The Raider organization, along with its headmaster Al Davis, is often the team many football fans love to hate.
Football experts and sportswriters just can’t stand it when Al baby goes against their words of wisdom. There are many that think the Raiders blundered in taking McFadden instead of Dorsey or Gholston to help the defense.
Grading any draft until after the first year is a futile exercise at best. Rest assured that no matter the outcome of the Raiders draft or upcoming season, Al Davis will never get credit for anything good and for sure will be blasted if it turns to dung.
Poring over the 2007 stats, I thought we needed to pick defense with our No. 1 pick. After stepping back and examining the pick, I concluded that Al Davis did in fact help the defense with this year's pick. Now before you all accuse me of smoking the drapes, I offer a few little nuggets to support my theory.
We all know Al Davis loves numbers and that he depends on such measurable stats such as height, weight, and speed at the combine each year. He also pores over each game stat until late into the evening after every game.
I’m sure he understands exactly what our biggest weakness was last year in terms of winning ball games. To the average fan, the assumption was the defense and our inability to stop the run was the problem. I think he found out something else that was at least as glaring. What I noticed was that we lost seven games that we should have won.
Detroit L-21-36, Note we did not score in the first half. Three touchdown passes by Kitna and three turnovers by us late.
At Denver L- 20-23 TIME OUT! Scored three points in the first half.
Kansas City L 10-12 AGAIN we are shut out in the first half!!!!!!!!!
At Tennessee L 9-13, Shut out in the second half.
Texans L- 17-24, AGAIN, AGAIN we are shut out in the first half.
Bears L- 6-17, Just two field goals by Sea Bass?
Colts L 14-21, Inept offense and turnovers hurt our chances.
Okay, I think you know where I’m going with this. We won four games and we should have won seven more that had nothing to do with the play of our defense!
It is easy to see if you continually fail on offense and you continually ask the defense to save your ass because you cannot make first downs, score points and or keep the other team’s offense off the field. It is a recipe for disaster.
Too often, the enemy just called running plays over and over, not worrying if they made it or not because they did not fear us on offense. Punting to us was nothing to fear and was probably part of the game plan.
Here are some numbers to support where I’m going with this. We averaged 17.7 points per game, 26th in the league. We passed for a net 164.4 yards per game, 31st in the league. Our total yards were 294 per game, 25th in the league. This more than offset being ranked sixth in rushing. Time of possession was decent at 31:06.
With the 2008 draft in the rear-view mirror, there has been much speculation and interpretation of the Raiders No. 1 pick Darren McFadden. Will he take the pressure off JaMarcus Russell? Will he be used occasionally as a wideout or even throw a few passes?
With the addition of McFadden in the backfield, along with Michael Bush and Justin Fargas, we will improve greatly the numbers on offense. That will benefit the defense more than any other area. If we just add six points per game and two minutes of time of possession it will help our defense in ways you can’t imagine.
This will also help knock off as much as six points allowed per game. Last year, we gave up 25.4. With McFadden, I believe this is a distinct possibility. I know some will say I’m drinking the Kool Aid. I assure you my drink of choice is Heineken, very cold. As far as the drapes go, if you got ’em, light 'em up!