That picture pretty much sums up the once proud Oakland Raider franchise. What has lead to this collapse? Years of poor play, poor management and terrible draft picks have brought this team to their knees and they are now basically pleading to be put out of their misery. Ever since losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48-21 in Super Bowl XXXVII, this team has never been able to recapture its dominating image in the AFC.
Just win baby and Commitment to Excellence are the mottos of the Oakland Raider franchise… too bad in the 7 years since making the Super Bowl with an 11-5 record, the Raiders have gone 29-83 (that’s almost a 35% win percentage), and have never had more than 5 wins in a season. This is 2nd worse in the NFL since 2002, only beaten by the Detroit Lions. So what needs to be done to bring this franchise back to the top of the mountain? It is not impossible, but it will take a lot of time and even more money. The saddest part is that there is so much potential and talent on this team and it’s going to waste, and if the Raider organization wants to stop losing they need to follow these 3 steps.
NUMBER 3: SCRAP THE JaMARCUS RUSSEL EXPERIMENT & START GRADKOWSKI
Sometimes, you just need to tap out and admit you screwed up…even if that means admitting you set your franchise back AT LEAST an extra 5 years. I have always been weary of drafting a quarterback number one overall. That is a big time investment, and you are basically having the entire standing of your team at the mercy of this one player.
It’s true, the Indianapolis Colts did the exact same thing in 1998 when they drafted Peyton Manning, but the big difference is the integrity of Peyton. He is a natural born leader, is willing to do whatever it takes to win, and always puts the team ahead of himself. JaMarcus Russell however is a selfish player who doesn’t strive to be better. He doesn’t put in the time and effort needed to be a successful quarterback and him doing that is dragging down his franchise. He costs his team games and doesn’t even seem to care. Stats don’t lie. In Russell’s short disappointing career has very gaudy numbers and in 2008, when everyone (including myself) was high on the Raiders, he threw 3 touchdowns, next to 11 interceptions.
If last season proved anything to me, it is that JaMarcus Russell be out of Oakland, not just kicked out, I mean put in a cannon and fire him out of California all together and that Bruce Gradkowski should undoubtedly be the starter. In the short time that Gradkowski was on the field, he showed the Oakland fans, players and coaches a level of enthusiasm from the quarterback position that was sorely needed. He led the Raiders to 2 big wins over Pittsburgh and Cincinnati in the final minutes of the game and everyone loves him for it, and they should. Bench , trade or release JaMarcus Russell, whichever one you want… as long as he isn’t on the field instead of the much better Bruce Gradkowski.
NUMBER 2: DRAFT SMART FOR ONCE
I would really like to talk to Al Davis about this one. I can picture it now. “Mr. Davis, what possessed you to draft Darrius Heyward-Bey over Michael Crabtree? Why did you draft Michael Huff? Robert Gallery? JaMarcus freaking Russell first overall? Why would you do such a horrible thing? Why???”
For the exception of arguably the best cornerback in the NFL, Nnamdi Asomugha, Oakland’s draft picks have given very minimal success to the team. I am still not convinced Darren McFadden is a bust. I believe he is a solid pick who could become a pro bowler, but his offensive line needs to learn how to actually block first. He is not Barry Sanders and he cannot do it on his own, and hell their best blocker is their tight end Zach Miller! When people play the Raiders they just need to stack the box because they know the only way Oakland can win is by running because Oakland doesn’t have any good receivers outside of Louis Murphy. Darrius Heyward-Bey is just an embarrassment. Call me whatever you want, but, when you draft a wide receiver 7th overall I expect them to have big numbers. Darrius played in 11 games and in those 11 games he recorded: 9 catches for 124 yards and one touchdown. Wow is the only word I can think of for such a poor season for a 7th overall pick. The worst thing about it is that Michael Crabtree was still available, and he played in 11 games as well and he recorded: 48 catches for 625 yards and two touchdowns and it isn’t like he had Tom Brady or Peyton Manning as his quarterback, he had Alex Smith. I am honestly under the impression that Al Davis believes that just because someone can run fast in the 40 yard dash, they will be good in the NFL. Davis has wasted draft picks and lots of money and that brings me to my last point of what the Raiders need to do…
NUMBER 1: FIRE AL DAVIS
To the Oakland organization and fans I know he put your franchise on the map back in the 70’s, but now he is ruining your team and digging an even larger hole for you. He goes through millions of dollars, players and coaches the same way we go through tissues. He is single handedly taking this team to the grave with him and simply refuses to just admit failure when he drafted JaMarcus Russell first overall, and for some reason he thinks that J-Marc is a great player with a huge upside. And let’s not forget that Al Davis Ok’d the trade of one of the greatest wide receivers of all time, Randy Moss, for only a 4th round picks, and also trading a 2011 1st round pick for a 30 year old defensive lineman, Richard Seymour. Too bad, because if history repeats itself (and it will) they gave away a potential top 5 pick.
Sorry Al Davis, but you are becoming senile and it’s time to put you in a home and stop you from damaging this once great franchise even more than you already have.
As soon as Al Davis is gone from the front office I guarantee that you will see the Oakland Raiders in the playoffs within the next 3 seasons after he’s gone, but until then, the Oakland fans will suffer even more, seeing their team fail year after year. Do your own franchise and the rest of the NFL a favor and fire Al Davis.