Monday, April 27, 2009

David White Interviews the Natives

This is the kind of piece that writes itself apparently.

If nothing else, it shows the that Raider Nation is World Wide like BDP.

So stop the violence, Raiders fans.

ESPN's Hate on Display








Via Williamson. What's interesting here is that Todd McShay seems more embarrassed than anything, even saying, "I don't want to pile on," while Hannah Storm is downright gleeful in her setups.

It's too bad, because in the early-to-mid 90s, when she was NBC's NBA studio host, I had the hugest crush on her.

Contrarian Award: Rich "Big Vinny" Lieberman

We need to come up with a better name for this. "Anti-hater?" Lover? Anyway, I chose "Contrarian" because Big Vinnie Lieberman goes to bat for the Raiders, taking on the conventional wisdom that the Raiders had the worst draft in the history of the draft in two posts at SFGate blog, Bright Lights, Big City. The first one absolutely eviscerates ESPN for their Anti-Raider bias, taking on Mort, Berman, TJ, and everyone else. Money quote from that post:

I'm speaking more about the premise of credibility. Berman's love affair with the SF 49ers and Giants is notorious. He's even mentioned it several times in interviews on the network itself. The "Raiduhs" shtick was cute about ten years ago, but Berman continues to think it's funny, a la, "back-back-back". He's never been a particularly objective guy when it comes to Oakland, and his partner on "Countdown", ex-NFL player, Tom Jackson, was a former Denver Bronco. Jackson didn't work the draft, but his anti-Raiders bias is well-known and documented. In his playing days, he once refered to John Madden as a "fatman".

Mortensen is in a league by himself. His distaste for Al Davis and the Raiders organization has been legendary, but when it gets to the point where it affects his reportings, then there's a credibility issue. After all, "Mort" supposedly is deemed by ESPN as an "NFL reporter/'insider". His "commentary" is, for the most part, first-rate and fairly accurate, but he needs to strengthen up the "objectivity" box in his Raiders file because no one takes him seriously when he opines about the Raiders.

We all know about Mort's well-documented history covering the Raiders.

In the second post, he goes out and runs the opinion of a former scout who makes the case for Darrius Heyward-Bey.

I was in the process, this morning, of collecting post-draft reactions from national figures; I still may do that. But I wanted to acknowledge that not everyone in the Media hates the Raiders; there's at least one guy out there who's not hater.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

More First Day Reactions

After letting the Heyward-Bey and Mitchell picks sink in, here's what some people are saying:

Jerry: His gut says Heyward-Bey is a bad pick, but he also thinks the Mitchell pick might be a good one. This cracked me up:
With the Raiders’ luck, Mitchell will unload the full force of his fury upon Heyward-Bey on the first day in Napa and . . . . never mind.
Ouch.

Gutierrez: What, Usain Bolt wasn't available?

Kawakami
: Cable's the big loser in Saturday's bizarre Raiders draft crop. Brutal quote:

And Al proved that Cable has no credibility, just like every other of the last many Raiders coaches, who all failed. Because they had no credibility, you see.

But that’s the only way Al likes it.

Lowell Cohn: Advantage 49ers, even though it's not really a competition. Brutality:

You never can underestimate the Raiders because they’ll always perform lower than you’d imagine in your most vivid nightmare.

and:
Al Davis has been in love with speed since he chased someone down Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn decades ago.
Apparently we're still picking. I don't think I can handle any more of this, so I'll be by the pool somewhere with a strong cocktail.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

We've Become a Parody of Ourselves

Bill Williamson types out a column-length blog post to let everyone know who bad the Raiders screwed up by taking Heyward-Bey instead of Crabtree.

His conclusion:

Sure, Heyward-Bey's speed and Russell's big arm will be a nice combination a few times a season. Heyward-Bey probably will make a few big plays as a rookie. It would be a shock if he will be a productive player all season. In fact, I would be surprised if Heyward-Bey ever becomes an elite player. There is little chance he will become the best receiver in the Bay Area.

The Raiders' drafts this decade have been highlighted by the wrong call. In 2004, the team took Robert Gallery over Larry Fitzgerald. In 2006, they took Michael Huff over Jay Cutler. And now this.

This could be the worst mistake of all. If it is, the Raiders won't have to look far to be reminded of it.

The only thing I can absolutely quibble with is the suggestion we should have taken Cutler over Huff. Huff might suck, but I'd take JaMarcus over Cutler any day.

Mikey Outlines the Raiders' Plan

Phase 1: Draft Speed

Let's Start Talking Ourselves into Mitchell



Once Mikey lays some Slim Thug lyrics over this one we'll have had a perfect day one.

Oh the Horror...

I put on my Lombardi cap and called it. In the second round, the Raiders take an unknown safety who ran a 4.43: Michael Mitchell from Ohio.

Just watched ESPN review the pick. Berman and Young sat there leafing through Mel Kiper, Jr.'s 2009 Draft Guide. "Where is he? We don't even have a highlight on this guy!"

Kiper: "I have him rated as the 73rd safety in the draft - but he could have been as high as 40th. He's a priority free agent."

Young: "What's the earliest the Raiders would have had to pick him to make sure they got him?"

Kiper: "Fifth round."

Ouch. Not the 73rd rated player, the 73rd rated safety. To paraphrase Johnny, "At least we have a few months to get fired up before training camp."

Raiders Trade Out

The Raiders have traded out of the #40 spot - giving it to New England. No truth to the original rumors that the Raiders got Randy Moss for the pick. Instead they stockpile three picks:
  • Round 2, 47th overall
  • Round 4, 124th overall
  • Round 6, 199th overall
Not bad, as the Raiders need more bodies to fill the OT, DT, and Safety holes.

And the Patriots use the Raiders' pick to grab Ron Brace, a run stuffing nose tackle. Who needs him. We have Terdell Sands.

Raider Second Round

So who will it be? We have needs at OT, DT, Safety...Johnny has been saying Phil Loadholt at OT out of Oklahoma. Of course just an hour ago Cable said he's pretty set at OT. There's the other DT from Boston College - Brace. Maybe they reach for the Ohio safety, Mitchell. Or Chip Vaughn?

I would suggest the WR from my dad's alma mater, Cal Poly, but the Raiders already got their big WR.

Raider Plan Begins to Pay Off

The Broncos just traded away a first rounder from next year's draft to move into Seattle's second round spot and select cornerback Alphonso Smith. Obviously, they need a guy to match up with Darrius Heyward-Bey for the next ten years.

Sarcasm aside, Gruden just had the quote of the day: "Here are my notes: I have no idea what the Broncos are doing today."

Lowell Cohn: Raiders' Screw-up is 49ers' Gain

Cohn hates the Raiders' pick, too. There seems to be a consensus.

Talking Ourselves into Heyward-Bey



Okay, so he's fast. Dan and I were watching this and getting a little excited. But not that excited. The Kool-Aid is going down bitter.

ESPN Hates the Pick

Via Jerry:

Mel Kiper, Jr.: I’m shocked. I’m happy for Darrius Heyward-Bey… great kid, now a couple games this year he did not catch a pass, but he was shut out in two games. Not the guy that you throw the ball and can depend on. I gave it an F grade. I don’t know how you pass up Michael Crabtree at number 1. I’ve got to give it an F. In my opinion there’s no way you can pass up Crabtree, or if you want Heyward-Bey, trade down. Take Heyward-Bey and trade down and take him in the middle of the first round.

Keyshawn Johnson: Al Davis loves speed. Fast receivers can’t catch anyways. So I think when you’re looking at wide receiver, I think they’re not focused on passing the football, they compare him with a young quarterback. You don’t have to be fast in this league to make plays. I think it’s a big mistake on their part passing up Crabtree. You got to catch the football! This shouldn’t happen. You should never be shut out when you’re the number one guy.

Todd McShay: To me this has bust written all over it. You bring in a wide receiver who can basically be a speed guy. You can go vertically; he does a good job with that at a 4.3 speed. But, he does not catch the football consistently. If you’re going to draft in the top 10, you better draft a guy that can do it all. Michael Crabtree can do it all. Being obsessed with the 40 times is one of the reasons that Al Davis and the Raiders continue to pick at this spot.

Well, that happened.

Looking for a Place to Hang My Hopes...

...rather than myself.

Jerry's finally back online, and he's got some insight from both Cable and DHB. Cable reads from Al's notes to say this was the guy the Raiders targeted a month ago. He perhaps reaches (for at least the second time today) by suggesting that they feared another team would trade up to beat the Raiders to him.

But...at least Jerry has this to say about Heyward-Bey:

Heyward-Bey, by the way, seems like an earnest, hardworking young man. He sounded nothing like a diva, said he modeled his work ethic after Jerry Rice and is confident his skills will translate into bigger stats at the NFL level.

He said he never worried about his status in college, believing wins far outweighed any numbers he accumulated.

Given his numbers, that's a good thing.

EXCLUSIVE: Coach Cable Reacts to Heyward-Bey Pick

Kawakami: Never Doubt Mike Lombardi

Al Davis does what Al Davis does.

And now the 49ers take Michael Crabtree, which means that it will be in our faces for the next 10 years if Crabtree is great and Heyward-Bey sucks.

God Damn It.

Drinking

As Williamson gloats, Dan has decided he needs a stiff cocktail or 7. I can't say I disagree. Part of me wants to talk myself into it, but I really can't.

Still no interviews on NFL Network. Not even a picture. Are we sure he even exists?

Early Heyward-Bey Reactions

David White: Let the second-guessing run rampant.

Jason Jones: No, this isn't a joke.

Phil Barber
: Oh no they di-n't. Oh yes, they did.

For some reason, the MediaNews blogs are experiencing technical difficulties, so we'll get those later.

Mortified

The "experts" had the read. We are back to being the laughingstocks of the NFL.

Good times.

Lombardi's Unique Insight

If he's really got it, the Raiders will now pass on OT Eugene Monroe, WR Michael Crabtree, and DT BJ Raji to make an incredible reach for Heyward-Bey...

Cadillac

Bengals picking now, but whatever they do, we are assured of an opportunity to pick either Andre Smith or Eugene Monroe. Let's see what pull Cable has. Imagine the lane between Gallery and one of these Cadillacs for Darren McFadden to run through...

J-E-T-S

Big trade - Jets move into the fifth spot. Mikey, upon learning this said, "Please tell me they picked Crabtree and not Sanchez!"

Mark Sanchez is now being shown on NFL Network with his arms raised in the air in triumph.

Sorry Mikey.

Counting Down to Heyward-Bey

Thus far, the National Football Post is 4-for-4 in their final mock draft. And of course, they say the Raiders will pass on Cadillac Eugene Monroe and TD machine Michael Crabtree to select Darrius Heyward-Bey.

I guess we'll find out soon enough.

Least Shocking Blog Headline from Today's Draft

Bill Williamson is "Live from Denver."

Dumbest Thing Anybody's Said so Far

You can follow Jamie Dukes on Twitter. Awesome. I tried, but I can't even find him, because I don't know his super-secret Twitter name. It's probably "Fattest Man On NFLN" or something.

NFL Network vs. Comcast

It never occurred to me, because I'm a DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket Superfan subscriber, but there's an orange notice that keeps flashing across Dan's screen. He's a Comcast subscriber, and apparently they're dropping NFL Network in 6 days.

Bummer.

Chucky

I indulged in a bit of schadenfreude when Gruden was fired by Tampa after losing to us in the last game of the season.

But he's pretty good on TV. I always liked him when he was our coach. Now that he's no longer coaching, and as long as he doesn't take a job elsewhere in the AFC West--becoming the new Shanahan--I'll stop hating on him.

Arrival

I just got to Dan's house, and we've got NFL Network on, and Bill Belichick is flirting with Mike Mayock. Good times.

Have I mentioned that I dislike both of those men?

I think there's a CLOAK consensus that we prefer Eisen and his crew to Berman and the ESPN crew. Has anyone ever looked more awkward, in any situation, than Mel Kiper, Jr. operating the Minority Report style holographic draft tracker thing?

Also, Kristi has made a DEEE-licious dip, with beans and meat and cheese.

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Quick Break From the Draft Talk...

Permanent Man Crush Nmamdi Asomugha has another admirer, and this time it's a columnist at Bloomberg. Scott Soshnick covers the 10 students of the East Oakland Youth Development Center that Nnamdi took to New York City for a tour of colleges and a meeting with Bill Clinton.

But adding to the legend? Check this out
To Brandon [one of the students], even a heart-to-heart with the former president couldn’t compare with the last-day surprise. Asomugha told the group his friend Natalie would be joining them for a planned stroll down Fifth Avenue. He neglected to mention that her last name was Portman.
Are you kidding me? Talk about Juice. Who cares about Bill Clinton. He takes these kids shopping with permanent John's List member Natalie Portman. She even looks good bald.

If that's not worth adding a #21 to the jersey collection, I don't know what is.

Taking the Bait

No, I'm not terribly worked up about the Raiders' woes drafting safeties, though Derrick Gibson's longevity-to-productivity ratio must be an NFL record. But all this Darrius Heyward-Bey talk has me irritated. Come on Lombardi, "Locked in?" To me it's bizarre that Lombardi, a guy who has sat in the Raider war room, would be so bold if he's basing his prediction on a stereotype. He risks losing a lot of credibility regarding his unique Raider insight if he's wrong.

But I just don't see it happening at pick #7. There's a big difference between reaching for Carlos Francis in the fourth round - even for Fabian Washington in the mid-to-late first - than there is for late first round talent at pick #7. I don't see evidence of this behavior in the past. Despite Peter King's sad list, neither Gallery nor Huff was considered a reach at the time. Not even remotely so.

Now David White is in on the act, devoting an actual article to the subject. It reads more like a mock draft roundup than any real insight, though. And it's worth noting that in his own mock draft, White has the Raiders picking Crabtree.

With Stafford off the board, and talents Jason Smith, Eugene Monroe, and Aaron Curry likely to be picked ahead of #7, there are two picks standing between the Raiders and either Crabtree or Andre Smith. I may be changing my guess after all...the winds seem to be blowing Smith up the charts, while Crabtree and his entourage may be slipping, making him seem the more possible choice.

If both are gone? I think it will be Maclin. Sure, I've heard the argument that there is too much skill overlap with Johnnie Lee, but despite learning to appreciate JLH in 2008, I'm not sold that he's destined for a starring role.

If they buck tradition, trade down, and get Heyward-Bey and another pick, fine by me. Lombardi is adamant that they won't trade down, but then again this offseason has seen a new approach in a lot of ways from the Raiders. If the new approach includes taking a big reach at #7, Al won't have Art Shell to blame if turns out to be another bad miss.

Quick update: Noticed Kawakami blogged on the subject today. He adds the not terribly surprising rumor that Burgess is being shopped - he hasn't been around, is in a contract year, and the Raiders need more picks. What if we mash all this together? Maybe the Raiders package Burgess and their second rounder to get into the late first for Heyward-Bey, after taking one of Cable's OT "Cadillacs" at #7.

Prepping the Draft

Jerry takes a look at all the people out there who are saying the Raiders are taking Darrius Heyward-Bey with the number 7 pick tomorrow. But buried in Peter King's post is this nugget, and it doesn't make me feel good:

5. I think if you read nothing else from me until after the draft (and I'll be back here Saturday morning with a few short thoughts), please, please, please remember not to get too fired up and think you've won anything in April. I remind you of the following top-15 picks in the last six years: Charles Rogers, Dewayne Robertson, Johnathan Sullivan, Jimmy Kennedy, Michael Haynes, Jerome McDougle, Robert Gallery, Reggie Williams, Alex Smith, Cedric Benson, Troy Williamson, Mike Williams, Michael Huff, Jamaal Anderson. In other words, simmer down. (Italics mine)


Wow. Two names on his list were drafted by us. Gallery's career has been saved by Tom Cable; I expect him to be a Pro Bowl guard eventually. I know, it still doesn't make him a good pick at #3, as a tackle. But with Huff, King's definitely got a point. What a waste.

For what it's worth, Jerry's not buying it; he chalks it up to the Al-Davis-Loves-Speed stereotyping going on. And he makes a good case that Michael Crabtree's "diss" of the Raiders, in reply to a question during an NFL.com chat, in which he replied to a question from a Raiders fan, "as for playing for the Raiders, no comment," that:
It’s not as if a “no comment” will carry weight with Al Davis regarding the seventh pick in the draft. He’ll take who he thinks is the best player. Hell, a no comment could get him a few extra bucks, with silence being a prized commodity at 1220 Harbor Bay Parkway.

If Crabtree is drafted by the Raiders, he’d talk on the phone for a few minutes with Davis, then emerge on conference calls and national interviews telling everyone it has always been a dream of his to wear silver and black and play with a team that has all the tradition of the Raiders.

Your goddamn right he will. If it's true that Crabtree is a poor man's Larry Fitzgerald--hell, even if he's the Homeless Man's Larry Fitzgerald--I like him in Silver & Black.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Nnamdi Dominates ESPN

Look, I don't know why ESPN.com only has two videos (that I can find, maybe I'm just looking wrong or not hard enough; there are a lot of podcasts and radio excerpts though) of Nnamdi Asomugha's two days in and around Bristol, CT. I watched him on the SportCenter Draft Special this afternoon break down the available corners in the draft with Trey Wingo, et. al. But all I kind are these two:










The first one is with Dana Jacobson, and if it featured any other player besides Nmamdi, it might come across as condescending, seeing as they ask him to pronounce other foreign names. But his class overcomes it. He could have gotten indignant, which might have been funny, but he handles himself well and even makes Jacobs look okay.

The second one I found courtesy of Bill Williamson, and it just figures that he would post a video of the Raiders star quarterback opining on whether or not the DENVER BRONCOS should trade up and draft Mark Sanchez. He says they should. Maybe it's reverse psychology? He wants them to waste the draft picks they got along with Kyle Orton on Sanchez, because everyone knows the boy genius develops late round QBs like Matt Cassell.

At least Wingo gives Nmamdi the props he deserves.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Happy 4/20



Via Williamson, here's a crazy article from Esquire about Todd Marinovich and what he's up to these days, which includes speaking to pee-wee football teams.

Baiting Dan

This little nugget at the end of David White's article in the Chronicle about the safety position:
BRIEFLY: The Raiders have drafted a safety in eight of the past nine years. Huff and Branch are the only ones still here.
I did not know that. I mean, I knew that Huff and Branch are the only safeties on the team that were originally drafted by the Raiders, but I had no idea the incompetence in the draft went that deep.

Also, because Dan didn't want to look it up, I felt it was my solemn duty, I present to you Andre Smith running the forty at his Pro Day:



Yes, he has titties like a woman.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Guessing the Pick - Take One

First, a caveat: I really have no idea.

Most mock drafts have maintained that the Raiders will go with a WR when they make the 7th selection in next week's 2009 draft. Some think Michael Crabtree will fall in their laps, others say Jeremy Maclin has the Cliff Branch profile that Al Davis loves, and a few have decided that Darrius Heyward-Bey has such off-the-charts measurables (e.g., 4.25 40) that Al will bite on him at 7 even though he should go in the second half of the first round.

Local consensus, and even ESPN's Todd McShay, has begun to drift towards offensive tackle as a distinct possibility after Tom Cable gushed over the four "outstanding" tackles he sees in this year's draft during last week's press conference.

At this moment I tend to agree that, despite a horrifying shirtless pro day for which I refuse to search YouTube, the Raiders will pick Andre Smith out of Alabama. Cable had this to say about him: "He’s a dynamite player. Dynamite."

This is Cable's first draft, so not only are we unsure whether he'll play the Kiffin smokescreen game ("We really don't need a running back." "We wanted him all along.") but we also can't know how the dynamic will play out between him and Al. Obviously Cable loves offensive linemen and my bet is he would love to get his hands on some raw talent. And I suspect that Al could be convinced - he allegedly let Art Shell pick Michael Huff, and many tens of millions of dollars are tied up in the hope that JaMarcus will have time to throw deep.

Oh...but to whom?

I'm sure later in the week I'll decide that Crabtree is the pick. At the moment I'm not sure he'll be around at #7, though.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

David White: "Madden would re-infuse instant credibility to the franchise"

Dan's favorite Raiders blogger (other than, maybe Dan Hauenstein) speculates on Madden's next move and possible involvement with his team.

Jerry acknowledges the desire of the Nation, but still comes off like a wet blanket.

Kawakami doesn't think so. He really doesn't think so.

Florio acknowledges the rumors, but doesn't add to them or give his opinion. Calling the overhead projector press conference the "infamous 'Lane Kiffin Must Consume Fecal Matter And Die' press conference" made laugh, though.

Madden Talks to KCBS

"I've never had a football season off."

Madden Retires

Hall of Fame Raiders Coach and one of the very few people actually wrapped in the literal Cloak of Immortality, John Madden, has retired from NBC's Sunday Night NFL broadcast.

Two quick things, and then if I get a chance I'll post various reactions throughout the day:

1. Maybe he'll take a role with the franchise. He's not much younger than Al, but he's made a lot of money over the years, especially off his video game. Plus, he's popular in ways that Al isn't, and could be a good face to put forward in negotiations for a new stadium, etc.

2. If NBC doesn't put Cris Collinsworth in the booth with Al Michaels--and I mean by himself...don't trying to team him up with Warren Sapp or the newly retired Brett Favre--and let them be the best broadcast team in sports, by FAR. Nobody working color commentary today is better. I actually learn things about the game of football listening to Collinsworth break down tape. And, the Professor thinks he has a sexy voice.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

2009 Schedule

Via Jerry, here's the Raiders' Schedule this year:

Week 1 Mon. Sep. 14 Raiders vs. Chargers 7:15 p.m.

Week 2 Sun. Sep. 20 Raiders at Chiefs 10 a.m.

Week 3 Sun. Sep. 27 Raiders vs. Broncos 1:15 p.m.

Week 4 Sun. Oct. 4 Raiders at Texans 10 a.m.

Week 5 Sun. Oct. 11 Raiders at Giants 10 a.m.

Week 6 Sun. Oct. 18 Raiders vs. Eagles 1:05 p.m.

Week 7 Sun. Oct. 25 Raiders vs. Jets 1:05 p.m.

Week 8 Sun. Nov. 01 Raiders at Chargers 1:05 p.m.

Week 9 Sun. Nov. 8 BYE

Week 10 Sun. Nov. 15 Raiders vs. Chiefs 1:05 p.m.

Week 11 Sun. Nov. 22 Raiders vs. Bengals 1:15 p.m.

Week 12 Thu. Nov. 26 Raiders at Cowboys 1:15 p.m.

Week 13 Sun. Dec. 6 Raiders at Steelers 10 a.m.

Week 14 Sun. Dec. 13 Raiders vs. Redskins 1:05 p.m.

Week 15 Sun.. Dec. 20 Raiders at Broncos 1:05 p.m.

Week 16 Sun. Dec. 27 Raiders at Browns 10 a.m.

Week 17 Sun. Jan. 3 Raiders vs. Ravens 1:15 p.m.


My initial impressions are pretty favorable. I see Mikey making another trip on October 25 to see the Favre-less Jets. There has been talk of road trips to Texas, for either the Houston game on October 4 or the Dallas game on Thanksgiving. I like that the bye is in week 9, and with no Kiffin drama to distract the team, there are some winnable games early.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Raiders and David White Having a Good Offseason

The Raiders' approach to this offseason has thus far been a pleasant surprise, as noted here and here, and measured by the generally upbeat tone of the blog given that the Raiders lost 11 games (again) last season.

Another pleasant offseason surprise has been the blogging of the Chronicle's David White (noted here, here, and here). Back from a week in his hometown of Selma, CA, today he achieves permanent "That guy's ok with me" status after explaining that he spent a significant portion of his vacation dining at Sal's Mexican Restaurant. My parents are from Kingsburg, a mere couple of miles down the road from Selma, and Unk lives there today. Every time we visit Unk, we make a trip to Sal's.

If you are ever in Selma, eat here.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Khalif Barnes Gets Me Pumped

David White catches up with new tackle Khalif Barnes and asks him five questions. My favorite question and answer:

Q: Tom Cable said you'll compete at left tackle, but some think you'll be on the right side. Your plans?

A: "I'm so determined to be this franchise's left tackle for the next nine years. I know that's a big challenge but that's my goal. What better place to be a dominant left tackle than with the Raiders? I get a chance to come in here and start I'm not going to let it go."

The next nine years? That's a nice commitment, seeing as he only signed a one-year deal. And showing his grasp of Raiders history by alluding to this guy (no, not that guy) shows he's doing his homework.

Bill Williamson Says Some Nice Things About Tom Cable






Friday, April 10, 2009

Taking The Field.

Your 2009 Oakland Athletics

Our View

233-2-19. Oakland Police Department officers, in tribute to the four
officers killed last month.

Opening Night

I'm choosing to ignore Ray Ratto's negative Nancy routine and will be attending tonight's Home opener for the A's at the Coliseum.

I'm also hoping that it goes better than the Raiders home opening night went last year.

Check for live updates if I get an iPhone signal.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Jason Jones on Garcia

Jason Jones checks in with a transcript of Jeff Garcia's interview on Sirius Radio. Asked about how he can be a mentor to JaMarcus, he said:

I'm up here in Oakland right now taking part in the quarterback school with Jamarcus and Bruce Gradkowski and we're working on just the fundamentals of playing the position, the leadership qualities that you have to have, the work ethic, getting in the weight room. I think JaMarcus, being able to see how myself and how Bruce work as far as what we do in the classroom, what we do in the weight room and what we do on the field, it's something positive for him to see. I don't think he's had those types of guys around him to help him push him or help him understand what it takes to be a true professional at this level. The guy is tremendously skilled, he's huge and we just want to get him into a position where he can be better on the field if he is physically better and mentally sharper. I think those are things he's starting to see right now with me being involved this week and hopefully it's just something where the relationship continues to build. And we're going to help him as much as possible by pushing him in a positive way. At the same time I'm going to do everything I can do to make sure that I'm prepared in case I do get that opportunity or in case something were to happen that I take advantage of that opportunity and make the most in trying to help this team win football games."

Jason notes that Andrew Walter is not mentioned. It's a conspicuous absence, I guess, but then I never really felt one way or the other about him, except for maybe sorry that he got put on his back so much during the Art Shell/Tom Walsh debacle.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hater of the Week: Mark Schlereth








Yes, I know he's a Bronco. But calling the Garcia signing an "indictment" of JaMarcus is retarded. And how he can give props to a team like Uncle Norval's Chargers, who have been content to rest on their 8-8 laurels is beyond me. In fairness, he says he loves Tom Cable. So do we. Anyway.

It's fitting that Broncos' Spokesperson Williamson would embed this in his Denver Broncos blog on ESPN.com.

Garcia Speaks



(h/t Jerry Mac)

Donkeys Smack-Down of the Week, Part II.

Wow. Everyone is piling on the Broncos this week. Josh McDaniels seems to have been singled out especially. Check out Rick Reilly, Denver resident:
Years from now, the Cutler Catastrophe will go down as the dumbest thing in Boy Blunder's very short coaching career. By then, perhaps he will be your waiter at Olive Garden.
That smarts, doesn't it? We kind of went through this here with Lance, only he wasn't a Belichik/Pioli protege. He was just an egomaniacal Boy Blunder.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Garcia Signing Reactions

There seems to be a consensus among the local writers who have chimed in that Goldmember will, at the very minimum, set a good example for JaMarcus in terms of preparation, training, and attitude. There is also the sense that Garcia will push JaMarcus, both in practice, and I haven't read this anywhere yet, but I get the feeling that if JaMarcus struggles, the fans will start chanting for Jeff. A little pressure and competetion never hurt anybody. Or if it did, you didn't want them on your team.

Jerry Mac breaks down the history between Garcia and the Raiders, and then writes,

I floated the idea of signing Michael Vick under certain conditions the other day, something the Raiders probably never considered. They’ve been playing it safe and smart, having been burned by being too bold last year.

Garcia is the safe, smart choice.

You really only need to think about it for split second.

Should Russell be injured, do you want Jeff Garcia, Andrew Walter or Bruce Gradkowski?

Thought so.

By the way, I hated that Michael Vick column. Anyway.

Lowell Cohn says Good for the Raiders.

Kawakami writes,

I like the Garcia signing as a sign that Al Davis isn’t babying Russell, while at the same time still expecting the most out of him. Alex Smith could’ve used something like that a few years ago, and he never got it.

David White is on vacation or something, but the Sporting Green staff is asking readers to answer a stupid question by writing the answer in the comments section.

Nationally, Denver Broncos spokesperson Bill Williamson writes that at the very least it means Garcia won't be a Bronco this year, whatever the hell that is supposed to mean. It's not like his being a Bucaneer helped Tampa last season when we played them. Then he gets Scouts, Inc.'s Matt Williamson to say that he's never liked Garcia, and that, contrary to what Kawakami and McDonald say, it's a bad fit because the playbook will have to be re-written if JaMarcus gets hurt, and they'd have been better off signing Leftwich. Personally, I'm with the locals in that a change of pace is a good thing to have in a back-up.

Donkeys Smack-Down of the Week

Mike Florio lays some wood on Josh McDaniels this morning, quoting Peter King, who says "McDaniels thinks he can win with Orton." To which Florio retorts:

In what league? AFL 2.5?
He finishes with a shot at McDaniels draft board, saying he'll only a draft a late-round QB prospect in the mold of Tom Brady or Matt Cassell only "if he took photos of the Belichick/Pioli 2009 draft board."

I love it. Florio is like the Anti-Bill Williamson.

Looking at the picture of Orton next to King's column, I think from now on I will refer to Orton as Dave Grohl. So now might we have a Goldmember and a Foo Fighter in the same division.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Insulting Billboard Replaced

Finally. Never did hear from the Raiders.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Raiders Love Gold?

NBC Bay Area just mentioned that the Raiders are close to signing Jeff Garcia. They quote a source "close to the situation" who says it is "real close. It will probably get done." They go on to say it could happen tomorrow, and that Garcia will have "an opportunity to compete with Russell for the starting job, but will likely play the role of backup."

I've always liked Garcia. If he starts for Oakland this year we have big big problems, but he makes for a solid backup who can step in and start if anything goes wrong with JaMarcus.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Donkeys vs. Cutler: BWAAAHAHAHA!!!!

You can get all the details on the Denver/Jay Cutler debacle on Bill Williamson's ESPN Denver Broncos Blog, er, AFC West Blog.

Anyway, what it has me thinking about is how different this Raider Season is from previous years. Other than the tragic Marquis Cooper story, an accident that nobody on Harbor Bay Parkway could have had anything to do with, the Raiders' off-season has been drama free.

Sure, there's Cable's "critical" comments about Jammy, but look at the contortions people have to go through to even make that news.

Here, it's been nothing but Nmamdi, Lechler, and Al Davis hagiography at the Owner's Meetings (feel free to ask Nmamdi what "hagiography" means. Anyone who uses "apocryphal" in a sentence correctly and nonchallantly can tell you what it means).

Maybe Sllaacs can comment on Ray Ratto's Psalm to Jay Cutler.