Friday, October 31, 2008

John's Picks

Since Sllaacs is apparently out making it safe for white folks to vote against Obama without feeling that twinge of white guilt, and therefore Sllaaccing on making the picks (Probably because the 49ers have a bye, and oh yes, that was a pun), here we go*.

Raiders vs. Falcons: You know, I was kind of back to feeling like we really, really suck, and that I should never, ever pick the Raiders to win a game. Plus, Michael Turner is on my fantasy squad, and given our difficulty stopping the run, I feel like I'm kind of guaranteed a big day there. But then again, JaMarcus has been sharp at home, as have the Raiders generally other than the first game. And seeing as we have the best defense in the AFC West, and DeAngelo Hall is fired up to face his old team, we can't lose. But that doesn't mean we're going to win, either. Tie Game, 20-20.

Green Bay vs. Tennessee: Aaron Rodgers got a contract extension. Maybe he'll lose all of his motivation. Tennessee has an awesome defense and Kerry Collins at QB, and in spite of that fact is undefeated. I like the Packers in this game, on the Road. 27-21.

Dallas vs. New York Football Giants: My buddy Todd is in New Jersey for this game. He's a Cowboys (and RomoSexual, like the Professor), and his girlfriend Adi has an inexplicable crush on Eli Manning. Well, Jessica's Boyfriend is not playing, and the Giants are good. I like the Giants, 27-17.

Washington vs. Pittsburg. Game of the week, easily. 5-2 vs. 6-2, in a game that may or may not have electoral implications. Berman is interviewing both McCain and Obama at halftime. Hopefully nobody will walk in front of the camera. I like the Steelers in this game, especially if Santana Moss doesn't play. 21-17.

*That's not really Sllaacs. It just kinda looks like him.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Raiders Have AFC West's Top Rated Defense.

Bill Williamson breaks down the reason that the AFC West, as a division, is sucking so much against the rest of the league this year.

He points to the defensive rankings, which has the Raiders at #26.

That's the highest ranked team of any of the four, and he has a handy little chart in the middle of his post showing exactly where each team is in the league rankings, and then says this:

The biggest problem in the AFC West is the poor defensive play. The NFL overall defensive statistics show that Oakland has the best defense in the division. It is ranked 26th in the NFL. Yes, that's the best overall defensive ranking in the division.

What's that, Bill?

It was so nice you wrote it twice: The Raiders have the Best Defense in the division.

Okay, I get it, he's trying to say that #26 is not good, and that division as a whole sucks because every team has a shitty defense.

But only a cynic would look at those statistics and not see the glaring truth:

The Oakland Raiders have the Best Defense in the AFC West.

We'll take what we can get.

No Blackout.

I don't what's gotten into us Raiders fans. Sunday's game is the eighth straight regular season home game to sell out and avoid being blacked out on TV.

I will be enjoying watching the game from home this weekend.

Headline of the Week.

Demoted Curry may drop Raiders like a pass.

It's sad to see, too, because Curry had what is probably the only real highlight since the Super Bowl in 2003:

Lance Kiffin Update.

Because it's a slow news week, Raiders-wise. Lance filed his grievance yesterday. Al's response:

The Oakland Raiders received Mr. Kiffin's grievance today. It is a short letter that:

_ Completely ignores the fact that Mr. Kiffin repeatedly made reckless statements that attacked players, assistant coaches and the owner of the team and were damaging to the Raiders organization.

_ Does not dispute that Mr. Kiffin made a number of false statements to the media that were damaging to the Raiders organization.

_ The grievance attaches Mr. Kiffin's signed contract but ignores the provisions that explicitly stated that all of his duties were "all subject to the direction and supervision of the general partner" of the Raiders and also ignores the provisions of his contract that required him to avoid any conduct "which would embarrass, discredit or disgrace" the Raiders. Mr. Kiffin failed to honor his contract.

_ Ignores completely an NFL resolution that was expressly incorporated into every coach's contract and that states that every coach: "Shall have an obligation to communicate openly and candidly with the principal owner and/or his designated representative to ensure that club ownership is informed on a complete and timely basis of all matters affecting the club's operations, to respect the authority and responsibility of ownership to make decisions on behalf of the club and to avoid actions that undermine or damage the club's reputation or operating success." Mr. Kiffin violated each and every provision of this resolution through 2008.

_ Mr. Kiffin's false statements to the media were conveyed to the fans and the team further damaging the reputation and good will of the Raiders organization.

Mr. Kiffin was terminated for cause. The grievance is without merit.

I like that the contract stipulated that no actions be taken that could "embarrass, discredit, or disgrace" the Oakland Raiders.

So tell me, again, why Herrera is still working for the Raiders?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Our New Fulback Has Work Ethic, is Smart.

Ladies and Gentleman, meet Jason Davis:

“My math was terrible so I kept messing up the orders. I just got up, grabbed five double whoppers, threw them in my bag and rolled out.”

That's outstanding. He's had one part time job, other than football, and he had it for two hours. At least he got some whoppers. How much math do you have to know to work at BK? I mean, as you can see, kids with Down Syndrome work at Burger King all the time. They usually can't even read, which is why everything on the cash register is a symbol.

How is this asshole going to memorize the playbook if he can't work a fucking Burger King cash register?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Vernon - Please don't be a DUD(ley)

VD is conjuring memories of Rickey Dudley. The biggest difference is that Vernon is a good blocker - maybe even above average, so he is willing to do the grunt work. The biggest gripe that anyone has with Davis is why he isn't putting up Alge Crumpler or Tony G numbers as far as receptions go. He caught over 50 passes last year, but everyone feels like he's underachieved. The kid has a lot of swagger and that is not good on a team that sucks. His drops over the course of the season are also a large part of the reason(s) JTO got benched. I think he will do fine in the future and a little discipline should only help. Much more important in the development of Vernon Davis will the Forty-Niners QB situation. Shawn Hill will pass more to the Tight Ends and Running Backs and should give VD more opportunities than JTO, who liked to sling the ball deep whenever possible.

Mike Singletary is like a breath of fresh Tsunami air right now, but if the Niners don't improve, his huffing and puffing will grow old in a quick fashion.


Nancy, Jerry Heart JaMarcus.

Nancy Gay says, "LET THE BIG DOG EAT," while Jerry Mac says "Russell's got what it takes."

They both point to the play in which Suggs jacked him up. He got up, gave Suggs a slap on the ass, and went right back to it.

Maybe there's hope after all.

Did the Ravens Get Another Bye?

Normally this would qualify Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun for Hater of the Week status. But I'm back to being discouraged, and pretty much everything the guy wrote is true. This is brutal:

Didn't the Raiders look like a team out of NFL Europe? To the Ravens' credit, they did exactly what they're supposed to do against bad teams. They kicked the Raiders around physically and sent them back home.

It's hard to evaluate the Ravens' performance because everything starts with this qualifier: It was against the Raiders. Oakland has no offensive line. The Raiders' coverage units on special teams were pathetic, and their defense tried to play man-to-man in the secondary with no pass rush.

He goes on to destroy the "West Coast Team Playing at 10:00amPT in the East" excuse with this:

But there is no excuse for the Raiders. They would stink up the field anywhere in the world at any time.

(h/t: Jerry Mac)

God Hates Me.

Here I am, happily perusing ESPN, when they have this bracket-style face off of "Coldest Sports Moments."

Of course you know what's coming at #6.

I can't even bring myself to vote for it, because the choice is a grammatically incorrect "Which was the besst cold sports moment?" Because, since you're only allowed to choose between two moments, it should say, "Which is the better cold sports moment."

Anyway, you know #6 is the worst cold sports moment, or any type of sports moment, for that matter, in the history of all possible sports moments.

I will now go about the rest of my day in an even shittier mood than would have otherwise.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Could Be Worse: Condi Rice linked to 49ers Job

Lowell Cohn has this nugget on his blog tonight.

I mean, could you see Al Davis ever considering this? I've heard him lecture Steve Corkran on how much he knows about "Foreign Affairs." I mean, of course, Al Davis is an expert on Everything.

Except that recently he seems to have forgotten how to field a competitive football operation. Anyway, I think the 49ers hiring Condi Rice would be an awesome move, at least in terms of making their organization more interesting. She was at Stanford at the same time as Bill Walsh, I think, so they could make the claim that she's part of the all-Holy Bill Walsh Family Tree.

The only problem is, she might not be able to travel with the team if they get picked to play in the London Bowl or whatever the hell they call it, because she'd be worried about being arrested for war crimes.

Good times. Maybe the Giants can hire George Schultz.

Forty Niner Sideline Drama

As the Niners melt down against a team that all contributors to this blog agree is terrible, the focus shifted from on-field events to those on the sideline. Vernon Davis, a very high draft pick whose speed-size combination was to revolutionize the tight end position, did something vaguely Raideresque by smacking a Seahawk in the facemask and drawing a completely stupid 15-yard penalty. The Interim then gave him a tongue lashing, VD put on his Randy Moss pout face in response, so Singletary just ejected him. He even made him come back and get his helmet and take it to the locker room himself.

If Norv Turner had ejected Randy Moss, how long do you think it would have taken for Al Davis to get out there and beat Norv with his walker?

Sure, the Niners are somewhat inexplicably getting crushed by the Seahawks, but I've come to believe that discipline is pretty central to success in the NFL, so Singletary may have taken a positive step today.

Who Is Coaching the O-Line?

Granted, the false starts are down today, but this is not one of the unit's best days. No run blocking, not a lot of time for JaMarcus, but now on a crucial drive they make back-to-back mistakes.

  1. While checking the blitz looks and making their calls, they waste the rest of the play clock for a delay of game
  2. Someone taught Jake Grove to do two head-bobs before snapping the ball in the shotgun formation so that the defense can't just hit the line when his head moves. But he's been doing it exactly the same for three weeks now, so the Ravens are just timing their blitzes to the third head-bob. Easy sack.

And with that, the Raiders are out of FG range, although probably more relevant they set up a 4th-and-21, and then JaMarcus inexplicably threw the ball out of bounds.

"Inexplicably" is the word of the day. It describes everything from JLH's kick return where he just stepped out of bounds at the 3 to Knapp's play calling at 2nd and goal from the 3.

Still Watching

Nnamdi is worth watching. I echo John's plea to Al Davis to Lock Him Up. Honestly, would we be any worse off cutting every single other player who could help us save cap money in order to keep him for life?

Chaz Schilens may also be worth watching after beating our old buddy Fabian on a deep post. But then some terrible play calling and execution blew a 2nd and goal from the 3 opportunity.

And then I was going to point out how good it is to see Thomas Howard showing some emotion after a big stop on a screen. Then the Raiders happened.

Gibril - not Kiffin's signing - blew a tackle and let Ray Rice steal a lot more yards from Willis McGahee en route to a first down on 3rd and 17. And now, the Raiders add to their laughingstock reel with a highlight sure to be played over and over and over and over this week - Joe Flacco beats Ricky Brown on a deep route. On a deep route.

At least McGahee's TD was called back for holding.

First Half: We Suck.

Dan called it barely watchable, and that's about right. Our offense is boring. Our defense got gashed on an option run. There's no pass rush.

19-0 and it could be worse.

Why was optimistic? Was it because last week was so much fun?

The Raiders are playing worse than they did in New Orleans. Ugly football. There's not even the drama of Lance Kiffin sending Seabass out for a 76 yard field goal while Al looks on, catatonic.

It's enough to almost make me not care.

Barely Watchable

Well, so far this is looking more like trips to Green Bay, Jacksonville, and New Orleans. Bombs.

What's bad so far?

The offensive line can't run block, can't pass block.

JaMarcus can't hit the broad side of a barn.

The run defense is terrible.

Johnnie Lee Higgins remains my least favorite Raider.

Gibril Wilson - as Al was sure to point out, a signing with which Kiffin had nothing to do - can't seem to play the pass.

Punt coverage is pretty much nonexistent.

What's good so far?

It isn't noon yet, so at least the day isn't shot.

Early Pre-game

The coffee is on for today's home tailgate. A slightly different scene from last week's attendance at the NFL's ninth-ranked tailgate. And for some reason I'm watching one of those newfangled pop stars sing "God Save the Queen" instead of SeaBass warm up with 76-yard FGs. Thankfully they've cut over from Wembley just in time to see a pretty lame JLH opening return. And here comes JaMarcus.

Regarding that tailgate ranking, why in the world is the Green Bay tailgate ranked behind Buffalo's? Green Bay's is ahead at every level of ranking. Clearly, there is some algorithm by which length of tailgate factors into these rankings. Why would you want to attend an inferior tailgate longer? Dobolina, can you explain?

So far it's Ryan-1 Ryan-1 in Baltimore. Kwame looking Kwamish being blown by early for a sack. And Michael Huff is back in center field making a nice play to help Hall break up a deep throw.

Oh no...why did JaMarcus concede that safety? With these Tackles, he has to learn to get rid of the ball faster.

John's Picks

The Professor is in Utah for the Western History Association conference. So I spent last night taking people's money in poker and then drinking at the Broken Record. I'm a little hungover, but not terribly, because I took Chaser. It works.

The Raiders will win today, 24-13. I'm just feeling it, even though McFadden is out. But the Ravens are missing their Corners, starting Fabian "I partied too much in Oakland" Washington. I like JaMarcus and Javon to continue what they started last week, especially against the wrecked-up secondary of the Ravens.

Giants, 21-20.

Bucs over Cowboys.

49ers over Seahawks, who are TERRIBLE.

"We Knew, in that Huddle..." - Dan's Picks

"It was a group destined to apply the kind of pressure that had not been seen before."

Mike Singletary's Forty-Niners are similarly destined to win for him their first time out this week. Seattle is inexplicably bad this year - primarily because I haven't been paying close enough attention to be able to explain why they are so bad. This fall from grace has left the NFC West a wasteland that suddenly finds the Rams in second place. So the battle for third place will go to the temporarily inspired locals, 31-21.

For the Raiders, the question is whether their sometimes inspired play of 2008 was only temporary and is now over...or at least whether it will show up this week. In other words, will we see a performance like the Buffalo trip or the New Orleans trip? Optimistic Dan says Buffalo. Rob Ryan will have Trevor Scott and crew ready to play with his arrogant twin on the other sideline. Sure, the Raiders are a team that's built to run, and the Ravens have the NFL's #1 run defense. And the Raiders' run defense is ranked, as usual, somewhere in the upper 20's (yes, I'm starting Willis McGahee on my fantasy team this week). But I think the Raider D will come to play, and JaMarcus will make a few plays. Raiders 17-10.

The New York Giants will defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-20. Both teams can get after the quarterback, but I think the Giants are just a notch above. Maybe Polamalu will knock a few more dollars out of Plaxico's wallet in his ongoing quest to save professional football from becoming a "pansy game." I am really looking forward to watching this one. Oh that's right...I live in 49er territory.

It's all unwinding in Dallas, an organization almost as fond of drama as the Raiders. So Tampa Bay, which is actually a body of water and not a city although maybe a reference to a metro area but I really don't think so, will go into Dallas and win. Brad Johnson may have won a Super Bowl for Gruden, but Garcia has always been better. And since there's only room for one Roy Williams in Dallas, the score will be relatively high, 28-27.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sllaacs Picks: No Nolan... No excuses.

The Niners ran Mike Nolan out of the locker room, got him away from their players, and banned him from the facilities so that he can have the opportunity to spray his loser-milk upon some other franchise.  A win/loss of 18-37 sucks in any country, any language, at all epochs - no excuses.  
The Niners claim that they have all sorts of talent, the type of talent that belies their sorry win totals over the last 5 years.  Mike Singletary is one of the greatest Linebackers of all time, a defense-first guy (much like Nolan, but I digress)  who should shore up the defense - San Francisco's most glaring weakness over the course of the season thus far - no excuses.  Which leads me to my picks for the week.

Seattle @ San Francisco

The Niners should win, no ado.  The Seahawks are just a bad team and Niners beat them head-to-head routinely.  By no means a measuring stick unless the Forty-Niners lose.  34-21, San Francisco over Seattle.

Oakland @ Baltimore

The Ravens will feast on the Raiders sorry run "defense" and the Rookie arm of JaMarcus Russell.  This will be a sad one for fans of the Silver and Black.  Baltimore over Oakland 17-6.

The Packers are off this week, so we'll go with 2 "wild card" games:

NY Giants @ Pittsburgh

I will pick the Giants to go to Pitt and beat the Steelers - even though Pittsburgh looks strong this year.  I will take an NFC squad over an AFC squad, most days.  Giants over the Steelers 24-23.

Tampa Bay @ Dallas

Jeff Garcia, baby.  He could still be a Niner.  He should still be a Niner.  But he isn't.  Anyhow, Garcia and Antonio Bryant (whom the Niners branded a chump, but upon further review...) should be able to hook up at least twice in the promised land against the battered secondary of the Cowboys, and with a faulty finger Romo won't be a hero, and T.O. will get zero (TD's).

Much like the Raiders love to snatch up Niner castoffs, the San Francisco regime decided to follow suit and can their underachieving (or overachieving) head coach.  

The General is deposed, Hail to the Interim.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rob Ryan: Rex is an Arrogant Ass.

Gotta love Rob Ryan getting after his twin brother Rex in advance of Sunday's game at Baltimore. I say stuff like that about my brother all the time. Loved this:

Q: Have you spoken with your brother Rex this week?

Ryan: I keep quiet and like to be a professional. He’s an arrogant ass. Other than that, he has some big bullies to stand behind, just like I do. But great players make great defenses, and two of the best defenses in the league are going to show up Sunday.

Q: Is your father going to step between you two?

Ryan: No, he’s a Raider fan.

While I would have loved to see Rob punch Tom Walsh in the face a couple of years ago, the 16 sacks since the first game is a testament to the hard work of this defensive unit. Yes, the run D is still a little troubling, but they made Brett look every bit of his 39 years on Sunday.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The 49ers are Boring.

Nolan's fired. Big deal. Wake us up when Dr. York breaks out the overhead projector and spends over an hour calling Nolan a lying liar who lied and lied and lied.

I wonder what Sllaacs thinks about Mike Singletary. I guess he's too busy hating on JaMarcus on my facebook wall.

As for the Raiders and our thrilling, overtime win, well, we're still working on processing that properly. Baby steps, people. There are a lot of pictures to sort through, inebriated notes to decipher, and whatever the hell else we have to do. That's why we're bloggers, because we're not competent enough to be real writers.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Raiders Win

Fuck Yes.

Our Seats


Dan and Andrew

Dig the coozie.

I'm Awesome.

Nothing cures a hangover like 17 or 18 beers.

Mrs. Dan.

Hurt her knee doing the running man to the "Silver & Black Attack."

Uncle Lenny

Dan's Unk, faithful CLOAK reader, makes his debut.

Hot for Teacher

The Professor.

Mikey Sucks

Our friend is a Jets fan. He donated his Santana Moss jersey to
refugees from Darfur.

Jerry: Draft Timmy

Jerry McDonald makes the case for why Tim Brown could make a difference in the front office.

We're leaving now for the House.

Live updates via iPhone, and Sllaacs may join us for the tailgate.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Dan's Picks - More Optimism!

While I await Mikey's flight so I can pick him up and head to Johnny's for the pre-tailgate, I'd better weigh in with my predictions. Do we have results tallied yet?

I will be at the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum (have they taken down the McAfee signs yet?), so I must pick the Raiders 27-17. Somehow the beginning of the Hiram Eugene era just as Favre arrives doesn't inspire confidence, but I'm betting on the big Raider bounce-back. Kind of like the stock market lately - keeps going lower, but occasionally has a surprisingly good day.

Giants over San Francisco, 37-20. As I heard on the radio the other day, were it to happen this would be one of the great 49er upsets in modern history. I agree that it won't happen.

As a Packer fan, I don't have a good feeling about the Indy game. I'm going with the Colts, 28-24.

And I think the Chargers will put together a good game and will win on the road, 28-20.

Not a lot of analysis, but I've got quite a bit of tailgating gear to pack in the next hour.

John's Picks.

Waiting for Dan and his brother Mikey to show up and start pre-gaming for tomorrow...

I'm going with the Raiders in this game. For some reason, I think Brett is due to throw 3 or 4 INTs tomorrow. The Chaz Schillens era debuts with him getting 6 catches for 122 and a Touchdown. 22-13 Raiders. Hell, if stuff like this can happen (and yes, it may well be apocryphal), anything can happen.

The 49ers are playing the Giants, who just got worked by Cleveland, and are probably pretty pissed, and are going to take it out on the hapless 49ers. Oh, and JTO is a back-up quarterback. For a franchise that redefined quarterback excellence, it's just not acceptable that a guy whose name sounds like a schlocky Canadian 1970s rock band is calling signals on Bill Walsh Field.

The Colts look to be back, so maybe the Packers should worry. But since Sllaacs took Indy, I'm going with GB. 27-24.

Bufalo vs. San Diego is an interesting one. I like the disChargers, for some reason. 27-21.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sllaacs Picks - week7 - "We are the Niners, don't get in our way" or: Can't the Niners just forfeit?

Okay, so let's compare sorry-ass team rap songs.  This link leads to the most embarrassing moment I experienced as a fan in watching the careers of Jerry Rice, Roger Craig, Ronnie Lott, Eric Wright, Keena Turner and his cute little daughter.  Remember; "We are the Niners, don't get in our way.  Team of the 80's... WE CAME TO PLAY!"  You know, Roger Craig was ahead of his time - going bare-chested in a rap video long before Tupac and LL  Cool J.  Notice the use of the guitar solo in this masterpiece.  Have to admit; I sure do miss that kid of swagger, and I see very little of it in my team today.

On to the Picks:

Jets @ Raiders:

You gotta love Brett Favre right? Who doesn't?  Raider fans sure won't, as he will throw for 300 against that lame secondary.  Raiders lose 35-27 to the Jets, and yeah, I'm expecting Russell to put up some strong numbers, (200 passing yards, 2 TD's, 2 INT's).

49ers @ Giants:

The World Champion N.Y. Giants.  They will host the Niners.  This may be J.T. O's last chance to keep the starting job.  If he goes turnover-prone in N.Y. like he has in the last 3 games, expect to see Shawn Hill get some snaps.  Even if J.T. plays well the Niners will lose by 2 TD's if they are lucky.  This is a good test game for Martz - if he is such a damned offensive genius (and he has done nothing to shake that image so far) San Francisco should at least be able to score some points.  Giants roll over S.F. 30-21.

Indianapolis @  Green Bay:

On the outside this looks like it could be a good game.  I want to lean toward G.B. in this one, at home, but their defense isn't exactly living up to expectations and Peyton is starting to rev it up.  I choose the Colts on the Road over the Pack 42-27.

San Diego @ Buffalo:

Possible playoff preview.  San Diego is in need of victories and this represents a game that they would have probably penciled in as a win in the preseason.  I will take the Bills at home over the Padres,  uh Chargers 24-13.


Meeting Chazz

That's right. The Chaz Schillens era begins this Sunday. And Dan and I will be in the House.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I Mean, Wow.

I mean, how the hell did I miss this? I realize it came out when they were in LA, plus, my parents were going through this weird holy roller phase during which we didn't have a television. But still, you would think some hater like Sllaacs would have dug it up and emailed it to me to embarrass me.

I'm not sure Dan can handle who comes after Millen.

And after hearing Tom Flores spit lyrics, I think every MC out there should just hang up their mics. He just broke hip hop.

Huffing Paint is Almost as Bad as Missing Tackles.

I'm sure Dan will comment on this at some point, the Safety position has been the bane of his existence since the Derrick Gibson days. Anyway, Michael Huff, the #7 draft pick a couple of years ago, is being demoted and replaced by Hiram Eugene, who took over last year for Stuart Schweigert, which solved nothing because the defense still sucked.

Huff, remember, was "Art Shell's Pick."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Draft Timmy.

I saw this first at Jason Jones' blog this morning--should we make Chris Rock Hater of the Week?--and now Jerry has more of Tim Brown's interview on KTHK in Sacramento yesterday.

I'm glad Jerry brought up the Matt Millen debacle in Detroit. Timmy wisely says he doesn't need to be involved in contract negotiations or anything. He could be that Bridge we talked about a couple of weeks ago. Al needs a loyal Raider. Timmy is a loyal Raider. Couldn't he smooth things out between the coaching staff and Al, no matter if it's Cable next year of someone else? Who would make a better spokesperson for the Raiders?

I'm biased, because Tim Brown is my favorite Raider of all time. The first jersey I bought when they moved back to Oakland was a Tim Brown #81. It wore out, so bought another one in 2002. I still wear it sometimes. It's now a throwback. He always represented the Raiders with class and poise, including sticking up for Gene Upshaw when Irvin was running his crack-head mouth the week Gene passed. That, to me, is the real difference between someone like Warren Sapp, who collected a fat pay check that nobody else in the league was willing to pay him. Once a Raider, always a Raider. Even the way Timmy goes after Gannon a little bit shows his loyalty the Raiders.

I like this idea because it manages to honor Al Davis contribution and legacy and his ubiquitousness in the organizatioin, while at the same recognizing that a change needs to be made. I hope that this weekend, Timmy gets a chance to talk to Al, and they can work something out. Even it's to fill the role that will eventually be left by the indestructable Jim Otto, as a confidant to Al, and someone who can go out and represent the Raiders without embarrassing himself in front of the whole world.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Cable Experiment

As a new-found optimist, I'm going to buy Cable's explanation regarding Sunday's debacle, as relayed by Jason Jones:

"It might be easy to say, well, why didn't you know that before?," Cable said. "Well, I'll tell you why. Because I'm standing down there with a bunch of 300-pound guys at the end of the field, and that's just what it is, and coaching the offensive line and doing the job that I was hired to do. So this role, obviously, has expanded in terms of the big picture. Now I know a lot more about this football team."

And I'm going to buy his comments about JaMarcus - as relayed by Jerry McDonald - as well:

“We certainly put him in a lot of situations, moving him around, move the pocket, three steps, five-, seven-steps and play-action, and really kind of ran the gamut with him,” Cable said. “And I think we really found out a lot about where he is. And it’s obvious he’s still in a stage of development. It’s obvious maybe he can’t handle that much. But it doesn’t change the fact that we need to continue to throw the football and continue to find ways to get completions and throw the ball down the field.”

A cynical reaction might be, "Didn't Lane try this 'throw the ball a lot' stuff during the Arizona preseason game? And didn't Cable see that it didn't work then?"

Yes. But one might discount a preseason game, might consider JaMarcus's apparent recent growth (his regular season passer rating in passing formations was off the charts before this week), and might weigh in the fact that Gus Frerotte tore up the New Orleans secondary a mere 6 days before.

When Kiffin ran his Arizona passing experiment, I reasoned that his desired outcome was to put on film a ready answer to Al's complaints about his conservative, run-heavy offense. I also argued that Kiffin seemed to set up that experiment to fail. If so, it would explain why Cable thought trying it again - keeping in mind the previous paragraph - would be worthwhile.

So now we have the results of the Cable Experiment. The test of a coach is his ability to adjust. That was Art Shell's fundamental failing. Let's see how Tom Cable adjusts.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

JaAlex SmiRussell

Yeah, I compared JaMarcus to Alex Smith, because there are some sad similarities between the two so far: Young QB, Great Talent, Strong Arm, Good Mobility, Bad Stats, Terrible Results, Bad Team, Bad Offensive Coordinators, Bad Coaching, Bad Owners. Is Alex a bust? Yeah. Alex is a bust. Alex Smith is a bust metaphorically, figuratively, technically, clinically, and in all senses Biblical. But I don't think its' all his fault, he can't help being injured. Besides, I think 75% of the fault lay in the Forty-Niners and their inability to keep an Offensive Coordinator for more than one season, their lack of overall talent on offense, the Yorks and of course, the Head Coach, Mike Nolan.  I see the parallels with JaMarcus. It is sad.

...and speaking of the Niners Head Coach:

I was not in favor of Nolan being canned until today, when I saw the guy lose 3 challenges - he even challenged a Field Goal. Let me repeat that: Mike Nolan, Head Coach of the San Francisco Forty-Niners, Challenged a FIELD GOAL. He lost of course, for anyone not in the know. Nolan also dressed down Tully Banta-Cain on the sideline for too long to maintain respect with the rest of the team. DeSean Jackson made a spectacular catch near the sideline which Tully had no chance of stopping, Nolan challenged the catch even though the stadium replayed the thing no less than 3 times. Then you see Nolan on the sidelines giving Banta-Cain the what-for. Who the fuck is Mike Nolan to yell at a Water Boy in public, let alone a legitimate NFL player? Time for Nolan to go - his record with the Niners is terrible and he is not advancing the Nolan Brand from where his Father established it back in the day - he is ruining it. This much like Al Davis is ruining his own Brand from the great Raiders teams of the past, but at least Big Al isn't embarrassing HIS fathers legacy.


Good Thing We Made a Coaching Change

Seriously. It's much less stressful to just flat-out suck, a-la the Rams or the Lions, than it is to play really well for 3 1/2 quarters and then suck for 12 minutes and lose by a field goal or a touchdown. It's much easier, as a fan, to uncompetitive, to just get flat out smashed, 34-3. It's much easier for me to watch us get outgained 422-226 in total offense. To lose the turnover battle 2-0. I hated the heart-attack nature of the last two games.

Can we learn anything about the Tom Cable regime, other than he spent three hours shouting "Shut the fuck up, Donny!" into his headset? Al's team still sucks, if possible even worse than before. No pass rush, missed tackles. I guess the penalties were better, but the receivers can't get open, and when they do they either drop the ball or JaMarcus overthrows them.

I got a text from Sllaacs saying, "JaAlex SmiRussell," implying that we've got a bust on our hands as big as the one with all that Natural Talent sitting on the 49ers sideline. And a text from Dan advising me that Kristy has taken to screaming "YOU SUCK" at JaMarcus every time he drops back to pass.

At this point, I'm so discouraged, I'll believe anything.

Tom Cable = Walter Sobchak

So, we're not much better. Our receivers are still bad. We have no pass rush.

But put some aviator glasses on Tom Cable and he looks like Walter Sobchak.

Nmamdi: Players are Okay.

Nmamdi Asomugha is quoted pretty extensively in this Boston Globe Football Notes column by Mike Reiss. He's got to be the most eloquent football player since Steve Young. This thoughtful quote takes goes right to the heart of Warren Sapp's recent comments:
"I'm not trying to save face of the Raiders, because I could be on any team at any moment. I'm just being honest. From a player's perspective, it's nowhere near what you hear, point blank. I don't know how else to explain it. It's so normal that it's abnormal, because you're thinking that it should be dysfunctional."
The "any team at any moment" obviosly refers to his contract situation. Al, do whatever it takes, but Lock Him Up. Nmamdi should be a Raider for Life.


I meant that the Patriots should win, 18-14. But that will be a game that will probably not be tuned to on my Sunday Ticket.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Return to Optimism - Dan's Picks

I am doing it. I'm saluting the opening of the Tom Cable era by choosing the Raiders to beat the Saints, 28-26. They'll stop a two-point conversion attempt to hold on. Does this make any sense? Maybe. New Orleans seems to have a difficult time actually winning games, and the Raiders have put up some good fights. Let's hope this new "wide open" offense can keep the defense off the field in the 4th quarter.

I will use the opposite argument to select the Eagles to beat the 49ers. Philly is better than 2-3. I don't think the 49ers are. Let's say Eagles 31-20.

Seattle does suck. Though I like Mike Holmgren, I'll never forgive Seattle for their "Raider Busters" years and that hellish Kingdome. Go Pack Go. 33-14.

And this San Diego-New England game is interesting based on each team being a shell of the one that played in the AFC Championship game. While I'm not quite sure which team Johnny picked, I will take the Chargers, 28-21.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Don't Call it a Comeback: John's Picks

Now that my colon is no longer a semi-colon, I'm coming back to rock the picks. We haven't tallied up a score in a while, and I think dobolina is off being a new dad or something, so it will just be me vs. Dan vs. Sllaacs. We'll get a new score after this weekend.

Okay, party people.

So. The Tom Cable Era begins. Yes, the press conferences may be bland. I don't give a good Gosh Darn It, as long as the product on the field isn't dull. Or shit, go ahead and be dull, just win a goddam football game, okay? I think the Saints are a better team, and should win the game at home in the dome. But it's also a homecoming of sorts for JaMarcus, who dominated in his last appearance there, in 2007 Sugar Bowl. So, the Aints win, 27-24.

Rush Limbaugh's favorite quarterback also happens to be my fantasy QB. I didn't pick him out of a "social concern," in fact the auto-draft did it for me. I was quite happy with him for the first three weeks of the season. Now, he promises to bring it. And since Chris Dennebaum--the biggest Philly Phanatic I know--is getting married this Sunday, I think the Iggles join the rest of the Philly sports renaissance going on right now. JTO may throw for 300 and 3 TDs, but so does Donovan. 35-28 Eagles.

Seattle sucks. I mean, they really, really suck. They Art Shell Suck. They suck so bad, Walt Coleman's mother called up Paul Allen and asked if she could audit some team meetings and improve her deep throat technique. I mean, they're not as bad as the Lions or the Rams, but they still suck. Green Bay 37-6.

In a rematch of last year's AFC Championship game, I think the Patriots will beat the Chargers. They're not that great. They almost lost to us. The Chargers don't look like they can score points to me. So there. 18-14 San Diego.

Week Six - Sllaacs Picks

Oakland @ New Orleans:

So the Raiders not only have a new coach but apparently they have a new offensive play-caller. We'll see if Knapp unleashed is better than Kiffin's calls against a good but not great N.O. team. The Saints however ARE great at two things the Raiders haven't shown a propensity for stopping this season: Offense and the return game. The Raiders should get some points, but I don't see them causing turnovers on D or making the Saints punt enough to avoid another loss. This one is in New Orleans and Drew Brees looks as accurate as ever, Saints will win 35-27 over the Raiders.

Philadelphia @ San Francisco:

Easy pick here, the Niners of course. The Eagles will come in and properly expect to handle S.F. with ease - but I say J.T. O will go for 300 and 3 TD's in a surprise win for the Niners as the secondary, (and Walt Harris in particular) finally put together a good game, thereby staying the execution of Nolan. Forty-Niners over the Eagles 34-24.

Greenbay @ Seattle:

The Pack will roll in this one, as Seattle is a bad team. What more is there say? Greenbay over Seattle 38-17.

New England @ San Diego:

Surprising loss by the Chargers last week, and a surprisingly easy win for the Patriots. I still will pick S.D. at home against the backup Cassel. He will face a much better, (read: quality NFL players) defense this week, so his mediocre passing stats (other than his completion percentage, which is very good) will bear the loss they deserve.
Chargers over the Patsy's 27-13.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

The ESPN Microscope

Ok, not bringing much to the table here myself, but there's a lot to digest in the front page ESPN feature out today. Cleverly entitled "Silver and Bleak," it includes Greg Garber's compliation of recent events and all those painful quotes from former stars (Timmy, Gannon, Sapp). I recommend this one if you need a pick-me-up.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Now What?

So last week happened. Lane Kiffin is still texting JaMarcus, and he appreciates it. I wonder if Al will have John Herrera text JaMarcus Lowell Cohn's blog post about Kiffin being a poor judge of the real estate market. He should.

I saw John Clayton on SportsCenter this afternoon. I can't find a link, because I'm exhausted. But he said that we should get to see Jammy unleash that gun a little more, like we saw when he struck downfield to Zach Miller against the Chargers. He said it has to do with Greg Knapp. He called that play while Lance was drawing up 76-yard field goal attempts.

I can't wait to see that. I especially can't wait to see Jason Whitlock choke on the 37 'Lil Debbie Football Brownies he's just jammed in his big, fat, mouth when he sees JaMarcus unleash his first of many 300 yard, 4 TD passing games. What dickhead.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Jason Whitlock is a Big Fat Hater.

First of all, anyone as fat as Jason Whitlock should not be calling anyone "overweight."

Second of all, I said it all last time. But here he is with a new, clever slam on JaMarcus, calling him JaDaunte CulpeppeRussell.

Anyway, Whitlock didn't get fired from ESPN because he called Scoop Jackson an "Nat X Impersonator."

He got fired from ESPN because he sucks.

Sllaacs' Mom Provoked My CyberStalker; Picks.

I'm still pretty sure that the guy trying to get his flame war on me is my brother, who didn't know who Lance Kiffin was. Although, when I read it out loud to him, he laughed and said he didn't write it but wished he had. Still, he's the only one who so lovingly calls me "DickFace."

I feel like I need to mention Bill Simmons today, because he brings up the "Every Day is Like Sunday" commercials. Which I wrote about almost a month ago. Wow, I beat one of my heroes to the punch, which means absolutely nothing. It's also relevant because he has the Bye week beating the Raiders (though not by as much as it's beating the Rams), has some funny-ish reader emails about which Hollywood monster Al Davis most resembled at the press conference, and says that we Raiders fans get a Stomach Punch because Tom Cables record as Head Coach at the University of Idaho was 11-35. Anyway, that's more games in the span of 3 years than we've one the last three, so it's an improvement, right?

As for Sllaacs saying that Cable should keep to Lance's plan, does that include the weekly "Tell The Truth Mondays," or what Al Davis referred to as Flat Out Lying? Because that would be awesome.

On to the picks:

Niners vs. Patriots. I really, really hope that Patrick Willis catches Randy Moss coming over the middle. Oh, right, Randy doesn't go over the middle. Oh well. The 49ers win. 17-14.

Packers vs. Falcons. Is Aaron Rodgers even playing? Still feeling good about trading the Indestructable Brett Favre now? Rodgers is the man of Glass. Falcons, and Bubba Malaysia's All Star Running back Michael Turner run the shit out of the Packers, 29-13. Seems like Turner busts out ever two weeks, so he's due.

Bufalo goes to 4-0 with a 27-14 Win over AZ. Is Matt Leinert still on that team?

By the way CLOAK OF IMMORTALITY would like to thank Al Davis, Lane Kiffin, the NFL, Tim Kawakami, John Herrera, and Morrissey for the month of September, which I just noticed was our most prolific month since our inception, with a total of 116 posts.

Sllaacs Picks - Week 5

Kiffin is gone, Johnny has an anonymous cyber-stalker, (whom he clearly provoked) and the Raiders will not lose this week.

Hard to imagine Buffalo 5-0, unless you remember the Jim Kelly/Thurman Thomas/Bruce Smith years.  I don't see how Arizona can win this game, Buffalo plays great defense.  I will pick the Bills on the road 30-13 over the St. Louis, uh... I mean the Arizona, uh, Diamondbacks... er, Cardinals.

Patriots @ Niners:
The absence of Tom Brady is not what gives me confidence to pick the Niners, nor does being a fan of the team dominate my logic.  No, it is the ass-whipping the Dolphins put on the Patriots that makes me think SF can win this one at home. In the loss to the Saints,(and Super Drew) last week, the Niners moved the ball well on offense, something that couldn't be said during the past 4 years, so I envision some points being put on the board against the Patsy's. The New England Defense will definitely get their sacks on, to the tune of about half-a-dozen, but this game will probably come down to which offense executes better, with neither defense dominating.

As Dan would put it: Let's say, Niners 30-27 over the Patriots.  Close game either way.

The Pack should roll over Atlanta.  It's the old indoor team vs. outdoor team, hot weather team vs. tundra squad.  Green Bay almost always wins these match ups.  Plus, let's be real: the Raiders are better than Atlanta.  So are the Niners.  Green Bay Packers over the Atlanta Falcons, 30-10.

On another note: How will Cable do as the Raider Interim Head Coach?  If he is smart, he'll stick to Kiffin's general plan for the rest of the season - then he can't lose personally. Any Head Coach would want an off season to set up their squad and general game plans, and Cable has no time for either, so he can just run the ship with no radical changes and if the Raiders win no more games he can say that he had no chance to implement his own ideas.  Also, the Raiders have led in the fourth quarter of 2 of their losses, so the general game plans used by Kiffin couldn't have been all bad.


Thursday, October 2, 2008


I finally had a chance to click Johnny's infamous "here" link and watch a portion of Al's press conference for the decades. Wow. With even more drama than usual and no on-field action to spell us, it's good timing that I drive with Kristy to the remote Mammoth Lakes area to celebrate our anniversary this weekend. Hopefully the closure to the Fossett mystery will not overwhelm us.

So I check in from Kingsburg on our way to Tioga pass. Unk's "show me" approach to the season continues, with some skepticism over the commitment that Cable's interim tag can inspire. But he's right, we know we won't get a loss this week.

Maybe it's the heat of the Central Valley, but I'm picking the Forty Niners over the Patriots. Let's say 24-16. Randy Moss will do something to remind us why Al shouldn't be so disappointed that Kiffin (allegedly) moved him. Perhaps he'll be seen walking an out route to the Gatorade table during a play designed to go to the other side of the field.

The Packers will beat Atlanta, but I can't even keep track of who is healthy for Green Bay anymore. And the state has gone all Brewers crazy. It must be the first time in any Packer player's lifetime that the Pack has been overshadowed by the Crew...though the situation may have passed by Sunday. Let's say 27-14.

And for this week's wild card, I'm going with another crazy west-coast upset, Arizona over Buffalo, 31-24. No real good reason for this, except that Buffalo at 5-0 would look weird. Maybe Whisenhunt is a good enough coach to bounce back after a bad loss. And they have to be fired up for Anquan. Unk tells me Buffalo should win. He doesn't think they are a 5-0 team, but Arizona isn't good. He probably has a point.

Hey, look at this. Dobolina and Warren Sapp see eye-to-eye after all. And the "professional liar" has even stepped in to stir the pot.

Enjoy the weekend. Best of luck to Dobolina who should be a father for the third time over within a matter of hours.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Al is NOT Senile

After listening to Al Davis yesterday, I must say - he certainly sounds like a man with full use of his faculties, and the Senile Old Bastard that some people seem to have thought he was is just a myth.  He made a mistake, a bad hire, and he thought he could salvage the coach.  He couldn't, Kiffin is gone - the Raiders move on.  

Like Dan said (according to Sousa)  "Fuck you, It's Al's team."