Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Broncos to Shanahan: "You're Fired."

Ding Dong, the devil is dead.

So does this put another name into the Raider hat? I'll stop laughing just long enough to wonder whether this means Schottenheimer will come back to KC after all, just to keep the Raider hater quotient up in the AFC West.

It's about time with Shanahan, honestly. His non-Elway record is not good - one playoff win since Bucky retired. And Shanny just mentioned the other day that Slowik would be retained as defensive coordinator after a terrible defensive campaign. Guess not.

More firing news: Martz out.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Here We Go Again

As we always say about this time of year, now the real Raiders season begins.

Mort is reporting that the Raiders are pursuing talks with Kevin Gilbride, but that Cable has a "solid chance of retaining the post." I've never been much of a Gilbride fan, and still high from yesterday's stirring victory I am leaning in Cable's direction. Why?
  1. The O-line, relatively thin on talent, looks pretty good, particularly in the run game. If the Raiders move away from Cable my guess is it will be away from zone blocking, as well. That will be another start from scratch and might derail what has become a very positive transformation by Robert Gallery. If, as they say, it all starts up front, we'll be off to a slow start in 2009.
  2. JaMarcus is developing. I never would have guessed Cable could be the guy to guide JaMarcus towards his potential, but the results of the past several weeks seem to indicate that he is.
  3. The team's attitude. Just a few weeks ago, Cable looked like a lame duck, and the Raiders looked like they had mailed it in. Yet somehow, Cable kept the players disciplined, got them to believe, built up underperformers into contributors (JLH, Super Mario, Schilens, Chris Johnson), kept them fighting, called smart games, and rattled off two impressive season-ending wins.

As evidenced by the link at the beginning of this post, I've been wrong before in reading what Al Davis might want to do. But this year I'm thinking we keep Cable as leader, bring in a new defensive staff who can scheme against the run, and find an offensive coordinator who can get the most out of JaMarcus.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Per Glazer: Cable Sticks Around

In once capacity or another.

As Dan says, how does that make any sense other than he's the head Coach?

Happily Wrong

I'm very happy to be sitting here 0-for-3 with my humbug picks. Not a bad day. And I really don't care all that much who wins this AFC West showdown tonight.

Dennis O'Donnell is a Little Bitch

Well, okay. Mike Singletary is announced as the new, permanent head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

But that doesn't mean you have to cut away from Johnnie Lee Higgins doing the Rerun dance.

Johnnie Lee is saying, "I can't show you too much, cuz I might be on 'Dancing with the Stars Next Week."

But that doesn't mean O'Donnell has to give the "wrap it up" sign to his producers or whatever.

Go Dolphins

The Patriots are the 2nd team to win 11 games and miss the playoffs, ever.

Couldn't happen to a better team.

Kawakami the Kurmudgeon

He's not as impressed with the victory.

Phil Simms rips off Dan.

After Ronnie Brown throws an incomplete pass from the "wildcat" formation, Jim Nantz says, "That's the wind."

Phil Simms: "No, that's a running back trying throw a pass."

Even Lowell Cohn is Impressed; Jerry Mac Lays out Cable's Case.

USF MFA in Writing Professor and Santa Rosa Press-Democrat sports columnist/blogger writes some nice things about the Raiders and Tom Cable.

Jerry says Cable's our guy.

We're just happy enough in the afterglow of a rare two-game winning streak--and just drunk enough--to buy it.

5 Wins!

Cable is now 4-8, a better win percentage than Lance and Norv.

Should we keep him?

Do We Really Need Nmamdi?

Dan and I are sitting here watching (currently) the Jets-Dolphins game, discussing what to do now the Off-season is officially official.

And Dan says, "All of our players are emerging players. We only have three established players: Nmamdi, Lechler, and Burgess. And they all might leave."

So I say, "After today, do we really need Nmamdi?"

And then we laughed. Of course, we need Nmamdi. If I had to choose one of those three, it would be Nmamdi.

In fact, in order of guys I would keep: Nmamdi, Lechler, and then Burgess.

Rally Caps

Total score once the rally caps came on here in San Carlos?

Raiders - 17
Bucs - 0

We like it a lot.

Greyson Gunheim

Nice - Gunheim records the Raiders' first sack of the day and puts the nail in the Bucs' coffin. It was a coverage sack. Fitting, as the Raiders sans Nnamdi put together a brilliant pass defense to shut down Bryant and Gruden's aerial attack.

So the offseason has begun, but we'll spend more time celebrating this win and on the Jammy fur watch than we will beginning speculation over next year's coach. Johnny and I figure we'll see a silver - or maybe orangish - fur vest during the JaMarcus press briefing.

Finish It

1:09 remaining, with a 31-24 lead. Now is the time for Rob Ryan's defense to hold the line and close one out.

Schneider's crew did his job with a touchback. Now it's Ryan's turn to hold the Bucs under 80 yards. I'd like to see a heavy dose of 91 (the rook) and 56.

DO IT!

Suck it, Monte

Lance's dad can't get his team to tackle Michael Bush.

GRIND IT

We are running both Bush and the clock here in the fourth quarter. A lot of runs to the right side, but on this last one it was a cut-back behind Gallery who swept his man almost to the sideline. Cable has got to be loving this.

Now we have Bush taking a seat to injury, but come on...Fargas and McFadden are dying to get back in there.

But it's Bush who returns. Let's run the clock and cap it with a TD!

Suck it, Chucky, Part II

Rashard Baker INT.

Bucs challenge, and LOSE.

Lick Bush '08

Michael Bush just took it 67 yards.

To the mothergrabbin' hooose.

Suck it, Chucky

On Fourth and 4, the Bucs go for it.

Incomplete.

The Robot

Johnnie Lee got his six on a much needed drive to pull the Raiders to within 3. Now it's the defense's turn, but an inauspicious beginning as the Raider run defense looks like the Cowboys at the end of their game against the Ravens. Or pretty much like the Raider run defense at any time during the Rob Ryan administration. If I'm Jon Gruden I run on every down from here on out.

Unfortunately for the Bucs, it won't be with Cadillac Williams. He continues to go the way of General Motors with a very sad knee injury that has him being helped to the locker room.

The Robot

Johnnie Lee caps off a beautiful drive--helped out by a PI call on a nice pass down field by Michael Bush--with a TD catch.

Then he broke out the Robot.

Nugnuts

I'm going to go ahead and say that nobody, not even my brother, likes Chicken McNuggets as much as the people in those stupid ass commercials.

At least that one's not racist.

A Break, then Broken

Well, we thought we had new life after the personal foul, but then JaMarcus has a bad-JaMarcus moment and Piscatelli - is that the guy who walked-on to the Eagles in the '70's? - intercepts and returns it well into Raider territory. Only slight satisfaction from Piscatelli clutching his gut after Jammy slams him to the ground. And now the Bucs walk it into the end zone for a two-score lead.

Oh yeah, serious need for the rally caps now.

At Least we Know JaMarcus can Tackle

The wheels are bus are coming off.

Raiders give up 3

That's better than giving up 6.

We're rocking rally caps.

Don't Like This Drive

Too many good looks down the field for Garcia. Too little pass rush. Too many 3rd down conversions. We could really use a turnover right about now. Or at least a bit of "bend but don't break." Otherwise the Bucs look destined to make this one 21-14 early in the 4th quarter.

One For Unk

David Carr has thrown a touchdown pass for the New York Football Giants.

Tom Cable loses a Challenge



And then Goldmember goes over the top. 14-14.

Cable Hearts Bush

All of a sudden, Michael Bush is getting a lot of run.

Why?

As an aside, I think Brian Schneider, the special teams coach, is outstanding, and should be retained.

Parcells: WTF?

Per Bill Williamson, per Mort, Bill Parcells may leave Miami and one of the teams he's rumored to be considering joining is the Oakland Raiders.

I mean, wow.

Do We Know How to Win?

That will be the question in the second half. Jerry Mac likes to say that Rob Ryan's defenses usually give up scores when the opposing offenses really need them. And JaMarcus doesn't have a lot of experience placing the dagger and closing out games. The key likely will be the Raiders' ability to get the running game going. Would love to see Bush/Fargas/McFadden breaking off 8-yard runs and churning out the fourth quarter clock.

Even Rich Gannon is Saying Nice Things about JaMarcus Now

He looked great on that drive, with passes to Schillens and Miller, mixing in nice runs from Michael Bush.

Cap it off with a toss to Schillens on 3rd and Goal and the Raiders will go into the half up 14-7, as Chucky's boys get booed off the field.

Schilens!

I had my questions about clock management during the two-minute drill, but JaMarcus throws a dart to Unk's favorite, Chaz Schilens (~Scheline), and the Raiders score with 30 seconds to spare.

Interesting conversation going on between Fargas and McFadden on the sideline - lots of shaking heads. But even more interesting comments from Gannon, who is a Cable believer. I've got to say, with the way JaMarcus is playing, Cable is rising on my list...

14-7 at half!

Lots of Bush

Michael Bush doesn't want to be a fullback. Well, today he's not, and he's getting all sorts of work with Fargas and McFadden on the sideline. Have injuries hit the other backs? Or might we be putting together a Bush film portfolio to trade him this offseason?

Raiders are going to get the ball back for a 2-minute drill. Let's see it, JaMarcus.

Jeff Garcia: Smoke and a Pancake

Touchdown, Bucs on a Cadillac rush. But Jeff Garcia still looks like Goldmember.

Garcia on the Run

The Raider D is doing a pretty good job covering the Tampa wideouts, even with Nnamdi on the shelf. Some decent pressure on Garcia, but a patented jump-pass has the Bucs driving. Interesting stat: heard the other day that Garcia is the NFL's top rated passer when on the run. That, combined with a few decent runs by their backs, has Chuckie threatening.

Meanwhile, I'm sweating almost as much as the players thanks to some spicy burritos and bloody maries.

Touchdown Bush!

Everyone makes some plays on this drive: Raiders 7-0.

Live Blogging from San Carlos

I'm at Dan's, and Kristy has some awesome breakfast burritos going, while Dan tries to figure out how to make Bloody Marys based on his engineer buddy's intensely detailed specifications.

So far, the Raiders look good on Defense, even without Nmamdi. The Offense isn't looking as hot.

Al's not there, but Lance just might be.

Right now, the Raiders are threatening.

Dan's Humbug Picks

The offseason begins early for the Raiders this year - technically speaking, that is. We'll hardly have our breakfast burritos finished by the time the Raiders depart an 80-degree (!) field in Tampa. Of course, we've been lamenting another early end to our season for a good eight weeks by now, but at least we get one more opportunity to see if JaMarcus can play.

Interestingly, the Raiders' two leaders - Al Davis and Nnamdi Asomugha - have gotten their offseasons started even earlier. It is said that Al is not dead, he's just injured and plotting implementation of his ambitious offseason plan. Unfortunately, Nnamdi may be plotting his ambitious offseason plan as well.

Per the headline, I'm setting low expectations for our LIVE BLOG EVENT today.

Oakland at Tampa Bay - this is the way the Raiders have done it all year: win a game they were expected to lose. Look good doing it. Lots of promise from a few well-placed, emerging stars. "They are finally turning the corner." Then lay an ugly egg that starts the Raider fan suicide watch anew. Road games, particularly late in the season, have been hideous. So as much as I'd love to say that the team is coming around, playing with heart, needs to take something positive into the offseason...instead I'll bet with the money and say the Raiders fall on their faces in front of Gannon, Gruden, Kiffin, and NOT Al Davis, 34-9.

Washington at San Francisco - as Sllaacs says, the Bay Area teams are better at the end of the season than they were at the beginning. But the Forty-Niners looked rather poor falling way behind against the hapless Rams last week. Sure, they rallied to win on a near hail mary. But, fittingly, Jay Glazer is reporting at this very moment that a Singletary deal could be done today and that Martz is out. It would be incredibly York-esque for the 49ers to lose ugly at home and then look foolish making a big announcement to lock in the current coaching situation for next year. Washington 27-10.

Detroit at Green Bay - the Lions haven't won in Green Bay since 1991. I stopped subscribing to the, "They can't go 0-16!" theory after the Thanksgiving debacle. The Packers are a talented team. BUT...for some reason the Packers just don't know how to win football games. They even found a way to lose last week against the Bears, in a game they dominated in every way but the score. So I'm going to do it. Lions win, 27-26.

Denver at San Diego - who saw this coming? At some stage, I'm sure I predicted that San Diego would come back and win the AFC West, but not once they were 4-8 with the Broncos at 8-4 - or whatever it was. Well, here they are. As much as I love to see Shanahan squirm after ANOTHER failure (how many playoff wins without Elway?), I just can't stand that Philip Rivers guy. But at the risk of losing an opportunity for Norv to come back to Oakland and mentor JaMarcus, I'm picking San Diego, 31-21.

End of the Road for Bay Area Football - Again.

Niners fans and Raiders fans alike will once again watch other teams in the NFL playoffs this year, possibly living vicariously through former players and coaches who have escaped the dregs of the NFL...  Wait a minute...  No Al Davis today.  Wow...  Anyway, the Niners and Raiders entered the season with low expectations and basically played the first half right down to those expectations - then something happened...  More so on the San Francisco side, but I'll be damned if our two sorry-ass Bay Area NFL Franchises haven't both gotten better over the course of the year.  So I'll be the first one to say it for both teams:  Wait 'til Next Year.

As for Today:

Oakland Raiders @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

The Raiders are better than they were in the beginning of the season, but Tampa is going to roll all over Oakland.  Need I say Gruden + Garcia = Revenge against the Raiders for being disrespectful?  Everyone knows that.  Tampa over Oakland 23-6.  JASR finishes with shit numbers, but the kid may be O.K. for the future.

Washington Redskins @ San Francisco Forty-Niners:

The 'Skins are bringing a bad offense into S.F. stapled to blown early-season expectations.  Crazy how a team can go 7-4 in their conference and lose the division because they suck against the AFC, but that is the Washington steel-o this year.  I will go with S.F. at home, in a game that means much more to them than it does to Washington.   San Francisco over Washington 28-16.

Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers:

This is a pressure game, make no doubt about it.  Aaron Rodgers has been great this year, and if he can heal from his many injuries, he will be a strong QB for many years in the NFL.  If he loses this game today, or to be more exact: if his special teams and defense suck ass again, in this game of all games -  he will be remembered for fucking off the 0-16 quest the Lions have been on for the past 15 years.  Green Bay over Detroit 38-35.

Denver Broncos @ San Diego Chargers:

According to the Bay Area Media, this game has big implication for the Forty-Niners.  A San Diego loss means that Norv Turner will be fired and then hired by Niners as O.C.  The press here is awesome with speculation, from C.C. Sabathia to the Giants to Norv to the Niners.  Sllaacs picks Denver over the Chargers 28-10.


Sllaacs









Saturday, December 27, 2008

Reason #1076 to Hate the Denver Broncos: Matt Lepsis Played "High" on "Drugs"

Bill Williamson linked to a "must-read story" (sic) in his blog on Christmas Day about Matt Lepsis. Apparently, he liked to get "high" on "drugs" and then play football. I put the words "high" and "drugs" in quotation marks like that because neither the original article in the Colorado Springs Gazette nor Williamson's blog post specify exactly what "drugs" Lepsis was on, or exactly how "high" he was while playing.

So what, exactly, was Lepsis taking? He doesn't say, just that he liked to "party" and listen to Dave Matthews. He also says he never hit rock bottom but that he would get high as soon as he woke up and stay high all day long.

That sounds like weed to me. What a pussy. At least Ricky Williams came out and said, "Dude, I like to smoke pot." Brett Favre famously got himself addicted to pain killers, and Kerry Collins was an alcoholic. And the Cowboys like to snort coke and smoke crack, which, as everyone knows, are real Drugs.

I have a feeling that Matt wants people to be impressed that Jesus saved him from "Drugs," and he doesn't want the Bob Saget speech from Half Baked every time he gives his testimony.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Perspective

My good friend Charity traveled back from visiting family in Michigan for Christmas and brought me a copy of the Detroit Free Press. On the front page of the sports section, columnist Michael Rosenberg is busily tracking the Lions' "Road to XVI" losses. His only partly sarcastic Christmas installment? "Oh, for the glory days of Fontes."

Ouch.

Thankfully, the Raider glory days were actually glorious - and some of them occurred recently enough to remember. In recent years, things often have been more spectacularly bad, but at least there are seemingly promising moments to give us false hope. One such moment came this past Sunday during perhaps the Raiders' finest effort of the 2008 season.

There are poetic possibilities this week. Back-to-back wins to head into the offseason. A changing of the guard with young team leaders emerging all over the offense. JaMarcus figuratively stepping up in the pocket to begin to avoid the oncoming rush of "bust" tags. Gruden. Kiffin. Memories of Super Bowl XXXVII.

Despite being probably the only NFL franchise with a team poem, the Raiders have offered anything but poetic results in recent years. Odds are, the Houston game was nothing but another head fake from a team still looking for its nadir.

But at least Sunday's game is worth watching, and Johnny and I plan to give it the live blog treatment. As a Christmas present, Jerry does nice job of outlining the positives with today's Raiders. I think the Gallery comment was about the nicest to read.

It could be worse.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Bill Williamson Sucks

I guess there aren't any Mike Shanahan press conferences to transcribe, because Bill Williamson is out with a post in which he names my least favorite player in the conference--Philip Rivers--the AFC West Player of the Week.

I really, really hate Philip Rivers and his big, sassy mouth.

Besides, everyone knows that Johnnie Lee Higgins should have been the Player of the Week, if only for his dance moves.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

CLOAK 500: Raiders, 49ers Win; Bubba Malaysia Loses.

Bubba Malaysia is my fantasy football team. They've lost in the championship--as of today--four out of the last five years.

I would like to thank Lane Kiffin, Al Davis, Tom Cable, John Herrera, Tim Kawakami, Lowell Cohn, JaMarcus Russell, Nmamdi Asomugha, Sebastian Janikowski, Sllaacs, Dan, Barack Obama, John McCain, Lance Kiffin, and Facebook for giving us so much to write about this year on the CLOAK OF IMMORTALITY.

Real Football

The only barf this week is over my fantasy team, as the Raiders win in commanding fashion and the Forty-Niners pull it out against their main rival.

JaMarcus looked like a real quarterback, and it reminds you that while he is in danger of being a bust, he isn't there yet. I started to wonder about his work ethic, not to mention his sanity as he pointed towards all the "positives" he took from the Patriots debacle. But today's effort is worth something. The Raiders of late are always criticized for mailing it in late in the season, and with Cable appearing to be a lame duck, this is prime mail-it-in time. Instead, JaMarcus had perhaps his finest performance of the season. And - another day, another lush Jammy fur. Today it's brown and looks like a real animal. He's single-handedly taking down the Coliseum's PETA ranking.

And Johnnie Lee...oh, Johnnie Lee. I've been pretty hard on JLH, but justifiably so. Today he was terrific, and even his post-game interview on CBS was endearing. He explained one of his terrible dances as an attempt at "The Carlton from Fresh Prince." His analogy for how it felt getting to the end zone was like an antelope outrunning the cheetahs. Ok, let's keep him. At least for now.

Done with Real Football

Having no control over the Raiders and even the Packers is extraordinarily frustrating and unrewarding. I do, however, have some control over my fantasy football team, and today, like Johnny, I'm in my league's championship game. So this week I will annoyingly put my picks in the context of my fantasy matchup with Alex the Hardworking Immigrant.
  • Texans over Raiders - Andre Johnson will continue to carry my team (pro bowler Nnamdi won't cover him every down), but Alex will get good production out of DMC thanks to installation of the Darren Ratio. Zach Miller will finally get into the end zone for me and validate my coaching move to bench Shockey in his favor.
  • Forty-Niners over Rams - that we are in the championship game should tell you we have no players involved in this one.
  • Bears over Packers - the inconsistent Packers D will have a down day today for poor Alex.
  • Giants over Carolina - weird. We don't have any of these guys.

Strangely, the most critical game of the day will be NO-DET, with Drew Brees and Kevin Smith on my side taking on Pierre Thomas on his. I do not happen to believe that this will be Detroit's first win of the season. We will also be watching San Diego. I'd like to see LT finally come through when it counts the most, while Rivers - possibly the most unlikable player in the NFL who isn't in jail at the moment - and Gates take it easy today. Maybe Norv will come back to Oakland next year as Raiders QB coach?

El Pick-o's para la Semana

San Francisco @ St. Louis:

The Niners play the horrible Lambs today. This is a measuring stick game for the Niners, if they lose. A win is actuall a should have for San Franciso. The Niners will beat the Rams 35-10, in an ugly, boring, blow-out.

Houston @ Oakland:

Can't see the Raiders winning this one, especially with the way they tried so hard to find bright spots in the their ass-kicking last week against the Patsy's. The Raiders are done. JASR and McFadden will look for numbers to round out this season and judge themselves after the nightmare is over. The Texans will beat Oakland, 24-13.

Green Bay @ Chicago: (Monday Night)

What a letdown in Wisconsin the Pack must be this year. The Defense was inconsistent all season, despite the overall strong play from Rodgers, and in the end that is what doomed them this year. Bears beat the Packers 28-17.

I would have picked Baltimore to go into Dallas and roll the 'Boys, but they already did it yesterday. So I guess I'll pick the Carolina @ N.Y. Giants game. Two teams with great records in a showdown with Home Field Advantage on the line. Hell, the NFL even moved this game to later in the day, to officially stamp it a "BIG GAME". Okay, upset: Carolina over the Giants in the Meadowlands 24-20.


P.S. If you want to read about a Bay Area Professional Sports Franchise that is handling business this year, click here. I remember when the Niners were like that.

P.P.S. J-Craw dropped 50 on the Bobcats last night. And in case any Warriors fans didn't notice: Second year forward Brandan Wright and Rookie forward Anthony Randolph are getting Tyrone Hill'd by Don Nelson this year. Nellie has also introduced the first "Defensive Coordinator" position in the NBA.

Sllaacs

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Raiders 2, 49ers 1

Suck it, Niners fans. We got more Pro Bowlers than you did.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Talent Leakage Fallacy

Borrowing a mechanism from Lowell Cohn...

The problem with the Raiders is illustrated by the players who leave. Just not the way most people think.

With Randy Moss and LaMont Jordan scoring touchdowns in the latest Oakland Raiders Debacle (do we need to go to ORDeal in place of BARFF given the Niners' recent respectability?), it has been all too easy to suggest that the Raiders are so inept that they let talent walk out the door. A much bigger problem is the opposite one: holding onto marginal players for far too long. And that so few ex-Raiders go on to enjoy success - and those that do, do so not as leaders - seems an indictment of the talent acquisition process.

The case of Moss is unique. A quintessential Raiders-of-late team captain, loaded with talent and completely lacking discipline and heart and any other leadership quality. Trading him was the right move. Had he been retained, why would the latter years have been any more productive than the first? His stench would have rotted away any promise of rebuilding with Kiffin before it ever began. Nnamdi summed it up while recapping the game with Raj Mathai: "He never played like that for us when he was here."

LaMont as an ex-Raider has done nothing beyond the one revenge run in garbage time on Sunday. How often do you see Jerry Porter on NFL Total Access? Barry Sims I did see, although he was getting blown away by Joey Porter en route to a sack of Shawn Hill. Fabian Washington? Not terrible, I guess. Kevin Boothe? Plays some, but never fit Cable's system. Tyler Brayton? Watching Trevor Scott this year just reinforces the disappointment Brayton was year after year with the Raiders.

Sure, Charles Woodson has been fine. But the Raiders kept even him far too long given their circumstances. Two years of Franchise money at approximately six-games-per-year. The Packers took a huge gamble (or knew something about his motivation level) signing him at such a cost when he hadn't played a full season in years.

Who am I forgetting? Kerry Collins? Right, he's a guy you can plug into a very good team and be successful. Dominic Rhodes? Ditto.

The fact is, the Raiders don't let very much real talent get away. Even this year may not be the exodus one might expect, although only so many franchise tags are available.

Unfortunately, the Raiders' problem is systemic and organizational and not fixed through talent alone. Talent that plugs in or shines in a good system simply is not good enough. Yes, they need to go find more talent - OT and WR in particular - but absent a talent that is also a world class leader the likes of Rich Gannon, talent is not going to make things any better.

As I write this, an NFL Network ad just came on featuring Eric Mangini saying, "The most important thing you can do is to build your team based on players that are intrinsically motivated." That's building a culture, and the Raiders have a destructive one that is destroying any talent they do have.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Oakland Raiders are Awesome

Can you think of a better word than "awesome" to describe just how much the Raiders suck? Six straight seasons of at least 11 losses.

No other team has done that. Not Detroit. Not Tampa. Not Cincinnati.

The Oakland Raiders. Unbelievable.

Except I do believe it, because I've watched (or listened to) just about every one of those losses.

There's no hope.

Scott Ostler makes jokes. Lowell Cohn doesn't. But they make the same point: Dan is right. This team knows no nadir.

JaMarcus threw a couple of nice passes. But too often, he looked like a guy trying to throw his shoes at George W. Bush, missing wildly as he gets gang tackled.

We Know No Nadir

Watch and be horrified, Mr. Commissioner.

Dan's Picks

Speaking of LL Cool J, several weeks ago I dusted off the old radio, expecting not to be able to follow the Raiders the rest of the year without my radio. But through the magic of pricing, presales, packages, and possibly some sort of derivatives swaps, the Raiders game has once again sold out.

It's beginning to rain a bit around here. Given the Coliseum's below sea level elevation, the surface should slow down Moss today and give an advantage to the Raiders' run blocking offensive line. Ha - had you going there, didn't I? JaMarcus, Moss, Nnamdi...who cares. The Raiders will get crushed as expected, 34-12.


I must disagree with Sllaacs slightly, however. The Raiders don't necessarily always fold in big games. They fold in all sorts of games and sometimes they inexplicably win a pretty big game (e.g., at division leading Denver). They do seem to always fold when the game is nationally televised. While today does not qualify, Commissioner Goodell is in attendance. Why did Al invite him to a near certain debacle? To pitch him on the need for a new stadium? From a Raider fan perspective, we can only hope that Goodell sees the dysfunction first hand. Perhaps junior staffers will sneak "Help us!" notes to Goodell's team during the visit. Then, as the charade falls to pieces, the Commissioner will race down Hegenberger to OAK where Herrera will hunt him down and shoot him as he boards his plane.

Anyway, the Forty Niners could win this game in Miami, but I guess I just don't think they will. Miami this year is a shining example of how to rebuild a team quickly. San Francisco is more an example of how not to descend into a complete disaster via a mid-season coaching change. At least that's what they've been for two weeks now. Miami, 24-20.

Green Bay at Jacksonville. Man, I just keep picking the Packers. They aren't as bad as 5-8, I believe that. And Jacksonville has been at least an equal disaster this season. Maybe Charles Woodson's work ethic has finally rubbed off on the Packer D. They haven't been good. So the Pack will win a bit of a shootout, 31-28.

Drama and Disaster and Dallas all start with D. So does "Dan's Picks," come to think of it. And fittingly, so does Davis, as in the legendary Al, whom Jerry Jones has always described as a mentor and hero of sorts. Well, Jerry has built an Al-like disaster in Dallas. Reinstating Pacman Jones over and over sends the message that talent trumps discipline. Catering to TO destroys team chemistry in the quest for big plays. And the train seems to be going off the track while Wade Phillips struggles to maintain some semblance of control. Giants 24-14.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A word about JASR - And then the picks.

Now that the Main Stream Media have made the connection, I would like to reinforce my own stance on JaAlex SmiRussell - or JASR, for short. Sllaacs feels no satisfaction in this, only a slight vindication, for Alex Smith.

Alex Smith has been correctly labelled a BUST, but that label should have an asterisk, that says: "The San Francisco Forty-Niners totally messed up this kids' career, see 'Nolan, Mike' for further details."

The same can be said JASR - he is a victim of a crummy owner, coaching staff and team, and much like Alex Smith - he is no Archie Manning. He needs some semblance of a coaching staff and supporting cast on his team for him to succeed. There is nothing wrong with JASR physically; he can make all the plays, but he must be properly guided in how to be a QB. In the old days, JASR and Alex Smith would have sat the bench for at least one full season and carried a clipboard while a veteran QB showed him how it was done. The success of Peyton Manning and a few other great QB's coming right in and starting, along with media pressure due to the Number One Overall Pick status of both JaMarcus and Alex, led two weak ownership's to rush the young players into games, before any kind of team stability or structure had been achieved. When I see JASR, I just feel sad, and I feel a slight vindication for Alex, because the same thing that happened to him, has happened to JASR. Now, all the Raiders fans need is for Cable to call JASR a pussy and JASR to go into a game and injure himself further. Then he and Alex will be damn-near twins. The Ebony and Ivory Quarterbacks, underneath the heading: Ruined #1 Overall Picks by Bay Area NFL teams.

What should irk Raiders fans the most: Didn't Big Al take at least one look across the Bay over the last 4 years and get a smidgen of an idea of the horrible job Nolan and the Yorks were doing with Alex Smith? Guess not, since he's doing nearly the exact same thing with JASR. Or at least, allowing it to happen.

Picks:

San Franciso @ Miami:

The Dolphins are good. Better than Buffalo? Yes. Better than the Bretts? I don't know. Better than the Forty-Niners? The Mike Singletary-led Forty-Niners? Probably. But I am going to go with my squad this week, hoping not to jinx them. They went to New York and won, so I will pick the Forty-Niners to go into Florida now and come back with another win. San Francisco over the Dolphins 17-10.

New England @ Oakland:

The Raiders will lose this one. Why, you might ask, am I so sure? Because the Raiders are Blue Shit Water, that's why. But more than that, the Raider ALWAYS FOLD IN BIG GAMES. And this is a big game - for Randy Moss. He wants to come in and go off on the Raiders. And he will. Nmandi is quite the baller, and even if he does shut down Moss, Randy will be leaving with the win and the thought that success in the playoffs is a realistic goal. New England over the Raiders, 38-22.

Green Bay @ Jacksonville:

Who would have thought, after week 8 that the Niners would be challenging the Packers for "Better Record". Quite the tumble for the Cheese Heads. They went from: "We Need Favre!" to: "We got Rodgers!" to: "Who are we gonna draft next year?"  Expect the Packers to keep losing. The Jacksonville Jaguars will beat Green Bay 23-16, in a "Depresser".

N.Y. Giants @ Dallas:

This is the only compelling game of the week, in Sllaacs opinion. Should be a good game, with N.Y. having the shine slapped off their asses by McNabb and Co. and Pittsburgh callin' it a comeback against Dallas last week, even though they been here for years, rocking their peers, putting suckers in fear - making their tears rain down like a mon-soon... But I digress, (Go L.L, go L.L!). N.Y. will slap down Romo and T.O. Giants over Cowboys, 27-17.


"...don't ever compare me to rest who are all being sliced and diced..."

P.S.  You gotta love LL Cool J.  "Momma said knock you out", but she also said "Todd, take out the garbage."

Sllaacs



Open Wounds

Like a fool, this morning I sat in front of the NFL Network's replay of the Tuck Rule game as part of their NFL's Greatest Games series. With every sip of coffee and every carefully chosen comment spliced into the program, my blood pressure rose. Why don't I just get over this? Well, that's not how it works.

The NFL coverage follows the standard line. Terrible rule, but correctly applied.

Bullshit.

By rule, when Brady's left hand touches the ball, the act of tucking is complete. To overturn a call requires indisputable visual evidence. Such evidence does not exist. Not to mention the fact that Walt Coleman never invoked the Tuck Rule - or any approximation of it - in explaining the overturn. Obviously, someone in the NFL office pored over that rule book that night to prepare a defense when the controversy hit the next day. I can just see the intern racing through the office at 2 AM exclaiming, "I've got it! I've got it! Rule 3, Section 21, Article 2, Note 2!"

So now Randy Moss comes back to Oakland, returning to the site where he stole Al's money and spent a lot of time moping around instead of playing football. This one I've mostly gotten over. Is Randy Moss a big baby and the furthest thing from a leader? Sure. But during his stint he was merely the ultimate poster boy for a destructive culture that rewards raw talent, eschews discipline and does nothing to foster heart.

Charles Woodson used to shut down Moss with his physical play. If Nnamdi ever hopes to overtake Champ Baily in Pro Bowl voting, he'll do the same.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Jason Jones: Timmy still wants a job

Jason Jones provides a partial transcript of Tim Brown's appearance on Sirius this morning. He still wants to come and work for Al and try to help get the Raiders back on track. Jones is not exactly hot on the idea:

The problem is the fans, not the players would be the ones who would respect the decision.

Imagine JaMarcus Russell welcoming a chat with Brown after he accused him of having the "propensity" to gain weight.

When Brown won the Heisman in 1987, Darren McFadden was an infant.

Brown underestimates (sic) the impact he'd have on the locker room.

I think Jones means "overestimates" the impact Brown would have on the locker room, but anyway, I see his point. But I think Jones maybe underestimates the how important it is right now for the fans to respect any decision Mr. Davis or the Raiders make. Because lately, none of them have been very good. So maybe Timmy's not the answer. But there's a glaring question, and that is, "What the hell can be done to fix this debacle?"


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gannon on JaMarcus

Per Jerry Mac's Transcript of Rich's appearance this morning on Murph and Mac:

– “The thing that concerns me about (JaMarcus Russell), well a couple of things. First, his growth has been retarded some from the fact that he’s had three different play-callers this year in Lane Kiffin, Greg Knapp and now Tom Cable. I think that was a mistake. I think you can see obviously he’s fallen off in terms of his production and consistency.

“The other thing that concerns me is when the coach comes out and says that the guy needs to . . . come to work every day and do the work it takes to be successful. To me, that’s mind-boggling, how, in this day and age, whether it be a coordinator or a position coach or a head coach, wouldn’t demand that the guy come in on Tuesdays and do the work.

“And then to make the comment a couple of weeks ago, now we’re going to make him learn how to be a pro, well, what were they doing the first year and a half they had him?”

– “If your quarterback is not the hardest working guy in the building, you have a problem. I don’t know that he’s quite there yet, and that’s not a shot at him. I think you learn to do that, you learn to be that type of guy. If you’re not the first one in and the last to leave, as an owner, or as a head coach or as a play-caller, I’d be very concerned.”

I don't remember the comments about Jammy needing to "come to work every day and do the work it takes to be successful. Unless he's talking about missing the meeting with Collinsworth and the NFL Network.

I remember before Norv was fired thinking Gannon might make a good head coach. Kerry Collins had his best games with Gannon talking into his headset. Or maybe he could be that "bridge" that was talked, that I thought T. Brown might be good at.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Killion: Raiders Busting JaMarcus

Ann Killion has a good column today about the JaMarcus-is-a-bust talk that seems to be all the rage right now.

The consensus seems to favor Sllaacs' now-prescient JASR post from last month.

Holiday Toy Drive

You know how the Raiders always have U.S. Marines at the entrance to the Coliseum, collecting unwrapped toys for "Toys for Tots" program?

Well, the San Francisco Firefighters have taken this idea to a whole new level, and teamed up with the Gold Club and other fine establishments for a Holiday Toy Drive of their own.

So, to recap:

Raiders + Marine Corps Reserve = Toys for Tots.

SF Firefighters + Gold Club = Toys for Twats.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Detroit is Better than the Raiders, WTF?

Look, the CLOAK knows the Raiders suck. Okay? If you could see my iPhone right now, you'd see a poem of despair written in text messages between Dan and Me.

But some guy named Tim Parent wrote an article on the Bleacher Report arguing that the Detroit Lions, currently 0-13, are a better team than the Raiders.

He admits that while his argument is stupid, because the Raiders have 3 games to the Lions 0, that nevertheless you can deduce the Lions are the better because the gain more yards, score more points, and, well, let's let Mr. Parent tell it in his own words:

Let's put the numbers aside and level the playing field with the one game element that can not be calculated using statistics—heart. It's the one thing every NFL team must have in order for all of this to mean something. If you're missing that, don't even bother showing up.

This is where Detroit manhandles Oakland.

His evidence? Rudi Johnson's blog on the team website (which Parent neglects to link to, so I had to look it up myself), where it was transcribed, "But now, it’s like crunch time when we run out of options and run out of time now. So we have to make something happen like right now and teams aren’t letting us do that the easy way." Actually, Parent paraphrases this.

Look, as a Raiders fan, I'm embarrassed that the Raiders at the end of their 6th straight season with at least 10 losses. It's unacceptable that the team of Ken Stabler, Jim Otto, John Madden, Jim Plunket, Fred Belitnikoff, Howie Long, etc etc etc is now mentioned in the same breath with a team like the Detroit Lions, who have none of that history despite being almost 30 years older than the Raiders as a franchise.

But Parent's argument is just plain retarded.

Also, ask yourself, if, as the parent of a young child, you saw some asshole dressed like he's dressed, and doing what he's doing, on your child's playground.

I mean, it's not that complicated. I bet even Al Davis could figure that one out.

Monday, December 8, 2008

PETA: Hater of the Week

From the class act that brought you this ad comes the news that the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum is the second most vegetarian-friendly stadium in the NFL.

Assistant Head PETA Douchebag Dan Shannon made a pithy reference to the Raiders' recent on-field woes in his announcement, saying, "Raiders fans have enough to worry about-they don't need to be thinking about the clogged arteries and cruelty to animals that come with eating meat."

I don't know whether to be offended or glad that San Diego beat us to #1. Maybe PETA, whose members seem to have
never met a Mexican nor heard of lard, can put one of these billboards somewhere between Quallcom Stadium and the US/Mexico Border.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

John's Picks: Happy Anniversary.

As you may or may not know, December 7 is day that will live in infamy. Not because of that, but because that's the day, six years ago, that the Professor made an honest man of me.

So we're having a relaxing day as well. I realize I'm a little late with my picks, since two of the games have started already. As I type, the Giants just had a field goal blocked and trail Philly 3-0 in the 2nd quarter. Whatever, they will pull this out, 17-9.

The Packers should win. At home, in the snow. 21-17.

And if the Raiders beat the Jets in Overtime, the 49ers should almost certainly be able to win this game. But I've given up pretending to know anything about the BARFF this year. Jets win 28-17.

Dan's Picks on a Relaxing Sunday

Getting the debacle out of the way early this week sure makes for a pleasant Sunday.

The 49ers have clearly fallen behind the Raiders in the BARFF off this year. While I don't see them closing the gap this week, I also don't see them beating the Jets. Ah, good times. The last time Favre was at Candlestick (it was then called Monster Park and San Francisco was receiving money to offset its budgetary problems), I was there, Favre was good, the Packers won, and some bitter 49er fan got in my face in the parking lot asking how I could possibly root against the 49ers if I live here in the Bay Area. Jets 31-18.

When I first moved from Wisconsin to Houston I could not believe that I was still sweating and uncomfortable on Halloween. It is December. The Texans aren't that good and they are playing on the tundra of Lambeau. The Packers have been surprisingly average at home, but it's been snowing this week and it is 6 degrees at kickoff. Packers 30-21.

East coast media circus blah blah blah. Giants are good. Giants 27, Eagles 17.

Friday, December 5, 2008

It Could be Lot Worse

Now, This is a Nadir. Luckily, nobody currently on the Raiders can break tackles well enough to actually pull out his gun.

Rather than commenting on a bunch of posts...

So why did Nnamdi wear the socks? Yeah, this is sort of a "deck chairs on the Titanic" sort of thing, but when your team leader shows disregard for a basic rule I'm not sure it helps this whole undisciplined and laughing-in-the-losing-locker-room culture. I wish he would hold his teammates accountable. He's the only one with the stature to do so.

To Sllaacs' comment, I can't imagine the Raiders have reached their nadir if they haven't already. Next someone is sure to set fire to the Raider Port-a-Potty.

We always hear about how guys don't care enough. On defense, who are these guys? Nnamdi names Burgess, Wilson, and Kelly as guys who do care. That leaves Warren and Edwards on the D-line, all the LBs, and Johnson and Huff/Eugene in the defensive backfield. In my opinion you shouldn't need more than two leaders in a position group to pull the other guys up and make them accountable. So is Nnamdi's comment an indictment of Kirk Morrison and potentially Thomas Howard? They are two of the guys I see actually making plays out there. And if I'm reading too deeply into the comment, how many guys does it take to demand some accountability out of teammates?

Kawakami Rips off Sllaacs, Makes Me Physically Ill

Tim Kawakami has an extended blog post on the similarities between JaMarcus Russell and Alex Smith. About a month after Sllaacs started calling him JaAlex SmiRussell, or JASR for short.

What makes me so physically ill about the Kawakami post is that I'm terrified he might be right. And that's also why I'm endorsing the idea floated by Cam Inman in his column the other night. Sit him down until you have a coach who can work with him, and a line that can block for him, and some wide receivers who can catch the goddam ball.

Sllaacs Picks - Raiders will beat the Chargers, a Guaranteed, 100% lock

As I peruse the SF Chronicle this Friday morning and settle on the NLF schedule for this week, I will begin my picks with the Oakland Raiders:

The Silver and Black will visit San Diego and for some reason, I just get the feeling that Raiders will win this one, especially since they will be on National Television and they have as much pride as any team in the NFL.  They will Represent and show the World that even though their record sucks, they can play this here game of FOOTBALL...  
Wait a minute...  What's this?  They already played?  Last night?  
Well, I'm sure the Raiders must have won...  
No, they lost.  
Hmmmm...  I'd be surprised if they didn't play well...  
First Quarter:  Not good.  
Second Quarter:  JASR down, code 435, Pimp in Distress!  
Third Quarter:  Andrew Walter?  
Fourth Quarter:  Same ol' Same ol'.  
Damn, maybe I should change the headline.  

So that wraps up my Raiders pick.

N.Y. Jets @ San Franciso 49ers:

Gotta go with the Bretts here.  They have the fourth-ranked defense in the league and of course, Brett.  The only question will be whether the Niners will "look good" in this game, i.e., not in any way resembling the Oakland Raiders last night, yet still, ultimately taking a loss at home.
Let's say it goes to the Bretts, 33-23 over the Interim and the Forty-Niners.

Houston Texans @ Green Bay Packers:

Packers will  roll.  If they don't, it's because they suck.  Packers over Texans 38-16.

Philadelphia Eagles @ N.Y. Giants:

Good game to watch; McNabb, once again fighting critics vs. Media Frenzy over Plaxico's Boom-Stick.  I'm gonna go with McNabb on the road, against the Super Bowl Champions: Eagles upset the Giants 23-16.


In closing, I'd just like to add the obvious:  The Oakland Raiders are at their nadir. They have fallen like a dense turd dropping into the blue-water of a Port-a-Potty, with an all-too-noticeable splash upon impact, splattering everything in the area with layers upon layers of blue shit-water.  A sickening display, but that is how the Raiders and their fans should feel: like blue shit-water.  Or at least like they've been splattered with it.


Sllaacs


Nnamdi is Frustrated.

Permanent CLOAK man-crush Nnamdi Asomugha had nothing nice to say after last night's game, as related by Jerry Mac:
"We're not close, and it's clear that we're not close. We don't play good football, we don't play sound football, we've been undisciplined,'' Asomugha said, measuring every word. "We wonder why we don't get prime time games and this is why.

"We were on Monday night against Denver and we got blown out. Now we come here and we got blown out. You just wonder how many people care and how many people are upset . . . we were all over the place and it's stuff you guys don't even know. Just blown assignments, blown coverages . . . that's where we are right now. We're not close.''
The only guy I can remember speaking out like this after getting debacled is Tim Brown, during the Bugel Era. The Raiders managed to keep him, and go on a five-year run of respectability ending in three division titles and a Super Bowl appearance. I'm not hopeful that can be repeated.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Inman: Put JaMarcus on Ice

Cam Inman's post-game column on Jamarcus makes a lot of sense to me.

Figure this shit out, Al. Please.

Regarding McFadden

Darren McFadden took a lot of heat from the NFL Network announcers earlier in the night for not reaching up and behind himself to catch a poorly thrown Andrew Walter ball on 4th and 2 and defy both gravity and momentum while doing so. But I think if we check the stats we may find that he's had the most tackles tonight. He hunts down San Diego interceptors and explodes into them like Eddie Anderson in his prime. He even put a hit on a defensive back early in the game on a downfield block that drew an unfortunate unnecessary roughness penalty and took the Raiders out of FG position.

Maybe he should start playing both ways? I thought I saw Michael Huff at CB earlier, so we are - as always - in need of a free safety.

Pathetic

I have run out of words to convey the atrociousness that we must endure as Raider fans. Commonly heard tonight on NFL Network:
  • "Hapless"
  • "Punch line"
  • "Laughingstock"

Oh, what's the use. There were others, but like LenDale White, I don't care and I'm not paying attention.

I mean, Wow.

So JaMarcus throws an interception, and Zach Miller damn near gets Clifton'd, and JaMarcus leaves the field on a cart.

Good times. 

Just when I'm thinking of turning off the TV and doing something productive with my evening, Justin Miller takes it to the house. 


Entirely Logical

Who saw this coming? The Chargers blowing out the Raiders in San Diego? Wow.

My initial thought for my previous post was that an optimist might consider that the Raiders are playing to the level of their competition with a big win over division-leading Denver followed by a sloppy loss to cellar-dwelling (yes, somehow the Raiders are still ahead of the Chefs) Kansas City. Therefore, they might play an interesting game tonight. But the Raiders do not follow such paths of logic. Rather, they randomly (and quite infrequently) play a stellar game, then they lay an egg, then - instead of getting angry and focused and regrouping the next week - they get even worse.

Tonight, they are most certainly worse. We may in fact be exploring new lows. Well, I suppose we've been at rock bottom for years now, only this time it's (allegedly) in 3-D.

But...I wouldn't be the hopelessly hopeful Raider fan that I am if I didn't point out what would be truly illogical: a second half Raider comeback.

Other notes:
  • Kristy's comment upon seeing Charger fans on TV: "I guess I never really realized San Diego had fans."
  • Will Nnamdi be fined again for wearing black socks? I hope so, because every time he wears them the Raider secondary gets torched.

Logic does not apply

One might argue that logic doesn't apply much when picking NFL games these days, but it certainly does not apply to the two teams playing tonight. Just when we think the Raiders have stabilized and have a winnable game at home, they run the fat kicker toss (and do nothing else to overcome it) and lose to a team from Missouri. The Chargers, meanwhile, have offered as their encore to an AFC Championship appearance a 4-8 record in a very, very weak division.

So I too will avoid logic and will pick the Raiders to win, 26-24. I will also pick Raider fans to win the balance of the in-stadium brawls tonight, 31-15.

Fantasy side note: This season I selected LT with the first overall pick, and he dragged my team down to a 7-6 record. By some miracle of divisional organization, this record has earned me a first round playoff bye. I fear that tonight LT may torture me in both fantasy and reality terms.

Tonight's Game

You heard it here first: Tom Cable is rumored to be the leading candidate for the head coach opening at THE Ohio College of Clowning Arts.

Hopefully, they won't have to siphon cash from their tiny car fuel budget to pay him, the way Tennessee is having cut the heat off in their buildings to pay Lance.

I'm back to despairing the Raiders. Yes, I'm going to watch the game, but I don't plan on enjoying it. Norv's Chargers are probably going to roll us tonight, 27-3.

Can't wait to see Seabass lined up in the Wildcat.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Fat Kicker Toss: WTF?!

Here's a round-up of reactions to what will now be known as "Fat Kicker Toss:"

We'll start with Kawakami, since he's the one who coined "Fat Kicker Toss." He calls Cable an "amateur" and compares the interim coach's soon-to-be-brief tenure to the Gong Show.

Lowell Cohn: Nice knowing you, Coach.

Jerry Mac
: No excuse.

Ratto
: "I mean, in what universe does a play that relies on an 17-yard scamper by Janikowski make sense?"

Jason Jones: It wasn't the drunkenness; you saw that.

Gutierrrez: Silly? Dumb? Nah. It's the Raiders.

Peterson: Cable's mad, not a genius.

I'm sure there are more out there, but I'm kind of sick to my stomach after reading the above-linked pieces.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

This One's on Cable.

This game came down to two plays: the fake field goal and the 4th-and-3. You get 6 points out of those plays and the game is over. I mean, what a bunch of crap.

By the way, I hate the Raiders right now. Last week, I expected them to get blown out, and what happens? They put up a 31-10 beat down in Denver. I get all excited, thinking to myself, "Hey, they may have turned a corner. Let's get some."

But then they go out and lose to crappiest team not named "Detroit" or "St. Louis."

And now, once again, the Raiders are losers.

In Honor of Chris Johnson, #37

What is in a row is the two weeks he's been a baller. That INT just tied the game.

"Should be 9-3, coach."

That's the text message I got from Dan after the 4th and 3 overthrow. Between that and the inexplicable fake field goal, we're down 10-3. But Jammy and DMC are playing well, which has also been the subject of numerous text messages. If we can cut out the inclination to put too much mustard on on the hot dog, we'll be okay.

Sent from my iPhone

Dan's Picks - The Sweep

Sllaacs can be forgiven for thinking the Raiders lost to the Chiefs at Arrowhead this year. But it just feels like last week's win in Denver was the first of the year. Nancy Gay (predictably) said what's in the back of all Raider fans' minds about this home game against a team the Raiders destroyed earlier in the season that comes one week after their most complete and satisfying game of the year. But I say Cable keeps them focused and they avoid a "letdown." Raiders 31-20.

As it turns out, the Bills aren't as good as we thought they were. I could actually see the Niners beating them, but probably not in the cold Buffalo weather. Bills 27-21.

I'm not sure what's up with the Packers, and after dropping the Carolina defense (yes, this is a Fantasy Football statement) in disgust over their blowout at the hands of Atlanta, I'm shocked to learn that the Panthers are 8-3. Going with the Packers to win at home, 35-28.

And the Jets - wow. This season has to put Brett Favre over the top for the Hall of Fame. (Yes, that's a joke). Denver will lose 31-21 and keep the Raiders mathematically alive for the AFC West crown. I'd love to see someone win it at 7-9.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sllaacs Picks - 2 in a row for the Silver and Black!

The Kansas City Chiefs are garbage.  The only reason they beat Oakland in the first matchup this year is because the Raiders are cursed.  Tomorrow will be different, the Raiders will beat the hell out of the "Chefs", 35-17.  JASR throws for 200 and 2 TD's.

San Francisco will probably play a decent all around game against Buffalo, but let's be real here: Buffalo is the better team by far.  The Bills will beat the Forty-Niners 28-17.

Green Bay will beat Carolina by at least 14 points.  Let's go with the Packers 33-16 over the Panthers.

Favre will handle the Denver secondary without too much difficulty.  I will take the N.Y. Bretts over the Broncos and super-armed Jay Cutler, 24-13.

Sllaacs






 

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Hangover Picks

So, Lance gets a new job. Jerry breaks down the Tennessee rumors. That seems to me like a much higher profile position than I expected him to get. I was thinking more like a lower-tier Pac-10 job. Anyway, good luck with that, buddy. If you thought working with Al was weird, at least he doesn't have a Body Farm in Alameda. At least that we know of. By the way, Mary Roach wrote an excellent book called Stiff that gives the Body Farm its own chapter.

You know what? I'm feeling optimistic this week. I don't know if this has less to do with the Raiders thumping Denver last week or the fact the Chefs are really, really bad. But I think we win one this week, and match last year's win total a week earlier in the season. Raiders 34, Chiefs 17.

As my father in-law informed this evening at dinner, the Buffalo Bills have the biggest offensive line in the National Football League. "You know John, I got into an argument with that goddamned nephew of Adeline's, old Ron, when he tried to tell me Dallas had the biggest line in the league. I said, 'Bullshit, Ron. Buffalo's line averages 332." You know what, I looked that shit up, and he's right. 332.2, to be exact. Anyway, the 9ers pass rush is not that great. So Buffalo wins, 28-13.

The Packers got their asses whupped in New Orleans last Monday night. This week, at home against Carolina, I think they win. 24-19.

So, for the last game, I'm picking Denver to continue their suckage against the Jets this weekend. 48-14.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Happy 2009, Warriors Fans!

I saw this at Lucky's in Daly City this afternoon. I almost bought it
for Sllaacs.

John's Picks

I guess every day really is like Sunday.

I haven't blogged this week for a variety of factors: I was busy, it took a long time to recover from after my Lawyer's wedding, the hard drive on my Mac crashed and so I'm pretty much computerless around the house.

But most of all, I was just too depressed about the state of the Raiders to really get worked up.

Even the drama is gone now. Remember the week Lance was fired? The Raiders sucked, but they were interesting. Fascinating, even. Al came out of his cryogenic chamber and gave a press conference for the ages.

The 49ers sucked, too, but they were boring. Mike Nolan walked around in a suit and talked a good game but his teams turned the ball over and couldn't tackle anyone. Then he was fired, Mike Singletary was hired, and he dropped his drawers in a locker room at halftime, shit-housed JTO, and now they're most fascinating team of BARFF.

So Jim Fassel wants the job. Jim Harbaugh could have it if he wants it.

Meh.

Anyway, the picks:

The last time the Raiders won a football game in Denver, it was November 2004, in the snow. Earlier that year, I had gone to see the Broncos destroy us 31-3 in Oakland. Today it's just sunny and cool. While I think it will be closer than the Monday Night Debacle (see the parallel?) of 2008, the Broncos are still winning. I just hope it's close. I have no heart left to rip out. 28-10. (Although Jerry comes up with 10 reasons the Raiders can win. Sigh.)

The 49ers vs. Dallas. Dan, I enjoyed your description of the 1990s Cowboys dynasty. I read the first 30 pages or so of Jeff Pearlman's book, where Michael Irvin stabbed that dude in the neck. Crazy. Of all the things I've read about the Raiders teams when they were good, nobody ever stabbed another teammate with anything other than the occasional, accidental boner, when crossing swords. The 49ers (who coincidentally, and speaking of swordsmen, also employed Charles Haley), were much more disciplined and had much greater coaching continuity. But today, the Man who's #1 on the Professor's list will beat the 49ers in a thriller. 38-29.

As for the other games, I like GB on the road vs. NO. Gut feeling. 31-28.

The old Titans vs. the New Titans. Where are the Teen Titans when you need them? I bet Sllaacs knows. Anyway, Tennessee has to lose eventually; it might as well be today, in a low-scorer, 17-14.

Dan's Picks

Part of me really does want to pick the Raiders this week. McFadden and Burgess are back. Champ Bailey is out. The Denver weather is beautiful. Per Randy Cross, Tom Cable proclaimed this the best week of offensive practice all year, claiming not a single JaMarcus pass touched the ground. But I've been burned before. Broncos 27-20.

As for the front end of the BARFF double-header on local TV today, I suspect that the 49ers will run into a revitalized Dallas team who will win, 31-24. TO was featured on this morning's NFL Gameday Morning blaming all his troubles on Jason Garrett. That's always a sign things are headed in the right direction for a team. As Howie Long says, the last 13 Super Bowl champs all have one thing in common: No TO. All of that may not back up my pick but it does back up the relatively close score at Texas Stadium.

Ok, on to the good games. I am a big believer in looking at a team's record and trying to imagine seeing it printed the next week if they win or lose. Tennessee is 10-0. Maybe they could be 11-0. But then they play Detroit, Cleveland, and Houston. That would put them at 14-0. Unlikely. Jets will win, 29-25. Of course this means the Jets will be 8-3, but if you substitute "Favre" for "Jets," it becomes easier to believe.

And the Packers look like they awoke last week to see that they were below .500 and decided they were done losing for the year. New Orleans continues to surprise me with their ability to lose despite Drew Brees's gaudy fantasy stats. Green Bay wins this matchup, 35-21.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Was Shanahan Right?

I have long maintained that Mike Shanahan, with his beady eyes and small mouth that rarely moves, is closely related to Satan. He is well known for having taken over a talent laden (LA) Raiders club from legendary coach Tom Flores in 1988 and running it into the ground while trying to change a "Just Win Baby" culture that gave players the benefit of every doubt and bred a locker room completely lacking in self discipline. The culture clash was summed up by Howie Long's complaint that Shanny did not allow players to sit on their helmets on the sideline. When combined with a mediocre record this gave Al plenty of cause with which to fire him.

On Wednesday, Mike Shanahan showed a previously undisplayed ability to speak the truth when he said of CLOAK man-crush Nnamdi Asomugha, "He is the most underrated football player, to me, that I have ever been around. For people not to talk about him as the top corner in the NFL...to me, is a crime."

Cynicism set temporarily aside, Shanahan's ability to tell the truth opens a large can of worms and reminds me of a comment that a despondent Unk made when I visited him in Kingsburg in October:

"Maybe Shanahan was right."

Originally dismissed as the bitter ramblings of my Raider mentor still waiting for this team to show him some signs of competitiveness, perhaps it deserves consideration today. If in the face of the current housing meltdown we can question the validity of claiming a fundamental right for every American to own a home, surely we can question the Raider approach to player discipline in year six of an arguably worse meltdown of Raider football.

Fittingly, as I sat down to write this entry, my lovely wife was reminiscing over one of her favorite teams of all time, the notoriously undisciplined 1990's Dallas Cowboys. As the NFL Network show told stories of Michael Irvin missing the team flight to away games, I wondered how they managed to become so successful. Three reasons immediately leapt to mind:
  1. Talent (i.e., good personnel decisions)
  2. On-field leadership
  3. Coaching continuity

That we are only in year six rather than year twenty of a Raider meltdown is owed to a short, simultaneous visit by the above three points to Alameda in the late 1990's / early 2000's.

So was Shanahan right? I'm going to go out on a limb and say yes and no. Discipline certainly helps when every team is closely matched and looking for every edge to win each week. But discipline will never be a part of the Raider culture as long as Al Davis is alive. Therefore, we'll continue to pine for that uncommon combination of talent, on-field leadership, and coaching continuity that has eluded us these past six years. Two good offseason hires could go a long way towards making that a reality. (Read: Hope; also, Delusion).

As for this week's comments, do we believe that Shanny will avoid 21 tomorrow or do we worry that he's prepping to make a free agent run at Nnamdi? In a double entendre that only with him might I believe was intentional, Nnamdi said, "He’s lying. He’s coming for me."

Friday, November 21, 2008

NFL Picks from the Cloak

The Niners won. Gotta love that, especially with the Raiders dropping one in such painful fashion last Sunday. With Cable making all the calls on Offense, he is certainly giving Al Davis no reason to lift the "Interim" from his title at the end of the season, and more of a reason to give Cable the title of "Failed Interim".

San Francisco @ Dallas:

Dallas should, and will, win this game. Maybe San Fran puts up a good fight, but probably not. Dallas over the Forty-Niners 38 - 14.

Oakland @ Denver:

Shanahan loves these match-ups, and if Al Davis wants to keep stiffing Shanny over the money he stills owe him, then Shanny will just bury the hell out of the Raiders every time they meet, there is no exception here. Denver over the Raiders 24-7.

Green Bay @ New Orleans:

I gots to go with the Saints at home in this game. New Orleans over the Packers 28-17.

N.Y. Jets @ Tennessee:

Let's see Brett take his act to Tenny and hand the undefeated Titans a shit sandwich.
Jets over the Titans 27-24.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

John's Picks

Live from the Universal Hilton, with a hangover, I'm picking:

Raiders 3, Miami 37.

49ers 27, Rams 24.

Cowboys 19, Washington 26.

Packers 28, Bears 17.

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dan's Picks - Dead Money

Sadly, "dead money" is the only reason why Javon Walker's injury matters. And here I am in Denver, where the locals are feeling playoff-bound thanks in large part to the likes of Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal.

Mr. Optimism is also dead. I have that Art Shell feeling. Probably a topic for another time, but I am actually contemplating it being worse this year. During the Art Shell year, I just stopped watching because I knew it was hopeless. I'm approaching that point now, and it has become clear that Al Davis learned nothing from the Art Shell fiasco after all. When will he run out of excuses?

With that in mind, as our two "busts" return, Miami should handle a reeling Raiders team, 22-8. The year since the Raiders' last trip to Miami feels like ten. Good quote from our now second-best player: "I don't have any answers of why we suck right now." Maybe Baldinger can draw it up.

I'm with the 49ers this week, and only 85% because the State of Misery rivals the Bay Area BARFF-fest this year. And I guess by being out of town I've missed how Singletary went from being this year's Denny Green to one of the top five most beloved Bay Area sports figures. San Francisco, 20-9.

Despite last week's "Adrian Peterson is now a superstar so he can force the coach to take a dumb risk and go for it on fourth down then he fumbles and basically loses the game for them only to have them squeak out a win when the Packers kicker misses a makeable last second field goal and so everyone gushes over his stats anyway" Packers loss, I am picking with my heart again and going with the Pack over the Bears. My heart is 1-0 and my head is 0-1 this week after the Jets beat the Patriots, so let's go with it: 26-19 Packers.

Another classic rivalry: Dallas at Washington. My wife is 25% Cherokee and has been a Cowboys fan all her life. Tonight I went to dinner with her Grandad, who used to be a Tom Landry crony. But for entirely unrelated reasons I'm going to pick Dallas, 25-16.

All the talk of Pale Faces (incidentally, mine is a bit red today after golfing in the sun on a partially snow-covered course) reminded me that I've never actually seen Sllaacs's face, although I understand he looks something like a guy who argued against Obama on YouTube.

Perhaps someday we will see Sllaacs cheering on the Golden State Golden Eagles?