life upside down when in his current situation he is able to be a devoted father and husband making big bucks with an easy work schedule that allows him to lead a balanced, enjoyable life?

As RT said which makes a ton of sense, it is time to make a clean break from harking back to the distant past.

9:37 PM  
Anonymous Raider00 said...

CJ, I agree that, if you only offer Gruden the HC position, he is not coming.

But if the offer is, president of football operations/GM. I think there's a good chance Gruden will take it.

I will remind you that guys like Bill Parcells, and Dick Vermeil, left cushy T.V. gigs, to return and compete.

It's time for the Raiders to stop trying to get by on the cheap.

Cheap money buys you a loser for a GM, or a coach. Time to end the vicious cycle.

5:05 AM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Allen was over his head but put in an impossible situation. McKenzie has made one whiff after another at key positions, and failed to secure any of the Raiders top free agents last off-season. Somehow the Raiders got worse in spite of what appeared to be a decent 2014 draft class and unprecedented $60 million cash to spend in free agency.

My guess is McKenzie will not be making the decision on hiring the next Raiders HC on his own, and probably should be looking over his shoulder at this point.

At a minimum, Tarver should be gone.

5:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only thing worse than Dennis Allens performance the last 3 years is Mackenzies. Losing Veldeer and Jennings is so inexcusable and signing so many 30+ players with a ton of cap room isn't much better. A horrible GM made a bad coach much worse and his job that more difficult.

5:42 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

It looks like Sparano will be the interim. Tarver remains as DC, which is not going to help, he has done a worse job than Dennis Allen.

Here is a possible scenario that could play out at the end of the year. The Raiders need a Gruden type coach that is going to have credibility with the players and who will not be afraid to get in their craw.

If Reggie is fired at the end of the season, you can guarantee that the Gruden will be the new GM. I don't think Mark Davis fires Reggie unless he knows Gruden will come. It is a possibility. So who does Gruden bring in as his coach?

The first consideration would be Mike Tomlin. He's on the hot seat in Pittsburgh, and Tomlin was one of Gruden's guys when he was here, and left for Pittsburgh after the Raiders let Gruden and Callahan go.

Another option would be Rex Ryan. Here's why I think this works. He was doing awesome with the Jets until Idzick came along. He and Rex do not have a great relationship because Idzick was not allowed to hire his own coach, so Idzick is doing everything to run Rex out of town. Granted, Rex was like the Hue Jackson situation with the Jets before Idzick, his ego needed to be in check. I think Rex and Gruden would get along, and I believe it could work as long as Mornhiweg is not the OC. Just food for thought.

With that said, I do think McKenzie should be looking over his shoulder with all the Gruden coming back to Oakland talk, because Gruden is not looking to become the Head Coach, he's looking to be in charge.

A word to Mark Davis. If you're really Committed to Excellence, then you will bring Gruden in as GM. JUST WIN, BABY!

6:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Time to move on Raider fans, Gruden is not coming back to Oakland.

Harbaugh, on the other hand, is an intriguing possibility. He wants to stay in the Bay Area. He has not signed a contract extension. It is well known he does not get along with the 9er front office/GM. He could bring his own GM to work with. He brings instant credibility. He is a QB coach that could help Carr a ton. No down side.

7:08 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

New take is up: Why Dennis Allen got fired (and why PFT got it wrong)

8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The faidas suck truly the team of the decades 10 plus years of sub par "football"Ha ha ha ha haas

10:32 PM  

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