Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Almost, Not Quite, Time to Rethink Everything

Let me preface by saying that I really enjoyed this season, and it was fun to see the Raiders notch a winning record in the face of great adversity and to finally return to the playoffs.

I'm now taking joy in the fact that Mark Davis is making a statement by firing Mike Mayock and likely parting ways with Rich Bisaccia.

The statement is this: We are raising the bar, it's finally time to act like a billion dollar company.

Hopefully, Mark Davis holds himself to this standard, because he's been a big part of the problem lately, and the buck stops with him.

The Raiders have been demonstrably terrible at picking head coaches. Between Gruden I and Gruden II, here's their list of head coaches:

Bill Callahan
Norv Turner
Art Shell
Lane Kiffin
Tom Cable
Hue Jackson
Dennis Allen
Tony Sparano
Jack Del Rio

Only two of these coaches got another NFL head coaching gig (Turner, Jackson), and one of them (Jackson) proved to be one of the worst head coaches in NFL history in his tenure with the Browns. 

Just look at that list. Not a single elite hire anywhere to be seen. Gruden II wasn't elite, either.

I like Bisaccia. So do the players. He did an admirable job holding things together and steering the team out of the doldrums.

But I can find old stories with glowing quotes from Raiders players about each of the above coaches, too. Players are employees. Employees are not the best reference. 

If the Raiders part ways with Bisaccia, he won't be a hot head coaching commodity. For a reason. Sentimentality got us into this mess, let's not double down on it.

Mark Davis engineered the whole Gruden II chapter and blew it. It was a retrograde idea, driven by emotion and sentimentality, fiscally ridiculous, and frighteningly binding. 

Then Davis caught a break with the whole Gruden scandal. I don't like how it went down, I think it was dirty business, but it happened, and it gave Davis an unexpected mulligan, perhaps the mulligan of all mulligans considering Gruden's contract-to-performance ratio.

Ruggs? Arnette? Disgraceful, and Davis knows it. This is a team that talked about "character." You can't miss that wide of the mark, certainly not in the first round. That's like kicking an extra point and bouncing the ball off a cheerleader posted parallel to the 15 yard line. 

That's why Mayock had to go, even if he was Gruden's puppet. Not to mention so many other blown picks. Everybody knew about the first round "reaches" in real time. Yet here were the Raiders, outsmarting everybody, most notably themselves.  

On top of that, the President, CFO and controller were jettisoned. What a year.

So here we are. We could talk all night about personnel, about whether or not Derek Carr belongs to our future, etc. That's for another day, and for the next regime to figure out. 

For now, it's time for Davis to get out of his own way, make a very shrewd GM hire, followed by a very shrewd head coach hire (untethered to the past bugaboos of emotion, sentimentality, the "Raider Way," so-called loyalty, being cheap or any of the other factors that have conspired to create such a dreadful hiring record). 

The fact that Davis seems prepared to make big changes after the team's best season in ages is what has me excited. It suggests that he's getting his head on straight. That being mediocre to "almost" is not good enough.

Now he needs to curb the old impulses, make a clean break, and do better, a lot better. Hire better, draft better, do better, win more.

There's long been a saying, "The Greatness of the Raiders is in Its Future," which sounds nice but is really rooted in nostalgia. Stop that bullshit now. Retire all the slogans, the same old ways, the winging it, the "outsmarting," etc. 

Look at every impulse that led you to Gruden II and RUN THE OTHER WAY.

If there is greatness in the future, it will come from psychically distancing the team from slogans  like "The Greatness of the Raiders is in Its Future."

Act like a startup. Rethink everything. Hire really smart people, outfox the competition, modernize the organization, and run things better. 

Create an entirely new Raider Way. The clock is ticking, but there are signs of hope. Starting with the firing of Mayock and the search for a new head coach. 

The future is bright, because the Raiders appear to be making a break from the past. It's a great way to cap off a notable year, and it makes me excited about what lies ahead.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Bengals Wild Card Gameday Thread

We've been waiting a long while for a day like this, the Raiders in the playoffs. It was by the skin of their teeth, but it doesn't matter now. The time has come to rise above. Joe Mixon has gashed us every time we've seen him, gotta throttle up while not losing sight of Burrow and Chase and Company, of course. It's gonna come down to that. I don't think we win a shootout against this team. Instead of trying to match the firepower, aim to stifle the firepower and grind the win out. GO RAIDERS!

Sunday, January 09, 2022

Chargers Gamenight Thread

High stakes in the last game of the season? We've been waiting quite a while for something like this. Time to take that next step! Go RAIDERS!

Sunday, January 02, 2022

Colts Gameday Thread

 A must-win for the Raiders. Play for pride, play for Madden. GO RAIDERS!