Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Real Reason for the Al Davis-Marcus Allen Feud

I don't know how many of you read the autobiography of Marcus Allen.  It is a very boring piece of work.  If you can manage to find it buried in the morass of boredom, in the book and elsewhere we can learn about the conflict Marcus had with Al Davis.  Nowhere is it explicitly stated what the conflict is about but to me it is obvious.


What else could it be?  What else do players complain about with franchise management?

Al was not the type of guy to dislike a player based on "lifestyle", as is the popular expression used to describe the feud.  Marcus wanted more money, whether it be during a contract negotiation or however he presented the idea to Al, obviously rubbed him the wrong way.  This is not expressed in the book, only the aftermath.

If there is anything crystal clear about Al Davis is it was never a good strategy to try and muscle him when it comes to anything Raiders.  He's not going to be swayed with your reasoning to pay you anything. He will pay whoever he wants whatever he wants.  End of conversation.

Marcus was a great running back, no question about it but he was a lousy negotiator. There are all kinds of caveats to the feud.  This was in a different era than today when it comes to the players association legitimacy and representation, free agent rules and so forth. The bottom line is Marcus felt he was worth more than he was currently getting and Al denied him an increase in salary.  Al saw it as a means for Marcus to flaunt his wealth southern California style with his buddy O.J. Simpson and whoever else.

That is why the decision of Mark Davis to ask Marcus to light some kind of torch ceremony in honor of Al means nothing. It does not end a feud or close a chapter in Raiders history.  Al would likely not approve of the gesture and wherever he is now, he probably still hates Marcus.  Likewise, Marcus still hates Al.  Al denied Marcus significant dollars, benched him in the prime of his career.  Al did not like the Hollywood attitude of Marcus. There's nothing that will erase the bitterness on either side.

This is why it is surprising the involvement of Marcus in the torch lighting was even necessary at all.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Reggie's New Era of Excellence Will Take Some Time

I should be the last guy to stick up for Greg Knapp but here I am doing it. Not that I see value in his work as offensive coordinator in the least.  It’s just that the sluggish start of the Raiders is not all on his shoulders.

Look at what the new coaching staff and franchise management inherited.  We all knew there would be problems working with a roster limited in talent.  You had guys overpaid.  You had guys on scholarship.  You had guys underperforming.  Al Davis traded away all of the team’s high draft rounds.

All things considered, the coaching staff are doing the best they can with what they have pieced together thus far.  If it wasn’t for the dirt on the infield, maybe Travis Goethel would have made those snaps and the Raiders stood a chance against the Chargers opening game.

Maybe if they would not have cut Demarcus Van Dyke and coached up Chimdi Chekwa, they would have two serviceable cornerbacks ready to step up right now.  Maybe, just maybe if they were not so anxious to fire Rod Woodson as secondary coach after last season, the team would not be suffering such hardship right now trying to fill holes.

Where could you possibly go wrong in having Rod Woodson coaching your DBs?  He’s one of the greatest to ever play DB.  Michael Huff could sure use some good coaching.  He has regressed. He had an all-pro caliber season last year and is now he is back to where he was, arriving late for tackles. 

The team has thin depth everywhere.  The lack of a legit number two back to turn to when McFadden is not getting it done has hurt the running game.  The offense is really good at flicking it underneath coverage and picking up yards.  They even broke one for a long TD against the Dolphins.  However, the problem is generating momentum and finishing drives.

There is a complete lack of leadership in the receiver corps.  The biggest threat is DHB who is good but he is still a work in progress, not an established number 1 guy.  Derek Hagan helps but he's more of a middle of the road player as well.

GM Reggie McKenzie has stated the approach they are taking is to groom young receivers.  That is all well and good but young receivers are unreliable. Why not bring in guys who Carson Palmer already has established a rapport with?  How much harm could it cause to see what Chad Johnson could do at this stage in his career?  T.J. Houshmandzadeh was actually on the team last year and not re-signed. Terrell Owens or Plaxico may make some sense for a short term fix.  But of course, Reggie won’t hear of it. They are banking on their young receivers to step up. 

Hey man, it’s not working.  Are you saying we should be patient?

How long will they put up with Palmer being inconsistent?  He makes a great play and then follows it up with 2 plays out of synch.  They will not bench him because he is making too much money to sit.  Even Leinart is getting over 2 mil to be a backup. They have not even suited up Terrelle Pryor – who would be effective in my view.

If you are breaking in young receivers, why not a young QB too?

Never mind, Reggie and the coaching staff have a long range plan and they will stick to it, even if they go 4-12 this season.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Some things I thought I would never see

Was that really Shane Lechler throwing his helmet to the ground so hard it broke?  Shane, you have several million reasons to not lose your cool.  A breakdown in getting punts off certainly is infuriating and a few times it looked like your legs just might get broken.  BUT, you are still in the sweet spot.  Just think Billy Dee Williams cool.

Yea, this loss to the Chargers looked worse than the Raiders had been dealt over the entire last decade.  Even the blowout losses don't compare. Despite only losing by 8 points, it was the worst debacle since the first few years of the franchise. Getting your hat handed to you in a packed house in front of millions of television viewers is not the way the Raiders wanted to start off the new era of excellence.

Who would've thunk an in injury to the first string long snapper would unravel the Raiders so harshly?  Who would've thunk with two additional centers on the roster (Stefen Wisniewski and Alex Parsons) neither of them would be pressed into long snapper duty?  Instead, a linebacker was tasked!  A linebacker who had not long snapped since high school and had just a few warmups on the sideline.  Not a single practice snap to the punter.  So are we saying neither Wisniewski or Parsons could have done better than Travis Goethel? 

The result was muffed snaps which made the team look amateurish and put an All Pro punter in harm's way for serious injury. Not to mention giving up 50-60 yards in field possession not once, not twice... three times.

Well, Head Coach Dennis Allen admitted his lack of preparation for this chain of events. To compensate for the oversight, the Raiders have signed Nick Guess - a long snapper who was released by the Chargers prior to the start of the season.  How is that for irony?

It remains to be seen what the long term solution is now that iron man long snapper Jon Condo is a concussion victim.

You could feel the terror in the building.  San Diego's defense smelled blood for almost the whole game. No one is talking about it but other than the first quarter, the Raiders offensive line was just about non-existent.  What started off as a promising unit looked downright amateurish.  They looked like arena league caliber as the Chargers swarmed at will.

I see decent stats for Carson Palmer on the evening but the guy throws with no touch.  He fires bullets and I saw several throws that just had no chance.  Lack of depth at receiver aside, Palmer has to give guys a chance to make plays.  His accuracy is as off as it was the last game of last season when he drilled an INT to cap things off.  I'm all for bypassing Matt Leinart at this point and let Terrelle Pryor run the show.

None of this west coast offense wannabe crap.  Greg Knapp is not Bill Walsh.  Sit Palmer for a game and let Terrelle Pryor develop.  Let him use his dual threat capabilities.

I am loathe to even discuss Greg Knapp.  We all knew Knapp was the wrong guy for the OC roleHe has nothing in his toolbox that will fool any defense.  If defenses smell blood all season and make the Raiders OL non-existent like they did on Monday night, of course Knapp will be fired.  Why was he hired in the first place?  Good old boy networking.  Terrible.

The good news is the Raiders play the Dolphins this Sunday and the 'fins have a rookie QB who struggled in his debut last weekend.  We can only hope Ryan Tannehill does not get knocked out of the game.  We want him upright and throwing INTs like he did last week.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I stand corrected. Jano DOES get laid

Isn't that amazing? This proves there are all kinds of women in the world and one of them must have gone for Jano. She not only married him, she just gave birth.  I never would have thought it possible for a woman to go for Jano - ever, unless he paid for it. Not just because of his past with GHB (a date rape drug), his numerous arrests for anger management issues and his other legal entanglements. 

I'll cut him some slack even though Jano is King Ugly and has no personality to speak of.  I won't harp on my opinion she got with him for the money. Some women would do anything for financial security BUT, like I said, I won't harp on it.  Maybe he is a handsome man in her eyes.

Even more surprising is that incredibly shitty song Ice Cube rapped as the so called Oakland Raiders anthem.  Sponsored by Pepsi?  Did someone write that piece of shit song and then Ice Cube just collected a check? You have got to be kidding.  That song sucks VERY SERIOUS ELEPHANT BALLS.  I won't link to it from here.  You'll just have to find it and listen to that piece of shit yourself.  I am not a fan of hip hop music but there must have been plenty of other choices. Who chose that song and why?  Raiderhed would have been a good choice but whoever made the decision must have wanted to pay Ice Cube.

Onto roster matters, the coaching staff has been bringing in recycled players to fill needs at CB and LB.  If they had options they would also bring in more receivers and tight ends too.  By next year most of the entire roster will be different than it was in 2011.  Not a bad thing. Any new coaching staff and GM will try and reshape the roster.

Change is good but sorry to see Jamie Cumbie get waived/injured.  He has a bit of a troubled past.  At Clemson he punched a kid out and hurt him very badly.  A drunken mistake that cost him graduating college, got him booted from the team and cost him being drafted.  He has come a long way to get a shot in the NFL.  I thought he did well but apparently not good enough to make the final roster.

I am also bummed they did not keep Chad Kilgore at LB.  He would've helped.  Instead, they are bringing in waiver wire guys with a bit more experience. They are really digging hard to find a kick and punt returner too while Jacoby Ford rehabs.

Also, the steady decline of the Oakland Raiders operating revenue has them in deficit spending territory.  No surprises there.  In 2012 their overall value has been ranked 30th of 32 NFL teams as determined by Forbes who does the assessment every year.

The only thing saving the Raiders is brand marketing.  If not for the merchandise revenue, the team would be worth nothing at this point.