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."