I've been sitting around thinking of an idea for a new article, and one popped into my head: what if the Raiders were a giant corporation?
Now, hear me out. I know they already are a giant corporation. I'm not talking about the franchise. I'm talking about the players only. What if the players were a corporation? What would the corporate organizational chart look like? Which departments would each player or position group represent?
Obviously I've taken some artistic license with this article in regards to roles and responsibilities and various departments and divisions. I had to personalize it for the Silver & Black after all.
I give you the Oakland Raiders players-only corporate structure:
CEO - JaMarcus Russell, QB
The CEO is the head of the corporation. They are responsible for ensuring that the company performs effectively in daily operations. The CEO should be the most well-informed member of the company, and work diligently to ensure they have a firm grasp on the company mandate and what it takes to be successful.
Russell's talent and potential to be great may have got him into the position, but to stay there he needs to perform and show the want and need to be great. He can't ride the fact that the board is sweet on him for very long.
He's taking steps and slowly growing into the position this offseason, with his renewed commitment to his mechanics and his "corporate retreat" with the sports research and development department being a big step forward.
In life, the CEO receives high praise when a company is successful, but rarely any blow-back if the company is not. This is where Russell needs to improve as CEO. He needs to accept the praise when things go well, sure, but he really needs to be better at deflecting blame on others when he struggles.
He could say things like "Well, we've gone through three corporate restructurings in the time I've been here, and mandates and board members have constantly changed, so I'm just now getting a grasp on company policy."
Or, "Well the board hasn't really put much support staff in place for when things go awry, so I basically have to fend for myself when security or protection breaks down."
I mean, that's what a leader does, right? They whine and blame other people. They don't keep their mouths shut and try and get better. So in that respect, Russell needs to improve to be an effective CEO, because he doesn't blame other people for his struggles. But he's young; with hard work and dedication, he'll learn.
PRESIDENT - Darren McFadden, RB
VICE PRESIDENTS - Michael Bush, Justin Fargas RBs
The VP's support the president and essentially do for the president what the president does for the CEO. In this case, the crew of McFadden, Bush, and Fargas are there to take the pressure off Russell and give him everything he needs to succeed.
With the different styles the three bring to the table, they have the ability to keep the business moving forward, and allow Russell to take less business risks.
McFadden dazzles with his flash, wit, and charm; Bush hammers away with his surprising tact, grit, and determination; and Fargas, the closer, comes in and finishes them off with his relentless attacking style. A three-pronged attack is effective in any business.
Anytime a CEO can play it safe because his staff has done their research and put him in a position to succeed, the entire company thrives.
It is imperative that these three can work together and maintain a good inter-office relationship, because any friction at this level would cause a trickle-down effect of poor leverage, weak bargaining position, and massive wear down in fourth quarter numbers. The CEO would then be forced to step in and take up the slack. If he's worn down or forced to do too much, it can spell disaster.
Effective leadership and support from his right-hand men is essential for Russell's development as CEO. When things at the top are running smoothly, everyone feels it and benefits.
HEAD OF HR - Nnamdi Asomugha, CB
Having languished in the background for some time, Asomugha was finally recognized by the company and promoted to head of human resources, with the deserving pay increase that came along with it. His compassion, dedication, and ability to integrate new employees into the corporate structure are second to none.
For many years Nnamdi has performed his duties at a high level while maintaining class, integrity, and a good relationship with both his peers and management.
His willingness to work hard to learn all new policies and legislation, coupled with his meticulous study of competitors' habits and best practices, have combined to make him the most feared corporate headhunter in the business.
His skills and preparation are second to none, and he's made it his business to know anything and everything about every important player in the business. His willingness to perform at the top of his game while the company struggled and he was underpaid is a testament to his unselfishness, and others within the company have begun buying in.
His continued dedication during corporate struggles are an inspiration, and the reason he leads our human resources department. Nnamdi cares about the people in his organization as much as he does about the organization itself. We won't even get into his amazing charity and community works.
LEGAL COUNSEL - Morrison, Howard, and Alston (Brown, Joseph) LBs
Right now, as Ramone pointed out in a recent article, there is some confusion as to who will be the Raiders' legal representation this season.
Although Morrison and Howard are firmly entrenched, and their law firm has provided effective coverage for the last few years, there are rumours that Morrison may be leaving his position as partner to take one more on the periphery, meaning he'll still be with the firm, but possibly in a different capacity.
Right now, young up-and-comers Jon Alston and Ricky Brown are fighting for partnership, although it looks like Alston, due to his beefing up on his depositions this summer yet not losing any of his quick wit, may have the inside track.
At this point, it looks like the Raiders will be well represented with Morrison, Howard, and Alston, with Brown as an alternate.
FRAUD DIVISION - The Secondary
The fraud division is responsible for catching any untoward actions related to the company. In that respect, this fraud division is imperative in the operation of the Raider corporation.
The Raiders' fraud division has some strengths, but is relatively inexperienced and untested. There are a couple of relatively new employees like CJ and Branch and the new guy Mitchell who show the acumen to be great, but they will need to work some cases before they have the necessary experience to succeed.
The fraud division protects the company during negotiations and business dealings. Other companies will often try to pass things by the fraud division using any number of tricks, misdirection, different runners, etc.
It is the responsibility of the members of the fraud division to defend and intercept any inappropriate attempt to circumvent policy or legal mandates, ensure that the company is protected against corporate espionage, and ensure that the company's systems are impenetrable and fortified beyond the scope of regular security.
The fraud department works closely with legal counsel to ensure that all policies and mandates are followed. They also work closely with the security department to get after those who try to make end-runs around corporate security. When the fraud department catches a corporate enemy stepping out of line, they nail them to the wall.
SPORTS DEVELOPMENT & RESEARCH - The WR's and TE's
A work in progress, this division is constantly finding new ways to improve their performance. They had a very poor year last year, although they were up slightly in the last quarter. This has been a weaker department of the organization for many years.
This team is working on many things, but they boil it right down to the fundamentals. Athleticism and human kinetics are a big part of this department, and they need to know the ins-and-outs of every aspect of performance, from the feet to the hands.
There is a new department head in Sanjay Lal, and a lot of new faces like Murphy and DHB, so getting back to basics is very important. The CEO has mandated that they meet privately in the next little while to get more familiar with each other, and ensure they are on the same page when it comes to the company mandate.
This department has had its struggles in the last few years, with nobody really stepping up as a leader. There are two young but promising kids in Schilens and Miller rising through the ranks at the moment, and they show not only the research ability, but the dedication to become great leaders. That Higgins kid is exciting too.
With the exception of Miller, last season's performance was an embarrassment to the company; that is why the CEO has requested a private meeting with the entire department. For the company to show any growth this season, the CEO and the sports research and development team must be on the same page moving forward. This was the weakest division last year, and their research and development is key to the entire company's success.
SECURITY - Defensive Line
The security staff is responsible for keeping out unwanted visitors, guests, and information. Although security has been leaky for a few years, the corporation has taken some steps to patch those leaks.
No new security guards have been added to the grounds, which is where the company has had the most difficulty. People sneaking past security and getting to the second level, when fraud becomes involved, has been commonplace.
However, we've added more patrolmen to the grounds, as well as spies at other companies that may be able to grab information or important players before they even get out of their own headquarters.
FRONT LINE WORKERS- Offensive Line
The unsung heroes of any company, the front-line workers are the people who actually get things done. They are told what to do by everyone else, and they simply put their heads down and do their best.
Effective front line workers ensure corporate success all the way up the ladder. When the front line workers are doing their job well, it insulates the CEO and protects him from issues. They are unique in that if they are doing a good job, they are rarely noticed; but if they make a mistake, it reverberates throughout the company.
They are imperative in regards to daily operations. Continuity is important, and although the workers struggled last season, they have added some new employees and that can take time to mesh. Veteran employees like Gallery and Carlisle help the newer guys gel with the rest of the squad.
A new team lead is here in Samson Satele, who will be responsible for delegating work to the other front line workers and liaising directly with the CEO regarding game plan, operations, and their role in protecting the CEO from harm.
Regardless of obstacles, the front line workers have a good training system in place and experienced staff to teach them the ropes. There are some quality ad-hoc staff in the wings as well, in case they are needed. Depth and ability is at a high for recent years.
It is imperative that this unit come together effectively, as they are the ones who, by doing their jobs well, allow everyone else to produce and take credit for success.
The company has been down in recent years, but they showed improvement in the last quarter last season and have added some pieces to the corporate structure that should allow for continued growth.
The fact that the board has remained the same and stable for the first time in a while, and that the company has been in the news very little regarding controversial salaries or the hiring of washed-up executives, is an encouraging sign.