Holla at me RAIDER NATION!
It's the day after, and no one (that I've seen) is writing about the things that are on my mind so, Let's get the party started!!
First I want to say that I love watching a team play a road game after a home win. This is one of those times when you really get a chance to take a look at the team. It is sort of like seeing a woman (you've just met); She looked great on date night, in the club, mixed with some Long Island Ice-Tea but, how will she look when she wakes up in the morning?
Keeping that in mind, I guess I would have to say that The Raiders were not looking too attractive this morning. However, just like some women, all this team needs is a visit to the docs of Nip/Tuck.
Now I know there are Raider Fans out there who happen to have people close to them who are Cowboy Fans, and right now their taking advantage of this Raider loss; To those of you in this situation I say "Don't stress it." The Cowboys are going to have problems of their own; trust me, their not going to win The Superbowl furthermore, they may not even win a playoff game (again) this post season, so RAIDER NATION ignore the boys and lets stay on topic: THE RAIDERS!
I would love to (and will, but not now) talk about the fact that this defense has got to get some guys who, to quote Bill Cowher "RUSH THE QUARTERBACK" too many times I've watched the other teams QB stand back there all day long! We are in real need of some QB KILLAS!! We could really use more of a force at the nose, and I'd also love to talk about our WR's but, talking about The Raiders these days means: lets talk quarterback. (if were not talking about Al, or a G.M. or....)
I don't know if I'm alone in this thought but, Damm!! B.G. looked really short (in stature) on the field today! There were times when I was wondering "how can he see where he wants to throw the ball?" Now I'm wondering: "Why haven't I seen any articles on Brucie G. being "savior" to the franchise?" (lol). I said (not that I know what I'm talking about but...) I said that B.G. is not the future of this team and that was clear in the Dallas game.
I'm not knocking his performance. As a matter of fact, I believe he probably played about as well in this loss as he did in The Raiders win; One of you "stat guys" will let me know (not that I'm knocking stats -- or stat guys). My point is simple, in my view (not that I know what I'm talking about but...) when it comes to being a "Championship Type" QB one of the things you need be able to do is get that ball from point (a) to point (b) as if it were fired by a gun! I'm not talking about ball release, I'm talking about ball flight velocity! a.k.a. ZIP!! A force Bruce Gradkowski's passes lack.
This "zip" is what helps to make that "drive saving" first down catch possible! This is what separates that game winning touchdown from that incompletion, or that pick six! Moreover, this is life in today's N.F.L. You all know the players I'm talking about and you've all seen the plays; Moreover, you know that all "The Greats" have this ability. Time and time again they get that ball there just out of the reach of the defender! As a defensive player I hate dealing with guys like this (not on an N.F.L. level of course) so it is real easy for me to spot them when I see them: Big Ben, P. Rivers, Tom Brady, Joe Flaco, P. Manning, Drew Brees, Brett Farve, ext, ext, (I'm tired of listing names)
What does this have to do with The Raiders and B.G.? Well lets go back to a couple of plays from that game; Remember that side line throw Bruce tried to complete to "Dirty" L. Murphy? D. made his break towards the line and was open but, the ball was just not there quick enough; Also on the deep throw to McFadden, the ball was just not there quick enough! McFadd had steps on his defender but had to slow down a bit and wait for the pass which allowed his opponent to make up ground. Almost the same scenario with Murphy, that lack of "zip" almost got that pass intercepted (believe me when I tell you we defenders who can catch, LOVE guys with no "zip" on their passes! For more info see:Charles Woodson).
These are just samples of an unavoidable truth: B.G. does not possess the arm strength necessary for a QB to complete the types of throws (generally speaking - see Trent Dilfer and The Ravens for exception to this rule) that he would have to make in order to lead his team to a championship.
During the game they talked about him wanting to be like Rich Gannon. Well, I don't know about you RAIDER NATION but I don't need another Rich Gannon, I need another Ken Stabler, I need another Jim Plunkett, I need a guy with no throwing limitations! Does anybody remember how Gannon looked in that Superbowl?!? That's a rhetorical question because I know you RAIDER fans remember!
Today, you MUST get BIG PLAYS out of your offense! This simple truth was clearly pointed out in The Raiders touchdown drive; What was "special" about The Raiders first drive of the second half was a: It was the first time they had the ball in Cowboy territory. b: Culminated in D.H.B. catching his first touchdown. and Moreover c: They played perfect; I know there was that stupid penalty by Robert Gallery but, the team was able to recover from it and score the touchdown.
However, this is where the problem lies; It's just too difficult to consistantly, I'm talking game after game, quarter after quarter have these long mistake free touchdown drives! This is the N.F.L. not Madden 09' Every offense needs a way to eat up chuncks of yardage!! The Raiders under Gannon/Gruden got away with what they did because they were OLD. The line was old, Tim was old, Gannon was old and quite frankly they were all too old to be having many false starts, or motion problems, ect. ect. This "experience" helped them to win those close ugly games (remember people often don't care about the how, just the how many) but, when the time came for the team to come up with some BIG PLAYS this lack of fire power came back to bite them.
To me this game confirms what we already know; The Raiders are a good football team. However, I'm not concerned with being good (and neither is Al) I'm concerned about getting to the Superbowl (and winning it). When I watched Brucie G. play I see why Al wants someone with JR's natural ability. The team looks vanilla, far too often with Bruce at the quarterback position; I don't deny that he does have a certain "workman" like quality to his play, however his overall talent level (I believe) is just too low to help propel this Raider team to a Championship. I can see him making the ordinary plays (which is what has RAIDER NATION pissed off at JR- because for all his "gifts" he can't seem to accomplish this simple task) but I can't see him throw after throw coming up with those BIG PLAYS! I can see Murphy getting "dirty" I can also see Chaz and even D.H.B. making big plays for the passing game; Along with McFadden, Huggie Jr, and Mr. Bush making plays in the run game.
However, I can also see why Al (and others) want to wait on JaMarcus. Quarterback development is a tricky thing. There is no one set in stone formula for success; Therefore, you're left with trial and error. This benching is the latest "trial" for JaMarcus, I hope it's enough for him to learn the "error" of his ways, because all this team needs to go from ulgy duckling (losers) to beautiful swan (Superbowl Champs) is a little plastic surgery; A nip and a tuck would help The Raiders accomplish their goal of winning another Superbowl; they need to "nip" the QB who can't make the "championship" throws and "tuck" in somebody who can put some "zip" on the ball; Oh one more thing! FIND SOME QB KILLAS!!!! (and somebody on the nose) - I did say we needed a little plastic surgery.....
RAIDER from birth