Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Breakdown

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.

2 comments:

david_hsu99 said...

First time commenter, long time reader!

Dan and I have spent more hours at work talking about the sorry state of this franchise versus more important discussions about things like “Smart Work”.

I agree with everything you guys have written these past couple of weeks and I’ve taken a stance of a non-participating Raider fan as well. I will not spend another dime on the team, nor will I set aside time during my (short and valuable) weekends to watch their debacles on a weekly basis. I’ve found that this approach has reduced the stress in my life considerably.

david_hsu99 said...

First time commenter, long time reader!

Dan and I have spent more hours at work talking about the sorry state of this franchise versus more important discussions about things like “Smart Work”.

I agree with everything you guys have written these past couple of weeks and I’ve taken a stance of a non-participating Raider fan as well. I will not spend another dime on the team, nor will I set aside time during my (short and valuable) weekends to watch their debacles on a weekly basis. I’ve found that this approach has reduced the stress in my life considerably.