Holla at me RAIDER NATION!
I know this most recent loss was hard to take, which is probably why no one wants to really write about it.
It does brings to mind a topic that I never wanted to mention when I heard Bruce was taking over as starter; With JaMarcus out of the game, because of his performance what's going to happen if Bruce goes in and get's hurt? (answer: we'll be right back where we started... only worse) However, before any drama gets started I want to ask you a question RAIDER NATION; Who is really to blame for this loss?
I know people are going to feel that there are different answers to this question (which is why the question is really a rhetorical one) I'm saying flat out Nation! The offensive line is to blame!
The Nation (from what I've been reading) has been in turmoil over the Q.B. position and I can understand why; However this last game was a blessing in disguise. I say this because we all were given a great opportunity to see how the team would perform with both Bruce and JaMarcus at the helm.
It was a live version of what we all wanted to see (in the off-season) an open Q.B. competition. Bruce stepped on the field and said this is what I can do, now you (JaMarcus) get a a chance to show what you can do.
Sounds great only that last part never got to happen. I understand the fans at the game losing their energy upon seeing J.R. back on the field however, the play of the offensive line HAS to be brought into question. From the first snap to the last snap I personally felt that the O. Line did not give an all out effort to create any type of comfort zone for JaMarcus; They all KNEW with Bruce out of the game they would have to step up their level of play. (forget about how they feel about him - this is about THE TEAM and we're in the middle of a game!); This fact is simple because of the different styles JaMarcus and Bruce have.
Speaking of: As I said this game was a blessing. I knew that Bruce was more mobile, Hell, we ALL KNEW Bruce was more mobile but let's forget about that for a minute and look into this question; Why is the fact that Bruce is more mobile so much of a factor?
This thought was like a domino in my mind; It lead me to the realization that the protection Bruce was receiveing, while better was not great (not just in this game but in any of the games he's started). The fact was that he was "surviving" because he has better mobility / escapability (maybe that's why the o-line likes him?) then JaMarcus and what making plays via a "street ball" style; Conversely, JaMarcus needs time in the pocket. (which means the guys up front have to BLOCK SOMEBODY!!) I'm not saying he's B. Leftwich (who has cement feet) but J.Russ has got to move faster than P. Manning and we all know what HIS line gives him! In any case he (JaMarcus) needs some kind of time and some kind of protection in order to have a chance to make a play. Sunday he got little to none of either.
So, RAIDER NATION lets take a look some names, see where the dominos fall, and you tell me if I'm wrong:
ART SHELL: we all know the name, one of the most dominate ever! Superbowl Champion and Hall of Famer
JOHN VELLA: you should know the name - but if not - just know he's got a ring too
HENRY LAWRENCE: see above for info
LINCOLN KENNEDY: should be familiar to all a.k.a 2 Presidents
GENE UPSHAW: I should'nt have to write anything (but I will) Hall of Famer S.B. Champ.
WAYNE HAWKINGS: This man is a Real O.R. (original raider) from the A.F.L. days
MICKEY MARVIN: Doesn't just have one ring, but two
STEVE WISNIEWSKI: 13 year player. He's one of the reasons The Raiders have the rep they have; Will go down as one of the original "dirty raiders"!!!
JIM OTTO: THE G.O.A.T. - Greatest Of All Time - if u don't know now u know.
DAVE DALBY: Did not miss a game!! - The man is a Legend.
BARRETT ROBBINS: THE JACKASS, nuff said.
JAKE GROVE: changed into a different type of mammal (what..a raider's not a mammal?)
And now lets take a look at these names:
TACKLES & GUARDS
For the sake of the uniformed I will explain why I have combined these two catagories; The reason is simple: the team has had trouble finding an exact position for them (mainly due to lack of talent but you be the judge).
KHALIF BARNES: Guy we got from the Jags. who "some" claim is a good player - I personal feel the man has got head problems - usually a good thing for The Raiders but the last guy on the line with head problems went M.I.A. at The Superbowl so... I'm just saying....
ROBERT GALLERY: Right Tackle / Left Guard / Who knows? Our #2 overall pick in 04' - "people" loved it when Al took this kid but we soon found out he just doesn't have the athletic ability to play tackle so we're trying to make the best of the situation by having him play guard.
CORNELL GREEN: This guy has been around the block too many times if you ask me. Played with the Falcons, Jets, Dolphins, and is one of the guys who's wearing that ring the Bucs stole from us. He's a big part of our problems because he can't pass protect.
COOPER CARLISLE: This guys a vet who's been in the league for about 10 years. Played for Denver so he's got technique but, played for Denver so he's got no strength which means he's easy to beat up.
LANGSTON WALKER: Our pick in the second round of 02' working out pretty well considering the company he's keeping but stll...
MARIO HENDERSON: Our pick in the third round of 07' - too soon to judge him
CHIRS MORRIS: Our pick in 06' - see above for info
CHRIS MORRIS: I told you we can't find one spot for one guy
SAMSON SATELE: This Guy we got from the Dolphins when they took Jake Grove. Sort of like a wife swap.
I know I could have added more names and stats but I think you guys get the picture. So RAIDER NATION I ask you again: Who is really to blame for the Offensive problems of our beloved Raiders? Is McFadden at wide out because the O-Line can't make holes for him? Is the Offensive Lines support of Bruce based on the fact the he helps to hide how weak they really are? Can any quarterback who's NOT named MIKE VICK survive with these guys blocking for him? Who's to blame for the problems of The Raiders offense? It's not a question it's a statement, The Offensive line is to blame. You tell me if I'm wrong.
RAIDER from birth...