Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Out of the ER.

I'm out of the hospital, although you may not hear from me for a while because the Professor has me on strict bed rest until the infection in my gut is gone.

So check out this column by Lowell Cohn. It's really an amazing piece of writing. And that letter is straight up brutal. You can see Al read it here.

I got a text message from Dan, who is in Raleigh, saying that watching Al on TV in the bar, a part of him said to himself, "Fuck you, it's Al's team."

And I know what he means. It's like killing an ant with a sledge hammer.

What a Day

I'm traveling for work and headed to dinner, but with Johnny's ER visit, Lane's firing, Cable's hiring, Al calling Lane a liar in his press conference, Kiffin telling ESPN that he had to endure a lot of lies from the Raiders and that he's embarrassed for Al based on how he acted during the press conference...it's been a hell of a day.

As I type this I got a text from Johnny: "I'm out. Not appendix. Cable interim."

That's good news.

Makes Me Sick

So Lance is fired. Al will speak this afternoon. Meanwhile, I'm
blogging from the ER, which is a sign either of my commitment to
excellence or my insanity.

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, September 29, 2008

Congratulations, Jason Jones

He's a new father. That's awesome. And he's also still the funniest writer covering the Raiders:

"The new head coach could be selected by pulling a name from a hat with members of the coaching and public relations staffs eligible to replace Kiffin as long as he publicly states his loyalty to Davis and the organization."

Clayton: Al Interviews Lance's Replacements

Here we go again. Yawn.

What a dump truck organization.

Okay, Then.

So Lance is still employed, and not commenting on any conversations he may or may not have or have had with Al Davis.

Meanwhile, Lowell Cohn laid out the case why Kiffin should be fired: because he's not a good coach. He's a dead man walking.

Gary Peterson goes with the soft bigotry of low expectations, says Kiffin deserves to keep his job and finish turning this around.

Ratto handicaps the situation. Ostler calls Al a "Drama Queen."

Meanwhile, the Rams have shit-canned Scott Linehan and hired Jim Haslett as their coach. So somewhere, somebody did something.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Two Minutes of Walt Coleman.

Good old Walt Coleman is calling the Philly @ Chicago game. During an official review of whether or not a play was a forward pass or a fumble, we got this exchange from Al and John:

Al: Not to bring up the Immaculate Reception, John, but what do you think sticks in Al Davis' Craw worse, the Patriots or the Steelers?

John: Probably the Patriots, because it happened more recently.

This is paraphrased, obviously, but pretty close. I still hate that mother fucker. In fact, when I depose Al Davis and become the maximum ruler of the universe, Walt Coleman will replace Goldstein in the Two Minutes of Hate.

Well, That Happened.

After tying the game at 18, the Chargers got a field goal to make it 21-18. We went 4 and out, and then LaDanian took it to the house on 2nd down. So as the Professor changes the channel to watch her Mr. Jessica Simpson vs. Washington, I'm left feeling ambivalent.

On the one hand, we played really hard and really well. JaMarcus made some strides. Defense and special teams dominated at times. Let's just imagine that Fargas was available to play today. We put together some first downs, the defense isn't on the field for the entire 2nd half, and maybe this game turns out differently.

On the other hand, we lost. Again. 10th straight game we lost to San Diego. Kiffin is most likely going to be fired in the next 45 minutes, and the revolving door at the coaching position starts spinning again.

Who cares that this team is playing hard, and at times looked like a real, competitive NFL team today. No, what matters is that Lane Kiffin is Not the Guy Al Hired.

So good luck, James Lofton, or Rob Ryan, or Jim Fassel, or I don't know, fucking Goldie Hawn.


De Ja Vu All Over Again

It's the same thing every week. The wheels come off someway between the middle of the third quarter and the middle of the 4th quarter.

It's now 18-15, Chargers, after JaMarcus fumble. LaDanian ran it in from like the 15, his only real play from scrimmage all day. The defense is tired because we keep going three and out.

At some point, the Raiders will learn how to close out a game. Maybe it will happen today.

Maybe it won't. At least now, we have to come from behind instead of just waiting for the other team to catch up at the last second.

Halftime: 15-0 Raiders

There was a beautiful long ball over the middle to Miller for a TD. Cornell Green's holding penalties are Killing us, one nullifying a TD run by Bush.

Kiff sent Seabass out for a 76 yard field goal attempt as time expired.

That was funny.

Kalimba Edwards is dominating. So is the rest of the defense, even with Chris Johnson getting most of Nmamdi's time.

This is fun.

Heard from Dan, he's at the Fox Sports cafe at O'Hare. He got there just after the Miller TD.

5-0 Raiders after 1

We got a safety when LaDanian fumbled at the goal line and Philip Rivers recovered in his own end zone.

The white jerseys are still very, very weird. But the defense and special teams are playing lights out.

White is All Right!

Johnnie Lee continues to break off big returns, and JaMarcus connected with Javon on a couple of big pass plays to get down inside the nine, where the drive stalled.

But the early signs are encouraging.

Weird in White

So the Raiders are wearing White. At home. Sign of the apocalypse, or just more sign that the Raiders don't know what the hell they're doing?

I remember about 10 years or so ago, Tim Brown was doing his weekly, Tuesday night call-in show on the old Ticket 1050, and someone asked him why they didn't wear white at home in September when it was super hot. He said Al Davis wouldn't care if it was 150 degrees, the Raiders wear black at home.

But who knows, it's so crazy it just might work. Anything is possible at this point.

Who the Fuck is Randy Hanson? Also, John's Picks.

Good job by Dan and Sllaacs keeping up the blog while I've been out of action. I think all of the stupidity of the last week made me sick.

Anyway, so just what the Raiders the morning of a game with a division rival: More controversy. Some guy named Randy Hanson was suspended by Lance after the Monday Night Debacle of September 8 after he was overheard saying, "It's a good thing that Shanahan didn't have our players, or else he would have beaten us 1,000-0."

So now he's the latest assistant coach to come out and call Lance a liar, and what with all the injuries, I'll be shocked if we keep the game within 30 points today. The only inflection we're likely to see or hear is in Al's voice when he speaks to the media this week, if he was telling Corkran the truth. on thisAt least that will be interesting. Chargers win, 42-10.

Jerry has more on this, saying that Kiffin's big mistake was in not talking to Al before trying to fire Rob, etc, which is the same shit Shanny did 20 years ago when he tried to purge his staff of Art Shell and Tom Walsh. We all know how that ended up.

Again, I'm not saying Kiffin is the 2nd coming of Bill Walsh. He's clearly not. He's also probably a hypocrite, as Peterson argues so persuasively. But anyone who thinks he's the only, or even the main problem, is in denial. Deep, crushing, unhealthy denial.

The 49ers are playing pretty good football. It could be a shoot out in the dome. I like the 9ers, actually, 31-28.

I like Tampa over the Packers, in a squeaker, 17-14. Maybe even OT. Raiders fans will watch, wistfully, remembering what it was like to have a well-coached football team.

Jets-Cardinals. Maybe there's something to this trade speculation of Jerry's. I would trade every receiver who is not a rookie, and next years (likely Top-5) for Anquan Boldin. Do it NBA-style, so the cap numbers match. But that's just me. I'm weird, I want JaMarcus to be successful.

Oh. Cardinals win after they return 3 Favre INTs for six. I'd a double-bagged.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

An Inflection Point

We come to week 4 in approximately the position we feared. The Raiders are 1-2, Lane Kiffin is a dead man walking, injuries have decimated a wafer-thin lineup, and recent tormentors the San Diego Chargers come to town. Then we get a week off to perhaps fire our coach and wallow in the despair of another season that effectively comes to an end before the opening pitch of the World Series is thrown.

This is an odd rivalry, arguably more of a Southern California thing. Despite LaDainian Tomlinson having shredded the Raider defense throughout his career, I hadn't even bothered disliking him until I drafted him #1 overall in fantasy football this year and he single-handedly cost me victory each of the past two weeks, this past Monday from my bench/doghouse. But it is a rivalry, and circumstances are lining up for it to be a very difficult Sunday.

If the distractions, injuries, and high powered San Diego offense turn the Oakland crowd - who, admirably, sold out the stadium this week - into an angry mob by halftime, we know how the next week will go. Davis will fire Kiffin, James Lofton will step into his place, uncertainty for 2009 will reign, and our descent into utter chaos will accelerate.

But what if - bear with me here - they win?

Initially I considered that the resulting inflection point might be a turn towards respectability. Al would let Kiffin stay. Players would bond, rally, believe. A week off would heal wounds and prepare a Raiders team at .500 and second place in the AFC West for further growth.

I'm not so sure. The dysfunction in the organization that for many years Raiders fans like myself considered frustrating but ultimately not the point, is the point. A decades-old lack of structured leadership and accountability has devolved into a vacuum of chaos and distrust. Al has become more insular than ever. By his silence, the actions of his cronies, and insight from pretty much every writer to step near Alameda this year, it's clear that Al wants Kiffin gone. But can he fire him after a win over San Diego?

If he does not, one could argue that we will be just that much further away from beginning the healing process that we hope kicks off upon Kiffin's departure. But no coach hired by Al Davis under these - or likely any other - circumstances will have the authority or support to take on the wholesale organizational changes necessary to turn this around. Jason Cole from Yahoo!, previously infamous for his assertion that Al Davis began to regret his offseason spending spree, added more insight on Raider dysfunction in last week's column. It's a frightening read.

Organizational success is not a matter of throwing together a bunch of talent and hoping good things happen. It requires discipline, leadership, and an alignment of goals. I don't see any of that improving after a game against the Chargers.

Don't get me wrong, I'll be thrilled if the Raiders win. I want to believe. I'll take any win, any competitive outing, any hope.

But I sure did put LT in my starting lineup this week.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Floating Pick: Cardinals @ Jets

Yeah, forgot about that pick.  Okay, so I'll agree with Dan on this one - Favre is much like the great Bobby Humphies was in his heyday - hurt the guy and he throws for 400 yards.  I also agree with Dan that the Cardinals would look extremely out of place with a 3-1 record, (Not in my lifetime).    N.Y Jets win at Home over the Arizona Cardinals, 30-16.


Dan's Picks - Week 4

I am going to take this opportunity to choose which "random" game we should pick this week. The aim this year was to pick three set games - Raiders, 49ers, Packers - and one random game. So Sllaacs, you've got one more to pick.

I select the New York Jets to beat the Arizona Cardinals. Maybe Mikey will weigh in with some insight. I'll say Jets 27-21. Favre is questionable for the game, and we all know he plays best when hurt. Arizona seems decent this year, but I don't think they're ready to be 3-1. I can't visualize that appearing in the regular season standings. Plus, this is their second east coast game in a row and I know I'm not looking forward to going to the east coast for a second week in a row.

Saints over Forty-Niners. I couldn't agree more with Sllaacs - the Saints should win, flat out. 31-21.

Green Bay over Tampa Bay. Let's all remember to attend this game someday. Imagine thousands of relatively well-to-do retirees from Wisconsin who spent decades honing their tailgating skills in the harsh frozen tundra now unleashed in the warm sunshine to cook mounds of meat without having to worry about starting their mittens on fire. So anyway, not only do I like the Packers, but I also think they are a very good team, even without Al Harris' spleen. Griese's arm has got to be sore, and I'm sure the Packers are unhappy about the Cowboy game. Packers 30-17.

So now we come to my beloved Raiders. My poor, misguided, yet somehow decent on the field Raiders. I sure hate to say it, but the Chargers will win this game, 28-20. And this time I'm not just saying that for luck. The Buffalo collapse makes a lot more sense when you take into account Gerard Warren's and Nnamdi Asomugha's injuries. I've been extremely nervous about our DT situation ever since the Raiders cut everyone but Warren and two highly paid dudes who spent the majority of training camp trying to avoid Corey Stringer's fate. Regardless of what happens earlier, the Raiders won't be able to stop the run late in the game. And what happens earlier might not be pretty with Nnamdi unable to press. He broke his elbow and had to drop off the line late in the Buffalo game. It would be difficult for any team to replace one of the top 2 CBs in the league, but it is particularly difficult for the Raiders, who - perhaps in a tribute to the retiring Troy Brown - had two of their famously deep WR corps playing CB in practice this week.

At least I'll be on a plane.

Sllaacs Picks -Week 4

With no adieu:

Forty-Niners @ Saints:
The Saints should win, flat out.  The outcome of this game and how SF plays will give the Niners and their fans an idea of what we will have this year.  Everyone with common sense and decent football knowledge will pick New Orleans at Home in this game.  I will be a fan and pick the Niners over the Saints 35-27.

Green Bay @ Tampa Bay:
I will take Tampa at home.  Brian Griese.  I have always thought he was a good QB, now he will get another chance to prove it.  Tampa wins 20-13.

San Diego @ Oakland:
No such thing as a Home Field Advantage in Oakland.  San Diego will roll 45-10.  Oh, the agony.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sllaacs is Half Right.

Of course Lance Kiffin was not qualified to be more than an assistant coach.

And of course, Big Al has every right to fire Kiffin.

Those are not really relevant questions any more. The main questions, as articulated most recently by both Monte Poole and Lowell Cohn, are whether or not Al Davis still the physical and/or mental wherewithal to run a credible NFL franchise, and if not, can anyone do anything about it.

It's pretty clear he doesn't, and there's not a god damn thing any of us can do but watch and feel sick about it.

Jerry throws some gas on the fire for the "saps" by pointing out that Al Davis was in Alameda before noon today, contrary to Kawakami's assertion in a Deadspin interview that Al doesn't get to the compound before 4:30 in the afternoon.

It's pretty obvious that Kawakami was being ironic. I don't know if Jerry is just passionately pursuing the truth or throwing some red meat for the fanatics that post in his comments section.

Either way, the Raiders are screwed.

Lance Kiffin where are you? Cuz Lane is Lame

I don't get it Raider Fan, why are so many of you siding with Lane Kiffin in the current Big Al vs. Raider Personnel Saga? What has Kiffin done to garner any support whatsoever except to turn against his Boss and air his grievances to the press? Which players were the Raiders supposed to dump and then replace with better players? Where was/is Oakland going to get the better players that Lane Kiffin wanted/wants?

Kiffin had done nothing to even warrant more than an Assistant Coaching interview in the NFL before the Raiders took a chance - and got burned for it. Just the fact the Al thought he had hired Lance Kiffin could be seen as Al taking advice and offering a head coaching job to a college assistant he hadn't even heard of prior. And the kid couldn't wait to go to the press and say "I'm No Company Man! This Team Sucks, and its' Big Al's fault, for not cutting half of them and finding better players out of thin air, like Manna."

Every player in the NFL has world-class athleticism, otherwise they would not get drafted in the first place. Ultimately, coaching the talent is what matters most, otherwise you end up with a roster primarily made up of misfits and underachievers.

Last week's collapse was that of a team that reeks of bad coaching. Like stink on a asswipe. Kiffin's NFL resume speaks for itself: No Prior Experience. No Current Success.

So I say Al is well within his senses to fire this guy, who really has only one clear-cut asset: Relative Youth.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

That's Not Funny, Bill.

Just thinking out loud? Let's hope that's all it is, because this kind sick joke/speculation that Williamson came up with in between writing Denver Broncos press releases is exactly the kind of thing Al would do at this point.

I mean, Dan brought it up in comments, but I know he was joking.

Nancy Gay: Meltdown.

The most shocking thing she reports is that Al only has three advisors he listens to anymore: Knockout John Herrera, P.R. Manager Mike Taylor (helluva job this week, Mikey!), and Raiders general council Jeff Birren. Even Amy Trask is out, according to Nancy.

That's just ridiculous. I mean, even the Lions finally fired Matt Millen this morning. And we're stuck with Al and his three stooges. It makes a little sense, actually, since Al went to the same high school as Moe Howard.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Schefter: It's All Rumors

So now the Raiders tell Schefter that Lane's not fired. At least not until next week. But then again, maybe even then he won't be.

Or he might be fired. Or maybe not.

It reminds me of Christopher Walken as the Man with the Plan in Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead, where he tells Jimmy the Saint that his crew is getting Buckwheats. "Buckwheats, Jimmy." Or maybe not.

Either way it involves a shut-in weirdo insane person with way more power than sense.

Has Lane Kiffin Been Fired?

Per Mikey, in the comments, here's where we can find out.

The (Managing) General (Partner) in his Labyrinth

Lance called Kawakami to apologize for Herrera's meltdown. He also answered some questions, said he's still the coach, and that he thought they "were trying to have a professional news conference."


Elsewhere, Lowell Cohn sticks up for TK, and calls out Raiders fans who show up on their blogs and call them "girls" and "bitches" in the comments. I used to participated pretty heavily in the comments section of Jerry Mac's blog. But it got boring: either you're an Al Davis apologist who is too blind to see that he should be in a nursing home, wearing depends, and has no business whatsoever running a team, or you're a hater who doesn't recognize that the greatness of the Raiders is in it's Future, and that includes Al Davis, who already wears THE CLOAK OF IMMORTALITY.

I've spent time in both camps, actually. I kind of lean towards the "Al Must Go" variety now, but I also feel sorry for him. It's like reading The General in his Labyrinth, Gabriel García Márquez's novel about Simon Bolivar's last trip down the river, still fighting his old battles, paranoid, feverish, constipated. The "labyrinth" of the title is his own dementia. Can't you just see Mr. Davis roaming the halls of the Harbor Parkway with his walker, shouting at Pete Rozelle and Marcus Allen, or cursing Wayne Valley?

Adam Treu Breaks it Down.

Adam Treu sends a shout out to those of us obsessed with the glorious debacle that is the Oakland Raiders, gently urging us to back away from the ledge. (h/t Jerry.) Treu wants to ask ourselves these questions:
Have I wished the owner dead? Have I threatened to pummel Kiffin into a lifeless, bloody heap? Did I say if given the chance, I’d take a tube sock and a roll of nickels to Rob Ryan’s temple? Do I find myself surprised and/or disappointed by personal fouls and (alleged) DUI’s? Have I screamed at a player/fellow fan/family member/pet so violently I needed a Zoloft, a bourbon and my blankie?

I figured it would be fun to take them one by one:

Have I wished the owner dead? Yes. I'm not proud of it. I've also compared him to a woman in a persistent vegetative state.

Have I threatened to pummel Kiffin? No.

Tube Sock full of nickels to Ryan's temples? No, but that's a great image. And I wonder if it would work.

Surprised/disappointed by Personal Fouls/DUIs? No, and kind of. I think if you're surprised at these things from this group you're not really paying attention. Maybe that's the point.

Screamed at anyone so violently I need a Zoloft/bourbon/my blankie? I've screamed at the TV. And at a pet, but not because of the Raiders, but because they mess with skunks and/or are in general disgusting and disobedient.

But Treu's advice to find something else to love is well-taken. This is a freakshow. As Dan says, it's like learning to love the bomb in Dr. Strangelove. Let's blow it up.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Was Herrera Art Shell's "Fox in the Henhouse?"

There are a lot of good takes on what went on today. Kawakami, seen in the video almost getting punched by John Herrera. USF MFA in Writing professor Lowell Cohn (I know you'd never guess by reading this blog, but I'm a student in that program) has a good one, seeing as how he was being slandered by Herrera, too.

I first read about this, and saw the video, at Jason Jones' blog. But it was an earlier post by Jones that intrigued me more, where he wrote this:

There was some mention last week of a Raider employee handing out a copy of an article to writers that was critical of Kiffin.

You want to know why that's a big deal? Remember when Art Shell was mad a couple of years ago about a team employee undermining him? It's the same thing.

That was the Raider employee in question yelling "that's not true" when a question was asked referencing articles being passed out to writers.

So is he saying that Herrera was the infamous "Fox in the Henhouse?" I always thought he was talking about Lombardi. In fact, Bill Soliday wrote that Herrera was included on a list of people that Art was NOT talking about in November 2006. So maybe Art was bamboozled into thinking it was Lombardi (by the way, whoever it was doing the undermining, him and Tom Walsh deserved it; they were flat-out horrible) when really it was Herrera? Or does he just mean that it's the same type of deal: Instead of Lombardi leaking about Shell to the media, Herrera leaking dirt on Kiffin?

Either way, what's lost in all of this is Kiffin's answers in the press conference about whether or not he's quitting. I know Jerry wrote about it (while leaving out the fight; maybe he wasn't there, although Herrera seems to complain about him, too). Here's the quote:

“There’s no way I’m quitting, and that’s got nothing to do with money, at all,” Kiffin said. “That has to do with our players. I talked a lot of these players into coming here at some point - obviously, money has a lot to do with that - in free agency over the last two years. A lot of our coaches, I recruited them and their families to come here and build this thing together. So the last thing I’m ever gonna do is quit, the way that you guys are talking about quitting or even quit behind closed doors, as far as my energy or my passion towards getting this thing turned around.

“Because I believe we can turn this thing around. And there’s a lot of good things going the right direction, and I think we’re gonna turn it around.”

Watch the video. Tell me he's not sincere.

UPDATE: I swear, I was going to title a post "As the Raiders Turn" before Nancy did, only when I went to blog about the video, Dan was already all over it. Why would she say "a Raiders employee," when the video is everywhere, and everyone knows it's Herrera?

"I'm Embarrassing the Fact that You Don't Know How to Write a Column"

That's an actual quote from John Herrera while confronting Johnny's new favorite columnist in this remarkable exchange caught on film. I think we've moved beyond embarrassing by now. It's mortifying. The franchise is literally dying and rotting away, flailing out with clouded vision and misguided energy that only accelerates the process.

Let's see...bright side. Maybe that Herrera is embarrassed about having handed out the article? If you look closely in the background you can just make out the Hindenburg bursting into flames outside the press room window:

Glazer, Mort: Kiffin is Fired.

Jay Glazer got the scoop. Mort also heard that, but says the details aren't forthcoming. Glazer doesn't have many details, either, and notes that we heard the same thing last week.

Also, in the tradition of Bill Simmons, can we officially say that Al is rocking the Terri Schiavo face, and induct it into the Pantheon?

Al Davis.

Terri Schiavo.

I was probably going to hell anyway.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Oh, The Humanity!

Wow.  I predicted a Buffalo win just like most every else did, but who would have thought the Raiders could lose such a heart breaker. Did they choke?  Hell yes.  And much like the Hindenburg, the Oakland Raiders were cruising in for a textbook landing after a successful 12/16th of a flight and then...  Well we know what happened next.  Tell me after clicking that link, Raider Fan, that you don't see the parallels. 
The better team won, as they should have, but the method was just total madness.  I remember that with about 6 minutes left in the game, I was going to send Sousa a text saying "This one is over".  I decided, naw - why jinx the Raiders - then I went to the store to get a Niner Game Beer.  I came back and saw what I thought must have been a typo on the ticker.  

Holy shit man - it really must suck to be a Raiders fan.


AP: Kiffin Split Second Late on Shanahaning Bills.

They also refer to us as the "hard-luck and dysfunctional."

Anyway, is Kiffin gone or not?

I'll be watching NFL Network to see what Schefter hears.

What About Those Timeouts?

Dan's favorite broadcaster and Chester McGlockton (wearing Craig Sager's tie) were discussing why Kiffin didn't use one of the 2 timeouts he had before that last field goal.

And it's a good question, although not necessarily for the reasons they were talking about.

I thought at the very least he could have tried to pull a Shanahan.

Maybe Lance really has given up.


So we lost, 24-23 on a last-second field goal.

I'm not sure what is worse, the fact that we played so well for so long that I started to believe, or that we lost in such a familiar fashion, not being able to hold a lead.

I was so fired up that all through the fourth quarter, my brother, who claims to be a Raiders fan but doesn't know who Lance Kiffin is, was the object of my irritation because of his negative, hateristic attitude. He kept saying, "The wheels are coming off," and "Why can't we stop them?" and "It's over."

And he was right. Normally I'd say this was a moral victory, since the Bills were favored by 9 and playing at home and with all the controversy surrounding the team they had every reason to come in and get blown out.

DeAngelo Hall was continually victimized in the 4th quarter on underneath routes. Wilson's ejection didn't help, because it looked we were forced to play nickel the rest of the game.

But Johnny Lee's touchdown catch-and-run hook-up with JaMarcus was a thing of beauty, even including the taunting penalty he got that was nullified by an unnecessary roughness penalty.

So is Kiffin fired now? Who knows. I don't even care at this point. At one point when the Raiders were playing well and wining, they showed Al in his box and he looked like Terri Schiavo. So, whatever.

But for 2 hours and 59 minutes, I was enjoying the hell out this football game.

15-7, End of 3

DeAngelo picked off Edwards at the 12. McFadden to the 1 inch line, and then JaMarcus dove in for the TD. I don't know if this team has rallied around Kiffin, or if Rob Ryan feels cut loose to bring the Buddy Ryan pressure, but it's working.

So Far.

Halftime: 9-7 Raiders

We've forced two turnovers, with the Nmamdi forcing a fumble right before the half. The Bills got a touchdown after JaMarcus fumbled. He is tending to lock onto a receiver and go there no matter what. But still, other than the fumble, he's not playing terrible.

The defense is dominating, though. They're bringing pressure, forcing fumbles. It's pretty awesome to watch. This looks like a decent football team.

Wha? 6-0 Us After 1.

I don't know what's going on. Johnny Lee opened with a 68 yard kickoff return. Javon Walker caught two straight passes to open the game. The defense has two sacks, one by DeAngelo Hall.

Yes. Cornerback DeAngelo Hall, with Gibril Wilson, a Safety, blitzing with him.

Lane Kiffin was right, they need to blitz.

Answer to Dan's Question #3.

Troupe is inactive. The only thing he's blocking is someone's view.

Dan's Picks

Just finishing packing so I can take a nap before boarding a plane to Florida (for work) at 7 am. So I need to make this quick.

Packers win at home. What? Dallas hasn't won the Super Bowl?

49ers win as Detroit still has no clue what Martz was doing when he was there.

Buffalo wins, but not like one of the lowest days of my life when they won 51-3 in the AFC Championship game. I'm with Jerry. If this is another Jacksonville game from late last year, Kiffin's gone. I will be on a plane throughout the game, but I am interested in the following:

  1. Is JaMarcus making progress?
  2. Can we put pressure on a line anchored by Langston Walker?
  3. Will Ben Troupe really block so Miller can go catch passes and improve my fantasy team?
  4. Can we punch Nnamdi's ticket to Hawaii yet?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The George-Gannon Experience

All this Jeff George talk brings up an interesting point that might say a few things about the Raiders, but clearly points to what is important for a quarterback. Jeff George's practice sessions are the stuff of legend, but he put up gaudy stats on the field from time-to-time as well. In 1997, he threw 29 TDs vs. 9 INTs leading the Raiders to a 4-12 record. Soon after, they switched to Gannon and became part of the annual Super Bowl conversation.

Those "intangibles" of toughness, leadership, and decision-making obviously outweigh pinpoint passing. In the poisonous Raider atmosphere, it takes nearly superhuman leadership qualities to win regularly. Yes, we'll watch whether JaMarcus is just staring at Zach Miller now that Ben Troupe can stay in to block. Sure, we'll argue over how to normalize his stats against Curry's multiple drops and Javon's tender hammy. But will the offense be focused and scoring points in the 4th quarter? So far that is one of the only things they can do, and that's a good sign for JaMarcus.

Whitlock Hearts Jeff George

As a follow up, it's well know that Jason Whitlock has been carrying the torch for his high school sweetheart, former Raider Jeff George, for years. He even brings him up in the column I torched him for yesterday.

I wonder if he'd change his tune on JaMarcus after reading Jerry McDonald's blog posts from minicamp and training camp.

Final minicamp, Day 3:

The best practice passer I’ve ever seen remains Jeff George, and it’s not even close. (That includes Joe Montana and Steve Young).

But Russell is no George in terms of the way he carries himself. Both were laid back, but while George seemed as if he didn’t care, Russell’s vibe is of an earnest rookie who know he has a lot to learn and is intent on learning it.

Actually, Whitlock probably did read that post, after which he immediately drank the haterade on JaMarcus.

Training Camp, Day 2 (P.M. practice):

JaMarcus Russell put on a a display which rivaled the average days of Jeff George and the best days of Kerry Collins, two noted practice passers. George is the best practice passer I’ve ever seen. Admittedly, that’s a little like watching a Barry Bonds batting practice, but it’s at least comforting to know your quarterback can put the ball where it belongs on a consistent basis with no real pressure.

This one's a little more like it, though I guess it's still a backhanded compliment to Jeff George.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

Had a flashback reading this article about McAfee's naming rights expiring. When was 8 or so, I made my first trip to the coliseum to see an A's game. The raiders were not playing in Oakland at that time, having moved to Los Angeles, leaving me without a favorite football team. Here's what I remember: the game was against Cleveland. The Indians were up 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth when Rickey Henderson came up with a man on. He hit a walk-off bomb. He remains the greatest baseball player I've ever seen play in person.

Anyway, who should they sell the rights to? What company would appropriate right now?

How about Clorox Coliseum? They're based in Oakland, and after watching the Denver game I wanted to take a bath in bleach.

Taser Coliseum, since their products were used so effectively by OPD and Alameda Sherriffs pacifying the brawls during that same Monday Night Game?

The Law Offices of Mayor Joseph L. Alioto Coliseum? Al's lawyer. This should be the de facto name anyway, given the history of litigation since the Raiders came back.

Hater of the Week: Jason Whitlock

There's kind of been a moratorium on picking a Hater of the Week since the Monday Night Debacle against Denver, mainly because there's been so much to hate about the Raiders.

But in his 10 NFL Truths column, he writes:

1. Getting fired before the end of the season would be the best thing that could happen to Lane Kiffin.

He doesn't want to be anywhere near the scene of the crime when people start assigning blame for the JaMarcus Russell debacle. It blows my mind that Russell was the No. 1 pick in the draft two years ago. I've never seen any quarterback stare down one receiver the way Russell did in Oakland's victory over the Chiefs.

The JaMarcus Russell debacle? Really? If he was staring down one receiver, it's because we only have one receiver. I actually doubt we have that many. While I agree, somewhat, that getting fired would be the best thing to happen to Lance, it's not because JaMarcus didn't deserve to the be the #1 pick. He did, and he does.

Whitlock's FOX Sports colleague Kevin Hench has a funny line comparing Al Davis to Uncle Junior, though.

Rex Sets Us Back; John's Picks

Picked up an SF Weekly to read while I was having lunch today, and turned to the cover story about two homeless junkies who go to SF State. "Oh, this seems interesting," I said to myself and then opened to page 11 where there was a full page picture of Rex getting ready to cook up, holding his cell phone between his teeth. On his cell phone is a sticker: A Raiders shield.I'm starting to understand how the Cavemen feel every time they see a GEICO ad. First tigers, now junkies. I'm getting sick of how the media portrays us.Anyway, on to this weeks picks, courtesy of Sllaacs Brand HaterAde:I like the Cowboys as well. Just as an aside, punk ass DeSean Jackson cost me a bunch of fantasy points by throwing the ball away before he crossed the plane of the goal line the other night. Not because I have him, but because I have Donovan McNabb. Instead of a touchdown pass, McNabb handed the ball to Westbrook who got a rushing TD. Knock that shit off, DeSean. Cowboys win a close one, 31-28.I agree with Sllaacs that Detroit sucks balls, too. 49ers win 13-12, all defensive touchdowns and field goals.Ah, the Raiders. Who knows at this point. Bufalo is alledgedly pretty good, and our top two running backs are injured. So we lose, again, 36-14. Only Kiffin isn't fired; instead the Raiders pass out Nancy Gay's Monday column dissing Kiffin's playcalling to the media before Norv Turner's conference call.

P.S.: Mike Lombardi is on the BS Report today. They get into the Raiders situation about the 21 or 22 minute mark. Interesting tidbit: he blames the Tampa Blowout in Super Bowl XXXVII in part on only having 1 week between the championship round and the Super Bowl instead of the usual two. He also jokes that they would hope Al's players would get hurt so they could get them out of there and play the guys they wanted because it made them better. He also says Lance had no chance, because A.) he was a college CO-offensive coordinator with no NFL experience and B.) the Raiders are the weirdest organization in sports, and have been weird since Barrett went missing in TJ.

Sllaacs Picks - Week 3 - Aaron Rodgers Arm, John Kitna's Head, JaMarcus Russells' Arm and Head

So I took the arm of John Kitna over the arm of Aaron Rodgers.  Looked OK up until the fourth quarter.  So with info from that game last week filed away in the old Brain Box, I submit my picks: 

Dallas @ Green Bay.  I think the popular pick would be to take the Packers at home in this game, but I will take Dallas for the simple fact that they are the better team, and have the best receiver in the NFL - Terrell Owens.  30-17, Cowboys win.

Raiders @ Buffalo.  The Bills are 2-0 against bad teams (Seattle and Jacksonville), but their defense looked good in both games.  Despite the victory over the horrible Chiefs last week, and the wonderful distraction that is RAIDER MANAGEMENT, Oakland will get blown out in N.Y. to the tune of 28-12, Bills win. I think we can look for more Alex Smith-like numbers from J. Russell in this game, and more blame on the receivers.  

Let's just watch when, how and where JaMarcus delivers the ball on each pass attempt and ask ourselves how many Hall of Famers Brett Favre has thrown to over his career.  Here is a short list* of some of Favre's most notable receivers:


Antonio Freeman 57
Sterling Sharpe  41 
Donald Driver  36
Robert Brooks   32
Bubba Franks  29
Mark Chmura   16
Dorsey Levens   16
Greg Jennings 14
William Henderson 13
Keith Jackson   11
Edgar Bennett  10
Don Beebe 4
Mark Clayton 3
Andre Rison   1


In the end, it's all about the Quarterback.  David Carr has a career 59.7 completion pct. and led the NFL in 2006, before being relegated to the bench last year in Carolina - largely due to mobility "problems", read; shitty Offensive Lines.  Who was he throwing to when he was with the Texans?  Exactly.

Detroit @ San Francisco.  Here is one game the Niners SHOULD win, (Might be a long while before you read that type of statement regarding SF in this blog again).  The Lions gave up 34 points to the woeful Dirty Birds, then gave up 48 to the Pack, ( That latter game being blown out of proportion a bit since Kitna went nuts with the throwing of the picks).  Point is, Offensively or Defensively the Lions have a 50-year history of giving up points to opponents at a rate that stunts the hell out the teams' annual efforts for success.  Right now in Detroit, you already got receivers bitching about Martz being fired and the Lions running too much.  
No matter how often we bitch about the current state of our teams in the Bay Area, at least we're not living in Michigan.  In short; the Lions sucked, suck and will suck some more.  
Niners win, 35-17.

P.S. Heard a rumor on KNBR 680 AM (SF):  Kiffin won't be fired until the Raiders lose one.  So, this Monday, 6am Eastern Time?


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Right. Quarterback Play is the Problem with the Passing Game.

Bill Williamson has been eating retard sandwiches. In his blog post about what AFC West teams need to do to improve, he sites the Raiders' quarterback play.

Let's get this straight. JaMarcus Russell is not the reason the passing game sucks.

You want to point fingers? How about the receiving corps? I'm surprised Williamson missed this post by Jerry McDonald, since the Raiders coverage on his blog mainly consists of linking to Jerry's blog. Javon Walker may be the worst free agent signing since Barry Zito. Or how did he miss Jerry's subsequent post on JaMarcus' conference call, where he said that all he cares about is winning, and that if he had to hand it off 100 times, he'd hand it off 101.

I know he's not the only columnist I've read this week who made fun of the Raiders passing game, and pointed to QB play. But JaMarcus has not thrown and interception through two games. That's all Lance is asking, and since teams can load up on Zach Miller since Javon Walker can't get open, and Ron Curry couldn't catch a fucking cold. Get someone who can get open, and then catch the ball, and JaMarcus will get it there.

Keep Kiffin?

Jason Jones has a link on his page to keepkiffin.com, where you can sign a petition urging Al Davis to keep Lane Kiffin as the head coach.

I like the idea of the fans ensuring their voices are heard, and I'm not even necessarily opposed to boycotts to force Al to stop being an idiot. I'm just not sure that keeping Lance Kiffin is a cause worth fighting for.

I know he said the other day that he doesn't want to be here. But do you really think if Al called him into the office, put a 5-year, $15 Million contract extension in front of him with hiring/firing power and every thing he says he wants, that he'd sign it?

I don't. This well is poisoned. It's a tribute to Kiffin's personality that so many of these young players (I'm thinking specifically of Nmamdi and JaMarcus--as much as I love Kirk Morrison, he's the Baghdad Bob of the Raiders defense) have bought into his system, and played through the distractions last week. I know the Chiefs are garbage, but this team had every reason and excuse to show up and get blown out. The Norv Turner Raiders of 2005 might have. The Art Shell Raiders of 2006 definitely would have. These guys didn't. Still, after all of the ridiculousness of this past week, there's no way Lance can remain the coach of this team. At some point, the players will be forced to choose, and they will choose the side that signs their paychecks.

Williamson: Should Kiffin be Fired?

Bill Williamson is asking his readers to sound off in the comment section of his blog as to whether or not Lance Kiffin should be fired or not.

I tried to get in there, but I can't get the login to work right. Go ahead and blame it on user error, or whatever, but that's why I have a blog.

Of course Kiffin should be fired. It is no longer a question of whether or not he can coach. The Raiders don't want him. They are handing out copies of columns critical of their head coach. This can only undermine with the players, who should by now have absolutely no doubt that the coach is the lamest of ducks with no authority whatsoever.


Kawakami has an excellent column this morning, asking if Al and the Raiders will learn from this mistake.

It's important to remember that Lance Kiffin wasn't exactly qualified for this position when he got it. Everybody else, from Bernard Petrino to Mike Martz to Dan and I were interviewed for this job, and while not all of us were offered the job, we all took ourselves out of the running for various reasons. But once Lane got here, I thought he did a pretty good job of trying to change the culture of the locker room. And according to Steve Corkran on KNBR the other day, all of this started when Lane fired Rob Ryan in January. Ryan went upstairs to say "Peace Out" to Al, and Al said, "Let's not start sucking each other's dicks just quite yet, Lance doesn't have hiring and firing power." (These are not verbatim quotes. Listen to the podcast.) Al wrote up a letter of resignation, said "Sign it, you little punk." "Fire me."

Anyway, at this point, Lane has to go. He just has to be fired. The Raiders, instead of acting like a merely incompetent organization and just firing their coach, are passing around notes saying their coach is a bad kid. This is ridiculous. I don't even remember the Bengals doing shit like this. The Clippers never acted this way. The closest thing I can think of is the maybe the way Steinbrenner treated Dave Winfield by paying a mafia gambler for dirt on him. But he was a player.

Getting back to Kawakami's column, I think the answer to the question "Will Al/Raiders learn anything?" is no. Sadly, depressingly, hilariously, no.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Just Fire Him Already.

Lowell Cohn has a column about the Al/Lance feud. It goes over the PR people handing out the Kreidler column, and he says he thinks Nancy's case about firing Lance for insubordination is pretty spot on. My favorite part:

There’s an element of self-loathing in Davis’ campaign against Kiffin. This I believe. He hired Kiffin after a whirlwind courtship — four days or something. You’ve heard of mail-order brides. Kiffin was like a mail-order coach. Davis hardly knew Kiffin when he hired him and now he regrets the hire and wants to get out from under the financial obligation. It’s a mean little drama all around.

I don't know the Davis mind, but reading what's been going on this week, this makes a lot of sense to me. I mean, we are no longer the Dumbest Team in America. We are the Dumbest Team in the World.

This is even less competent than the Bush Administration. At least they'll actually FIRE a person before they start leaking ugly things about him, or distributing damaging press columns about her.

I Said Brad, Not Britney.

Jerry and David White both say that after the conference call with Dick Jauron and Trent Edwards, Raiders PR people provided the writers in attendance with a printout of Mark Kreidler's latest ESPN.com column ripping Kiffin. This is by far the weirdest, stupidest thing I've ever heard.

On the one hand, we've got a sassy-mouth, petulant coach who won't just shut up and coach. It's the Raiders you work for. We know you don't have any power over personnel or your coaching staff. We especially know it now, because you say it every time you get in front of a microphone. Maybe it's time to give it a rest.

On the other hand, when is the last time you saw an organization pass out a copy of a column that was critical of its head coach to the media that cover the organization? Has that ever happened in the history of any organization? Did the chairman of the board of Lehman Bros. pass out an article from Forbes saying that the CEO was doing a bad job?

For fuck's sake, just fire him.

Jason Jones has the quote of the day, though, courtesy of Kiffin:

On waking up Wednesday and not knowing if he's going to be the coach:

"How about when you go for a jog yesterday and you fell like it's paparazzi because the TV cameras are following you and they're asking you if you're still the coach of the Raiders. I felt like Brad Pitt. "

Ever think you'd be treated like Britney Spears:

"I said Brad, not Britney."

The problem is, this whole thing is starting to look just as ridiculous as Britney Spears.

Still in the Top 10

ESPN.com Page 2 has a ranking, 1-32, of all NFL Franchises since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970.

The Raiders come in at #6, just behind the Donkeys. Sllaacs Niners are #3 behind Dallas (1) and Pittsbugh (2). This is mostly because they were so dominant in the 70s and early-80s.

We crush dobolina's Packers, though, who come in at #14.

Per Dan: The Bridge is Over.

Kawakami Embraces the Hate

I've been enjoying Tim Kawakami lately. His Sunday blog item was the one the everyone was talking about on TV before and during the game. His post about how the more people hate him the more they read his every word had me cracking up.

I'm enjoying him so much, I've added his blog to the links list. He also has a follow-up post to Monte's column about Bruce Allen with some added details of his own. What he doesn't note is the irony of the rumor that Lance may end up in Syracuse if/when he's fired:

Al Davis, Syracuse alum.

Bridges to Nowhere

Monte Poole makes the case for a strong GM, if for nothing else to mediate between Al and other parts of the organization. Coming as it does after Treu's excellent blog item yesterday, we're getting a clearer picture of what goes on this decaying, once-great operation. It's worth revisiting, as Poole does, the collapse of the Gruden era. I wish that Lombardi would open up and really give a complete account of his experience there, instead of just making the occasional sarcastic remark about "The Hotel California."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Not Good

Jason Jones is saying Tommy Kelly was arrested for DUI. When it rains, it pours. Perhaps Kiffin can again point out that he doesn't have any control over personnel decisions or the defense.

Treu Insight

Today Adam Treu offers his take on the Kiffin situation on the National Football Post. It's a must read, and is a reminder that while Kiffin may be doing a splendid job sparring with Al Davis, ultimately the players - and the fans, I might add - are getting screwed. And if there was fire where there was smoke surrounding the Arkansas rumors, then Treu's "pit stop" comment rings especially true.

Great "Tom Brady's shiny white teeth" comment, to boot.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Speculation Nation

The only word on Kiffin's status that came out of Alameda today was from Kiffin himself, although you wouldn't know it from the Monday Q&A posted to raiders.com.

"He (Al, a.k.a. "the owner") has a decision to make. It does me no good to worry about it right now."

But after Corkran dropped the "He's not the guy I hired" report and Nancy added a little "He (Rob Ryan) took responsibility - Unlike the head coach" to the fire, we await the news.

Will he be fired by morning, Al having long ago made up his mind and finally satisfied that he has the goods to claim breach of contract? Will it be during the bye week, after two difficult games that might provide both football cause and an extra week to make the transition? Or will this morph into some crazy Al power trip whereby he figures he's taught Lance a lesson?

Corkran's next bit of insight is this: "He (Al, who else) isn't bound to anyone's timeline." Will he really fire Kiffin after a big win at Arrowhead? Did Ned Yost think he would be fired today?

Javon Walker is an Idiot.


You think it's funny, Javon? What I think is funny is the way you're stealing Al's money by not being able to play.

Gallo Yucks it Up

A couple of funny Raiders-related entries. I really like the Lance/Seabass drinking buddy caption.

Could be Worse, Part III

Jason Whitlock rips KC a new one. My favorite part:
"Why would a sane person pay $22 to park, $75 a ticket and fight the construction traffic to watch Carl Peterson and his flunkies build a football bridge to nowhere? You can put lipstick on a pig, and it’s still a five-year Super Bowl plan that’s 20 years past due." (h/t Williamson)
The only real problem I have is his blaming JaMarcus for the inadequacies of our passing game. It's not his fault. He did what he needed to do, which is not take a sack and not throw an INT. Our receivers are TERRIBLE. Name one good one. You can't. This WR Corps flat-out sucks.

Now, I know Al is probably going to fire Coach Sassy-Mouth tonight. That's too bad, but what are you going to do? Lance brought a lot of this on himself. But at least we've got McFadden, and Bush, and JaMarcus, and for this year (and most likely next), Nmamdi. In the right hands, that's a bridge to somewhere.

We just need those hands.

Jason Jones: Kiffin and Davis to Meet Tonight.

But he thinks Lance will skip it if he's just going to get fired. Maybe he figures he could be fired over the phone. He also hears it will be Lofton promoted to Head Coach.

At this point I just want him to get it over with. The major question is, what the hell was Al's rush? He could have fired Kiffin at any point in the past 10 months.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bay Area Football - Back on Top... For a week

Winning vicariously,  or by proxy,  is still a win.

No losers in the Bay Area today, as far as NFL Football games are concerned.  No losing records either - both teams, the Raiders and the 49ers are .500.  Let's enjoy it for now, and put aside the following facts and queries:

The Chiefs really, really suck, yet the Raiders only had 16 points with half the 4th quarter left and allowed the sorry Chiefs to cut that lead in half.  JaMarcus Russell totally stunk up the place, and by the way, what the hell is up with Herm Edwards?  Does he hate Damon Huard, or does he think Tyler Thigpen is actually a good Quarterback?

The Seahawks core of receivers were down to the 4th string, yet they still managed to score 30 on San Franciso's Defense.  The Seattle Defense sacked O'Sullivan 8 times.

Which brings me to a point: J.T. O'Sullivan has shown in two games what Alex Smith hadn't shown in 3 seasons - poise.  Is it talent, or coaching?

It's also nice to see that Mike Martz was finally able to show us Niner fans some GD Offense.

Darren McFadden looked good, but lets see how he's doing after 250 or so carries and Russell is having another shit day, and the Raiders are playing a decent squad, (Dec. 14th vs. New England - possible Playoff berth on the line?).  Just kidding about the possible Playoff berth, Raider Fan, I wouldn't get juiced about second place right now either, San Diego got royally screwed, so that 0-2 is of the bullshit variety.  Besides SD still gets to play the Raiders and the Chiefs two times each.  

Neither No-Cal team should get too excited by these wins, but it sure brings something we fans on both sides of the Bay need...

...  Hope.


Keep the Drama Coming.

We should be talking about Darren McFadden's coming out party and how badly we pummelled the Chiefs today.

Jerry McDonald has a must-read column about Kiffin's week and how he's unfazed by the questions of his job description, and how even after all the hullabaloo, the defense played some Kiffin ball, bringing blitzes and pressure all day.

Jason Jones writes in his wrap-up that he has a source telling him Kiffin would keep his job if they won today, but he still can't guess what will happen. He has a great quote from Nmamdi calling the talk "redundant," since he's had four head coaches in his six years. He's got to be the smartest player since Steve Young.

And then here comes Nancy Gay throwing a big bucket of gasoline on the fire. Apparently Rob Ryan will be the coach, maybe by the end of next week. The defensive staff has circled the wagons and wants Lance out of the building, pronto. And she predicts that Davis is going to give Lance a good assfucking, Shanahan-style, by citing insubordination and claiming breach of contract due to his sassy mouth. She also rounds out the Nmamdi quote; needless to say, he doesn't approve. Isn't that why he came to camp on time, because he liked the direction the club was headed?

"I think it would hurt us a lot. We're just starting to gel and starting to do things well, so I think that would kind of mess things up. I hope that's not the talk. Is it?"

Stay tuned...

Nothing beats being a Raiders fan, huh?

Dennis O'Donnell Is an Idiot

Yes, he's the voice of 49ers preseason football, and we all know how terrific preseason broadcasters are. But today's Fifth Quarter on CBS 5 was as moronic as it was annoying. And by the way, it spoiled a pretty nice piece of work by a slender Chester McGlockton.

At some point during the Raiders game, Tony Stewart made a smart move trying to pick up and advance a punt that had already been touched by a Chiefs player. On those sorts of plays, there is no downside - if he fumbles, the Raiders get to take the ball where it was first touched by the Chiefs anyway. Apparently Dennis O'Donnell doesn't know this, as he referred to that moment and the ensuing no-brainer referee overturn as the "turning point of the game." He went on to talk about "another lucky break" that the Raiders got when a Chiefs player punched the ball out of bounds at the end of a huge McFadden run.

He said a few more stupid things and plugged in all the requisite SF broadcaster Raider mocks, but mainly I'm annoyed that people don't know that rule and would suggest that the Raiders got a gift call from the refs. The Raiders don't get gift calls. The Broncos get gift calls.

Ah - I forgot in my original post to mention that O'Donnell also implied the Raiders were idiots for ever considering Fargas the starter ahead of McFadden. If he had watched the game, he would know Fargas looked a lot better than McFadden in the early going. McFadden started breaking off big runs once the defense wore down, and that was exactly the plan for McFadden as the #2 who gets as many carries as the #1. Probably a moot point now with Fargas injured, but give Crash Test some credit - he looked awesome until he got hurt.

Home Cookin' in Denver

Just when I had decided that I'm not mustering as much hate for Denver - despite last week's result - and that Philip Rivers is so unlikable that I am finally mustering some hate for San Diego, I find myself feeling sorry for our old pal Norv Turner based on a couple of homer calls in Denver that have Shanahan looking more like a rat than ever.

In the first quarter, Denver gets a fumble on a play that pretty clearly showed that Chambers was down. That set up the Broncos deep in San Diego territory for an early touchdown. Norv threw the challenge flag, of course, but after two minutes under the hood, Ed Hochuli returned to explain that the replay equipment was not working, so the play stands as called. Couldn't you call Dick Enberg, Ed?

That was a weird one, but the fourth quarter call was just a bad one. With goal to go from the 1 yard line and down by 7, Cutler dropped back and dropped the ball as he cocked his arm to throw. The ball flew backwards and hit the ground, prompting Hochuli to blow the whistle for an incompletion. So it was wrong on two counts, and upon review, Hochuli agreed that it was a fumble. Trouble is, he had blown his whistle, so Denver keeps the ball.

Of course the Broncos went on to score a TD two downs later and won the game on a "bold" (because it paid off) two-point conversion.


Ye of little faith...

I 'd like to point out that I was the lone person to pick the Raiders.

That being said, I still think Al Davis needs to die if the Raiders are ever going to succeed.

Not saying I want him to die, just think that he's what's wrong with the Raidahs.

Kiffin Mocked on CBS.

At halftime of the Jets/Pats game, they showed an interview of Kiffin after the game, where they asked him about the dissension this week. He looked less than pleased and said "We can't control that" and looked really sour.

The entire crew, led by Horse Face, laughed, with JB saying "He doesn't look like he wants to get in there," and Marino saying, "Why'd you ask him such a tough question?"


What is this Strange Sensation?

It's a positive feeling on a Sunday afternoon after a Raiders victory on the road in Kansas City.


The defense had pressure all day. The corners covered their receivers. There were a lot of offsides penalties, but they didn't seem to be consequential.

I'll probably be back to hating tomorrow; especially if Corkran's reportage is true.

But today?


It Never Comes Easy

I have heartburn and haven't even gotten the plate of nachos into the microwave. After 3 quarters I thought perhaps Raider fans just deserved a nice blowout win. Now the Chefs are driving and within one score.

And there it is! Kirk with the INT!

An observation: Kalimba Edwards looked good rushing the passer today. A lot of hurries, maybe even a half sack there on the last drive. What's Chris Clemons up to these days?

Another good sign: late in the first half I started asking myself, "Who started at LT?" It was only when Gannon praised him that I knew for sure it was Super Mario. Well done.

Now hold onto that ball, Michael...

We Have a Player: 13-0.

On a drive that started with a Keystone Cops sequence on the punt, McFadden dominated that drive.

They made it exciting, though, with fumbles by both McFadden and Bush.

But hey, the way he switched the ball from his right to his left hand on the 19 yard TD run was pretty tight.

Chief's Punter

Seriously, his name is like Jean Pierre DARSH.

No Hugs

So Huggy, Jr. pulls a groin, and that sucks. I mean, he's our third best player after Nmamdi and Shane Lechler.

But Burgess is playing like I haven't seen him in play in two years. That's exciting.

Our receivers suck. They suck ass. But hey, Just Win, Baby, right? 6-0 might hold up.

Actually, Good.

I admit it - while watching this defense I've been standing and clapping so hard my hands hurt. Sure, the Chefs have an awful offense and actually ran the option with one of their 17 QBs. But this is fun to watch. I guess it's the positive aspect to having a coach you love. The defense is playing inspired football.

Fargas looks incredible. Kiffin was right on that the guy is game ready.

Argh...fumble McFadden. It's not good that the score is only 6-0 given the start our defense has had.

Not Bad.

Especially considering that I was expecting KC to be 17 at this point, I'm impressed. Not quite hopeful, but impressed. The Branch INT was exciting, and we seem to be blitzing. The Offside penalties don't really bother me, because they show aggression. The fact that the Chiefs are acting like a D-III college team and mixing up their QBs is helping.

Now if the Offense can do something, we'll be in business.

You Wanna See Blitzing?

Looks like Rob Ryan has taken all the criticism to heart. Thomas Howard is blitzing like mad. Stuffed KC for one yard on a run blitz, had a big sack, and now a blitz led to an INT by Tyvon Branch.

Too bad Kiff's offense can't do a thing, and we have Gannon (man was he good for our team) on the color commentary to point out every last flaw in JaMarcus' game.

Johnny is obviously having some sort of conniption fit because I get a text from him every minute with some random assortment of letters. Kind of looks like KC's approach to the QB position today.

But the game-within-the-game is really interesting so far. Ryan-2, Kiffin-0.


The Raiders just took a 3-0 lead on a career-long 56-yarder from Sea Bass. They look so sloppy that Janikowski looks like Vinatieri in comparison. How many penalties already? How many times have two Raiders run into each other?

Must be because Al is coaching the defense.

Nmamdi Defers

Just heard the coin toss; Nmamdi called "tails" and won.

He deferred, so the Raiders will start on Defense. Ballsy?

Dan Picks Before Johnny Goes All Vince Young

Five picks in five minutes:

Seattle was surprisingly bad last week, which was very good for my fantasy defense. The 49ers were unsurprisingly bad last week. So I just need to pick the home team on this one. Seahawks 24-13.

Wow, a rust belt matchup. I'm saying the Steelers are better than expected, Browns worse, based on one week of action. Cleveland won't be able to run and they'll lose 28-17.

Packers at Detroit. Like dobolina, I know that Detroit always plays the Packers tough in Detroit, but it seems a lot of that had to do with Favre throwing 7 interceptions per game. Packers 34-24.

Dallas - Philly. Ooh, good game. Dallas does have an amazing stadium under construction. But they'll win because they are loaded. Cowboys 28-24.

So we come to the Raiders. It sure would be nice to see Kiffin fired after taking apart the Chiefs at Arrowhead. But I think with Brodie Croyle out of the game it eliminates two Nnamdi INTs for TDs, and the Chefs will win 27-20. Through all of the drama, at least we have locked up our best player and my favorite Raider to a long term contract. Oh, actually we didn't do that at all.

Corkran: It Might Not Matter.

This morning brings an article by Steve Corkran detailing the deterioration of the Davis-Kiffin relationship. He quotes sources saying that Kiffin is going to be fired, maybe tomorrow, no matter what happens, and that the reason is his taking the battle public. He'll be taking Mark Jackson with him.

Apparently, in August, Al Davis said, "He's not the guy I hired," in a conversation about Kiffin in mid-August. I wish that had come out then. The most damaging information is the line about how Kiffin has alienated everyone in the organization who doesn't "run, pass, or block," and the his "lone know ally is director of football development Mark Jackson."

So not even Knapp and Cable? Is it because they just don't care, because they know they'll be on Mora, Jr.'s staff in Seattle next year?

And Corkran is generous in the last line, attributing Davis' infamous introduction of "Lance" Kiffin at the hiring press conference to a subconscious realization that he "hired the wrong guy."

I think it's the reason he said, "He's not the guy I hired." He really thought he was hiring a guy named "Lance."

Anyway, good times. Should be an awesome game today.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Jerry Mac: Must Win for Kiffin.

Jerry lays out the case for Kiffin to win, and quick, or be fired. The detail about Monday's debacle taking place in front of the new investors is interesting. Check out this article from the East Bay Express on the future of the Coliseum. It names Troy Aikman as one of these silent investors. It also says the Raiders are stuck in this area, because as poorly as they've drawn at the gate, the Oakland Raiders is strong. Even Ignacio is Playing ball at this point.

Could be Worse, Part II

Ike jacked up Reliant Stadium, causing the Texans/Ravens game to be postponed even past Monday night. Five pieces out of nine from the retractable roof just flat-out disappeared.

My fantasy squad is impacted, because I have Andre Johnson at WR (he put up some nice numbers in my win last week) and Baltimore as my D. I had to replace Johnson with newly un-suspended Brandon Marshall, who hopefully will be picketed by MADD on Sunday.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Stabler = Hauenstein

So I've been reading Snake, Kenny Stabler's autobiography. There are a lot of really awesome quotes in this book, mostly about getting drunk and chasing trim, but I just read this and it reminded me of a certain family I know:

Gulf Shores is also a boatman's paradise, particularly if you like speed. You can run a speedboat flat-out on the Intracoastal Waterway because the barrier islands generally fend off the winds from the Gulf and leave the water mirror-smooth. A group of us, including my closest friend, Randall Watson, and I really got into boats. Just about every year we bought new boats with bigger motors, always going faster and faster.

I started with a sixteen-foot Checkmate and hung a 140 h.p. Mercury outboard on it. We all rerouted the fuel line on our boats and bolted an accelerator on the floor like a car's. We mounted the electric trim switches on the steering wheel, so that with a touch of we could tilt the motor to keep it parallel with the water's surface as the boat rose up on its tail. When it was opened up, the boat only had eighteen inches of its tail in the water. That made for maximum speeed and maximum danger if you were running into the wind. A sudden gust could throw you straight up into the air and knock you over. You had to hang in there on that ragged edge that all racers must straddle--the edge of total success and total disaster. I loved it.

I'll leave it to Dan and Mikey to tell us about straddling the edge of total success and total disaster. What I want to know is if they ever had Fred hang a 140 h.p. Mercury outboard on a Checkmate.

I know he has access to one.

Kiffin has a "Good working relationship" with Ryan.

Jason Jones listened to Lane on Sirius satellite radio today, where he said he and Ryan have a good working relationship, and said that with a win this week, people can start writing good stories next week.

While looking for a link to that, I found this on raiderfans.net. I don't know who Bruce is. But why would it take 4-6 to buy out Lane Kiffin? In case they go 4-1 in that time, and winning heals all wounds?

Could Be Worse.

At least we're not the Titans.

NFL Total Access.

NFL Total Access just showed the actual video of the Rob Ryan press conference. And it's much worse than it reads. Rich Eisen quipped that Ryan will be ready for a Coors Light commercial in a couple years, and used to segue into a "Greatest Hits" montage of coach press conference melt downs.

Bill Williamson is Not Paying Attention.

He writes, in his preview of this week's AFC West Games:

If the Raiders are beat handily by Kansas City, there will be trouble in Oakland.

Because right now? Everything's fine. Nothing to see here.

Kawakami Predicts.

Tim Kawakami of the Merc says Davis will fire Kiffin in the bye week, and Ryan will be gone next season, and the debacle will continue.

Interesting comparison to the Art Shell/Mike Lombardi feud of '06.

Speaking of Lombardi, he touches on the feud this morning as well. The more I read of him, the more I read his rips on the Raiders as sadness, not bitterness. I think he really loved working for the Raiders, and wanted to make things better, and couldn't. I don't know enough to comment on his skill as a football executive, but I do know bitterness. And this doesn't sound like bitterness to me.

Bill Williamson's Readers on Best AFC West Rivalry

Everyone hates us.

Ratto Goes There.

In his column today, Ray Ratto brings up the time Buddy Ryan punched Kevin Gilbride in the face at the end of a 1993 Houston Oilers game in which Gilbride's offense was sucking ass.

I really wish I could find a video of this.


I always thought Rob should have punched Tom Walsh in the face. But Ratto has some interesting new info: that Rob and Lane are barely speaking. According to Jason Jones' transcript of Ryan's interview, which was a couple of questions longer than Jerry's, when asked if Lane and Rob still share "grooming tips and beers," Ryan replied, "Hell yeah."

I didn't really believe that. Jerry wrote yesterday that Ryan's presser was supposed to accomplish two things: defend his players and refute Lane's "Rob and the owner run the defense and it's their fault we suck so don't blame me" rant the day before. Ratto's column confirms this. And he asks a great question: Why would Al spend $200 Million (not really, more like $50) in the off season and then not want fire Lane because he's worried about $4 million? Just to ruin his career? Does he even care about the Raiders any more, or is only interested in settling personal, petty scores?

So anyway, we're in dysfunction junction, and to make it even more awesome, Mario Henderson will start at left tackle.

At least Jared Allen's not in KC anymore.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sllaacs takes the Lions

Alright, a fifth game.  I will go with Detroit, and the arm of Kitna - 28-17 over the Pack and the arm of Rodgers.  

Memo?  What Memo?  I was Out to Lunch.


It Gets Uglier.

So Rob Ryan gives a press conference that basically contradicts everything that Lane Kiffin said the other day.


Maybe Dan's right, and I need to embrace the drama.

Week 2 Picks: Sllaacs Didn't get the Memo

The fourth game is supposed to whoever is playing the Packers, in honor of occasional poster dobolina.

So let's do five games:

If you've been reading me at all this week, you know I'm picking the Chiefs. 31-10.

The 49ers will lose, but it will be close. Seattle sucks, and I like 49ers D. Maybe if Mike Nolan gets fired, Al can pull a reverse-Norv and hire him to be his defensive coordinator. But probably not, because he doesn't hire good defensive coaches, because he coaches the D himself. 13-10.

Pittsburgh vs. Cleveland: I like the Steelers. 31-17.

Dallas vs. Philly on Monday night. Now, here's a football game. Donovan is my fantasy quarterback; I lucked into him when I forgot to login to the live draft and my computer drafted him for me. He then lit up the Rams for 363 and 3 TDs. The Cowboys are not the Lambs, obviously. But I'm going with Dallas, breaking in a new Stadium. I wonder if Jerry Jones got a new 12-person hot tub shaped like Texas Stadium.

Packers vs. Detroit. The Lions suck. Along with the Rams, they're the only other team ranked lower than the Raiders on ESPN.com's Week 2 Power rankings. Packers, 27-7.