Oakland Raiders: The Biggest Diappointment Of 2009

Bret ArmstrongAnalyst IDecember 28, 2009

DENVER - DECEMBER 20:  Darren McFadden #20 of the Oakland Raiders reacts on the bench during the first half against the Denver Broncos at Invesco Field at Mile High on December 20, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Raiders defeated the Broncos 20-19.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

At the beginning of 2009, Justin Fargas claimed there were going to be enough opportunities in Oakland for the Raiders to rush for 3,000 combined yards.

During the preseason, the play-calling came under suspicion when Tom Cable called an incredible amount of passing plays, forgoing the rush attack. When questioned about it, Cable told Raider Nation that he already knew the run game was good to go and wanted to work the passing game out a bit.

It looked respectable at the time. JaMarcus Russell put up a passer rating of 96.4 while completing 26 of 39 passes for 283 yards, one TD and no interceptions, being sacked a total of six times in 45 dropbacks.

Boy were we fools to believe in it. Soon after a nice team effort against San Diego on opening night, the wheels fell of the bus.

It became evident that the Raiders' running game might not have gotten enough work in the preseason.

From the end of the Monday Night game, right up until Michael Bush's 119 yard performance against the Chiefs after the bye week, the Raiders runners had combined for only 607 yards through seven games.

The passing game was worse. JaMarcus Russell struggled so badly that he was benched in favor of Bruce Gradkowski, who was making close to $8.5 million less than the struggling quarterback.

The old adage which former president George W. Bush slaughtered comes to mind here: Tom Cable, fool me once, shame on you...Fool me twice shame on me.

So Cable had some of us, myself included, fooled into believing that we would actually have a team that could make a run at winning the division this year.

The first game of the year against San Diego solidified the idea for some of us. After that game, the downhill slope became a mudslide of bad reffing, stupid choices by players, an inaccurate quarterback, and receivers who couldn't catch a cold.

It's like: There once was a team in 2009 with a good offseason filled with provisions they had foraged; And when they were good, they were very, very good, but when they were bad, they were horrid.

See, what we have now is a situation where we can't tell which team is going to show up. Unless we win the game, in that case, we know next weeks team will be the one with the mental lapses and stupid penalties that shoots themselves in the foot two times per quarter.

The other team, because they suffer from Schizophrenia (a state characterized by the coexistence of contradictory or incompatible elements), seems to show up against some of the best teams in the league this year.

Four of the Raiders' five wins are against teams with a combined 36 wins this year. Yet, there was a five game stretch early in the season where the Raiders were outscored 143-29.

After their five wins, they've managed to be outscored 142-32, including a shutout loss at home to the struggling New York Jets.

After all the hope for a better year, after a strong finish last season, this is what we are left with. Once again a task of trying to pick up the pieces of a once proud franchise.

If the Raiders can somehow pull out a win over Baltimore, there may arise the same false hopes for a better luck next year attitude. A win would give the Raiders a 4-4 record following the bye week, including wins in all the places we thought we would lose, and losses in all the places we thought we would win.

But that would coincide with the up and down roller coaster ride the team has put us on this season. While we won't get to celebrate a .500 season, or back-to-back wins this year, perhaps there would be a glimmer of hope in the eye of the most entrenched Silver and Black fans in Raider Nation.

Here's my opinion.

During the offseason, the Raiders should re-sign everybody whose contract is up. Charlie Frye being the exception; he should be hired as the team's quarterback coach, a position for which he is obviously better suited than padding up on Sundays.

Paul Hackett should be promoted to offensive coordinator, while current passing game coordinator Ted Tollner is promoted to assistant head coach. His job will stipulate that he is entirely responsible for helping to develop the offensive gameplan alongside Charlie Frye and Paul Hackett.

Tom Cable will have play calling duties during games removed from his role as head coach. During the week he will focus his primary energy to the offensive line and press conferences.

Bruce Gradkowski must be given a completely fair and balanced opportunity to win the starting job of quarterback. He has proven this season that he is without a doubt a better signal caller than JaMarcus Russell and Charlie Fyre.

J.P. Losman will be kept on the roster to work with Charlie Frye trying to turn JaMarcus Russell back into the player he was in his junior year at LSU.

John Marshall should be handed full and complete control of the defensive game planning. The first pick of the 2009 Raiders draft should be one of the following players:  Ndamukong SuhGerald McCoy , Russell Okung , or Trent Williams . Regardless of who it is it should be a tackle for offense, or a tackle for defense.

The conversion of tackles to guards is much easier than the one from guard to tackle. Therefore, from this point forward, the Raiders should only draft tackles. Center and guards are a dime per dozen in the free agency field.

Al Davis, love him or hate him has been pretty successful in the past few drafts, outside of the first round. I would recommend that he focus solely on the latter rounds this year, and let the head coach and his staff sort out who they need as "play right now" kind of players.

The competition for the linebackers should be wide open during camps and preseason. Some combination of Kirk Morrison, Thomas Howard, Ricky Brown, Trevor Scott, and Jon Alston should be a good group of starters. Heck, I might even go to a 3-4 defense with Scott and Brown in the middle, or at least put a similar formation into the rotation.

Michael Bush should be named the starting running back. He should be spelled mostly by Justin Fargas when he is healthy. Darren McFadden should be put into more packages that are specific to him.

Bring in a wild-hog formation. Play him like the Eagles have done Michael Vick this year, or the Fins with Ronnie Brown, or the Browns with Joshua Cribbs.

Put him in the slot, put him in four wideout formations. Study how the Saints use Reggie Bush, who is a very similar player to McFadden. Bottom Line: neither Fargas nor McFadden is durable enough to be the constant starter in this league.

Finally, trim the fat. Cut players who are not a solid part of the future. For example, Stanford Routt, Sam Williams, Cooper Carlisle, Javon Walker, and Cornell Green.

Sorry for babbling Nation, but the Raiders are a team on the bubble. They just need for Al Davis to pull his head outta his ass and man up. Manning up means that it's time to take a step back.

From half the stuff I've read this year, the fans might be the ones for the coaching jobs in Oakland. I know we are sick of this (expletive )! and not about to put up with any more of Al's (expletive )!

My opinion of Charlie Frye: http://fanhuddle.com/oaklandraiders/2009/12/28/frye-flops-against-former-team-turned-foes/