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Raiders Chance at Postseason on Life Support

Stayin' alive. The Raiders did just that Sunday with a win over Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos to go 5-0 in the division.The Chiefs and Chargers won, meaning the #Raiders need a lot of help to get to the postseason. Specifically, the Raiders need a Chiefs loss in week 16 and a Chargers loss in either week 16 or 17 as well as winning the next two games. Raiders must beat Peyton Manning and the Colts and the Chiefs in Kansas City. The Raiders must take care of business and they need help from the Denver Broncos or Cincinnati Bengals and the Tennessee Titans.There is a reality check here. The Raiders need a ton of help from subpar teams. The postseason may well have been thrown out the window with the Raiders loss in Jacksonville or any of the other regrettable defeats the Raiders suffered this season. The team just wasn't quite there, but the team is bearing late season fruit and the harvest conditions are favorable for 2011.With the playoffs simply a pipe dream, there is a re…

Week 15 Ticket Info

Guided By The Ground Game

No one runs the ball better than the Raiders, except the Chiefs. Remember that line from week nine?

In week 14, it could be rephrased. No one runs the ball better than the Raiders, except the Chiefs and Jaguars.

The Raiders and Jaguars are surprisingly in the thick of the playoff run. Both teams are largely reliant on the running game to generate offensive production. The two ground games will battle at EverBank Field today, looking to make a statement about their playoffs chances.

Maurice Jones-Drew is rolling and the Raiders front seven must do what it takes to keep him contained.

On offense, the Raiders must get their own ground game going as the entire offense flows from a healthy running game,

The run game aspect of this match up has been publicized, but how hard is it to stop Jones-Drew and how hard is it to run on the Jaguars?

During Jones-Drew's streak, five 100-yard games, he's faced the Cowboys, Texans, Browns, Giants and Titans.

Team Run Defense vs, Jones-Drew
Dallas Cowboy…

Rivers vs. Rookies & Routt

Nnamdi Asomugha went down with a high ankle sprain injury against the Seahawks and when he returned last week against the Dolphins after three weeks of rest he clearly wasn’t himself.

Now it appears his ankle is worse than previously believed or got worse during the game on Sunday. Asomugha could miss more time.

Chris Johnson was also out with a groin injury and could also miss this week’s game in San Diego.

That leaves Stanford Routt and rookies Jeremy Ware and Walter McFadden as the only healthy cornerbacks.

Jeremy Ware drew poor reviews from the coaching staff in Pittsburgh and was inactive last week. Walter McFadden was active and had a rough day against Miami. Both will be relied upon against the second best passing team in football.

When the Raiders defeated the Chargers in Oakland, Philip Rivers threw for 431 yards and two touchdowns. He was unstoppable against the Raiders secondary, which included Asomugha and Johnson.

Michael Huff will likely see additional snaps at cornerback in p…

Morning After Pill: The Davis Doghouse

The aftermath of the Raiders blowout loss at home Sunday was about as ugly as any post game in the past seven seasons.

It rivaled Bill Callahan’s “Stupidest Team in America” and Art Shell’s catatonic press conferences towards the end of a one-win season. The post game press conference was reminiscent of Lane Kiffin defiantly jabbing Al Davis and his scholarship players in the media.

It was ugly.

Things everyone knew, but was no one admitted publicly finally came to light. The dysfunction finally reared its ugly head.

Jason Campbell is Al Davis’ choice at quarterback. Bruce Gradkowski is Tom Cable’s choice at quarterback. Just as sure as Al Davis’ Friday night KFC Cole Slaw, such a differing opinion would be grounds for firing. Especially after such a poor display by the coach’s quarterback.

It probably would be or could be if not for Hue Jackson. Jackson backed Tom Cable’s choice at quarterback saying about switching quarterbacks that, "It was just about a feel - sometimes a coach has…

Happy Thanksgiving!

The dedicated fans that comprise the Raider Nation make covering the Raiders fun. Thank you!

I'm thankful that you keep coming back and reading. I look forward to the blog's continued growth.

Enjoy this time with your family and friends. Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.






Six Games To Prove It, Three to Lose It

The fans will find out a lot about this Raiders team in the next six weeks, but the fans will know if the Raiders are contenders over the next three weeks.

At this point, the Raiders haven’t beaten an opponent with a record better than .500 outside the division. The Raiders are also woefully bad on the road, with just one giant victory in Denver.

If the Raiders are to go from pretenders to contenders things must change.

The game against Miami this Sunday at home might be the easiest non-division game remaining on the schedule, but Miami is far from a Powder Puff team. Miami is starting a familiar foe at quarterback, ex-Chief Tyler Thigpen.

Four of Miami’s five wins have come on the road. Miami defeated Buffalo, Minnesota, Green Bay, and Cincinnati. The Dolphins also defeated the Titans at home and it took a questionable call for the Steelers to defeat the Dolphins.

The Raiders travel to San Diego in week 13. A huge game with division implications. San Diego is going on their typical late …

No Running Game, No Pass Protection, No Win

Jason Campbell or Bruce Gradkowski? The question is worn out and it doesn’t matter than much unless the offensive line can block. They both have deficiencies and strengths.

Most solid NFL quarterbacks can have at least moderate success when they get time to throw. That includes about 20 starting NFL quarterbacks. Bruce Gradkwoski and Jason Campbell would qualify.

On Sunday, Jason Campbell and Bruce Gradkowski had very little chance to have success. The offensive line was not capable of blocking the Steelers pass rush.

Campbell was sacked four times and Gradkowski twice and the offensive line allowed ungodly amounts of pressure.

The Raiders have given up 3.8 sacks per game in losses and 2.6 sacks in wins. The Raiders have won just one game when giving up four sacks, that was at home against Kansas City.

How have the Raiders been successful? Running the ball.

Darren McFadden or Michael Bush have rushed for over 100 yards in every Raiders victory with the exception of week nine against Kansas …

Are The Raiders For Real?

The Raiders have five wins. The Raiders haven't won six or more games since 2002. There is little doubt this team is better than the ones of the past seven seasons. That's not the question everyone is asking.Are the Raiders for real? Are the Raiders a legitimate playoff team?A big game against the wounded Pittsburgh Steelers this week will go a long way to proving if the Raiders are a playoff team.What are the key stats saying?Raiders' opponents have a combined .444 winning percentage. The Raiders have been victorious against teams with a combined .466 win percentage and lost to teams with a combined .416 winning percentage.Besides the obviously weak schedule, the Raiders are also playing up and down to their competition.The much more damaging fact regarding the Raiders schedule is the 1-3 record on the road.The Raiders lost road contests against the Cardinals, 49ers and Titans. The Raiders blew the games against the two NFC West teams and could be sitting here at 7-2 and…

Report: Al Davis Wants Campbell

Steve Corkan of the Contra Costa Times is reporting, according to several sources, that Al Davis has expressed his desire for Jason Campbell to remain the starting quarterback.

This was one of the possible scenarios I presented this morning for Tom Cable's stunning change of heart.

To be fair to the organization, Davis may not be forcing the issue, but rather making his desire known to Tom Cable and Hue Jackson.

Tom Cable would have to be very confident in Bruce Gradkowski's play and health to consider going against his bosses' wishes.

Al Davis could keep his opinions to himself, but why would he? He owns the team and operates the football side, why wouldn't he? That's a better question.







Campbell vs. Gradkowski Debate Rages On

To start the season, few were doubting Jason Campbell’s status as the starting quarterback of the Oakland Raiders. Bruce Gradkowski had supporters, but even they thought it was Campbell’s job to lose.

Fast forward six quarters of the season and Gradkowski is the new undisputed starter. The coaches reasoned with the media that Gradkowski’s personality fit the team better without going into any of the specifics of the situation.

Those specifics are important, because they are the same specifics that could keep Campbell the starter and push Gradkowski back into a backup role.

When Campbell was benched, the offensive line was doing a terrible job pass blocking and the Raiders hadn’t yet become the run dominant team they are now. The offensive line simply couldn’t block for Campbell because he was slow to make his reads and has a long delivery.

Gradkowski only lasts two games behind the porous Raiders pass protection. He doesn’t do significantly better and currently has a quarterback rating of…

Cable Leaning Campbell

Two blowout victories weren't enough to dislodge Bruce Gradkowski's status as the Raiders starting quarterback. Two blowout victories and a overtime victory may have been enough.Tom Cable said he is leaning toward riding the hot-hand. Presumably the hot-hand is Jason Campbell, who has lead the Raiders to three straight wins.After six bad quarters, the Raiders benched Jason Campbell and named Bruce Gradkowski the quarterback.Gradkowski started three games and was injured, again, early in the game. He played the entire game in two losses and partial games in two victories, including closing out the game against the Rams.His quarterback rating is 71.8 on the season with a record of 1-2 in game he finished.Campbell was benched the first time after completing 57.7% of his passes, but was sacked eight times.Not much has changed overall, besides the fact the Raiders are winning. Campbell has completed 56.7% of his passes and has been sacked about three times per game, but his record…

Raiders Have FORDitude In Win Over Chiefs

When someone had to step up and make a play for the Raiders, it wasn’t stars Nnamdi Asomugha, Zach Miller, or Louis Murphy. They were all inactive on Sunday.

It wasn’t top draft-pick Darrius Heyward-Bey or offensive star Darren McFadden.

It was rookie fourth-round pick Jacoby Ford who did the damage. With the Raiders down 10 and desperately needing a score to stay in the game, Ford raced 94 yards for a touchdown on the opening kick of the second half.





It was only moments later the Raiders would tie the score after recovering a fumble at the Kansas City 34.

Ford came through again when the Raiders needed someone to make a play, ripping a would-be interception away from Brandon Flowers that would have sealed the game. It set up the game-tying field goal in the closing seconds of regulation.

He wasn’t done. After the Raiders defense forced a three-and-out in overtime, Ford streaked under a 47-yard bomb from Jason Campbell and set up the game winning field goal.

It wasn’t expected, but he burne…

Best In The West War: Chiefs @ Raiders Preview

Old school. A kind of gritty, nasty style. Primitive and basic while maintaining a level of purity or nostalgia.

Chiefs vs. Raiders is always an old school match up, because the teams have so much history. What is different about this game is how much these teams remind you of the old school Raiders and Chiefs.

The two teams are one and two in the rankings for rush yards per game. They are also the top two teams in the AFC West. The old school Raiders and Chiefs are playing old school football.

It will be a war and there will be casualties.

The Raiders know this is a validation game. The Raiders know this is a statement game. Win today and the NFL talks about the Raiders and the playoffs in the same sentence. It would be conceivable for a team, fresh off two games in which they outscored their opponents 92-17, to overlook an opponent. Not...this...week. Division game, at home, against a rival team that leads the division, and looking for validation? No player is letting is looking past th…

Put the Blackout on TV

It's ironic just how much the term "blackout" applies to the Raiders. With 11 straight TV blackouts, the Raiders literally had lost a part of their mystique.

This is the Silver and "Black." The "Black" Hole might be the most well known area of any NFL stadium.

When you have "blackouts" you are just left with half of what used to be something great. Silver without the "black" cannot attack.

Then something amazing happened Thursday, the Raiders announced that the TV blackout had been lifted for this Sunday's game against the Chiefs,

I'll be there is section 111, row 20 with my dad and 63,000 other Raiders fans rain or shine.

The Raiders fans really rallied behind a two for one ticket offer, two big wins in a row and Rolando McClain's bold statement.

McClain proclaimed a media blackout until the Raiders sold out a home game. He didn't have to wait long. While he didn't likely have much impact on the tickets sold, he was …

Studs and Duds From Week 8

While the attention shift the Chiefs this week, allow me to jump back and examine the second great team performance in a row. 33-3 was a pretty good beating of the Seahawks.This game was pretty simple the Raiders killed the Seahawks in the trenches. The offensive and defensive lines whipped the Seahawks into submission. STUDS:DL: Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly, Lamarr Houston, Matt ShaughnessyThe front four whipped the Seahawks. Richard Seymour continued his solid play. Tommy Kelly had one of his best games of the year and Matt Shaughnessy and Lamarr Houston fed of the veterans inside. Trevor Scott is the only player that didn't stand out here.
Darren McFaddenHe's dominating games. Play action works better when he is running it and it only takes a small seem for him to bust a long run. All the attention on McFadden has given Marcel Reece opportunities and kept the Raiders poor pass blocking line from being exposed. He's the key to the offense right now and needs to keep it up…

Raiders Rising: Midseason Report

The Raiders are eight games into the 2010 season with a record of 4-4 and have been resurgent in recent weeks, outscoring the Broncos and Seahawks 92-17 after a disappointing loss to the 49ers.

Are the silver and black back? While it is probably too soon to say, there are some encouraging signs.

If it wasn’t for Sebastian Janikowski missing three field goals in Arizona, including the game winner, the Raiders would be 5-3. Realize this, the Raiders haven’t had more than five wins since 2002.

What was the Raiders record after eight games in 2002? It just so happens it was also 4-4. The Raiders won the first four games only to drop four in a row before finishing the season 7-1 that season.

Is this team capable of a run at the playoffs? If so, the Raiders will need to win this Sunday at home against the division leading Chiefs.

There have been two different quarterbacks, two starting left tackles, two of the top three receivers have been injured and the Raiders began the year playing a lot of …

Raiders Roast Seahawks, 33-3

92-17. That's the Raiders combined score the last two weeks against the Broncos and Seahawks. The Raiders also have 500+ yards of offense in back-to-back victories.

Darren McFadden continues his resurgence and had 135 total yards against the Seahawks. This actually lowers his per game average. Bush added 51 yards and a late touchdown.

In a game in which the Raiders needed a receiver to step up in the absence of Louis Murphy, Darrius Heyward-Bey hauled in five balls for 105 yards including a 69-yard touchdown. Fullback Marcel Reece added three receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown.

Jason Campbell completed 15 passes for 310 yards and two touchdowns and his performance has begged the question as to who the Raiders starting quarterback will be once Bruce Gradkowski is healthy.

The Raiders defense combined for eight sacks and held the Seahawks to 47 yards rushing.

If there was any concerns that came out of the win, it was Nnamdi Asomugha injuring his ankle and Zach Miller only having one…

Bye Bye Bust Label: Draft Picks Shining For The Raiders

People line up to declare the next Al Davis draft selection a bust because the Raiders are well known for draft blunders. These people point to a lack of football instincts in the players Al Davis drafts. They say things like, “He’s just a track star, he’s not a football player.”

Let me know if you can figure out what a saying like that means. It sounds good but means nothing. Can a track star not be good at football also? You don’t hear people say, “He’s a wrestler, he’s not a football player.”

Those same people turn around and say, “Speed kills.” What? So now speed is good in the NFL player? Yes, there is much more to being a good player than speed, but much of it depends on how smart the player is, how much they can learn and if they are dedicated. Are these traits not also desirable in a track star? Why does running track have to be a negative stereotype?

Some guys have more smarts, have learned more or have been more dedicated to football when they enter the NFL. This is the reason …

Special Teams Battle: Brian Schneider vs. John Fassel

Remember Brian Schneider? I bet most of the Raider Nation does, because Schneider coached the Raiders special teams in 2007 and 2008.

Schneider was considered by many to be a great special teams coordinator for the Raiders. What was so special about Schneider’s special teams units? Was it kick coverage or return yardage? Is John Fassel worse? He’s certainly hasn’t received the praise like Schneider did during his time with the Raiders.

Both punting and kicking seem to be more dependent on the kicker and punter. Obviously, the Raiders have two of the best. One thing you can get from punting and kicking is blocks and return touchdowns which is more indicative of coverage and coaching.

In 2007, Brian Schneider’s first season as a coach for the Raiders, the return units were near the bottom in return yardage and had no return touchdowns. The Raiders allowed punt return touchdowns, but were middle of the pack in regards to kick coverage.

Schneider’s fortunes turned in 2008, with five return to…

Studs and Duds From Week 7

Hard to find a dud, but I did manage to find a couple. Studs were equally hard because of the multitude of good performances, so you can really make a case for several players.

STUDS


Chris Johnson

He has taken tongue lashes from fans in recent weeks. People were saying how Walter McFadden should play more than Johnson. Boy did he prove us all wrong. Johnson routinely takes chances and he took a chance and jumping in front of a Kyle Orton pass and returned it for six points. The play started the snow ball down the hill and the Raiders never looked back. Getting beat a few times can be lived with if he makes just as many plays. Let’s hope the Raiders can keep it up.


Darren McFadden

AFC Offensive Player of the Week. He deserved it. He dominated the Broncos all day. Four touchdowns and 165 yards is a good day and you can’t take that away from him. Honorable mention to the Raiders offensive line, who had a great day against a soft Broncos run defense. He’s averaging 150 total yards per game, t…

Raiders Buck Broncos, 59-14

Now the hard part; recovering from the win. The Raiders have had the uncanny ability to recover from losses, but a marked inability to recover from a win. Back-to-back wins would be a marker for this team.

The concept is simple. Take one game at a time. Win a game, the next week you are 0-0 and looking to go 1-0. Lose a game, the next week you are 0-0 and looking to go 1-0. It’s cliché, but that doesn’t reduce it to rubble. Each team must be able to do both, focus on the next week instead of the prior week.

Next week Pete Carroll’s Seattle Seahawks come into Oakland on Halloween. The Raider Nation doesn’t need a holiday as an excuse to dress up, but on Halloween you will get more than your fair share of crazy costumes and the FOX broadcast will love it.

A win next week means the Raiders could be playing for the division lead when the Kansas City Chiefs visit Oakland in week nine before a bye in week 10. The Raiders sit at 3-4 and have yet another chance to get back to .500 for the first…

Raiders To Renew Mile-High Membership

Last season, the Raiders went into Denver and got a win on the back of JaMarcus Russell. Charlie Frye started the game and Russell came in when Frye was injured to lead the Raiders to victory.

Michael Bush had 144 total yards and a touchdown. Darren McFadden had 74 yards rushing. Chaz Schilens made the game-winning catch. Brandon Marshall had seven receptions and a touchdown and Kyle Orton went 19/34 for 278 yards.

The Broncos couldn’t run the ball that day and haven’t been able to run the ball much this season. The worst rushing offense in the league happens to be doing very well passing. The addition of receiver Brandon Lloyd and subtraction of Brandon Marshall has the Broncos ranked third, behind San Diego and Indianapolis in the NFL.


Offense

The Raiders may not be able to run the ball on Denver like they did last season. The Broncos added nose tackle Jamal Williams to help with their woes stopping the run and have held five of six opposing rushers under 100 yards.

Maurice Jones-Drew w…

Studs and Duds From Week 6

The Raiders scored nine points on offense and gave up 196 yards passing to Alex Smith and 149 yards rushing to Frank Gore. Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis caught touchdown passes.

I’d call that a complete failure to execute any goals.

I’m sure every single game plan against the 49ers consists of scoring a couple touchdowns, forcing Alex Smith to make a mistake and stopping Gore, Davis and Crabtree.

The Raiders only managed to get two sacks of Smith and there was never enough pressure to force a turnover. Despite Smith’s terrible days early, he easily carved up the Raiders defense.


STUDS

Matt Shaughnessy

Why did Trevor Scott start in front of him at defensive end again? He either never regressed or he’s turned it back around. He applied the most consistent pressure on Alex Smith, working against their best offensive lineman, Joe Staley. He also forced Staley to commit a couple of penalties. He also did a good job stopping the run.

Former Raiders defensive end Jay Richardson called him “Shau…

By The Numbers: Mile-High Matchup

Defense:

YPG Allowed
Broncos: 337.5 (19)
Raiders: 346.3 (22)

YPP Allowed
Broncos: 5.6 (22)
Raiders: 5.7 (24)

Total Points Allowed
Broncos: 140 (27)
Raiders 151 (29)

Sacks
Broncos: 10 (13)
Raiders: 7 (27)

Turnovers
Broncos: 5 INT, 4 Fumbles,
Raiders: 2 INT, 6 Fumbles, 2 Blocks, 1 TD, 1 Safety


Offense

YPG
Broncos: 378.3 (6)
Raiders: 312.5 (21)

YPP
Broncos: 5.5 (10)
Raiders: 4.7 (29)

Total Points
Broncos:124 (13)
Raiders: 120 (14)

Sacks Allowed:
Broncos: 13 (20)
Raiders: 18 (28)

QB Hits
Broncos: 26 (13)
Raiders: 28 (19)
Turnovers
Broncos: 3 INT, 5 Fumbles
Raiders: 8 INT, 2 Fumbles


Special Teams

Field Goals
Broncos: 11 of 12 (92%) (7)
Raiders: 14 of 19 (74%) (1)

Punting Avg
Broncos: 45.2 (7)
Raiders: 50.1 (1)

Punting Net
Broncos: 37.1 (21)
Raiders: 45.6 (1)

Kick Return
Broncos: 27.1 (8)
Raiders: 20.1 (28)

Punt Return
Broncos: 10.1 (10)
Raiders: 9.4 (15)


Overall:

Turnover Ratio
Broncos: -8/+9 = +1 (11)
Raiders: -10/+8 = -2 (19)

Net Points
Broncos: -16
Raiders: -31

Broncos: 1-2 at home
Raiders: 0-3 on the road




Fishing For Answers

After a dismal game in San Francisco and six games into the 2010 season the fans and media are starting to smell rotten fish carcasses. Below in no particular order are players that are floating belly up at the surface.




Chris Johnson – He’s also been filleted and barbequed.
Tyvon Branch – Filleted and grilled
Stanford Routt – Filleted and baked
Trevor Scott – Tail has been chopped off.
Tommy Kelly – Slimmed down, but just as bad at swimming.
Jason Campbell – Cheapest fish on the fish counter, tastes funny.
Mario Henderson – Fins malfunctioned.
Cooper Carlisle – Pet fish of Tom Cable, but it died and he can’t bring himself to remove it from the tank.
Langston Walker – Only swims upside down.
Darrius Heyward-Bey – Torpedo! Wait, it missed the boat.
Louis Murphy – Discount fish, marked down because it is sometimes good and sometimes not so good.
Johnnie Lee-Higgins – A fisherman hit him on the head with a bat and he hasn’t been the same since.

Battle of the Bay: Raiders @ 49ers Preview

The Raiders have a chance to do something they haven't done since 2002; get back to .500. While bragging rights are always icing on the cake, the Raiders may be as desperate for a win as the 0-5 49ers.

The 49ers season is on the line. It is hard enough to believe the 49ers can still win the division after starting 0-5, but 0-6 is season-ending no matter how soft the division or weak the schedule.

The 49ers are still a tough team, with plenty of talent to win. Their problem has been beating themselves with turnovers and the inability to create them. With a turnover margin of -10, the 49ers are last in the league and it isn't close. The next closest team has a -6 turnover margin.


Offense:

Jason Campbell will get the start for the injured Bruce Gradkowski. He lead the Raiders to a win at home last weak to snap a 13-game losing streak to the rival Chargers. The key for Campbell is the protection. Given time to make his reads he will find the open receivers.

The 49ers will test the Raid…

Studs and Duds From Week 5

Watching the game a second time and grading players is quite a task. It also set my readers up for a disappointment this week. I didn’t watch the game a second time.

There I said it and it was like ripping off a bandage. The good news is I played closer attention to certain things during the game this week. I guess after four weeks of watching the game a second time for analysis I had a hard time turning off that part of my brain.


STUDS


Michael Huff, Tyvon Branch & Chris Johnson

Huff was the AFC Defensive Player of the Week. Doesn’t that say it all? Not quite. In fact, Huff was headed for the duds list until he forced the Philip Rivers fumble to seal the win. Tyvon Branch returned the fumble for a touchdown. Chris Johnson was being used like a cheap hooker in the passing game, until he crushed an offensive lineman attempting to recover the game-deciding fumble. His play was what enabled Branch to scoop and score. Three duds became studs on one play. Amazing.


John Fassel, Rock Cartwrigh…

Beyond The Numbers: The Battle of the Bay

The Raiders are notoriously the bay area’s most dysfunctional team. The 49ers are breaking that stereotype.

Mike Singletary’s motivational speeches aren’t motivating his players any longer. There is talk that Singletary was set up for failure, because he wasn’t really qualified to be the head coach. This is only natural considering a 0-5 start. Jed York threw some fuel on the fire this week when he predicted the 49ers would still win the NFC west. Translation: Singletary is gone if he doesn’t win the division.

According to some fans present at the time, Al Davis called last week’s game a “must-win” and used profanity while doing it. This is how we know Tom Cable’s job always hangs in the balance. The win last week likely saved him for at least a couple more weeks. A 1-4 start, virtually insurmountable. A 2-3 start, a bit behind the curve, but only a missed short field goal shy of 3-2.

The battle of the bay is a big game in the bay area. Unlike the Giants and A’s that trade regular seaso…