Archive for December, 2008

It’s Christmas All Over Again

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

I didn’t want to celebrate, or even blog about, the Raider win over the Texans last week because I was afraid of a face plant in Tampa Bay like the embarrasment in Baltimore after the NY Jet win or the collapse vs lowly Kansas City after the Denver route.

To my surprise, I received a late Christmas gift in the form of back to back Raider wins.  This one against a team fighting for the playoffs, in their house, across country, and the most unbelievable – after being down by 10 points with only 11 minutes left in the game!

As if the Raider win wasn’t enough, everything else went well this Sunday.  As a Raider fan of late, I’ve had to take pleasure in watching the teams I hate lose.  I know, it’s a little sad and hopefully that will change soon.

The team that is known by their obnoxious fans and mediots as “America’s Team” was absolutely blown out by Philadelphia 44-6 to miss the playoffs entirely.  Ha!  Super Bowl bound, my ass.  They haven’t won a playoff game in over ten years and yet they’re still media darlings.

Speaking of obnoxious fans and media darlings, even better was the 11-5 Patriots not making the playoffs.  Nawt fay-uh, they’re surely crying.  Perhaps this is kismet for all the cheating they’ve done in the past.   Maybe Belicheat is regretting not trying to do just a little more cheating this year to get them over the hump. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.  Ahhh….I think I’ll drink a Sam Adams to celebrate their demise.

Well, that pretty much completes my football weekend.  I think the only thing that might improve on it is if that crybaby Jay Cutler and the Broncos get knocked out of the playoffs tonight at San Diego.  I’m no San Diego fan, of course, but it’s definitely the lesser of two evils.

Notes from a Small Island

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

This is my last weekend in London after a fantastic two months, though the weather could’ve been better.

I was extremely upset, after just a couple weeks into my stay here, that DirecTV’s SuperCast stopped working for me – both the Adobe Air app and the browser-based Flash versions.  I had to resort to watching ESPN’s GameCast and listening to KSFO.  In hindsight, it probably would have been worse actually watching these “performances”.

Anyway, here are just my random notes from the latest Raider fiasco:

I like Tom Flores telling it like it is on KSFO – questioning why the Raiders (soon to be former defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan) keep rotating their high-priced DTs.  Every two plays.  As if they get too winded to play an entire series.  He called it, “disgusting”.

Why is Andrew Walter the emergency QB?

We’re number one!  I thought the Raiders were doing somewhat better overall in terms of penalties this year only to see that they’re tops in the league once again.

With Fargas, McFadden, and Bush, why sign Louis Rankin, another RB, to the roster?

Raiders knew Patsies were going to run screens and still couldn’t stop them.

Patsies running, passing, scoring at will.  Something like 350 yards in the first half.

Fair catch on a kickoff?  Tony Stewart, I guess, doesn’t get paid enough for returning kicks.  There wasn’t a guy within 20 yards of him when he fair caught that ball.

Nnamdi has three holding penalties so far and is getting burned by former Raider and upstanding citizen, Randy Moss, fairly regularly.  Hate to say it, but the way he’s hinting at going elsewhere next year, I kind of don’t mind this.  Maybe he ends up staying if his value drops enough.

Way to give the momentum right back to the Patsies – after a big kickoff return for a TD, allow a kickoff return for a TD.  Untouched and made it look like the Raiders had eight guys on the field.

Our money guy, JaMarcus, looks lost again.  He badly underthrew Lelie in the end zone when the Raiders were actually driving, resulting in an interception.  And why can’t he hold onto the ball?  The most exciting thing about this guy so far in his career is what pimp-gear he’s going to be wearing after the game.

Did Ronald Curry actually catch a TD pass?  Shocking.  Formerly known as my favorite Raider player.

Bright side – I’ve totally turned around my opinion of Johnnie Lee Higgins.  I could do without his dancing in the end zone, but he is one of the few bright spots on the Raiders this year.  He looked absolutely horrible last season, but with the exception of a couple of questionable decisions like fielding a kickoff near the sideline and running out of bounds at the three, he’s looked promising.  Hope my opinion on JaMarcus is equally premature.

If JaMarcus fails as a QB, looks like he can’t be converted to a receiver because he can’t catch either.  Michael Bush threw him a softball that he dropped.

Why not make the embarassment complete?  Moss catches two touchdowns.  Now, LaMont Jordan runs 49 yards for a TD and is a few yards short of 100.  Oh and by the way….Jordan has a grand total of 128 yards all year.  49 points and still six minutes left.  They’re closing in on 300 yards rushing.  And don’t forget, this Patsy team is hobbled.  They even had to sign a LB out of retirement.

As if there’s any more reason to hate Mr. Personality, Bill Belicheat, the late challenge on a little 4 yard catch with his team ahead 49-20 and 2:33 left, just adds to the hate.  What a small man.

Why don’t the Raiders run McFadden outside more?  Why don’t they run more inventive plays off the “Wildcat” formation?  They seem to just run up the middle.

Patsies not only had almost 300 yards rushing, they averaged almost 8 yards per rush.

The Raiders are like the US auto industry.  They need a rescue desperately.  It’s a sad, sad state of affairs and this season can’t end soon enough.

Can You Handle The Truth?

Monday, December 8th, 2008

As each losing season passes, as each inept performance on display, as each embarrassment is televised nationally, as the great history of the Raiders is being tarnished week by week, Mike Lombardi’s words appear more true than ever…

I have heard the laughing, I have seen the dumb mistakes and I have been in that airport waiting for the plane ride home after getting my butt kicked in. And no one can imagine how bad that feels — not because of the losing but the fact there is no hope. Not one SINGLE ounce of hope — for tomorrow or next week, or next year. And two years from now, the same thing will happen unless “someone in the building” stops trying to coach and control the team. When I first started in football, I would study this man and learn as much as possible about football and the workings of a personnel department. I had great respect for him and always ignored the bad comments I might hear. When I worked for the 49ers, Bill Walsh told me “the most football I ever learned was (while) working for the Raiders,” and that prompted me to want to join them many years later. Much of what we tried to install in Cleveland in terms of the player personnel department came from ideas I stole from reading and talking to “someone in the building.” But that was then and this is now — and now he is more interested in preserving his legacy and having articles written about his greatness and what player he is making into the next great Raider than he is in winning….(read more)

Raider fans don’t particularly like the guy since he has seemingly been holding a grudge against the Raiders since he left the organization. He takes verbal pot shots at them every chance he gets, but I think he’s spot on here. And it’s very unfortunate.

I agree with a lot of other bloggers that are calling for a kind of boycott. Stop buying tickets to home games and stop buying merchandise. A message has to be sent to Al Davis. As if the continual losing hasn’t made enough of a mockery of the team’s famous slogans and made a light bulb go off in his head.

We should have all seen this coming with the whole Marcus Allen situation years ago. He took a classy guy, a hall of famer, a “great Raider” as he himself would say and benched him for completely egotistical purposes. The saddest thing was that Allen was needed on the field to win football games. Remember “Just Win, Baby”? He, of course, ended up burning the Raiders when he changed teams and joined their hated, divisional rivals.  I used to give Davis the benefit of the doubt there, thinking something happened behind closed doors that I wasn’t privy to. I truly believe now that it was a total power play and Allen was getting bigger than Davis, in Davis’ eyes.  His ego couldn’t take it.  The whole soap opera this year with the team and Lane Kiffin is similar in many respects.

So much for getting wiser with age.

Al – Please hire a General Manager, and (more importantly) go away and retire.

I guess Raider fans can take solace in that, even though losing, they have been losing in varied and interesting ways.  Like performance art.  Yes, interesting if not maddening.  Depressing, isn’t it?

Laughing Matters

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

I won’t even go into detail about the latest, miserable Raider performance – a blow out loss to San Diego, 34-7, which makes it 11 losses in a row to them.

Yet another statistic I never thought I’d see as a Raider fan.

The one statistic that really gets me thinking that I’ve somehow entered a strange, parallel universe where the once proud and mighty Raiders are lumped with the Detroits, Tampa Bays and Cincinnatis of the NFL world is the “6 straight seasons with 10 or more losses”.  I just never thought I’d see such consistent sucking from the one-time “winningest team in all professional sports”.

Lose one more (very likely) and they’ll be in a league of their own -  the only team in NFL history to have played 6 straight seasons with 11 or more losses.

If the Chiefs (1 win going in) loss at home wasn’t enough to show the Al Davis Kool-aid drinkers that the win at Denver was a fluke, this crushing loss at San Diego pretty much cemented it.  Mix in the fact that this was yet another nationally televised game where the Raiders laid an egg.  That’s another embarrassing streak – 10 prime time losses in a row, most not even close games.

Of much concern is what I read about jovial Raider players in the losing locker room after the game.  That infuriates me.  Here, I’m a simple fan and it seems I let losses affect me more than the actual players.  There’s something wrong there.  You’ve got to hate to lose.

While Nnamdi Asomugha was giving his grim “State of the Raiders” address Thursday night, there was laughter from across the locker room coming from the general area of the defensive line.

(Some of it is audible on NFL.com in the interview with Asomugha).

He was asked if there was enough frustration in the locker room considering the Raiders were coming off a 34-7 loss in prime time.

“I don’t know. You’re hearing a lot of laughing. You’re hearing a lot of the same thing after every game. I can’t go to each person. I know there are certain guys that are frustrated after every game, like (Derrick) Burgess, Gibril (Wilson), who came from a different team . . . Tommy Kelly.

“There’s guys that are frustrated every game, and you know that. I can’t pinpoint every single guy and get in their face and say, ‘You guys aren’t frustrated enough, and we got to do better.’ ”… more

After the game, I saw Kirk Morrison yucking it up with Ladainian Tomlinson and it bothered me.  I lost a little respect for Morrison, who I thought was one of the more upstanding and loyal Raiders.  And seeing that incident makes me believe the reports about the shiny, happy locker room.

Things must change…..again.

Dumbness Prevails

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

Seabass can runThere’s a lot of dumb in football. For example, how many times have you seen a dumb defensive player pick up an incomplete pass and run the other way with it (yes, I’m talking about you Rickey Brown)?  Or celebrate before crossing the goal line (calling Chris Johnson and DeSean Jackson).

You thought the fact that Donovan McNabb, who plays what is regarded as the smartest position in the NFL,  didn’t know that there could be a tie in the NFL was pretty darn dumb, right?  (I still can’t believe that one)

Well, Tom Cable may have trumped them all last weekend.  The Bay Area writers are having a field day with him, but rightfully so, for calling that ill-advised fake field goal Sunday against the lowly Chiefs.

Normally, I’m all for a little razzle dazzle to keep your opponent off balance.  The Raiders haven’t done enough of it these last several seasons.  But in this case, it was plain crazy.  Here’s why:

  • It was against an opponent the Raiders should beat straight up, without the need for trickery.
  • It was 4th and 10.  Not 4th and short, but a whopping ten yards.
  • The plan was for Janikowski to run the ten yards (plus the extra 7 yards or so behind the line of scrimmage) for the first down.  Yes, Janikowski.  The fat, Polish guy.  Probably, the slowest guy on the team.
  • Upside-downside.  There was much more risk than reward here.  Kick the field goal and you’re up three.  Fail and you give a weak opponent renewed confidence and decent field position.  The worst happened, of course, and that weak opponent took it the other way for six.  Instead of up by 3, the team with easily the most pathetic offense in football is down 7.  10 point swing.  Game over.
  • Did I mention this was against the sad sack Chiefs?  Why? Why? Why?

I really like Tom Cable.  Both for his mentality and the fact that he has a loyalty to this team, being a fan growing up, but that play alone was probably enough to relegate him back to assistant coach next year – I hope with the Raiders still.  Head Coach though?  I don’t think so, unless the Raiders hire a dynamic offensive coordinator and he’s more a teacher and figurehead.