Wednesday, November 14, 2012

New Look Raiders are Floundering

The highlight of 2012 thus far for the Raiders was a heroic effort to beat the Steelers.  Other than that, I'm not getting the impression the Raiders are much of a franchise. They may as well be an expansion team: no direction, some good talent on the roster but not enough, too much spotty play, looking clearly outmatched against most opponents.

While I like Reggie McKenzie as GM,  Head Coach Dennis Allen is dull and generic. He says nothing of relevance and just seems to be a good ol' boy from Texas who goes to church and raises a family.  That's all well and good but as far as what is needed to coach in the NFL, I'm not sure he really has a plan for leadership other than playing "better."

I do like Jason Tarver.  I'm just not sure the right place for his talents is Defensive Coordinator of the Raiders.

Greg Knapp is not an asset. His offensive schemes will not make much difference one way or the other.  What I really don't like about Knapp is he has yet to take responsibility for anything. He says his methods work fine. We just need patience.  Failures are somebody else's fault, usually he lays the blame on the players.  He is quick to say he is "pleased' when things look good to him.  I have never heard a self-critique when things don't go well. Good coaches know they made mistakes and they own up to it.  Knapp does not.  He is very prideful of his 10+ years in the league but that's just an indication he has been good at making connections.

The Raider Nation must concede 2012 has been another lost season. Even without Al Davis in the picture, there is so little to work with as far as quality personnel, offensive and defensive strategy misfires, it's just not working out.

The full blame for the Raiders sinking to generic irrelevance is on Al Davis. He is the reason for the failures of the franchise due to his mostly bad personnel decisions over the last decade, leaving the new regime in a tough spot to improve right away. The last several years have been terrible as far as building a team and coaching staff to its strengths. Instead, Al's reluctance to have a viable vision has torpedoed the franchise he built into a contender prior to Jon Gruden's departure after the 2001 season.

Despite some success since the last Super Bowl win in 1984, the real problems came to surface when Al soured on Jon Gruden. If he would have backpeddled a bit, conceded some room in the building for Chucky's popularity (which outweighed Al's), things would have been different. Gruden has stated he was in no hurry to leave. It was Davis who got rid of him.

We know the history since that fated move. The Raiders did indeed have almost immediate success after Chucky, winning the AFC championship, only to be pasted in the Super Bowl by a team coached by Gruden himself on the opposite sideline.  Don't look past the irony of this event.  Just about nothing has gone right for the Raiders since this Waterloo.

The Raiders must expel the ghost/albatross. Despite the passing of Al Davis, the franchise is struggling to find a winning combination.  I'm not seeing it happen this year.  It may not arrive for a few more seasons to come.  Reggie needs time to rework the roster and tweak the coaching staff to make best use of the talent they bring in.

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