I woke up Sunday morning excited! It's quite a rare thing to actually have a Oakland Raiders game on television, usually I just listen to it via the online radio broadcast for a few hours and enjoy the occasional, "TOUCHDOWN, RAIDERS!!!!", by Greg Papa screaming. As I wiped the sleep from my eyes, and began watching, within the the first few minutes the Giants scored. Ok, that was supposed to happen.
Than on the Raiders first possesion, I watch as JaMarcus Russell leads the way to the expected three and out. Now the rest of the game, is where my sleep went away and I shook my head as Eli Manning and Ahmad Bradshaw diced and sliced through the Oakland Raider's defense, until Eli sat back and listened to music, while JaMarcus Russell continued to either throw bad passes, have no pocket presence, or just let defenders hit him. Glad I wasn't listening to the Radio today.
The broadcast, to no surprise, was cut off and sent right towards the Steelers/Lions game after halftime. I perodically kept checking on the game, only to be shocked...how could JaMarcus Russell be allowed to still play? Of course, that's a rhetorical question, as all fans know it's the old man in the shadows who decides that. After watching the points pile on, and looking at the schedule, you have to wonder, when will we have a Quarterback who can lead?
It seems to be like most Raider Fans are divided. Though JaMarcus is universally disliked by the entire nation (hearing the loud, "Russell Sucks", chants against Denver two weeks ago are an indication), some people want to make excuses for him still. Yes, I understand it's really his second year, and we have rookie wide receivers. Yes, I understand our offensive line is banged up. Yes, I understand he still has room to grow.
The problem is simple: he's just not a leader, especially not the team's leader. Some people can argue Jeff Garcia would've been much better as a rent-a-QB...those same people cheered when Daunte Culpepper was the starter awhile back. To me, atleast, it's going to take a good draft pick, or a good offseason pick up to secure the future of the team. We need motivation asap, and to me, he's becoming a lost cause as every week goes by.
While the defense today deserves its fair share of criticism, can we agree that there's been plenty of days when they've showed up to play? Sloppy tackling, blown coverage, and allowing the run happen almost every week. However, not every Sunday does it happen so frequently as it happened today. Which leads me to believe they're playing tired, sore, and generally unenthusiastic because of there counterparts that give them little, to no rest.
Everything is turning all to predictable of the Oakland Raider's offense. The running game is being shutdown by lack of passing consistency. Third downs aren't being converted in the slightest. While the offensive line either allows people to come through at will, or commits a false start penalty at the most inappropriate of times. Flashbacks of the 2006 season are still fresh in people's minds, and how coincidental that Aaron Brooks wore the same number as...well you know.
Though anyone can argue with me that the season is still young, you have to remember it will only stay young if the team can become motivated and play hard. With a unexpectedly good Denver Broncos team around, and a Chargers team that can throw for big yards, the Raiders can't keep saying, "Well, we did some good, but we need to improve", because we'll be playing those two divisional rivals before we know it. While the old man looks on from the shadows, I sure hope he understands that the problem starts with the man behind center.