Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hater of the Week: John Mullin

Tip of the hat to Jerry Mac on this one, who nailed it:

Must be a hater.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Jerry and David White both mention it, without providing links, so I had to google to find it.

But whoa.

I mean...just wow.

Jerry does a better job of keeping this in perspective than David does, who seems like kind of a prude. But I kinda wish there were pictures of Matuszak and Stabler partying. I mean look at the cover of Snake.

Maybe JaMarcus is just trying to bring tradition back.

UPDATE: David White shows a new pic, and also offers a little perspective. I should not have called him a prude.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

More JaMarcus

Not sure how I missed this, but there's a fascinating JaMarcus conversation going between Monte Poole, Tim Kawakami, and defending JaMarcus, Lowell Cohn.

Back story: The three columnists were sitting together at last weekend's Andre Ward/Edison Miranda fight at the Arena. JaMarcus showed up at the fight with a Gucci bag and an unlit cigar, leading Monte to dub him "Big Mellow," and Kawakami to conclude he looked fat and complacent.

Cohn retorts that JaMarcus wasn't in a strip club, and he wasn't acting disorderly, and to give the guy a break.

This whole thing is making me nervous. And it's only May. Last year it was Kiffin/Davis. I'm worried that we're looking at a repeat of the Leinert/Warner situation (which worked out pretty well, actually) or, worse, the Vince Young/Kerry Collins scenario.

If I think about it too long I want to puke. I know Raiders fans. I am one. And one bad quarter of football, that crowd will turn on JaMarcus and start chanting Garcia's name. I was there when we did it to Kerry Collins (TUUUUIIIIII!!!!) and I heard them booing Josh McCown.

Time for ginger tea.

This Doesn't Help

So I've been watching with terror the developing Quarterback controversy.

You know the one, between Jeff Garcia and JaMarcus Russell. Sure, Jeff was brought in to "mentor" JaMarcus. To teach him how to be a leader, how to prepare himself to be an NFL Quarterback, etc.

So now we get this little dispatch from yesterday's OTA, courtesy of David White, in which JaMarcus finally speaks to the media, but about Michael Vick, causing White to mock him, writing, "For clarity's sake, Vick didn't just check out of a Napa Valley spa or healing center. He served 19 months for a dogfighting conviction that included his financing a ring and taking part in the execution of dogs."

There's also a video of Garcia, apparently now openly campaigning to be the starting Quarterback. Can't really argue with what he's saying, about nobody on this team being good enough based on the record.

So is this good? I'm not sure. Look at the video posted at the Raiders clubhouse. It shows Jeff Garcia talking about Darrius Heyward-Bey. You know, the backup quarterback. JaMarcus is nowhere to be found. But over at, they have a video of JaMarcus discussing the draft pick.

I was all ready to say that JaMarcus needs to step up and be the vocal leader of this offense. Now I'm thinking that maybe he's trying to, except that people are ignoring him in favor of talking to Garcia.

At least Kenny Stabler's got his back.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Citizen Unk

This weekend we are in the San Joaquin Valley celebrating Lennis Scheline, a.k.a. Unk, as Kingsburg, CA's "Citizen of the Year." He is certainly one of the CLOAK readers of the year, as well. Yesterday our very own dignitary got a ride down Draper Street in this jewel of a Firebird:

Robert Gallery was not in attendance.

We then put on our game faces for a picture in front of the maypole.

You may notice the "Citizen Unk" artwork on my custom T-shirt. CLOAK contributor Brad Webster, a.k.a. dobolina, is the artist.

And finally, as David White can attest, no trip to the Valley is complete without a visit to Sal's for a Fancy Burrito.

Congratulations, Citizen of the Year!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Chaz vs. Crabtree

Jerry Mac makes the case today for Uncle Lenny's favorite receiver. He also has an interesting chat transcript involving Warren Sapp, who loves the Black Hole and is apparently a JaMarcus apologist as well. The opposite of Bronco Bill Williamson.

Elsewhere, Timmy issues a clarifying statement about African-American Athletes from Notre Dame.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Simmons vs. Gladwell

I just spent like 37 minutes reading the Bill Simmons/Malcolm Gladwell email exchange on

I do not consider this a waste of time. Far from it. I bring it up here because of something Gladwell brings up regarding the no-huddle offense toward the end of the 2nd part of their exchange:
I feel the same way about the attitude of professional football teams toward the no-huddle offense. Right now, great teams (such as the Colts and Patriots) use the no-huddle selectively, as a way to maximize their dominance. But why don't bad teams use it? If you were the Lions, why not run the no-huddle this season? Why not put together a lighter, better-conditioned offensive line and a radically simplified playbook and see what happens? It's not as if you are risking a Super Bowl if it backfires. Your offensive line is lousy anyway, so there's no harm in tearing it down, and your fans aren't going to turn on you if you get killed while you work out the kinks. Last I checked, your fans have already turned on you. On the plus side, maybe the no-huddle exhausts the other team's defense so much you slow down their pass rush in the second half. And maybe giving your quarterback a bit more autonomy helps develop his knowledge of the game, and his leadership skills.
It made me wonder why, with all of the speed on this current Raiders team, Cable doesn't put some no-huddle in. Are you telling me a zone-blocking, Fargas/Bush to punish the d-line and tire out the linebackers, and then McFadden coming in and blowing by everyone, or DHB or Johnnie Lee running a hitch-and-go, wouldn't be awesome?

Wouldn't it?

Obviously, you don't run it the whole game. But picking your spots? I'm wondering if that's not part of Al is doing with this roster, "putting together a lighter, better-conditioned offensive line and a radically simplified playbook." I know he said he wanted more power, but other than Lorenzo Neal, he didn't exactly go out and load up on beefy offensive players.

I'm just speculating, and probably giving the Raiders more credit than they deserve (which is none). But that's why this is the best time of year to be a Raiders fan.

Post Mini-Camp Round-up

It's gotten quiet the last couple of days, but here's some of what's been going on:

Lowell Cohn covered the JaMarcus/Goldmember relationship, and compared says JaMarcus is just like Joe Montana was at the same stage of his

David White has five questions for Thomas Howard. Jerry uses this as an opportunity to discuss new D.C. John Marshall, and rehashes the Lance Kiffin/Rob Ryan feud. Money quotes:
If Ryan wasn’t so busy trying to put together a defense in Cleveland, he could probably feel the force of the wheels from the Raiders team bus.
Doubtful you’ll hear any response from Ryan, who will no doubt throw his considerable weight into building up some of the Cleveland Browns as unblockable and unstoppable.

Jerry Mac and Phil Barber address Timmy's comments about Al and African-American Players from Notre Dame. Bonus points to Barber for his headline, "Al Davis Doesn't Care About Black People (From Notre Dame)." That cracked me up.

Florio says the Raiders are partying like it's 1999 with five QBs on the roster. Shit, was that really 10 years ago?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Ratto on Lorenzo Neal

In addition to finally finding a use for Twitter, I'm finding myself being talked into this Raiders off-season as well.

Ray Ratto makes the case for the Lorenzo Neal signing:

Neal's is the type of signing the Raiders are often accused of making too seldom - that of the guy who spreads belief on the ground and in the room. His M.O. has been as the man who takes the "dys" out of "dysfunction," because he has done it with bad, mediocre and good teams in his career. He also knows that he can't be taken seriously if he can't lead with his play, and if he couldn't play, Al Davis would have tried to find someone else who does what he does.

Only there isn't anyone like Neal even at this stage of his career. Training with Liddell alone doesn't make that happen. Though this minicamp is showing off the Raiders' much-discussed draft class, Lorenzo Neal's arrival might be the more important development. If he can do what he has done in his other stops, he will be worth his weight in Darrius Heyward-Bey's money.

Here's hoping.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Being Talked into It

It has taken some time to recover from the first day of the draft, and that has nothing to do with this. Possibly the nicest part of the Raiders' sensible offseason had been the lack of negative attention from the media. Poof.

I was also personally disappointed that I had both guessed wrong and argued wrong, not that I expected any different. But in that argument I suggested that the Raiders might change their ways and trade down. I'm now convinced that their reaches, despite being highly stereotypical, in fact do signify a change in their ways. I argued that the Raiders had not reached with any of their top ten picks in recent years. Huff? Not a reach. Gallery? Not a reach. JaMarcus? McFadden? Randy Moss? Not reaches.

Yet the Raiders have been burned. So this year it was pundits be damned, we will target guys we want. Heyward-Bey should go at #25? Too bad, we don't have the 25th pick, we have the 7th.

So I've talked myself into it. We won't know the results for several years. But the real shift going on with the Raiders is beginning to show after the first day of minicamp. Cable is assembling a team of character guys. Hard workers. Phil Barber calls DHB, "Funny, down-to-earth, honest and confident without coming off as cocky." As Dave, a coworker and loyal CLOAK reader pointed out today, one would be more apt to describe the pick we were supposed to make, Michael Crabtree, as a "diva." (Great DHB quote from Barber, by the way...)

The best surprise of the day was the arrival of Fresno State Bulldog Lorenzo Neal, one of the great lead blockers in NFL history and clearly a leader figure for Cable's new look team. Jerry captures a great quote here, including this:
"It’s not just what you bring on the field but what you bring off the field, the intangibles and say, ‘Hey, look, guys, I’m going to be here on Tuesday watching film on my off day.’ It’s getting in the weight room working out, showing the guys, this is what has allowed me to play 17 years."
See for yourself. Neal's passion is tangible starting at about 1:28 of this clip from NBC Bay Area. Before they get to him, though, there are sound bites from DHB and Mike Mitchell - and of course Nnamdi - all of which have me convinced. It's still been a very good offseason.

Mini Post

As Raider minicamp kicks off, just a quick post on what interests me. Later I'll have overcome my Kool-Aid hangover and will be able to discuss the draft again.

Both Jerry and David White have compiled thoughts on what to watch for during minicamp. While I'm very interested to see what changes an almost entirely new coaching staff will bring, the three first impressions I'll look for today are as follows:
  1. Michael Huff's role - the one good thing I can say about drafting Huff is it has helped me come to terms with this year's draft. After all, Huff was a can't-miss prospect and a no brainer at #7. But will Lionel Washington work some magic or will Huff be as good as out the door? The Raiders' struggles at safety have held them back.
  2. DHB and the WR corps - will he impress the way DMC did in practice last year? If he's as athletic as the Raiders say, he should stand out next to the rest of the WRs. And will anyone else emerge from this relatively deep group of #2 / #3 WRs that the Raiders have assembled?
  3. The accuracy of JaMarcus - obviously, hopes begin with JaMarcus stepping up in a big way this year. Minicamp should provide an indication of whether he's sharp and ready for bigger things.
And I see that David White is now Tweeting. Can a Twitter CLOAK be far behind?