After watching another painful loss on sunday, It's painfully obvious what's wrong with the Oakland Raiders. After many years of siding with Al and his Raiders, I call shenanigans. All of the talk, the whispers, the accusations that Al calls the plays on offense and defense from his cozy booth. It hit hard today. Let me first explain my Oakland Raiders heritage before I'm crucified by Raider Nation. My father grew up in Fremont and Livermore, CA. I grew up in Sacramento and spent a few years in the yuppie town of Half Moon Bay as well. I no longer live in the Bay Area but I still call Northern California my home. I always loved listening to stories about Oakland in the late 60's and 70's from my father. How dominant they were, how no team wanted to come into Oakland, how it was the most feared place in the NFL. Not only because of the fans, but for the sheer punishment that Oakland D would put on. As well as Kenny Stabler, Daryle Lamonica and Jim Plunkett just abusing defenses' with Al Davis's beloved "Bomb". I think of those stories now as almost folklore. Thinking to myself when I hear them as "Dad, your crazy, The Raiders use to be good?" Even with the brief stint in the early 2000's, I can't remember ever seeing the Raiders' just own a game. As I'm writing this I can't help but think "Is this finally my John Deere letter to the Raiders ?" I mean "Really?" Teams go through the rebuilding process and usually spend a season or two in the gutters. While this happens quite a bit, It's expected. You accept it and know that the glory will come next season. But not in Oakland, They continue to reload year after year. Only to suffer the same issues season after season. First off, Man to Man is outdated Al. In a Man defense the offense will abuse the center of the field, much like The Broncos did on sunday. John Marshall has never been a Man To Man guy, So why is he running it now? Play after play, no blitzing, opening up the middle of the field for 10+ yards. Where are the LBs'? The front 4? Being abused by overated rookie RBs'.(Moreno). This can only lead me to believe after years in denial that Al sets the blueprint for the Raiders. Calling the shots from his booth, maybe not directly, but certainly giving persuasive notions that should be heard or it could cost you your job. I can hear it now, "Go Deep" Al says. Why?!! When you have 3 RBs' that would be 1000 yard rushers on any team in the NFL. Lets let Russell toss a bomb that will most likely be off target and possibly injure a spectator when it lands somewhere in the bench or stand area. "Is Russell a bust?" Only in Oakland, Paul Hackett, One of the best, if not the best QB coaches in the NFL cannot instill some basic fundamentals before he hits the field. Come on, You can only coach as far as the owner lets you. The same thing is beginning to happen in Dallas, Jerry is aging and trying anything and everything to win. Granted Romo is light years in front of Russell, but he won't be bringing any trophies to Dallas anytime soon. The whispers will begin soon in Dallas."Is Jerry too involved?". Back to the issue at hand. Just watch a Raiders game and you will realize by the play calling on the both sides of the ball, "Are they serious?" 6 differnt coaches but the plays look the same. Take a shot down the field, 4 man rush, play the pass. Yeah, you're stopping the deep ball but you just gave up 80 yards in 8 plays in the middle of the field. It cannot be a coincidence that different coaches run the same garbage defense and offense. We heard it last year. "Rob Ryan is why the Raiders were abused by the run". What's the excuse now? John Marshall is a great coach, what happened? Here is a perfect example, Richard Seymour, shows up 2 days before the monday night opener. No practice with the team, dominates the line of scrimmage. After 2 weeks of full practice with the Raiders, he's as non existent as Tommy Kelly.Nothing like the Raider way rubbing off on a Pro Bowl DL. He is quickly turning into a wasted 2011 draft pick and will be gone at the end of the season. Unless slapped with a franchise tag in which he may be good as gone anyway. You look at the talent on defense and you have to say "Why don't they dominate? Like the Ravens did years ago" I'll tell you why, vanilla schemes, playing against the big play, which works, if your up by 30. The problem is that you have to work with a players strong points and work them into your schemes. Al has his set schemes and tries to mold players into it. Which may work in some cases, unless your running packages from the seventies. Players just have more talent that the guys in the seventies. I'm not knocking those guys, but brute force was what won the game then. The game today is mental. It's played 7 days a week, not just on sunday. I'm not saying the Raiders don't have the mental capacity to be competitive, but they can only work as far as their limits that have been set by an overzealous owner. Which brings me to the real issue at hand, The Raiders offense. How long will Raider Nation suffer Russells' shortcummings? Are they even his fault? We're all aware that Lane Kiffin was not A Russell fan, Or so Al says. But he worked within Russells' limits. Run the ball, dink and dunk, hit em' with the long ball when it opens up. It was working, the Raiders were 2 and 2 and in the running for the division 08. Kiffin challenged Al which ulitimately led to his release and smear campaign. As did Gruden, although he wanted to leave for family in Florida. You cannot believe for a second that Tom Cable, a former O-Line coach is calling the plays. Yes, technically he is but there has to be persuasion from upstairs. Cable is old school, If Cable had the say, Russell would be throwing 15 to 20 times a game and you would have 3 guys rushing for 75+ yards. Instead we see Russell throwing on first down. Russell is a good QB in the right situation. Oakland is not the right situation. Ryan, Flacco, and Sanchez excel because they're being used to their talents. Even Stafford looked good on sunday. The fact is Russell was drafted for his arm. Is it phenomenal? Yes but my Dad can shoot a 12 gauge and look cool but can he hit a quail at 60 yards? No, he blames the bird for running the wrong route. I guess the point to this whole read is, The game has passed Al Davis by, I just didn't want believe it. As long as he continues to influence the way the team plays for 60 minutes, The Raiders will suffer, The fans will suffer, The city of Oakland will suffer. The worst part is, If Al steps down, Who will step in? The Raider organization is bad from top to bottom. John Herrera tried to ban Rich Gannon from the Coliseum for just simply speaking the truth. That's pretty petty and childish. Every season that passes Raider Nation is left with more questions than answers. Are the fans and the rest of the NFL the only ones who see what's wrong in Oakland? Maybe, but if the questions are not answered by the ones that matter, I fear Raider Nation will be in for a new coach as well as a top 10 draft pick. Hey, look at the bright side, Maybe they'll draft Tim Tebow and Al will misuse another talented player.
P.S. I apologize Al, You are The Oakland Raiders, Thank you for the good years. I will always be an Oakland fan.