New Year's Resolutions: What the Oakland Raiders Must Do In 2010

Bleacher ReportSenior Analyst IDecember 29, 2009

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 28: Coach Jon Gruden of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers directs play against the Oakland Raiders at Raymond James Stadium on December 28, 2008 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

The following article is about a few ideas I have pondered over the course of an non-determinable period of time.

Firstly, I have long thought that the Raiders should drop "Oakland" from the name, and just say, "Golden State," which I think would attract more fans to the home-games.

Secondly, I might be in the minority on this one, but I think the "Back in Black" theme song should be changed. 

I once wrote that it should be changed to, "Dancing in the Dark," but I would also support the Aerosmith cover of, "Come Together," because it always reminds me of the Holy Roller play.  Listen to that song to know what I mean.

I resolve to tone down my egoclasm, and be a kinder-gentler fan; although I will reserve the right to occasionally eviscerate the ego of someone who deserves it (i.e. Tom Brady).

I resolve to commend Bud Selig if the MLB votes to terminate the Giants rights to the San Jose market, so that the Athletics can move out of the Coliseum.

I resolve to support Al Davis if he makes an irrefusable offer to Jon Gruden to come back as coach.  From what I've hear in the rumor mills, Gruden would be willing to return; for one, Gruden's quarterback in Tampa Bay was Bruce Gradkowski.  It seems that the issue mostly is whether Davis wants to do so.

I think that Davis should do so.  With a few additions, I believe that the Raiders have enough talent and potential that the Raiders could win three Super Bowls or more, with the right coach.  Gruden is the right coach, so long as Gruden is not allowed to dump the youth for veterans.

Davis just needs to get over his stubborness and admit the mistake he made in trading Gruden, but sooner than it took him to admit his mistake in firing Art Shell.

Gruden could have field-days by using players like Michael Bush and Darren McFadden the way he used Tyrone Wheatley and Charlie Garner.  The current Raider roster is far more talented than what Gruden had to work with in 1998.

I believe that what made the Raiders great was a commitment to innovation and willingness to change.  Since 2003, it has been clear that Davis has been afraid of change, because he wants to win the way he did in the 70s and 80s.  When the reality was, the underlying reason that that the Raiders would win was by being a thumb in the eye to those who preached one way as the only way.

The other issue has been: Who should act as the go-between for Gruden and Davis, a role once filled by Bruce Allen?

I would say that current Raiders coach Tom Cable would be the perfect go-between for Gruden and Davis, and that Cable should be demoted to assistant head coach, or offensive-coordinator.

I have loved Cable's defiant enthusiasm and optimism—which seems contrary to his portrayal on ESPN—that the Raiders have more potential than critics might claim.  But, I don't believe that Cable was ready to design an offense, and the fact is, he has no offensive coordinator.

We saw that against the Browns when the Raiders passed five times from the two-yard line, not once giving the ball to Michael Bush, Darren McFadden, or another runningback.  Had Gruden been calling the plays, Zack Crockett would have jumped over the pile for a short touchdown.

The Raiders must also be active in free agency and draft well. The Raiders must re-sign several key free-agents (Bruce Gradkowski, Richard Seymour, Tyvon Branch, Kirk Morrison, Thomas Howard), but also add talent.  Some have said that the top needs for the Raiders are quarterback stability, a tutor for the receivers, and defensive-back depth.

I would support the additions of CB Dre Bly and WR Isaac Bruce, both of whom are free agents.  Bly has always been a ball-hawk, but his age has slowed him.  I think he would be solid in nickel coverage though, while Bruce would be the perfect tutor for a promising group of Raider receivers.

I would also like to see the Raiders sign free-agent OT Alex Barron, and C Justin Hartwig.

Here also is a trade that I would like: Swap JaMarcus Russell (maybe something else in addition) with the Rams for DE Chris Long.  Basically, a swap of two heavy contracts that could help both teams at a position of need.  Russell would likely need to restructure his contract to make any deal work, and the Raiders would need to assume a large chunk of what Russell is still owed.

The critics have already declared Russell to be a bust, which I believe is a misconception.  Russell has shown some flashes of star ability, but has lacked focus.  I think he has fallen out of favor in the Raiders locker room, but could be rejuvenated by a change of scenary.

The Raiders could then target a defensive-tackle with their top pick in the Draft, shore-up their depth at linebacker, and add a young corner to groom.

I resolve to commend any Raider that commits to eliminating penalties.  Yes, the refs don't give the Raiders the benefit of the doubt, but at the same time, it should force the Raiders to be tougher and rise over the penalties.  It wouldn't hurt however, to not commit penalties to begin with.

I resolve to continue watching the NFL Network, FSN and local news, instead of ESPN, because of their blatant attempts to defame the Raiders, Raider fans and Tom Cable.  That is of course, another reason why Davis should make an irrefusable offer to Jon Gruden to come back, so that the Raiders can stick it to the hacks at ESPN.

I resolve to continue supporting the Raiders, no matter how unpopular, because it will be great justice when the Raiders start winning once again, and all the fair-weather fans and hangers on return to the fold of Raider Nation.

There's no gray area to that: Just Silver and Black