Monday, October 22, 2018

THE GRUDEN SHOW Strikes Again

THE GRUDEN SHOW has shipped The Ghost to Dallas for a first round draft pick.


No, I'm not talking about Dave Casper, I'm talking about Amari Cooper, who you could have sworn was on the Raiders, yet who was increasingly invisible even when he was on the field. A first rounder? Not a bad haul, really. If I'm Derek Carr, I'm keeping my head on a swivel at this point.

After the Mack trade but before the season even started, I coined the term THE GRUDEN SHOW. Here's what I wrote: "What you are seeing is the opening act of what will be The Gruden Show for years to come."


I was not wrong.


What we are seeing is a thorough and intentional dismantling of Reggie McKenzie's Raiders and a roster that notched a 12-4 record just two seasons ago. I think we can finally dispense with the charade that Gruden and McKenzie are in lockstep.  


Simply put, Gruden is taking a jackhammer to the foundations of the team and plans to rebuild it from the ground up, starting with a ridiculous amount of high draft picks that he'd better get right.


I'm afraid, however, that this wasn't part of a master plan. It has the feeling of improvisation. I don't think Gruden envisioned all of this at training camp. It came in fits and starts, with the Martavis Bryant fiasco, the backup QB circus and ultimately the Mack holdout.


Gruden shipped Mack out and then started pulling on threads. Once the season got off to a terrible start, he hasn't stopped pulling, and now Cooper is the latest casualty.


If you're being generous, you might call it brilliant (at least from a PR standpoint). With these moves, Gruden washes his hands of Reggie's roster, subliminally shifting the blame in the process.


Off to a terrible start? "Well, it's the players, not the coaching. Who could win with these guys? Gotta start over. Good thing I'm here to make things right. Just wait until I execute all of these picks and rebuild the team in my image. Of course, you won't be able to really judge my plan until around three or four years (ie: $30 or $40 million) from now. Sayonara, Oakland. The greatness of the Raiders is in its future (ie: Las Vegas, circa 2021)!"



So there you have it. THE GRUDEN SHOW. Terrible on the field in 2018 and in the foreseeable future, with no one left to blame. And who knows, it just might even work in the long run.

Monday, October 15, 2018

One Postgame Take

THE GRUDEN SHOW is off to a disastrous start. This team looks broken, Gruden looks lost, and the path forward has perhaps never been more unclear.


Like I said earlier, Al Davis departed this earth in 2011, and this is all his inheritors (Mark Davis, Reggie McKenzie and now Jon Gruden) have to show for it?


I've been trying to hold the Clown Car back, trying to give this team the benefit of the doubt under a new regime, but there is no question that yesterday's drubbing by the Seahawks merits the return of this unfortunate emblem of incompetence.


The only good news is that the 49ers and Cardinals are on tap over the next four games, presenting an opportunity to gain a semblance of mojo. The next several weeks will be telling. We will learn if there's any mettle left here, or if this is simply a runaway train straight to the cellar of the NFL.  


The Raiders' defense stinks. Why can't they fix this perennial problem of getting gashed? Every season is like Groundhog Day on defense.

My nagging doubts about Derek Carr have been broken wide open. It pains me. I like him a lot, I think he's a man of integrity.


But great quarterbacks jump off the screen. They make things happen. They find a way. They win. They don't look average for two straight years in their prime. It's starting to look like the most we can hope from Carr is that he is a good quarterback. Which in today's NFL is a recipe for mediocrity.


Nobody gives any coach--not even Belichik--a 10-year contract. Yet that's what Mark Davis did with Gruden. This is a coaching marriage unlike anything we've seen before. This could be a case of "be careful what you wish for" for Jon Gruden. He got all the money, all the security and now all the power. It's on him now to steer the team out of this mess. He has his work cut out for him.


We hoped that the Raiders' swan song in Oakland might be triumphant, or at least respectable. But if something doesn't change soon, it will be inglorious and forgettable.  

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Seattle Gameday Thread

For the state of the Nation and the character building of this team, you could say that today is, in fact, a must win. GO RAIDERS!

Sunday, October 07, 2018

One Postgame Take

Apparently, the Raiders just aren't very good, and here we go again. After squeaking past a mediocre Browns team last week, the Raiders came back down to earth with a thud in Los Angeles, and now stand at 1-4.


It's safe to say that THE GRUDEN SHOW is off to a terrible start.


Amari Cooper was a ghost yet again (seems to happen every other game). Derek Carr threw an incredibly bad INT at the one yard line, which was probably poetic justice for Gruden simply failing to run Lynch on that play. Sometimes it's like they're trying to outthink the room, but don't have the brains to actually do it. And the defense seems to stink, yet again.


Al Davis departed this earth in 2011, and this is all his inheritors (Mark, Reggie and now Gruden--as owner / GMs) have to show for it? If this team isn't starting over, then what is it building upon?  


Brace yourselves. If something doesn't change very soon, Gruden (even if he's part of the problem) will have no choice (or inclination, at least) but to push the reset button harder than he already has. And off they will fly to Vegas, sputtering and wheezing, into the arms of a new bride with promises that they have mended their ways. And for those left behind, what might have been a sweet goodbye will be just another bitter ending.

Chargers Gameday Thread

The Raiders got past the Browns by the skin of their teeth. Nice to finally notch a victory, the first so far in THE GRUDEN SHOW. Now, it's time to beat the Chargers on the "road" to prove that there's some actual mojo mounting for the 2018 Raiders. Go RAIDERS!