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Showing posts from 2009

Top 10 Reasons The Raiders Aren't Going To The Playoffs. A Retrospective

As the season comes to a close, the fans have to ask themselves one question. What happened? The answer is a lot of things happened. So in typical year-end style I present to you The Top 10 Reasons The Raiders Aren't Going To The Playoffs. A Retrospective. 10. The Offensive Line: Sure there were injuries, but the group wasn't that good to begin with. This group took a huge step backwards in terms of run blocking and the pass blocking was spotty at best. On the bright side, Mario Henderson looks legit. 9. Richard Seymour: The defensive savior that we traded a very valuable 2011 first-round selection for was only at times worth the franchise tag that he will certainly receive this offseason. He almost single-handedly helped the Raiders lose a game as well. He makes the list because so much was expected of him on and off the field, both football related and not and I didn't really see much from him. Greg Ellis seemed to fill this role and we didn't have to give up a pick f

Has Al Davis Given Up On Russell? Cable?

Tom Cable clearly has lost confidence in JaMarcus Russell. So much so that the Raiders are going with Charlie Frye, who couldn't get the job done in Cleveland. This could be a pivotal decision in the future of the Oakland Raiders. In Oakland, it doesn't always matter how much confidence the head coach has in a player, but how much confidence the owner has in a player. Al Davis writes the checks and calls the shots, every player decision directly or indirectly goes through Al Davis. Cable has full autonomy to decide who the starting quarterback will be. He doesn't have the power to sign a quarterback. This morning Gradkowski's agent Ralph Cindrich tweeted that initial reports were that Gradkowski would not need surgery and no decision had been made to put him on IR. Within minutes of this report, Tom Cable announced to the Denver media that Charlie Frye would start at quarterback. If Gradkowski isn't going on IR and Frye is going to start, why sign J.P. Losman? Losma

Going Nuclear on JaMarcus

As anyone who reads anything I write, I've been pretty even-keeled about my approach to JaMarcus Russell. I've managed to stay away from the early hate that he has received in order to give him a chance to succeed before I labeled him a bust. I still don't think booing everything he does it productive, it shows how unknowledgeable Raider Nation can be. The Raider fans should only be boo-birds when Russell does wrong, because otherwise the fans are creating some of the poor production. Even when Russell throw an interception it is ALWAYS his fault. Russell's confidence has dropped off the map. Confidence is key for any quarterback and Russell's is quickly evaporating. In a rare move I am going to agree with Lane Kiffin's strategy. Kiffin realized Russell wasn't ready for the team to jump on his back and he rode the running game hard and kept Russell's throws simple. Unfortunately is hamstrung his success. Cable in large part kept it that way for all of la

Hanson Goes Back To Work

Remember the saga that started in training camp and clouded the first five weeks of the season? Yes. Randy Hanson has been spotted in the Raiders scouting department. Only the Raiders, right? One thing I'd like to point out, the story was way overblown especially by Yahoo! Sports writers. Was there some disagreement about what happened? Sure, but that often happens during a heated exchange. In the end Cable got what he wanted. Hanson scouting and not coaching. Hanson also got what he wanted, a job with his beloved Raiders. Both of them received things they didn't want (broken jaw, media fire). I guess inside the building at Raiders headquarters on Harbor Bay Parkway, a broken jaw and media scrutiny are about equal.

Steelers HD

The Steelers are prone to getting beat in the air, so we may get to see how much the young receivers have developed this season. Oddly this could be a statement game for Mr. Drop. He scores his first touchdown last week and lets hope his confidence is elevated and he can start to put some of the drops behind him. With Justin Fargas in the questionable injury category, we may again see more Michael Bush and Darren McFadden. Bush has seen is carries diminish after a fumble in the Bengals game and McFadden may just now be getting completely healthy from his knee injury, or the Raiders have been extremely cautious with him. It might not make much of a difference because running on the Steelers defense is pretty difficult, so don't expect the Raiders to pound the ball and win. That pretty much rules out the run game and with a forecasted high of 39 degrees on Sunday, the young receivers better keep those finger warm, that is if they use them instead of their chest. Big Ben is projected

The 48 Hour Giveaway!

Win your choice of a free ticket to this Sunday's game against the Bengals or one items from the list of eligible items in my Raiders Rewards program. Note: There is a small chance that the ticket will not be available, in which case you will receive your choice of one item from my Raiders Rewards account (all my eligible points). Among the items is a Michael Huff replica autograph picture an Authentic Jon Condo autographed picture, a few different T-Shirts (male and female) and a couple women's hats. How to enter: 1. Become of fan on Facebook ---> Click Here 2. Leave a comment anywhere on the blog. 3. Follow me on Twitter and ReTweet this post. A random winner will be selected Saturday, November 21, 2009 at approximately 8:00 pm Pacific.

Gradkowski Named Starter: Can He Help?

The quarterback play can't get any worse and even a slight bump in production will lead to a more competitive team. Right? Chad Ochocinco may have said it best during his media conference call. What is on the field doesn't match production. Will Gradkowski cure the ills of the Raiders? Does he really give the Raiders the best chance to win? The stats say no. Lets compare Russell to Gradkowski. Gradkowski's career numbers: 22 games 53.1% completions 9 touchdowns 15 Interceptions 4.9 yards per attempt 19 passes over 20 yards 3 over 40 yards Russell career numbers: 28 games 51.6% completions 17 touchdowns 21 Interceptions 6.0 yards per attempt 49 passes over 20 yards 7 passes over 40 yards Russell in 09: 9 games 46.8% 2 TD 9 INT 5.2 yard per attempt Using those numbers: Approx 161 more passes will be thrown by a Raiders QB this season Gradkowski completes: 89 for 789 yards with 3 TD & 5 INTs Russell career completes: 83 for 966 yards with 4 TDs and 5 INTs Russell 09' v

Mr. Davis' Neighborhood

You could easily claim that this Raiders team is lifeless. The Raiders, still a part of the NFL, could barely put up 10 points against one of the leagues weakest teams. That is pretty close to lifeless. However, there are clearly signs of life on the team, specifically on defense, where Raiders draft picks and free agents are actually playing tough. Is the rush defense still suspect? Absolutely, but there are signs of life all over the defensive side of the ball. Richard Seymour and Greg Ellis have brought life the defensive line, even if Tommy Kelly and Gerrard Warren aren't the answer inside. At least Kelly and Warren have shown flashes. Nnamdi Asomugha is still a great player that no one dares challenge and Chris Johnson makes his living making plays and getting burned from time to time. The emergence of Tyvon Branch has been a bright spot and Michael Huff looks like a serviceable player. As much as I love Kirk Morrison, he needs to move to SAM and the Raiders need to

Midseason Report Card

Everyone likes to grade at the halfway point, but how do you assign a grade without being too arbitrary? I'll do two grades. One is based on NFL yardage rankings and the other I will adjust (arbitrarily) based on what I thought were reasonable expectations coming into the season and other key stats, such as touchdowns, etc. NFL rankings: 1-6 = A 7-12 = B 13-18 = C 19-24 = D 25-32 = F (+ for being in the top 2 for each tier and - for being in the bottom 2 of the tier, except for an F grade.) Passing Offense: NFL Grade: F My Grade: F Analysis: The Raiders spent all offseason working on the passing offense. It seems that all that work actually made them worse. The passing offense ranks second to last at 122.1 yards per game. If it wasn't for the equally bad Browns passing offense (121.5 ypg), this team would be in dead last. It isn't even close as the Kansas City Chiefs are third to last with 150.3 yards per game passing. The team is also dead last, with just two p

The Curious Case of Tom Cable

Three wives and various girlfriends. Three allegations: one refuted, one admitted, one cleared by the Alameda police. The Cable man does visit a lot of houses, although usually the cable man sticks to the living room, this particular Cable man likes to install his cable in the bedroom. Multiple wives are actually the norm for a lot of coaches. It is a tough life for the wives, with long hours and high stress. Cable admits to hitting his first wife Sandy after she admitted an affair. He says open handed, she says  it was a fist and it happened two times, one time in the face. Glenda, his second wife, said Cable was physically abusive in divorce papers. She has known Cable for 20 years and she released a statement that said Cable never hit her. Editorial Note: Divorce papers are designed to maximize payouts/asset splits. If Glenda knew of the previous incident with Sandy, here attorney likely would put that in the divorce documents to get more money out of Cable. Then comes this Lutz cha

Happy Halloween: Raiders Style

This is how the Raiders pumpkin turned out. I posted a lower resolution photo on Twitter last night, but thought I'd share the end result with everyone. Please don't drink and drive. Drink, eat and scare the crap out of the kids, but don't drive. Have a happy and safe Halloween and save me a few Reese's will ya.

Familiar Challenges

The Raiders dominated the Eagles offensive line to win the game in Oakland last Sunday. It was unique game for the Raiders, who in large part didn't have to respect running lanes with the pass happy Eagles in town. No one every would accuse the Raiders front four for failing to be good pass rushers. They criticism is always run stopping ability. Last Sunday, the Raiders defense pinned their ears back and dominated a dinged up Eagles offensive line. The Eagles line just wasn't athletic enough to handle the Raiders front four along with some blitzers. Will the fans see a lot of the same this week? Be careful. The Raiders face one of the NFL's best run blocking offensive lines. Left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson, left guard Alan Faneca, Center Nick Mangold, right guard Brandon Moore and right tackle Damien Woody. This line has churned out the leagues second ranked rushing attack in front of Thomas Jones and Leon Washington with a 163 yards per game. The average yar

No Charges For Tom Cable

Here is the description of what happened from the DA's press release: "Mr. Cable became angry and rushed toward Mr. Hanson. At that juncture, one of the other coaches in the room stepped in between the two and Mr. Cable bumped into him, which in turn caused that coach to bump into Mr. Hanson's chair in which he was leaning back, with his feet upon the table. As a result of the force, Mr. Hanson fell over, at which time he most likely fractured his jaw. This conclusion is supported by the statements of independent witnesses present in the room, including and especially the coach who bumped into Mr. Hanson's chair. The same witnesses did state that after Mr. Hanson was on the ground, Mr. Cable grabbed him by the shirt . The witnesses also made it clear, however, that at no time during this incident did Mr. Cable strike Mr. Hanson." As I have been saying all along. If the DA had enough evidence against Tom Cable, the charges would have been brought much sooner. T

Late Postgame

I am still on vacation and as such haven't had a chance to watch the game on When I get back to Nor Cal on Wednesday you should see something up in the way of postgame. I figured with a win that is a vit more acceptable.

Paul Just Can't Hackett

Paul Hackett is/was the wizard savior of a quarterbacks coach whose tutelage of JaMarcus Russell was supposed to propel the Raiders into respectability. By many league accounts Russell is already a bust. It is difficult to argue with what everyone has seen so far this season. I firmly believe the Raiders need to give Russell a full 30 starts before deciding what he is. At 1-4, the league doesn't have any respect for the lowly Raiders, so there is really nothing to lose. The gain could be a play-making quarterback. He may or may not always be prone to fumbles. That wouldn't make him a whole lot different than Dante Culpepper's younger years. Hackett always was the key to the Raiders season. If you have been reading my blog, you probably remember a post about Hackett's credentials as a QB coach. That was because I felt like he was the singular most important coach on the team. Even Tom Cable's playcalling couldn't have the same effect on this offense as Hackett an

Crapcap: Raiders 7, Giants 99

There you go, another terrible game from your 2009 Oakland Raiders. You know why it hurts so bad this time of year? Because you came into the season with high expectations. Maybe you were even trying to be realistic with a consevative 7 win prediction. Now it is clear, this team isn't good. At 1-4, there is little hope. My game preview was pretty spot on. Bradshaw killed the Raiders defense. I want Rob Ryan back? This defense should be better, why is it worse? Must be Davis meddling in the gameplan. Stop with the Russell bashing at this point, he didn't even have a chance Sunday. The defense spotted the Giants 14 points before the Raiders could run their fourth offensive play. We have wailed on him enough, and you will have more chances. There is some kind of sickness in the Raiders organization. I think it is a virus called Al Davis. Call it the silver and black plague. I respect what Davis has done, but he needs to know when to quit. His methods aren't working anymore. He

Game 5 Preview: Raiders @ Giants

The Raiders are 1-3. A single win that came against a bad team in a game in which the offense played poorly except for on the final drive. Embarrassed against the Broncos at home and on the road in Houston, the Raiders seek redemption. Typically you would hope for a game against the Rams or Chiefs coming off two blowout losses. Wouldn't you know it, the Raiders play the terrible Giants. Whoops. The 4-0 Giants. 1-4 and the season is basically over for the Raiders. The Giants haven't really played tough teams, but the Raiders don't qualify either. Sure no one expected the Raiders to contend, but I am sure the players feel like they should. Al Davis and Tom Cable feel like they should. If the players don't give it everything tomorrow, the playoffs are no longer even an option and that puts Cable's job on the line. Keys to the game: 1) Offensive line play: They must win the battles at the line of scrimmage, execute the zone blocking scheme effectively, avoid penalties a

Teammates Defend Russell

Earlier today I posed the question via Twitter , "Mr. Russell: Are you or aren't you doing the things it takes to be good and win?" I asked the question amid a flood of information regarding Russell missing and/or being late to meetings. Raider Nation would quickly give up on him, if they haven't already, if he wasn't putting in the effort. So what happens? I just so happen catch a clip on Fox Sports Radio where Petros and Money interviewed ex-teammate Dwayne Bowe. Bowe said missing or being late to meetings wasn't the JaMarcus he knew at LSU and that he hadn't heard that to be the case and didn't think it was true. Then comes this excerpt from Mario Henderson's Blog date October 8, 2009. I've had reporters coming up to me all week asking about JaMarcus and why he isn't playing better and all this stuff, but I tell them that the guy is doing everything right in order to try and get better. He gets there early, works hard, watches film an

Can Russell Avoid Bust Status?

There has been a lot of negativity in Raider Nation lately. Who can blame them? They feeling slighted after the first four games. After an offseason of hope and improvement and a first game that everyone considered a moral victory, the Raiders have had three straight terrible performances. Lucky to come away with a single win, the offense has been the target of most of the negativity. Now that Raider Nation has had their expectations changed for them, what can the Raiders do to improve? The biggest target of negative criticism is usually the quarterback and JaMarcus Russell is a big target in more than one way. His terrible play has effected the entire offense. His regression and lack of improvement is cause for great concern and his status as a bust is already cemented in many minds. I am not willing to give up so soon on Russell. In my mind, every quarterback drafted that high must be given 30 starts to prove or disprove themselves. By the end of the season, the Raiders and R

Houston Hangover: A History

What is happening to the Oakland Raiders? Six years is more than enough time to rebuild a team especially with a few top draft picks. After drafting a quarterback. runningback and receiver high in the first-round the last three years, the offense actually looks worse. Normally the easiest thing to point out would be a complete lack of draft picks used on offensive lineman. In this case, the team uses the zone blocking system which is one in which you don't need to spend top picks on lineman. It is possible to fault the team for failing to bring in players that do fit that scheme. Mario Henderson and Robert Gallery are the only two players on the line that have been consistently above average. For as many problems as this team has, the defense doesn't look like one of them. Has the defense been great? Not by a mile, but compared to the disease that is the Raiders offense, the defense is Penicillin. Too bad the disease is so bad the defense simply can't overcome those

9 Drops, No Blocks

As badly as the fans want to blame JaMarcus Russell for the things that are wrong with the Raiders, it just can't be completely put on his shoulders. I've been forced to defend Russell against unwarranted criticism. Obviously, some of the criticism is warranted, but lets not kid ourselves, the Raiders have plenty of problems. By Tom Cable's count, the Raiders dropped nine passes. Maybe more. Does Russell's 12 for 33 looks so bad if those nine passes are caught? 21 for 33 and approximately 224 yards? Not to mention what getting into a rhythm could do for the offense. There is a lot of truth to Cable's statement, "This is not on JaMarcus today...clearly his best game of the year." Those nine drops are a major concern. It wasn't just Heyward-Bey today. Murphy, Lawton, Miller, Watkins all had at least one drop. McFadden, Bush, Fargas three-headed monster that wasn't. Hard to blame it on them. There was a complete lack of playcalling diversity and the l

Game 4 Preview: @ Texans

A huge early game for both teams. The Texans lost to the Jets, defeated the Titans Ina shootout and were in another shootout losing to the Jags in week 3. One thing is absolutely true. The Titans run defense is terrible. The pass defense is just a tiny bit better. Overall, this team wins by outscoring the other team. Huge weight on the Raider defense or offense? The poor Raiders offense needs to get on track, but the defense must play better against a high powered offense. This could mean a big impact day from the special teams units to close any gaps or cracks that aren't filled defensively or offensively. Matchups: Nam vs. André Johnson - Probably the best individual matchup of the year. Huge challenge for both guys. Nam will want to prove he is better than Revis, but Johnson may want to prove he can best the elite CBs. Chris "Gametime" Johnson vs. Kevin Walter - Just as big of a matchup impact wise as Nam vs. André. When Johnson is shut down Schaub will look to Walter.

Friday Quick Hits

1. Chaz "X-Ray" Schilens will not play Sunday. Looks like the foot is taking longer to heal than the Raiders expected. Not a good sign for Raiders passing game. At what point do the Raiders stop relying on rookie receivers to carry the passing offense? It is so rare for a rookie receiver to be productive, you would think that reason alone would mean getting Higgins and Walker on the field. Walker wont play again and Higgins just isn't getting any plays run his way. 2. Seymour was fined for pulling Clady's hair last week. In my mind hair is part of the uniform, so tugging on it is fair game. If you tugged a guys shoulder pad would you be fined $7,500? 3. Looks like the infamous Friday practice was more crisp this time around. I hope it translates. 4. Eugene is back into the starting role at free safety. Huff gets nickel work. Maybe that is good, because Huff was really productive playing in the nickel packages. 5. Andre Johnson and Nnamdi Asomugha have mutual r

Source: Russell Gets Drunk on Saturday Nights

Just received some info about JaMarcus. Has a habit of going to the club on Saturday night and getting drunk. Trying to get details. Source: If there is a rapper playing in the city, JaMarcus is there. He goes to clubs, gets drunk and plays poorly the next day. The source is a bay area club promoter. I hope this source is bad, but I have no reason to doubt them at this point. I seriously hope I am wrong and the source is bad. I don't see myself as a rumor creator, but I had to post that kind of information.


Have we been wrong to worry about the product on the field? Maybe the Raiders haven't been great because the current Raiders lack creative and descriptive nicknames. In the past the Raiders great nicknames include: The Snake The Assassin Ghost The Mad Stork The Mad Bomber The Molester Three Mile Lyle Tooz Wiz Do you know more? Please leave a comment. Do we expect Janikowski to make it up on his own? The Polish Powderkeg The Polish Cannon The Polish Hammer Lightning Feet Seabass - How come this is the only one I knew about? The Polish Powderkeg is great! Now I will make an attempt to nickname some of the Raiders. Feel free to propose your own. Some of these we already know about. Others are new. Some I made up. Nnamdi Asomugha: "Nam" or "Awesomugha" - Reference to Vietnam: The long, sneaky war and being awesome. Chris Johnson: "Gametime" - In tribute to his mentor "Primetime" Michael Huff: "Huff Daddy" M

Justin Miller Returns

According to Thomas Howard , Justin Miller will be back to return kicks for the Raiders this week. Rankin received two weeks. Holland received one week. Looks like the Raiders think they lack some explosiveness on kickoff returns without Nick Miller or Justin Miller. Welcome back. He is a solid kick returner that I am sure the Raiders can use at least until Nick Miller is healthy.

Russell Breakout, Garcia Out

Forgot about it. Jeff Garcia doesn't want to be a Raider. He asked for his release. He wasn't content behind Russell. He wasn't comfortable being a mentor. He wasn't any more talented than Charlie Frye or Bruce Gradkowski. He is not coming back to Oakland. Garcia may be miles ahead of the three quarterbacks on the Raiders roster when it comes to his understanding of the game and his craftiness as an NFL quarterback. That doesn't mean he is any kind of savior for this franchise. At his age he isn't going to be a difference maker. The Raiders would still have to run the ball effectively and play solid defense to win. Garcia is a means to a six win season in Oakland and a four win season in 2010. Right now, the only quarterback that can lead the Raiders is JaMarcus Russell. Certainly this makes many fans grind their teeth in anger. His performance this far has been nothing short of horrible. However, there simply is no option but to ride Russell and see what he