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Friday, May 22, 2009


In the 50 years the Raiders have existed, they've made the playoffs almost half of the time (21 appearances) while winning the west 15 times. I know all of Raider Nation is looking up to the prospect of returning to that place. The post-season is an idea that is not so far fetched.....yeah, really. Think about it, Denver is re-tooling virtually everything in thier franchise and the success in '09 depends on Kyle Orton, the Chiefs traded away thier best offensive weapon in Gonzo (in my opinion, Bowe is almost there, and LJ's happiness is a ?), and San Diego is probably the favorite at this point - as much as I detest the Chargers there really isn't much I can say other than LT is on his last leg, thank God.

As much as the sports critics love to bash our boys, they can't and haven't denied that this youthful and talented offense is on the verge of being one of the most explosive, even Adam Schein (FOX) thinks the run game will be "spectacular in 2009, special, physical, dynamic, and diverse." Great adjectives, really appreciate that Adam. I agree 1000%, especially after the signing of Lorenzo Neal, this guy came right in and started to assume a leadership role on offense, his interview on NFL.com at practice really impressed me. We need more players like him - tough, strong, skilled, and a real passion and knowledge for team concept.

The emergence of Mario Henderson is a real plus too, watching him handle himself very well in those last handful of games was almost a relief. Gallery was playing well and appears to be picking up where he left off last year also. Yes, I know Khalif Barnes isn't the answer but his signing helps, we'll see, definitely need better play from the O-line. I was very happy to hear that out of everyone at the workouts, McFadden looks awesome, fully recovered and ready for his breakout season. I can't wait to see Bush pick up where he left off, this guy is a beast, and he is ready for whatever is asked of him (remember when he played a little FB and bitched for a nanosecond only to finish his comment with, "whatever the team needs of me", and "I'll be ready".......I love that shit, a team player, and I think if they all take a page out of Fargas' book, "Huggy's How To Be A Raider" we will be on the righteous road to victory. With Bush and McFadden averaging 4.4 ypc and Fargas picking up those very tough gains, we have ourselves a recipe for a FIERCE running game.

Let me shift the focus to the, gulp, passing game.

The brightest spot, I think, was the excellent and consistent play by Zach Miller. I believe that we have finally found our man at the TE position. After the Jolley project and courting Courtney, the right man was found for the job. We were actually fortunate that Miller had a poor combine showing and fell to us at the 38th pick in 2007. Last year he not only led our Raiders in rec. and rec. yds., he actually averaged 13.9 yards per catch - good for 1st in the NFL by tight ends with 43+ receptions and he held the longest play resulting in a TD by a TE, at 6'5" 255lbs. the kid gets open. He should also be credited with above average run blocking, he did a great job here too.

The WR's, oh the WR's. Only time will tell on DHB, I'll leave that until we start the season. I've read that the team is very high on the former Aztec Chaz Schilens, the 6'4" 225lb. receiver showed some nice flashes and decent hands and threw great outside blocks on running plays throughout the season. There are, I think, plenty of questions here. Is Drew Carter a Raider still? Can we just take the cap hit and cut Walker? Let's start DHB and Schilens, throw DMC or JLH in the slot when needed and call it a day. We absolutely need to improve on our 61 for 214 3rd down conversions.....about 28% success rate? Are you kidding me? This ain't gonna cut it. Defenses can exploit this WR weakness with ease. For our offense, which I hear has been revamped a bit so we can attack vertically, to have more success we need some threats out wide. I'm not sold on the resurrection of the vertical game, again, we'll wait and see.
I'm pretty confident we (the fans) can rest easy as far as Special Teams are concerned. Good ol' Seabass, our leading scorer, nuff said. Lechler, wow, nice contract and thank Christ! And the return game is the best and most explosive in the league, I don't care about the exact stats, I'm not even sure if we ruled the league in the return game but I do know that every time Johnnie Lee touches the ball there is a very good chance for an awesome return, be sure not to blink....
The next post will be about our defense, unless something crazy happens over the weekend. Everybody have a great Memorial Day, and if you see a soldier, thank him or her for the brave service they put in.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


For those who don't already know, I'll tell you.

The Raiders were laughed at on draft day for picking DHB over Crabtree and Maclin, especially by Kiper and Cris Carter. Al Davis doesn't pay my bills, I'm just a superfan and I was still hurt and upset by the critics. You know what though, I had to admit that they all had a point.

First, DHB shouldn't have went that high, true, when everyone said WHY NOT TRADE DOWN? Here's why, after the Jets made the move for Mark Sanchez, nobody was interested in the 7th from what I heard and read (sorry, I'm not even sure if my sources are reliable ,I'm a rookie) OK, so that made me feel a little better. In the draft, you set your sights on a guy and you get him, who cares what people say and what your draft position is. By the way, the Giants were ready to trade up to get this guy but who knows how far.

Number 2 - The pick appeared to be another Al Davis speed-freak special (see Mr.Jett) but after I reviewed all the background on this kid it appears as if Davis actually sat down with his staff and brainstormed (not sure how much storm ability he has left upstairs though) and weighed all of the pros and cons and figured out who would be the best fit for the offense and the team, not the athelete who had the best collegiate stats. Don't forget, DHB is a product of not only a pro-style offense but the West Coast style. This, I believe is a major point in the pro category for Oakland's pick here. The West Coast offense isn't an easy one to learn, hopefully the Raiders adopt some of the theories that Bill Walsh implemented way back when, some short horizontal passing to open up run lanes, then after the run is established the vertical lanes will open, this appeared to be the offensive scheme with Gannon under center. Granted the ACC isn't the most competitive college football conference in the country but the offensive stats in 2008 alone shows how effective DHB was in the West Coast offense. Of the 227 pass completions, DHB hauled in 42 of them while the other 185 were spread out to roughly 10 other players and he accounted for about 25 percent of all the rec. yards and a third of the rec. TD's, not to mention a little rushing thrown in there too (15 att., 202 yds., 1 TD if you are curious), and all the while he was teamed with a QB who was decent at best.

Lastly, character....plain and simple. Many have said that Crabtree is the most NFL ready WR but I just don't like the idea of drafting a guy who is; just a kid and he already travels with an entourage, is starting his career with a steel pin in his foot, has an attitude problem (“I’m not cocky at all. People talk, man, but I’m a cool guy. As for playing for the Raiders, no comment.”), and is a product of a spread offense.

In conclusion, I believe that it is the League versus the Raiders and it always will be. It isn't without just cause, I know. Boneheaded moves have been made in the past for sure but they have purged thier roster of locker room cancers and focused on youth and a positive winning attitude. Everything from Al moving to LA and back, all the way up to the most bloated contract ever given to a man who had 1 or 2 good receiving years and is hurt....a lot, Javon Walker, these things leave the franchise open for ridicule. Perfect example, Kiper laughed at the Mitchell pick in round 2 and made fun because this kid wasn't even invited to the combine only to backtrack after it was confirmed that Chicago called Mitchell and told him to stay by the phone because he was going to go to the Bears at 49. I was pissed to hear every NFL analyst covering the mini-camps taking shots at the rookie WR after sitting out practice a couple of weeks ago due to hammy strains, if you are going to quote, add the demeanor of the guy after the quotation marks. DHB said “Just tightened up,” My legs are a little too tight. Running too fast.” and then he laughed jokingly, this was more of a preventative measure than a real injury, just for the record Louis Murphy and Mitchell sat out as well. These kids just have to get used to NFL practices.

I hope this is a sign of things to come and these young players step up to the challenge, not just to win games but to prove the naysayers wrong, and believe me, there's an abundance of them. I firmly believe it all starts with the coaching staff that, hey guess what? We actually have in place for a second term, pretty much. That's another story though. Wish you luck DHB, make us proud.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Project Russell -or- Dirty Garcia

OK, the first great debate for the Raiders this year will be the QB situation (and you thought I was gonna talk about DHB eing taken at #7 over Crabby). I don't care that Heyward-Bey was taken too high....so was Charles Rodgers and Troy Wiliamson....so what - only time will tell on this one. Back to the lecture at hand. So what do we do? Try to win now or will Al try to get his moneys worth on a 1st overall pick. I assume the latter, and I'd believe Mr.Davis wants both. Well Al, I'm not entirely positive you can get that, as much as you don't want to hear it......too bad. Does anyone remember what the Delaware Demon (Rich Gannon) did for the team? I can quickly refresh your memory. The offense was run-first, just as it will be now. Gannon was a crafty cool dude in the pocket and once Garner was established - the QB was able to pick apart the defense with short passes, no deep bombs! Here's what I'm getting at, a team needs an smart and efficient QB to run it's offense. With this being said, I can easily see Garcia becoming a one-year Gannon while Russell sits and learns. It's too bad Al won't do that. Even Mr.Davis has to know that in order to win, a team and it's staff has to put the best product on the field to have a chance at being victorious every weekend. I guess time will tell on this one as well.
Update: They both look like garbage, great....http://www.ibabuzz.com/raidersblog/

When I was posting comments on Bill Williamson's (of ESPN) AFC West blog, I recited my post to a friend. My buddy suggested to me that I start this blog and dedicate it to my all-time favorite football team, The Oakland Raiders. It is very tough to love this team because you have to deal with Al Davis, who some feel, is a man that the game has simply passed by. I can agree to some extent, yes, the times of signing cast-offs and over-the-hill trouble players are over. Youth, talent, and character rule the league these days. Don't get me wrong, I love the Raider Mystique and the nasty play by the silver and black, but now a days this just translates into excessive penalties (are those turning yellow leaves falling from the trees in the Autumn Wind or are they penalty markers?) and a roster filled with moody bitches that get no respect!
All this being said, I will be expressing my point of view on the Raiders. I hope others will feel free to comment.