Archive for November, 2007

Gotta Score Points to Win Games

Monday, November 12th, 2007

This blog title is a quote attributed to Nnamdi Asomugha after the latest weak display of football by the Raiders in their  17-6 loss to Chicago.

Sorry, but it’s now abundantly clear that Josh McCown is not an NFL quarterback. It’s pretty obvious why the only PT he got at Detroit was at WR. He has no arm. It reminds me of those forgettable games with the Donald (Hollas) at QB. Against Chicago, McCown couldn’t even break the century mark and the Raiders had their lowest offensive output of the season at under 200 yards. When Culpepper was struggling, I thought it might be a good idea to give McCown another chance, but now I’m sure that McCown should be sitting. At least with Culpepper in there, he gives us the threat of a pass completion over 14 yards. Daunte was at QB for both Raider wins. It’s like last year and Aaron Brooks starting over Andrew Walter although Walter was at the helm for all two of the Raider wins. I think Walter should be given another chance this year, but I seem to be in the minority. And sure….why not throw JaMarcus in there at some point?

Here’s my fear – with everyone pinning their future hopes on Russell, what if he’s a bust? There are many out there that think he won’t be able to make the transition to the NFL. That’s all the Raiders need – another high choice to fail. I guess it’s better to find out sooner than later.

Anyway, the Bear loss can be added to this year’s parade of pathetic offensive displays. Good defense and even special teams this time, all for naught. When the Bears scored their TD to put them up 10-6 in the fourth quarter, Raider fans knew that was game – so inept is the offense. I’d blame the play calling more, but what can you do with McCown at QB? The fact that Kiffin keeps starting him is where much of the fault lies. I just don’t get it.

When the Raiders went up 6-3, I told my wife that this was the part of the game where the Raiders defense folds just enough to lose the game. “It seems like every time someone really needs to score against them, they score,” an opposing offensive coordinator said last year. Game-winning TD throw ensues.

Am I the only one that saw the blatant holding on Warren Sapp on that 59 yard Grossman to Berrian TD pass? No mention of it from the scrub TV announcing team. They were too busy having a cow over a rare Bear TD pass. I’d make a bigger deal out of it if I didn’t think the Raiders would have just found another way to lose this game. That’s where I am with this team. Just watching and waiting to see what will fail to cost them the game each week.

Higgins looks like he may be the latest addition to the Raiders’ ever expanding draft bust list. He gets his punt return job back only to promptly fumble.

My favorite Raider, Ronald Curry, disappointed with two motion penalties and a drop. The culture of losing is spreading to even the good guys.

The Raiders are the only team in the NFL without a fumble recovery? This tells me a couple of things, (1) The Raiders are frickin’ unlucky as hell or cursed, and (2) they’re not tackling good enough or swarming to the ball enough (see Defensive Coordinator). I’ll give Ryan props this week for blitzing more, and it was effective. But he really needs to shake things up at the safety position. This week, Schweigert was slow in helping out Carr on the Berrian TD. Berrian ran past Carr like he was standing still, but why didn’t he have safety help? You would think the 3rd string CB forced into starting would be a good candidate.

Lots of questions too. Where’s Rhodes? (1 carry) Where’s Jordan to spell Fargas? (o carries) Where’s that innovative offensive play calling?

Sad, Just Plain Sad

Sunday, November 4th, 2007

When today’s game began, the Raiders sat at 2-5 and, amazingly, had a chance to come to within 1 game of first place in the AFC West with a win at home against the Texans. Kansas City, Denver, and San Diego all had lost their games earlier. Plus the Raiders had a few things going for them in this game:

  • Texans were without their starting QB and best WR. The much feared Sage Rosenfels was behind center.
  • The Texan defense was fairly weak against the run and they had a total of 2 interceptions all year.
  • Raiders were getting their starting QB Josh McCown back from injury – the guy they keep telling us gives the team “the best chance to win”.
  • Raiders were going to start Justin Fargas, who had been running strong, and Mike Williams wasn’t around any longer to drop clutch catches (sorry, that was rough on the guy, but unfortunately true).
  • I need to mention again this game was at home and a potential season-turner.
  • And another thing that needs mentioning again – this game was against the Houston Texans, for Christ sakes!

Needless to say, all these factors didn’t seem to help and the Raiders lost again, 24-17, in front of a very unhappy crowd. It’s hard to find a moment in the last few years that was the lowest as Raider fan, but this one may be it. Probably because the team looked to be on the right track after the first four games of the season, only to severely regress to the same penalty-making, big-play-allowing, mistake-prone team of the Art Shell and Norv Turner years.

I’m taking a hiatus to Australia for all of December and I was a little upset that I would be missing some Raider games, but right now I’m almost happy that I won’t have the ability to watch this crap. I never thought I’d say that, but watching this team is taking years off my life.

Today, we saw the same stupid penalties on offense – pre-snap movement and holding calls. We saw a QB with a 14.2 rating midway through the 3rd quarter.

We saw shoddy tackling and a perfect example of our safety problems: 3rd quarter, 3rd down pass to Owen Daniels where Stu Schweigert had a shot at either an int or a big hit to very likely dislodge the ball. What happened? Neither. He just sort of brushed by Daniels. First down Texans. I’ll give him props for his 3rd career interception, although that tells you something when a Free Safety has been playing for as long as he is and all he has is 3 ints.

The offensive play, disgraceful as it was, was matched by a defense that STILL can’t stop the run and chokes when they need to be clutch. Another 100+ yard rusher. A second string, power back with a 2.9 yard average coming in ended up with feature back numbers. What is that – six of eight 100 yard rushers against them this year? And the big run is still a regular happening. Going into the game, the Raiders knew the run would be a big part of the Texan game plan and yet they still failed.

Sadly, Houston got the big throw whenever they needed it as well. Most notable was the 42 yard TD to Davis over Stanford Routt, which was essentially the game clincher. It shows the way the defense folds when they’re needed – the Raiders cut it to 7 and in 6 plays, the Texans have it back to 14. This has been happening all season. Defense has to step up when they’re really needed. I don’t care if they’re throwing a shut out at the time. After last year, which looks to have been a mirage due to the inept offense, they’re a huge disappointment.

I ‘m watching these games on TV on the opposite coast and obviously can’t see the field. I’d love to know if Porter, Miller, etc are getting open because if they are, McCown isn’t seeing them. He made some awful throws, but don’t know how much he is to blame if his guys are not finding the spaces in the defense. I mean, he went to the new guy (Dwight) as many times as anyone else – one for a TD, 2 for interceptions.

I’ve just about lost all faith in this team. I’ll always be a fan, but I don’t see myself pouring my heart into them any longer. Maybe they’ll surprise me, but I’m not going to expect anything anymore. At least not this team, not his this season, unless they show me something to prove they deserve it.

Note: Did I totally miss the Asomugha injury? I don’t recall the TV idiots mentioning it. He’s only our best DB. That injury opened it up for Routt to play and get burned at RCB.  Also, gotta give props to Kiffin for going for the 64 yard field goal.  Young guy doesn’t realize yet that everything goes against the Raiders  and it was bound to hit an upright.