Tuesday, December 29, 2009

It's that time of the year

We're heading down the homestretch into the what is usually the most exciting part of the year for our beloved Oakland Raiders, the off season.

With that, several local writers attended a pretty interesting Tom Cable press conference yesterday, with most of them focusing on what he had to say about JaMarcus. It also sounds like Tom Cable is making the case for his job, and putting a lot of the blame on #2.

Gwen Knapp discusses the JaMarcus portion of the interview, goes through all the accusations of violence leveled against Cable, and then wonders at this exchange:

The most revealing moments came when Cable responded to questions about whether he'd received feedback from his boss. He either said he hadn't or simply shook his head. It all sounded and looked very familiar.

Lowell Cohn dwells on Cable's statements about JaMarcus, and says that Cable is calling into question JaMarcus' morality. Not that he's a degenerate or anything, at least off the field, but in football terms. This sentence stuck out:

As I understand it, the coach said the player has abundant talent but instead of nurturing the abundant talent, he has squandered it. This is a moral criticism. It means Russell has not been a right guy. It means he makes bad choices and he is defined by those choices — bust. The moral criticism is especially harsh when you remember the money Russell willingly took without giving effort in return. This is a devastating criticism and it doesn’t come from me. It comes from the player’s own coach.

Cam Inman cuts Russell some slack and calls out Richard Seymour, saying he's been a bust, too. So there's suckage all around, and I'm still pretty convinced that Al needs to go away and let somebody who cares about winning football games more than he cares about lawsuits and he-said, we-said BS. Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ratings Game

JaMarcus Russell's quarterback rating is a stellar 49.6.

Derrick Andererson's is 36.2.

Charlie Frye's quarterback rating is 38.4.

I bring this up because Charlie Frye's first pass was intercepted, leading to an easy Cleveland score. His next two passes fell incomplete, leading to a punt which eventually led to a field goal, and I was actually thinking, "Jeez, Charlie Frye sucks. Put JaMarcus in."

But on the third drive, there was a long screen play to McFadden, a big run by Bush, and a couple of nice completions by Frye, before penalties necessitated a Janikowski field goal.

So it's 10-3, Brown, and our Defense just had a good series. Let's see if Johnnie Lee can do anything.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas, Dan. Heart, NFL Network

Pulled this little nugget from Jerry Mac's Christmas Day blog post:
– Maybe there is something to this NFL vs. Raiders stuff. Why else would the NFL Network show the “Tuck Rule” game on Christmas Day?
Merry Christmas, Everyone.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


While JaMarcus qualified for consideration as the feel good story of the week, I am happy to see that Cable is still aiming for anyone but Russell as the starter this week. So despite the game winning touchdown to Chaz, in light of Andrew Brandt's contract analysis this week I believe the Raider organization's sentiments are approximately the same as those exhibited by E-Trade in one of my favorite Super Bowl ads of all time:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Greg Papa, Hero

I didn't hear it, but according to Kristi H, Papa's call of today's game at the end was epic. Here's a screen cap of his Wikipedia entry, as it stands at this moment:


Text Messages

In the order I've received them, with the timestamp:

Dec 20, 2009 3:46 PM:

Long overdue. FUCK RUSSELL

Dec 20, 2009 4:01PM


Sorry just pissed

Hope Springs...Nevermind

I couldn't even finish the title to my post before the Raiders go three-and-out. Tasker claims that JaMarcus's "history" led to Bush dropping the ball on 3rd-and-2. He claims Bush would have caught the same ball from Charlie Frye.

Possibly. And that's why we have no hope with JaMarcus. Nevertheless, Johnny is rocking the #2 home jersey and we are hoping.

Stay Classy, Raiders Fan part II

Apparently somebody was shooting a laser pointer beam into the Bronco's offense's eyes as they were driving toward the end zone. According to the broadcast team, it was probably one of the many Raiders fans doing.

After a long stoppage, the Defense holds, with Tommy Kelly making a huge tackle as his pants fall off. His jock strap is black.

Then, there's another fight. Lily is watching Morrissey on my iPhone, and we're still in the game.

Except that JaMarcus is at QB.

Fuck it, I'm putting on my jersey.


After three quarters of an exciting game, no play received louder reaction from Johnny and me than the last hit on Charlie Frye.


He didn't get up. JaMarcus is in, and immediately we suffer a penalty and the box is being stacked against our really strong running game. It doesn't look good.

Rough Patch

It's these bad stretches that the Raiders overcome when they win but otherwise send them into terrible downward spirals. A McFadden fumble, failure to put any pressure on Orton, penalties, and the Broncos are up 16-13.

Johnny asks if McFadden's fumble will land him on the bench for four weeks like Bush's did him. Good thing he's back. He just tore off two huge runs to put the Raiders in business. And now we use McFadden the right way - he gets outside and puts the Raiders down to the three. Guess he's not in the doghouse.

I wonder whether Al called Marshall at half and told him to stop blitzing. Natural pressure just isn't doing the job vs. Orton.

And at the end of the third quarter we face a fourth and goal. Wish they had gotten in the end zone on second down when Lawton missed his block. Ugh...

Good First Half

Charlie Frye has not been spectacular, but he's been good enough. He had one JaMarcus-like throw on his interception, but the Raiders' Defense is playing well enough that it didn't matter.

10-6 is pretty good, though. We've also mixed in some Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale with the Simpler Times lager. Merry Christmas, bitches.

Simpler Times

Lager, that is. I got it at Trader Joe's in honor of Dan's visit to Los Gatos, because according to the can it's hand-crafted in Wisconsin.

Mike Bush is running well, and JaMarcus is offering him Gatorade when he comes off the field after a tough run. Glad to see he's staying involved. Meanwhile, we're enjoying Kristi's text messages about the game.

So far: "Fuck the refs," and something to Dan about "SMALL MILE HIGH DICKS."

Live Blog Los Gatos

Moving a little slow with the posts, but hey - Raiders are up in Denver! Love Bush being in the mix today.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Charlie Frye Whoa

I mean, like WOW.

More details and speculation from Bronco Bill.

This is getting very, very interesting.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Stay Classy, Raiders Fan

A sheriff's deputy in Reno, NV pleaded guilty to accepting bribes from an associate of Joe Francis of "Girls Gone Wild" fame.

Among the items in his bribe?

$3200 in cash and tickets to Raiders games. The judge let him off with a $4000 fine and three years probation. It doesn't say which games he went to, but part of the defense his public defender, Vito de la Cruz made, including bashing the Raiders:

In a light moment, Cruz questioned the estimated value of the Raiders tickets.

"Given the Oakland Raiders success of the last few years, he probably was ill-advised to take those tickets," he said. "I'm not sure those were of any value."

Outstanding. It's now on record in a federal court proceeding the Raiders suck ass.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Welcome Back, Randy, JaMarcus

This was going to be a strictly Randy Hanson post, with the theme song to "Welcome Back, Kotter."

I thought it would be appropriate because it's a cool song from a cool show, and because Al is from Brooklyn.

Anyway, Jerry Mac does a breakdown/speculation of why in the name of anything Randy Hanson could possibly be back working for the Raiders, concluding, rather pithily and quite brutally, "You want a successful business model, check with Fortune 500." To make the implication explicit, The Raiders do not have a successful business model as Al Davis has currently constructed it.

But while I was out picking my daughter up from school, JaMarcus addressed the media, so we give him a nice welcome back, kinda sorta. He promises that when he gets back on the field, we'll see a "Totally different JaMarcus." But he hasn't lost any weight or changed his work ethic. So there. And he's keeping his money.

Kawakami has a transcript. God doesn't make mistakes, and time will tell, and it's not the end of the world.

Finally, since we opened with Brooklyn, we can close with Brooklyn, too. Lowell Cohn talks to Ira Miller, who invents the verb "to Raider." Getting Raidered sounds an awful lot like getting debacled. Ira likes Gradkowski, at least in relation to JaMarcus. This exchange stood out to me, after Miller says that "Getting the No. 1 draft choice off the field certainly helped them:

Cohn: Which No. 1 draft choice?

Miller: Both of them - the quarterback and Heyward-Bey. I don't think Heyward-Bey has any chance. He's one of Al's fantasies -- he runs fast.

That's kind of the impression I get about DHB, too. I got into a discussion via twitter yesterday with the author of Raiders Blog, who is still optimistic that DHB will pan out once he learns to catch the ball, because he's a good kid, works hard, etc. And I agree that sure, he's a good kid, etc, and I feel bad about suggesting he jump off the Golden Gate Bridge. That was a joke in poor taste. But the point is, DHB is not a football player. He's a track star. We may as well have drafted Usain Bolt. And anyone who suggests the Randy Hanson issue is overblown, or is not a big deal, or not a red flag indicator that something is deeply, deeply diseased and rotten within the structure of the Raiders organization is deep, deep denial. They're like the wives who stayed with Tom Cable after he beat them.

Because at the very least, we should be able to enjoy the sweet taste of a rare victory for longer than two days before reminding everyone in the stupidest way possible of the dysfunction that is the team we love.

The Perfect Example

I could really use some sleep, but this has to be said. That Randy Hanson is back at work in Alameda is the perfect illustration of why our hope for long term success for the Raiders is akin to our hope that we'll win the lottery. It is reason #1.

Bringing back Hanson is possibly the most extreme thing Al Davis could have thought of to do in order to undermine Cable as coach. Just think about it. Hanson tried to put Cable in jail. In JAIL.

Oh, I'm sure Al has some "logical" reason. Maybe it keeps Hanson from dragging Cable and the Raiders to civil trial. Certainly there are better ways than this to avoid such a fate.

No, Raiders fans can't even enjoy one week of post-improbable-victory bliss during which we could have lied to ourselves that maybe, just maybe there is something to that locker room message. Al has bludgeoned us with another debacle. Now he could really get us all back for that billboard by going ahead and naming Hanson GM.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Bronco Bill names Gradkowski AFC West Player of the Week

Congratulations to Bruce Almighty for being the AFC West player of the week over at Bill Williamson's AFC West blog. He really did play a great game. Yes, he got some lucky breaks, but you know what they say about luck being created by hard work. Or something. Some guy named Thomas Jefferson said it. I think he was one of Al Davis's fellow Founding Fathers.

Anyway, Jerry Mac counts down the top five wins since the wheels came off in 2003. Feel free to insert your "Well, that couldn't have been hard, since they've only won five games since 2003" joke here. The one that catches my attention is the 2004 game against Tampa Bay, in Chucky's return to the Coliseum, and the rematch of Super Bowl Debacle XXXVIII. The Raiders were 1-1 under Norv Turner, and if I remember correctly, Rich Gannon was lighting it up, narrowly losing to Pittsburgh in the opener. The game against Tampa was the last game he ever played, because he broke his neck on Derrick Brooks' hit. I always thought that if Rich keeps playing well, that season turns out differently, and maybe what Norv has going on down in San Diego is happening here. Anyway, if "'If' was a fifth," as Sllaacs likes to say, "we'd all be drunk."

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

Actually, my anniversary is tomorrow. Yes, the Day that will Live in Infamy, not because it gave Bill Parcells a chance to use describe a trick play his coaches installed (of course, with no disrespect to "orientals" intended), but because it was the day that the Professor made an honest man of me.

That's right, seven years ago tomorrow, I got hitched. And we started celebrating today with some oysters, champagne, and a huge Raiders win over the Steelers--which AFC West Blogger seems to have missed completely while covering the Donkeys' huge victory at KC (as of 13:45 PST).

Gradkowki's line, in front of his hometown crowd: 20-33 , 308 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions.

Unbelievable. I can't remember the last time a Raiders quarterback put up numbers like that.

Also, I don't think it's a coincidence that Louis Murphy and Johnnie Lee Higgins had big games at the receiver position while DHB sat out the game with a hurt foot. I know we gave JaMarcus a couple of years before applying the bust label, but DHB fucking sucks. When your receivers suddenly have a breakout game as a group on the day you don't play, that means you should probably take your obscene signing bonus, make sure your will is correctly filled out and signed, and then jump off the Golden Gate Bridge. Seriously, look at the receiving stats from the box score:

L. Murphy412832.02756
J. Higgins46315.80227
C. Schilens34515.01236
Z. Miller44310.80166
J. Fargas2136.50103
T. Watkins11212.00122
T. Stewart242.0032
D. McFadden000.0002
I'm the sure the NFL would give some kind of cap relief for a suicided player. Take JaFatass with you. He's never come close to a 121.8 quarterback rating. (While we're here, it's not like McFadden is lighting it up, either.)

Anyway, enough hating. Great win. Go Raiders.

One more thing: I rocked my Kirk Morrison #52 replica today. Coincidence? Not sure. I know I said I wasn't going rock any more Raiders gear this year, but for some reason I woke up this morning and was feeling it. So now I'm going to rock it until they lose. Probably next week at home, blacked out against Washington, who gave the Saints all they could handle today.

Lester for the Hall of Fame

It is a cause in which I believe no matter how many 11+ loss seasons the Raiders manage to string together: Lester Hayes deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Last week, Lester was - once again - selected as one of the 25 semifinalists for the class of 2010.

This year, the marketing organizations for Van Heusen and JC Penney give us a way to express our frustration with Lester's snubbings over the years, allowing fans to vote through the fanschoice.com website. At this moment an impressive roster of Raiders - not all of whom are actually semifinalists (the voting started before the semifinalists were named) are all over the top of the rankings. Lester ranks #8, inexplicably behind Cris Crybaby Carter and mushmouth Shannon Sharpe, while Ray Guy sits third behind only Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith. Tim Brown ranks fourth, Jim Plunkett fifth, Cliff Branch ninth, Tom Flores tenth, and Todd Christensen eleventh.

Fittingly, today's Oakland at Pittsburgh game is the "Throwback Game of the Week." Perhaps that refers to Frenchy Fuqua illegally throwing the ball back to Franco Harris in the Immaculate Reception game?

If we don't have our bitterness, we don't have anything. Vote for Lester! Remember to opt out of receiving spam from them, though.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

On Nnamdi

Old news in so many ways, but I feel somehow relieved that Nnamdi had so much to say about the Raiders' simple defense (via Jerry, David White's blog and article, Guttierez, and even the Associated Press). This was my point #2 on what we've learned about the Raiders' systemic dysfunction over the years. Despite some excellent defensive performances from time to time, this is ultimately what gives the Raiders little chance of winning with any consistency.

JaMarcus has been a disaster. DHB is even worse than we expected he'd be. But this defense - having filled some important holes with the likes of Richard Seymour and Tyvon Branch - continues to fail. That's what I'd put on a billboard: "Mr. Davis, do the right thing. Give your defensive coordinator an opportunity to do his job."

Fittingly, we get to watch Pittsburgh this week, a team who drove quite a bit of innovation in pressure schemes while absolutely stuffing the run in recent years. Oh yeah, and they've won some more Super Bowls, too.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Can JaMarcus pull a Vince Young?

You know, getting benched, and then coming back a season later and taking your team on a five-game winning streak with sensational last minute finishes? That's the subject of a Bill Williamson post.

Well, I think part of the question is answered in Paul Gutierrez's blog item yesterday.
Cable was asked what he has seen in Russell since his demotion.

"I don't really see any change whatsoever," Cable said. "He's working, doing what he's asked to do. He's preparing like normal. So I wouldn't say there was any change or anything I've noticed."

Not too much of an endorsement, right? Well, what about this, then - have you seen him doing things in his benching that he wasn't necessarily doing before?

"No, I see him staying the course and working," Cable said. "Preparing, the reps he gets, going in and working hard at them, preparing himself in the classroom, all those things that he has to do."

Just shoot me.

Monte Poole's mystery buyers

Monte Poole has a great column up about the Message to Al Billboard that went up yesterday on 880.

What interests me is that there are people--Raiders fans!--who have a lot of money who would love to buy the Raiders. Local people, maybe?
More intriguingly, one multimillionaire sports figure who does not wish to be identified has several times over the past 18 months expressed an unwavering curiosity. A longtime fan of the team, he is displeased about its decline and, moreover, says he is in contact with one or more billionaires with a DEFINITE interest.
Oh my god. It's too much to even hope for right now. It makes me sick. But as the former player quoted by Poole earlier says
"I hate to say it, because the old man is a legend," the former player said. "But I think we're going to be like this as long as he's around to run things. And I really don't see him giving that up."
I don't, either, which puts us fans in an awkward position of watching our beloved team suck so much ass, and at times wishing ill on a legend. But the possibilities, especially if the Steve Young/Brent Jones team got control, are amazing. Maybe they do share a stadium in Santa Clara with the 49ers. Maybe they get a real GM who evaluates football players, instead of plain athletes. There's a difference, and it's obvious to anyone who sees the way Michael Crabtree runs routes and catches the ball on Sundays versus the way DHB sprints down the field and does jack shit on Sundays.

Or maybe they don't share a stadium with the Niners. Maybe they get a new one in Oakland, that they could call it Davis field. They could keep all of the slogans and traditions and the Raiders could still be the TEAM OF DECADES with PRIDE AND POISE and a COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE Al could still come out for press conferences and take credit for identifying great co-ownership and front-office talent. Or he could just put on his CLOAK OF IMMORTALITY and ride off into the sunset.

But they would have to guarantee that Herrera is never placed in front of a microphone again. That's the only deal breaker.

A fan can hope.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Message to Al

Or, as it's known around my house when the Professor is trying to tell me something if I'm reading or trying to write a blog post, "Talking to a fucking a wall."

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Raiders' Disgrace is International: Who shot JR?

Al Davis likes to talk about the Raiders' international fan base, often with good reason.

But this can't help. The Independent covered the game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving and had this to say:
There is plenty for both sets of fans to give thanks for. For Cowboys' followers, that includes quarterback Tony Romo being back to his best following his summer break-up with reality star Jessica Simpson. The blonde bombshell was blamed for one of his worst performances two years ago, and many diehards considered her to have put a hex on the franchise's leading man. For perennial cellar-dwellers Oakland Raiders there is reason to be cheerful, because their quarterback JaMarcus Russell, the No 1 draft pick in 2007, has been benched after looking anything but. Who shot JR? Turns out his wounds were self-inflicted.
Ouch. So JaMarcus is now known on two continents as a bust, and his benching is compared to Tony Romo dumping Jessica Simpson. Yes, I get Jammy and Jessica are both famous for having a lot of money and struggling with their weight. But that's brutal. And I'm not sure we're exactly "cheerful" about it, either.

Then, there's this:
It's one-way traffic, and the Raiders even manage to look like the Keystone Kops when two defenders collide trying to intercept a drop by Roy Williams, who admits to me his play "is not living up to expectations".
Nice. Our "Keystone Kops" defense provides a segue to discuss the shit-ass season of Roy Williams. I can attest to this, since he's on one of my fantasy teams. Not since Chris Chambers Effed me in the A on the last game of the 2005 season has a fantasy football receiver disappointed me.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Battling Organizational Culture

After an exhilarating, improbable, impressive win over a good Bengals team on Sunday, most teams would take momentum into their next start. But it's well documented that the Raiders always do a major face plant when coming off a win. Shane Lechler blames players, saying, "Guys become real cool."

It's quite remarkable to me that there are so many significant players who have absolutely no idea how to handle themselves as professionals. It is to be expected given the lack of discipline that flows from the utter lack of organizational structure the Raiders have. But for the life of me I can't figure out who those guys are.

So my hope this week is that the short week distracts the Raider players from their typical post-win routine of going out, getting drunk, showing up late for practice, skipping their studies - whatever it is they do.

Another organizational quirk that always baffles me a bit is the inability to stop the run. This year's focus on fundamentals didn't fix it, but per David White's post, John Marshall seems to know exactly what the problem is. And it sounds like guys are just missing assignments and failing to learn, which points right back at the discipline problem mentioned above.

With Seymour, Ellis, and Branch, DE and SS seem less likely culprits this year. Is it a problem with the LBs and DTs? Something to watch now that we actually get to see a game on TV, I guess.

The good news is the Raiders showed promise on Sunday and a second win in a row would be a revelation.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hello From Texas

I'm in College Station, Texas for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Like Dan, I'd also become a non-practicing Raiders fan after the Gannon-is-a-terrorist debacle.

But I just heard Jim Nance say that Janikowski's field goal with 15 seconds left was good, and the Raiders won 20-17.

So Gradkowski is 1-0 as the Raiders starter, and threw 2 Touchdown passes. For the first time all season, I didn't receive a "Fuck Russell" text message from Kristi Hauenstein. Instead I got an "Asomugha and Seabass rock" text message from Kristi Hauenstein.

I like those much better.

Now I'm going to go and try to find some highlights.

Fool's Gold

Despite declaring myself a non-practicing Raiders fan some time ago, I haven't escaped the 2009 season completely. This week's JaMarcus benching has even gotten me back to reading Jerry's blog. And that little spark of hope deep down inside me is asking those tantalizing "what if" questions again.

The question that will be addressed this week: Just how bad is JaMarcus? Will life suddenly spring back into the WR corps? Will the Raiders sustain drives? Will they score touchdowns?

Both Jerry and David White noticed the increased enthusiasm level from key offensive players after practicing with Bruce Gradkowski as the starter. The contrast in energy level, engagement, and work ethic with that of JaMarcus is dramatic. According to Unk, for whom games are not blacked out, last week's TV announcers noticed what we've worried about all along: JaMarcus just doesn't seem to care.

So are we in a situation where anything will appear to be a drastic improvement over JaMarcus, or might Gradkowski impress us with his actual play? I am rooting for Gradkowski, but the unfortunate fact is that he hasn't done much in his career and putting it all together in a hurry to face a tough Bengals defense is a tall order. I fear that the Goldmember lamentations may not yet go away.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Early last season I considered starting a game of "Horse" with JaMarcus, whereby his miserable play and work ethic would letter-by-letter lead up to official designation as a b-u-s-t bust. For some reason I didn't do this, maybe laziness, perhaps because I didn't want to detract from the resale value of Johnny's jersey.

Once we got about three weeks into this season I was prepared to suffer. It just makes business sense to let JaMarcus struggle his way through this season, then write him off if he doesn't develop. But it seems he's surprised all of us - Al Davis included - with his ability to regress throughout this year.

So is Cable's benching with Al's blessing acknowledgement that he is a bust? Or is it a last-ditch attempt to deliver a message that JaMarcus needs to get serious or lose his career? From Cable's point of view this move makes sense: he gets to show that he's a good coach with an awful QB. But from Al's point of view? The Raiders have no real chance of making the playoffs. Perhaps he is thinking about saving all of his other investments by writing off the biggest one.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Written Off

I wrote off the Art Shell debacle as a miserable experience that might have redeeming value in proving to Al that an exclusively seven-step-drop, hurl the ball deep offense just wouldn't work.

How do we write off this one? Proof that, despite his postseason "I told you so" rants over JaMarcus Russell and Johnnie Lee Higgins, measurables like arm strength and 40 times don't win ballgames?

Nope. The only remedy is to overhaul the organization, put smart football people in positions of power, give a talented coaching staff the freedom to coach, and hold the players accountable. Are JaMarcus and DHB completely delusional and incapable of understanding the difference between good play and poor play? Maybe. But they are a product of an environment where the coach has limited power, players are not held accountable, and Al Davis will continue to find positive signs to encourage the players upon whom he has placed outrageous bets.

Can the Raiders find success organized in this way? Yes, but only under truly extraordinary circumstances. I fear that when we apply Gannon-Gruden to the law of averages, this team will be awful for 40 years.

The Raiders organization is simply built to lose.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

"Unmitigated disaster"

Lowell Cohn's JaMarcus Russell column. It's worth reading in full, but here's a taste:
Russell’s passer rating was 45.8. That is a remedial number. You score a number like that and you go live in a hole like Saddam Hussein at the end or you live under a rock or you disguise yourself as a wandering minstrel and play the guitar and sing Beatles’ songs at Times Square for spare change.
So there. JaMarcus was Saddam Hussein-in-a-hole bad. I still think that by "look at the tape," Tom Cable means, "Get torn a new asshole by Al Davis and name JaMarcus the starter for the rest of the season and never try this shit again." But anyway, back to our regularly scheduled programming, "Looking for the Nadir."

Another day, another debacle

So the Raiders lost to the Chiefs, 16-10, and nobody noticed because it wasn't televised.

But JaMarcus got benched, and Gradkowski came in and sucked pretty bad. What's interesting is that there are two views on the benching, almost diametrically opposed.

First, Lowell Cohn says JaMarcus is done. He sucks, and should be jettisoned as soon as possible, that the Raiders need to find a way to cut their losses. He blames JaMarcus for not taking any responsibility.

Bill Williamson kills the Raiders for yanking JaMarcus with the game on the line. He says Russell seemed to be making strides, and was victimized by DHB's hands and Robert Gallery's tripping penalty (I happened to see this play on the RedZone Channel).

Anyway, this has to be the nadir. Losing to the shit-ass Kansas City Chiefs, in Oakland. In front of maybe, what 30,000 people?

But then, we thought Art Shell/Tom Walsh was the nadir.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Raiders get weird again, the sequel

Late yesterday and this morning brought some columnists out regarding the latest Raider drama. That's about all the Raiders are good for, it seems--drama--because they certainly aren't a football team in the sense that their an organization that cares about winning games or developing a program. In fact, on Monday Night Countdown's weekly, "C'mon, Man!" segment, Tom Jackson was able to quip, "We should rename this segment 'The Raiders' because they show up every week," and then played the clip of Louis Murphy and Johnnie Lee Higgins running into each other, Keystone Cops-style.

So first up, Cam Inman talks to Lance Kiffin, who gives Tom Cable a nice character reference:

"Any head coach deserves a certain amount of time to get things going and install what he wants to install. Tom has not had enough time," Kiffin said by phone Monday from his office as the University of Tennessee's coach. "I would think he definitely should have another season after this, at least."

Really? Even after more assault allegations surfaced against Cable on Sunday, via ESPN's report pertaining to claims of two ex-wives and an ex-girlfriend?

"If any of that was accurate, that would surprise me," Kiffin added. "In my year-and-a-half with Tom, I never saw anything like that. I thought he was a first-class coach and a great person."

I'm sure Al will take this under advisement.

Next up is Tim Kawakami, who writes,

Now the team is 2-6 and there are the new serious charges. Al is known to be very protective of women. He wants his franchise to be first-class. He must be horrified by the association to violence against women.

I give him major credit for that.

So Al has a problem. He wants “cause” to fire Cable, so he has to wait, but he also is embarrassed that Cable’s behavior continues to shed bad light on a franchise that is not exactly permanently bathed in light, anyway.

Al has a lot of problems. A shitty football team is the biggest problem.

Scott Ostler gets in on the act, calling the Raiders a "Creepshow" that is hitting its all-time low, although every time I think that, they hit a new low. Anyway,

What's really bizarre in Monday's two news releases is the juxtaposition of warnings.

In one statement, the Raiders say they're evaluating the matter, and alert us that they have fired employees in the past for inappropriate conduct. In the other statement, they call into question the validity of ESPN's report.

So the Raiders might wind up firing their coach over charges they suggest might be nothing but phony-baloney smears in ESPN's attacks on the Raiders.


Finally, in this perusal of local columnist reactions, we get Lowell Cohn. His piece really should be read in its entirety, but here's a taste:

Several benefits would accrue from firing Cable ASAP. We wouldn’t have to see his sad face anymore or hear him swear the Raiders will be a great team in a week or so: “I have great faith in where we’re going and what we can do as a football team.”

That storyline is so over with. And we wouldn’t have to ask whom Cable slapped, or if he actually did slap anyone, or if he really punches people, or if he has a problem controlling his rage or if he has rage to begin with.

Anyway, have a nice day. Any minute now, Al may show up with his overhead projector and announce that Randy Hanson is the interim head coach. That would be awesome.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Meanwhile, in Bizaro Raiders Universe

Raiders name Sean Payton head coach.

Somehow, this got debacled, and we ended up with two years of Norv, followed by Art, Lance, and now OJ Cable.

I will now punch myself in the face.

Raiders get weird again

Not they ever STOPPED being weird, of course. But here's the statement they've released regarding the allegations that Tom Cable is a wife-beater:

Over the last few days, we learned of the allegations made against Coach Cable and we are, of course, aware of of his response thereto. In conjunction with the League office, we will undertake a serious evaluation of this matter.

We wish to be clear that we do not in any way condone or accept actions such as those alleged.

There have been occasions on which we have dismissed Raider employees for having engaged in inappropriate conduct. For reasons of privacy, we kept the basis for those dismissals confidential. We endured public opprobrium for the dismissals, all the while knowing our basis for them was appropriate.

See, weird. And paranoid. "Public opprobrium" for dismissing people for "inappropriate conduct." That could be anyone. The threat to undertake a serious evaluation can't be good news for Tom Cable, not with a 2-6 record. But hey, it is the Raiders. Who knows what will happen.

Of course, this being the Raiders, they took a shot at ESPN, in a separate statement:
ESPN’s role in this matter must be carefully examined. ESPN routinely disseminates falsehoods about the Raiders. During the last year, ESPN (working with someone who was in this organization) engaged in a calculated effort to distort the truth about the Raiders, utilizing lies and innuendo.
Obviously they mean Lance. And, again pretty fucking obviously, Tom Cable is not engaged in a calculated effort--with ESPN--to tarnish the Raiders. Unless he's going out and beating on women just to make the Raiders look even worse than they do already, and not because he may or may not have a serious anger management problem. Anyway, stay tuned.

And so it begins

Monte Poole and Lowell Cohn call for Al Davis to fire Tom Cable, as in immediately. Because it's the bye week, that makes sense to me.

He's become an embarrassment. Money quote from Poole:
This isn't about expecting perfection from an authority figure. One of the greatest baseball managers of all time, Billy Martin, was ill-tempered and would swing on someone for breathing wrong. We know of Bob Knight's temper and that Bobby Cox once spent a night in jail after hitting his wife, though the charges were later dropped.

But as a coach, Cable does not belong in that discussion. Not that coaching well justifies violence. This is about wins and losses and image — about how a multimillion-dollar business would like to manage its brand. Cable is going where no Raiders coach has gone before. He is bringing shame upon the shield.

Shame upon the shield.

Allegedly, this is the number one offense in Raider land.

I don't have any illusions that this will improve anything. But a stand has to be taken. Sure, as this PFT post points out, there's plenty of "reasonable doubt." That works great as a constitutional guarantee. But it doesn't guarantee somebody a job, especially if these kinds of allegations and distractions keep coming up. What will we hear next? That he spent the night before the game stealing children's Halloween candy?

Cable's got to go. Al needs to go.

UPDATE: Missed this one by Kawakami. He brings up Al's intolerance for violence again women, and then writes of Cable:

OK, maybe he’s just an innocent bystander, assailed by an active conspiracy to bring him down. Maybe he’s truly the gentlest man in the world, and can’t understand where all these charges are coming from.

UNLIKELY. He has a history. The history is coming up.

Al has a history, too, and it’s firing coaches who displease him and running off those who embarrass him. Right now, Cable is doing both. Allegedly in one aspect and not-at-all allegedly in the other.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Seriously? I mean, really? Oh, COME ON!

This is great. I mean, really. Stay classy, Raiders. What happened to Dollar up for Tracey?

Right as Jerry Mac speculates that despite the decrepitude on the field, Cable probably won't get fired.

This is Al Davis' fault.


Light blogging this week because of the general atrociousness of the Raiders, but there was an interesting item in Jerry Mac's blog on Thursday.

It's worth a read. I've gone from being the world's biggest JaMarcus Russell apologist not named Al Davis to absolutely refusing to defend him any longer, as he's been so awful.

And now, in the middle of another season filled with debacles, Charlie Frye shows up at the office on Wednesday morning at 6:30 and was surprised to see JaMarcus there. It's the earliest he's ever seen him, and as Jerry points out, the logical inference is that it's because only now is JaMarcus taking his role as franchise quarterback seriously. Okay, fine. Says Frye:

“I just think it clicks differently for different guys,” Frye said. “Some guys it happens really fast for them and some guys it takes a little bit longer. I think it took me to be able to go out there in Seattle and just sit back away from it and see how this thing really works.

“Some guys learn better through playing, through experience, other guys through film work. I know one thing, when the light switch does come on, you notice it really quickly. It’s just different for everybody.”

And I can understand this. JaMarcus seems like one of those guys for whom things have always been easy on the football field. He was bigger, stronger, and more talented than just about everyone he's ever played with or against. Then you're drafted #1, given a ton of money, and he thinks to himself, "This is easy, just like everything else in my football life so far." Only it's not easy, so he freaks out a little bit, and doesn't know what to do.

So he gets pulled. And then for the next three days he gets absolutely killed, and he deserves it. Anyway, maybe it's too little, too late. But I'm rooting for him, and the Raiders, to turn things around.

Even if I'm not optimistic that they'll do it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Depth Finder

Wow. That was all Tom Flores could say about JaMarcus today. And that's an appropriate reaction to this game recap by Jerry McDonald.

It's worth a read. Among the "high" lights:
  • Most rushing yards by an opponent (316) since 2001. That predates Rob Ryan.
  • First sub-40,000 announced attendance (39,354) since the return to Oakland and lowest paid attendance since 1968. Yeah. The SIXTIES.
  • DHB is now behind Crabtree, 5-4. His reaction to finally having more catches than names? "It’s good to catch the ball. I had two catches today. That was a positive thing during the game."
And of course Jerry reminds us that the Jets' O-line coach is Bill Callahan, who knows better than anyone how dumb this team can be and absolutely dominated the line of scrimmage when the Jets had the ball.


There Is No Bottom

Welcome to new depths, Raider fans. I'm very pleased to report that I spent an incredibly enjoyable day in Half Moon Bay with my lovely wife and merely endured a portion of the game on the radio as we drove from brunch to Old Princeton Landing for some beer and darts.

Today I can't even venture to guess what could fix this disaster, although I'm sure avoiding two quick turnovers on their own 4 yard line might help a bit.

This is much more familiar

As Jerry Mac points out, this is the worst home loss ever.

I stopped watching the game a little bit through the third quarter, when the score was 31-0.

I took a shower.

Then, I made some bloody marys, one for me, and one for my host.

That was seriously the most pathetic game I've ever seen. For those of you back home in the Bay Area, you're lucky the game was blacked out. The crowd was pathetic; I've seen bigger crowds at a mid-week A's game. At a day game.

Which is, of course exactly what the Raiders deserve at this point. Without defending JaMarcus Russell, we learned, when Gradkowski came into the game, the the problems run so much deeper than our obese quarterback.

Al Davis, you are a sad old man. This is what the Greatness of the Raiders has been reduced to: they lose 38-0, and almost nobody cares.


Gradkowski starts the 2nd half and has a nice 20 yard scramble for a 1st down. The offense has a bit of a spark here. The Jets are also kind of in prevent mode.

JaMarcus is getting credit for not sulking on the bench. Bully for him.

As if on cue, Gradkowski fumbles. Jets ball.

Stanford Routt is JaMarcus bad

The play that Tom Cable was trying to challenge occurred when Stanford Routt was called for Defensive holding on third down. Cable was trying to argue that the ball was tipped. Which is fine if the call is pass interference, but since it was holding, which occurs before the pass is thrown. Anyway, two long running plays later, the Jets scored.

The defense looks like it's quit.

Now Gradkowski comes onto the field to the cheers of the 200 or so people in the coliseum.

His first pass is almost intercepted.


Just as I receive my first "Fuck Russell" text message from Kristi mocking JaMarcus and questioning the effectiveness of his reported Lasik surgery, CBS shows Bruce Gradkowski taking snaps on the sideline from Sampson Satele and warming up.

To the delight of the crowd.

Also, Tom Cable is trying to challenge an un-challengeable play.

I love the Raiders.


Just so it isn't all negative, Justin Fargas is amazing. He has two big runs.

JaMarcus Russell throws another interception

Because of course we can't be having a successful drive going, can we?

But hey, at least he looks pissed this time.

DHB Sighting

JaMarcus just delivered a strike downfield for 24 yards to DHB. He's now 2 catches behind Michael Crabtree.

And then, on a Blitz, JaMarcus throws an INT that gets returned to the 4 yard line.

He also has a fumble, which I missed because I was at Ralph's.

Welcome back, JaMarcus Bad Raiders. We missed you.

Black Socks

JaMarcus seems to be taking fashion advice from Nnamdi and takes the field with all black socks. A nice pass to Zach Miller on first down, a run, and then Louis Murphy drops a slant that's a little bit behind him, causing Dan Dierdorf to berate JaMarcus.

The Jets are winning 7-0. It's not looking good.

DHB Leads Crabtree

Just a quick note to say that DHB still holds a slim lead over Crabtree headed into this week's games, 2-0 in total catches for the year.

I just picked up Crabtree in my fantasy league as a hedge against local ridicule.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Whew - I Guess

SFGate's front page reads: "No charges for Raiders coach in alleged beating of assistant."

The false hope that is mercilessly pulling me back towards "practicing fan" status lives on...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I'm a sucker for these kinds of things

Check out Jerry Mac's latest. I agree with him that Seymour "guaranteeing" a playoff spot is 8,000 times better than "things are fishy around here."

But what got to me was the talk of the pigeon. We've all seen this video:

In fact, my daughter loves it. But this almost made me choke up:

“You see that pigeon?,” Green said to teammate Sam Williams. “That was Marquis.”

Indeed, even the mother of Marquis Cooper, the Raiders linebacker and special teams standout who was lost at sea on March 1 and presumed dead, thought the same thing.

Williams checks in with Donna Cooper regularly.

“She said, `That was Marquis out there with you guys,’ ” Williams said. “That was something else. I just saw it on the field, wondering why it was there. Once I saw it with us, covering the kick, it was special.”

So here's the deal. I've been a hater. And I don't take any of it back. I'll hold Tom Cable to his standard of three wins a row before I start thinking this team has turned a corner. But you'd have to be heartless not to be touched by the pigeon story.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Greatness of the Raiders and the Not-So of the Warriors

Raiders 13 Eagles 9. In your face, McNabb.

Just like Al Davis has probably said on numerous occasions; you just gotta get after that opposing QB, give him no time to sit back and pick you apart. You gotta use the deep pass to score, and a hard-nosed running game to control the clock. JaMarc, he even threw a decent game - at least relatively - and the Raiders pulled off the upset in a game that only a fan of the Eagles or Raiders could watch all the way through.

Next week we should see more of the same, but with the usual result: the defense will outplay the offense - that is, the Raiders Defense will outplay the Raiders Offense, only I don't see Mark Sanchez and the former Bretts taking the Raiders lightly, or being "outcoached" or "surprised", like the Philly squad. Enjoy this victory Raiders Fan - it might be your last.

The GSW's.

Warrior Fans, whatever shall we do? Stack Jack (Stephen Jackson) wants out of the Golden State, so that -much like Al Harrington- he can still lose, but do it a more fun fashion.
The Warriors named Monta Ellis as Captain in place of Stack Jack, who basically yanked off his own Captains "C" and tossed it in the commode after wiping himself with it. He then made comments to effect that the Captain designation is meaningless.

I don't know about that. Besides getting to go out to mid-court before the first whistle, the "C" does seem to bestow the wearer with the license to speak to the refs, to straighten out other players on the team, to be the heart and the soul of the team, I would think - but Stack Jack says he can't lead a bunch of guys making the same money as him - they have to handle themselves.

I do remember one captain the Warriors had in thier past, and his name was Tim Hardaway. His name probably is still Tim Hardaway, but I digress. He was not just one of the captains, he was the floor general, the best offensive option (in his mind), and the outspoken leader of a team that wasn't great, but damn sure entertained. He was the face of the franchise and we fans liked him and his Utep Two-Step from Day One.

The Warriors haven't been great, ever. They haven't been entertaining since the "We Believe" Season of 2007 that seems to have taken place way back in 1977, it was so long ago.

Now we got ourselves another little shooting guard of a point guard, and he's to be the floor general to hear Don Nelson tell it, and he will lead this team - and not because he's a natural leader, but because the Warriors have no other option. Monta will wear the "C" for as long as he is a Warrior - or until he feels the same way about wearing it as Stack Jack.

Wear it well, Monta. Give us fans a little hope.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cable Takes a Stand

A non-practicing fan though I may be, I found it impossible to stay away from the radio in the second half. It's games like these that always blow my mind. Just when you are absolutely sure they will never win again, they beat a winning team. This leads to what longtime CLOAK reader Dave labels a false sense of hope, and the cycle of disappointment begins anew.

But this was a win, and despite what many will say about the Eagles overlooking the Raiders, the cross-country flight, Reid's game plan, or McNabb's poor play, the Raider defense played a huge part in delivering this win. How did they do it? By defying reason #2 why the Raiders always lose. They mixed up their scheme. They blitzed like crazy. They dropped into Cover-2. And it worked.

Per Winston Justice: “They were doing some stunts. They caught us by surprise. They did a lot of things that we weren’t really expecting.”

Per McNabb: “This week the defensive coordinator came up with a scheme we haven’t seen. They’re known for playing man coverage. They dropped back in a lot of zone, more zone than we’ve seen in the early games. That allowed them to sit back in a zone and just wait for a guy to catch the ball and make the tackle. They came up with more of a blitz package today. They were able to get pressure.”

After the game, Greg Papa asked Tom Cable why they had shown such a different look this week. Cable said he made the decision and sounded defiant in his comments, which went something like this: "We weren't going to sit back in man-single free safety and just take it."

This, I believe, is Cable taking a stand against the vanilla defense dictated by Al Davis. Cable knows that with defensive performances like they've had in Houston and New York, he wouldn't be employed for long. He might not even make it past tomorrow, depending on what the Napa DA has to say.

If there's any doubt that Al dictates defensive scheme, here is what Nnamdi had to say about John Marshall dialing up the blitzes today: "He said that he might get yelled at for it, but he’ll keep it going." Nnamdi added, "Maybe he’ll see that it actually works, and we’ll stick on it."

He might as well have been talking about Al.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Even the Onion is getting mileage out of the Raiders

Raiders Achieve First Down.

It's only going to get worse.

Art Shell JaMarcus Bad

David White's article in today's Sporting Green asks newly-signed Langston Walker how this offense compares to the Tom Walsh-inspired debacle he played on 2006. Take it away:

"Hopefully I can come in and help this team at some point," Walker said.

At some point? How about this instant.

The Raiders barely score against subpar competition. Imagine all the scoring they won't be doing against the Eagles' third-ranked defense Sunday at the Coliseum.

"Aw, man, we've just got to put up points," rookie wide receiver Louis Murphy said. "That's all I can really say about that."

Fine. Let the numbers speak for themselves after a 1-4 start.

Today's Raiders have scored 49 points through five games, one point less than the '06 Raiders. That makes this the worst scoring start in franchise history.

Wow. 1 point less than the '06 Raiders. Unbelievable. And this on the heels of Antonio Pierce saying that playing the Raiders felt more like a scrimmage.

I have a friend who is a big Eagles fan. He invited me to go to the game with him this Sunday. There's no way I'm paying Al Davis one penny for the right to watch his clown college in person.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Ray of Sunshine?

Chaz Schilens practiced today and will probably play on Sunday.

Nope. Still depressed.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


All seems lost for the Raiders. The CLOAK has shifted concept from calling out Haters of the Week to recapping a daily litany of anti-Raiders sentiment. There is little hope for 2009, and really none for the future either, because what we feared is proving to be true. The Raiders organization is built to lose.

Since this blog began, we have asked many times why the Raiders systematically fall apart, why they lead the league in penalties no matter the coaching staff, why they lose 11+ games every year no matter the scheme or the talent level. Over time, we have learned why:
  1. There is no organizational hierarchy
  2. Al Davis dictates a vanilla, archaic defense
  3. The personnel theory is the antithesis of Billy Beane's Moneyball
How does poor organizational structure translate to performance on the field? While Johnny astutely points out the foolish priorities of the boss in the Hanson article - which is an underlying factor that exacerbates the entire situation - I found it interesting that one tiny unnecessary meddling fact led to this whole incident: Randy Hanson was hired by Al Davis before Tom Cable won the head coaching job. Whether or not that was done to secure Hanson as a snitch as has been alleged, it led to all of this distraction and if you read both linked Michael Silver articles you'll see how that lack of organizational continuity leads to confusion and underperformance on the field. Bottom line: the coach really has no authority.

I think Steve Young watched his first Raider game week one of this season. He repeatedly remarked, "I have never seen so much man-free safety in my life," and you could hear the drool running down his chin as he imagined picking it apart from under center. Teams in the past have said that they barely prepare for the Raiders given that they give the same look week in and week out. It shows. While they occasionally play inspired ball or match up perfectly with an opponent, in most weeks they have no prayer stopping the run. Rob Ryan is no longer our defensive coordinator. The defense, apparently stocked with talent, has given us no chance in either of the last two weeks.

And that brings us to the personnel theory. The core assertion of Moneyball is that baseball teams overpay for certain physical attributes in players relative to the impact that those attributes have on winning games. Interestingly, the most overpaid-for attribute in baseball is speed. Sound familiar? In the NFL, speed is important, but so are a lot of things. Al Davis continues to make a lot of good choices with players. But he also makes a lot of mistakes, and he spends a lot of money on those mistakes. While too obvious to point to JaMarcus right now, the failure to address the offensive line in a meaningful way since the Gallery-Grove draft (that was 2004, mind you) is causing tremendous pain this year.

Undoubtedly there are more reasons. Perhaps there are better arguments surrounding these. But football teams spiral out of control without clear authority and responsibilities. Today's NFL offenses pick defenses to shreds when given the opportunity to plan. And egregious personnel mistakes set franchises back.

Given enough time, the combination turns off even the most die hard fans.

Breaking down the contiunous debacle, 2003-Now

Ray Ratto takes a look back at what he calls "the Troubles," the period of losing the Raiders have served up since getting destroyed in the Super Bowl.

I particularly enjoyed this passage:
Thus, it really matters not a jot what head coach Tom Cable says about staying the course, or what the players say about changing the direction, or what anyone says about national punch-line JaMarcus Russell or the Amish offensive line or the not-really-a-running-game or the hologram that is Javon Walker or Randy Hanson or really anything at all. This is nature at its most reliable. It's October, the wind is up, the leaves are turning, the Raiders have just embarrassed themselves, and they and we all know another season is irreparably damaged.

He then goes through and looks at ever game five since 2003, which was either a loss or a bye, and the game six that follows, also all losses.

I was at the game in 2004, with my wife and my mother and father. The Raiders lost 31-3. It's the only game I've ever left early, because it had started raining, much like it is today, in the late 3rd quarter, with the score already 31-3. It was my wife's first ever Raiders game. I'm kind of surprised she didn't divorce me.

Anyway, blah blah blah, the Raiders still suck and we are suckers for rooting for them.

We REALLY deserve this

Lowell Cohn's latest column, pwning Al Davis for the Clown college he's running in Alameda.

Money quote:
No right-thinking person, no sane person, no reasonable observer of the NFL can have faith and belief in this outrage that is the Oakland Raiders. No one. There can be no faith because the man at the top has lost touch with modern football and every glaring flaw, every football abomination results from that. And you know it.

Everyone knows it except for Davis and those close to him who whisper silliness in his ear. You feel they live in an alternate universe, these Raiders people, a universe in which everything bad appears good.

I was thinking about why the Raiders seem to matter still in their decrepitude. People don't mock the Lions or the Rams the way Cris Carter and that other guy who looks like Rahm Emanuel mocked them the other day. And it's because there was real greatness in the past. It's what made people like Dan and me fall in love with them. But that's gone.

When Al finally gives up, I will feel sympathy and nostalgia for his past innovations. Until then, while his team, MY FAVORITE team, is disgrace, I will wish him ill.

Monday, October 12, 2009

We deserve this, Part 2

Some asshole Broncos fan at Bleacher Report has a slide show of reasons why the Raiders suck.

Sure, he doesn't know how to use an apostrophe, and his prose is JaMarcus-bad, but we can't really argue with his descriptions of the unholy trinity, Al-JaMarcus-Tom Cable. My favorite is reason #5: "Your last first rounder has more names than catches."

We deserve this

This video was playing at the front of Len Pasquareli's column rehashing how JaMarcus-bad the Raiders are for a national audience. I guess that's what happens when you play a New York team. Anyway, Rahm Emanuel and Cris Carter yuck it up pretty impressively in this piece.

Also getting in a nice joke is Mike Florio, never one to miss out. He says that if Rush Limbaugh buys the Rams, they'll have to overpay for free agents, since players are still pissed about how he did Donovan McNabb. He says "all ties will go to the other team," meaning playing time, market, whatever, "unless that other team is the Raiders."

We'll be hear all week, sports fans.

Debacle Reactions

Just a smattering of local feedback on yesterday's Jersey Beat Down:

Gutierrez says the Raiders are a "sad joke," and advises Tom Cable to steal Al's Towncar, drive it to Napa, and turn himself in for breaking Randy Hanson's jaw. Why? Because,
a little time in the pokey, solitary confinement if possible, would be so much better for your stress level, your general well-being and overall health than what you have to endure daily watching over this shockingly wretched outfit and its latest embarrassing performance.
Gary Peterson says things have never been so bleak for the Raiders:

So what happens now?

"You stay the course," Cable said.


Gwen Knapp comes a week late to the bash-JaMarcus party, after everyone else has moved onto to including the entire team, with her usual JaMarcus-bad logic, with a headline, "Russell's latest debacle proves he isn't getting it." It opens:
The Raiders backed up their coach Sunday. They lost a game so completely and atrociously that they confirmed Tom Cable's assertions that his team's problems went much deeper than the devastatingly inaccurate arm of quarterback JaMarcus Russell.

Kawakami sees "greatness all around." His final bullet point:
It’s my fault. It’s Rich Gannon’s fault. It’s Lowell Cohn’s fault. It’s Monte Poole’s fault. It’s all of our faults, since… well, I’m sure Al and his miions will tell us why.

Cohn says "Raiders are right there." It's short, and written in the 4th quarter before the game had actually ended. It's a pretty brilliant piece of black comedy, actually. Noting that at every press conference he gives, Tom Cable says that the Raiders are "almost there," Lowell blogs,
He never actually says where there is or if there is a there there...By the way, there refers to the absolute bottom whether Cable knows it or not.
Not good times for Raiders fan. In fact, these times are JaMarcus Bad.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Loss of Faith

You know why the Raiders are so horrible? Read this article by Michael Silver, which came out this morning, with an exclusive interview with Randy Hanson.

Who gives a shit if it's true that Tom Cable sucker punched Hanson, breaking his jaw? Nobody. And I don't really give a shit about the he said, she said aspect of it. Although it is fascinating to read in a train-wreck kind of way. But look at this paragraph:
Davis had been out of town at the time of the incident – he was on the East Coast giving a deposition to a lawyer for Kiffin, who is challenging the owner’s decision not to pay him the balance of his contract. He did not meet with Hanson until Aug. 16, 11 days after the incident.
Al Davis was not with his team because he was on the East Coast giving a deposition against the last asshole he hired and fired.

Nothing sums up the state of this football team than the fact that Al Davis cares more about settling scores with his former head coach--A guy who Davis should never have hired in the first place--than he does about making the Oakland Raiders a competitive football team.

It doesn't even make me sick anymore. Dan came up with a great line during the game. He was thinking of becoming a "non-practicing Raiders fan."

From now on, that's what I am. And I think I for speak for Dan as well, although he's certainly capable of speaking for himself, when I say that from this moment forward, this is a dissident blog. The changes in the images were made to reflect the true faces of this franchise: the senile, decrepit old man who cares about nothing but his own deteriorating legacy, ironically destroying said legacy with every idiotic thing that comes out of his mouth and every unqualified coach he hires and then fires and then sues; and the quarterback he drafted, gave $32 Million guaranteed 8 weeks too late, and who sucks so epically that everything that really, really sucks is now knows as "JaMarcus Bad."

Al Davis is JaMarcus Bad. And he deserves everything he gets.


While realistic, Kawakami's triangle is irrelevant. JaMarcus is awful, but he has nothing to do with the fact that this defense cannot stop the run unless specifically stacked for it. Any draw, any sweep, any screen goes for huge yards. I mean 20 yards-per-carry sort of stuff. That defense, as we all know, is dictated by Al Davis. The singular point that matters in this debacle of debacles.

We hoped that the Art Shell Experiment proved something to Al: that innovation matters. Nope. And now the CLOAK OF IMMORTALITY feels like a wet blanket of futility from which we will never, ever escape. And that single point is the proverbial black hole with an infinite capacity to suck.

Pregame Highlights

Yeah, I'm watching. So far. Having just flipped from Fox to CBS in order to avoid two of the dumbest analysts in football - Shannon Sharpe and Dan Marino - I'm met with this gem:

"Home Depot Tools to Victory: Oakland Raiders - A touchdown would be nice."

At least I was able to stay with Fox long enough to catch good old Howie Long going off on his monologue about the "Brady Stare." He pointed out the terrible inconsistency in official's calls last week when they flagged Baltimore for 15 yards after Brady stared down the official based on Terrell Suggs avoiding hitting Brady in the legs. Then they swallowed their whistles when Flacco was drilled two steps after throwing the ball, leading to a concussion for the offensive lineman who was behind Flacco.

It's bad enough to have to suffer through Raider hopelessness, we also have to deal with games that are, in effect, rigged. At least the Patriots are playing Denver today. Somebody has to lose, right?

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Sorry, Dan.

I feel it, too. And not even a little bit of hope for a Denver-style miracle.

This team is horrible. Kawakami's post about the Russell-Davis-Cable triangle sounds about right on the money to me. This sounds like a horrible mix, one that's even worse than the Art Shell year, somehow.

All we need is for DHB to come out and say how "fishy" things are. I'm not sure I'd even throw up in my mouth.

Maybe something's wrong with me that this stuff doesn't even piss me off now? Anyway, the over/under for tomorrow's game is 35.

35%, that is, of JaMarcus's passes completed.


It's become a tough season. At the moment it feels as difficult as the Art Shell year, and perhaps worse because I never thought that could happen again. After traveling to Houston for last week's debacle, I decided that I should start putting my time to better use than watching this utter garbage week after week and year after year. Walk the dog. Go to the beach. Read a book. Sleep. Anything.

Due to the early game and the fact that I'm having a buddy over to hang out during the day, I'll probably watch at least the first half. Is it worth hoping that a miracle similar to last year's at-Broncos game will occur? That I'll likely tune in at 10 am with that hope somewhere deep in my mind is proof of my illness.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Why the blog is quiet

Because you can read shit like this elsewhere. Watching that game the other day was awful. I had a pretty rough weekend, dealing with some personal, family stuff. Before driving home, I thought I'd watch the Raiders play the Texans, and while I didn't have any hope of them winning the game, I thought maybe at least it would take my mind off of the other things that were bothering me.

Instead, I felt like Al Swearengen (language NSFW and this is a different scene, but the characters are the same), who was trying to get a blowjob from Dolly when Seth Bullock and Calamity Jane show up outside his window, screaming at him, asking for his badge and gun back. "Even this now gives me no pleasure," says Al, with a sigh.

I'm not comparing watching football to getting a blow job. But the sentiment is the same, in that something that was once pleasurable, a pleasant diversion to get one through his day, is now overwhelmed by external events. Would Dolly have overcome Al's problems with better technique? Perhaps. Would the Raiders playing better football have brightened my day? Almost certainly.

Instead, I just had to go outside and see who the fuck was yelling at me, and why.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

On the Road, Taking Names

Having bought tickets just before last week's debacle, this week I find myself in Austin, TX putting down some coffee before starting the 3+ hour drive to Houston's Reliant Stadium for today's noon CT kickoff. Unk, Kristy, Mikey, and Kate -or- Dad will make the road trip, and we'll be meeting up with college roommate and good friend Billy Forney in Houston. We'll be driving Fred's white Ford van and Kristy has equipped us with Raider flag and magnetic shield to advertise our allegiance. Sweet.

What has me fired up this morning is Goldmember late this week joining a long list of former players who level a very specific criticism against the Raiders: that too many players are just "there to collect a check and not really interested in putting everything that they had within themselves on to the football field."

Ok, so who are these guys? Last year I noted the names that Nnamdi specified as guys who care after the locker room laughter incident (Burgess, Wilson, Kelly). Interestingly, two of those three are no longer with the team. On this year's defense, which guys are just collecting a check? It isn't the DEs. Per Nnamdi it isn't Tommy Kelly. Chris Johnson? Not how he's turned around his career. Michael Huff? He's our MVP through 3 games. Tyvon Branch? I don't think so.

Gerard Warren is believable, but that's one guy. And that leaves the linebacking corps, which I just can't believe are a bunch of slackers. Maybe they joke around a lot, but I just can't believe they don't care.

So maybe it's that the offense doesn't care?

If the reason the Raiders collapse 3 games into every year is that guys don't care, why doesn't someone call out the individuals stealing my money? I want to know. Name names. Or perhaps in this case it's a bitter Goldmember making a claim that no longer applies. The Chargers remarked after the first game that it was surprising to see so many Raiders trying so hard to win. That the team looked different. I hope so, but it leaves me wondering what happened last week.

So will this week's game be like the Atlanta game last year (reaching previously unexplored depths) or the at Denver game last year (a pleasant shocker)? Either way, we'll find out in person.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Hope in the midst of an already-debacled season.

Houston Texans tight end Anthony Hill is the first NFL player to contract swine flu. Add that to the fact that the Texans are 32nd in total defense this season, and the Raiders could be players this week.

Except that Cable will still have JaMarcus throw the ball 30 times, instead of handing the ball off to our trio of running backs and getting his big ass out of the way.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hater of the Week: John Sousa

When Walter Cronkite delivered his editorial on the Vietnam War on February 17, 1968, Lyndon Johnson reported said, "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost Middle America."

Well, I don't know what this is worth, but the Raiders have finally lost John Sousa. And this is how they did it:

Spent all week spewing libel at Rich Gannon. The Raiders have done a lot of stupid things over the years, but this was truly the dumbest thing I've ever seen. "We live in a post-9/11 world." Really, Herrera? How about we live in a post-1983 world? One in which offensive innovation has flourished, just about everywhere but here? Oh, except for a brief stint when somebody named Rich Gannon was your quarterback. You fucking assholes.

Then, they go out and completely crap the bed against the Broncos. They played so poorly that the NFL RedZone channel stopped providing live lookins. And I don't blame them. Per Dan, watching the game in an Austin sports bar, this offense is "Art Shell bad."

So, here's the deal. It's not like I'm going shopping for a new team. But I'm doing the following things, until the Raiders prove they are serious about playing honest-to-God NFL Football; or at least as serious about it as they are settling non-existent scores against former players and the media:

I'm refusing to wear any of my Raiders paraphernalia. Not my T. Brown throwback replica, not my Kirk Morrison replica, none of my hats, t-shirts, or shoes. And not my JaMarcus authentic jersey.

Which brings to me the next thing. I will not defend JaMarcus Russell. This pains me to write, because I've been his biggest apologist. But he is awful.

And I will no longer defend Al Davis. He is a tired, senile old man. Someone needs to pull his plug. Lock him in a room playing unending loops of past Raiders victories, and tell him it's current. Then get down to the business of making the Raiders a legitimate, competitive football team.

Fuck this shit.

John's Picks

Good Morning, sports fans. I'm up early here on the West Coast, with a semi-sick daughter and an exhausted Professor wife, who spent like 19 hours at the West Valley College Pow Wow yesterday.

The 49ers could beat the Vikings. Patrick Willis is a beast. I will watch this game, or at least I'll see the look-ins when the Red Zone goes there. Who really cares, anyway? I think Minny puts the 49ers at 2-1. 18-14.

Miami will beat San Diego. We should have beaten San Diego. Wildcat or no,17-13.

Titans go to 0-3 today. I like Rex Ryan. Apparently, Rob is lesser of the twins, because not only is the Raiders defense better since his ass is gone, but Cleveland's sucks, too. Check out these YPG rankings. The Jets are #1. The Raiders are #23, which isn't great, but check out the Browns. #25.

Finally, the blackout bowl. Lowell Cohn and Tim Kawakami finally added their two cents on Gannon-gate. I'll be watching for live look-ins on RedZone. And maybe I'll party like's it 1999, and listen to Greg Papa. We'll see. I like our chances. And the Raiders this year haven't given me any reason to start trying to reverse-jinx, so I'm Dan and Sllaacs. Raiders win on a Seabass FG late, 21-18.

This is a Game worth Throwing Tortillas Over

Last year we made a series of mistakes in choosing to attend the Raider-Bronco MNF opener. A complete blowout after a full day of drinking by home fans who tend not to be encumbered by jobs or families makes for a bad scene. Making matters worse, we subjected Kristy’s brother and his girlfriend – both wearing orange – to a dangerous walk around the parking lot prior to kickoff. Of the objects and curses thrown at them, however, we all found the fresh tortillas that Frisbeed in from one tailgate to be the funniest, not to mention tastiest.

This week the Broncos return to the Coliseum, and I am ready to declare this a pivotal game. The Raiders of recent years have known only two kinds of inflection points – the ones that temporarily slow the descent into chaos and the ones that renew their acceleration towards the pit of laughingstock-ness. This week’s game vs. Denver has the potential to begin moving the Raiders in the positive direction.

Perhaps that’s stating the obvious: a win and the Raiders are 2-1 in the division, tied for first, with a legitimate gripe over not being 3-0. A loss and the Raiders stole one against the hapless Chefs for their only win of the season. Obvious or not, a win will bring a level of optimism to Oakland not seen for a long time.

I suspect that the major determining factor will be the Raiders’ ability to run the ball, which oddly vanished at about halftime of the San Diego game. Justin Fargas is going to play an important role here. He’s finally active, and he has a way of wearing down defenses with his violent running in the early going that softens things up for McFadden and Bush.