Friday, May 30, 2014

When Opposites Detract

Is it possible to be supportive of the Reggie McKenzie Regime and excited about things going forward, while maintaining a critical eye and questioning decisions along the way? 

Increasingly no, at least not if you surf around the Raiders message boards, including this one. It's either Reggie Sucks or Reggie Is The Bomb, with very little middle ground. 

Once again, we are eating our own, not unlike the later Al Davis days, when one side was always shouting loudly to gloss over obvious horrible decision-making, and the other side was intractably giving the man no credit for returning the team to some measure or respectability with 8-8 records.

Here's an exchange from a live chat the other day with the Oakland Tribune's Steve Corkran:

Q: I feel like I wasted 2 years of my Raider life on the past 2 seasons. This 'deconstruction' should have happened in 2012 and the 'reconstruction' should have been last year. Agree Cork?

A: I have banged that drum for two years. People want to give Reggie McKenzie a free pass for two years. Not me. He should have done the entire purge in 2012 and added more core players than he did the past two seasons.

Now, that's just the opinion of one beat writer, but I think it's a reasonable opinion, although an easy one to have in retrospect.

Anyhow, why can't you be excited about the Raiders (seemingly) being ready to turn a corner, while being critical of them for not turning the corner sooner?

The idea that you can't question or critique your own team--even when things are going well--is ludicrous. Even fans of the NFL's perennial contenders are naturally driven to question and critique decisions.

It seems like we're no longer willing to listen to each other. 

It's more about picking a side and defending that side to the bitter end, and refusing to acknowledge that in any sports organization, there are going to be both good and poor decisions made on an ongoing basis, with the balance of those decisions making the difference between a winning team and a losing team.

As fans, we observe these decisions in real time, and give our takes in real time. That's what fans do. You might love a draft pick that I don't. If that's the case, it shouldn't be because we're on opposite sides of an ironclad mindset, but because we're applying some form of impartial, reasoned analysis, even if we agree to disagree.

Here's my take: If you don't like to hear any negative takes, tough. If you don't like to hear positive takes, tough. Because here are Raider Take, you're always going to hear both.

Monday, May 05, 2014

2014 Draft Thread

Let's get this draft party started early! Thursday will be here before we know it, so let the pontifications and prognostications begin.

Now, regarding the pre-draft statements and rumors surrounding the Oakland Raiders, this is what I have to say: Smoke, meet Mirror.

One recent report declared that the Raiders have zero interest in drafting a quarterback in the first round. Today, Reggie McKenzie said there's not a bit of hot-seat urgency impacting his draft board. Okey, dokey. We'll see about that.

“You draft for the future...You don’t draft for right now," Reggie said.

But I would say that drafting for the future and drafting for right now aren't mutually exclusive. It's possible to draft immediate impact players who also elevate your future. It happens all the time in the NFL.  

Elite talent tends to assert itself pretty quickly in the NFL. So when you are savvy enough to select an elite player, you're not drafting for the future nor are you drafting for today. You're drafting for both.

In other words, it's high time for an elite player to be identified and selected by the Oakland Raiders, and for the Raiders to find their gem and outsmart the competition, be it in the first round or beyond.

So go ahead and draft for the future. 

Just remember that the future is now.