If this surprised you, obviously you stopped watching football after Super Bowl XXXVII.
Once upon a time, Al Davis knew what he was doing. He was a key figure in orchestrating the NFL-AFL merger, he was drafting winners like Marcus Allen, Tim Brown, and Ken Stabler, and he actually made sense in interviews.
Today, his franchise is the laughingstock of the NFL. He drafts players almost exclusively based on their speed (see: Darrius Heyward-Bey), makes a public mockery of himself (remember the Lane Kiffin firing news conference?), and his head coaching position seems every bit as cursed as that of Hogwarts’ Defense Against the Dark Arts teaching position.
From 1963-2002, the Raiders only had seven losing seasons. The seven seasons since have all been losing seasons.
JaMarcus Russell will go down in NFL history as one of the biggest busts ever at the top overall pick in the draft. With a lifetime completion percentage of just over 52 and only three fewer fumbles lost than touchdown passes, Russell may be among the worst quarterbacks ever selected in the first round.
To call the Raiders’ ground game a rushing “attack” is laughable. Former first round pick Darren McFadden is irrelevant, and the combination of Justin Fargas and Michael Bush wouldn’t be good enough to start on most BCS-Conference teams.
As far as the receivers go, I’m going to give a few guys credit. Zach Miller, in spite of his teammates, is one of the best tight ends in the game. He stays healthy and quietly racks up the receiving yards. Accumulating over 800 yards for the Raiders this season would have been miraculous if he hadn’t put up a similar performance last year.
Miller is consistent and he’s too good for this team. I can’t see him sticking around once he has a chance at free agency.
I also see some talent in Louis Murphy. As a rookie, his numbers weren’t bad, but the touchdown reception late in the season where he actually dragged the defender into the end zone with him showed me this kid really wants to make a name for himself. If he keeps that up, he will.
Oakland has a few good players in the secondary in Nnamdi Asomugha and Michael Huff, but other than that, the defense has more holes than swiss cheese. Richard Seymour was a non-factor at defensive end, and I don’t see any defensive players with potential.
What I really don’t understand is why Al Davis brought back Head Coach Tom Cable. The man punched a fellow coach in the face and broke his jaw in addition to not winning. Usually, not winning alone is enough for Davis to fire someone after one year.
Cable is a distraction to the team. For most of the season, Raiders' headlines weren’t about their performance on the field, they were about Cable and the criminal investigation into the aforementioned attack on a fellow coach, as well as digging up dirt about his history of domestic abuse.
The Raiders are far from relevant, and show no signs of changing. With more than just questions at nearly every position on the field, this is a rebuilding process that hasn’t broken ground yet.
The solution? This team won’t be any better until one of two things happen. One, Al Davis somehow is no longer in charge of this team, whether it’s selling the team, being a silent owner and letting someone else be the general manager, or old age takes its toll.
The second option is hell freezing over.