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.

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