Sunday, December 16, 2018

Bengals Gameday Thread

Mark Davis swears he's been letting the GM and head coach make the call on football and personnel decisions. Amari Cooper swears that Mark Davis traded him against Gruden's wishes.


If you wonder why the Raiders have become a perennial clownshow, here you go.


First of all, let's dispense with the idea that Reggie McKenzie had much authority this year. If he did, that would mean that Davis let a guy he was going to fire before the season's end make irreparable decisions that will impact the team for years (which would probably be even worse than the two scenarios outlined above). Plus, do you really think that Reggie was all gangbusters on dismantling his own roster and shipping off two of his few biggest draft accomplishments? Nope. He was neutered from the start.


So that means when Mark Davis says he's been letting the GM and head coach make the call on football decisions, it's code for Jon Gruden, ie: The Gruden Show. All of it. Mack, Cooper, Martavis Bryant, roster dismantling and the upcoming draft. This would square with paying the man $100 million and giving him a 10-year contract. As goes Gruden, so go the Raiders.  


(McKenzie said on Oct. 23 that Cowboys CEO Stephen Jones called and offered a 2019 first-round pick. That's when McKenzie walked out to the practice field, relayed the offer on the table to Gruden and the head coach approved the deal with a thumbs up.)


The second scenario, the one suggested by Cooper, is much more unnerving. If Mark Davis, after paying a football guy $100 million, is still pulling maneuvering trades because of a power trip or petty agent squabbles or whatever against the wishes of his $100 million football man, that means that Mark Davis is our true...GM. And he's not going anywhere, which means Gruden will never really be able to truly run his show, because the GM will go willy-nilly whenever he sees fit.


In other words, let's hope I'm right and that this is THE GRUDEN SHOW, because if Mark Davis is going be our acting GM in perpetuity, the road to respectability just got longer.


Which sort of brings us to the Bengals, because it would be really cool for the Raiders to win this game, too, and keep the momentum going and put some more wind in the sails of THE GRUDEN SHOW because we're apparently going to need all we can get in the years ahead.



Sunday, December 09, 2018

Steelers Gameday Thread

If the reports are true, Reggie is on his way out, seven years later with little to show for it, now that Jon Gruden has deemed his work unsatisfactory and blown up his roster.

In early September I wrote, "What you are seeing is the opening act of what will be The Gruden Show for years to come." The opening act is now complete.

We now watch today's game for signs of continued life, for some assurance that Gruden knows what he's doing and can lead this team to a successful rebuild. Our hope is now in the hands of The Gruden Show, because we have no other choice.

Monday, December 03, 2018

One Postgame Take

You know, I was impressed. The Raiders played the Chiefs until the end. The hallmarks of a bad team were all there: the turnovers, the inability to make "the stop" when they needed to, etc. But the fact is, the Raiders went toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the NFL, and to do so this late in a lost season shows me that there's still some grit left in this team, and that maybe, just maybe, Jon Gruden is getting buy-in from his players.

I've been biting my tongue for a lot of this season. I don't believe that Jon Gruden has been executing some sort of master plan from the start. He traded a third-round pick for Martavis Bryant. He thought he could do something this season, and then quickly found out he couldn't. The Mack situation blew up in his face, and then the wheels started coming off. This made Cooper expendable, because now it was all about shifting blame to McKenzie, blowing up the roster and hoarding draft picks. The team played so poorly, culminating in an embarrassing beatdown by the Niners, and the only explanation (other than the fact that the coaching was terrible) was that they were tanking. But then suddenly they weren't tanking, which meant you really had to question the coaching staff and their grip on the team.

But then yesterday happened and, well, you have hang onto glimmers of hope these days, because they are few and far between. Gruden has so much work to do, and he needs to hit on those draft picks, or we could be in for several more years of the nuclear winter. But that's a worry for another day.


And so there was a glimmer yesterday. December football in a lost season, against a great team. And they played hard. It's a start.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Chiefs Gameday Thread

 Let’s see if the Raiders have it in them to make this game interesting. You never know! GO RAIDERS!