The Blame Game

Jarrod CooperCorrespondent ISeptember 15, 2010

Stay Together
Stay Together

Before we start smashing on the Oakland Raiders, I am going to tell all the Raider fans to take a deep breath and don’t let Sundays performance ruin your hopes that the Raiders will have a good season. It's week one and there is plenty of time to get the train back on the tracks. Many times when a game gets out of control like it did during the Tennessee game, things will look a lot worse then they truly are. Cable has set forth a motion to regain respect for the Oakland Raiders in the NFL, and that is exactly what he is going to do. It would be a shame if all the hard work and sacrifice put in during the off season were judged too quickly, and I am telling you not to judge the Raiders off one performance. What is fair is to judge the players on each ones individual performance. If we do that, it is very clear that some player’s performances this week were very poor. Fans often want to blame coaches for mistakes players make on the football field. As a retired player, I'd like to teach fans how to lay the blame properly. Players aren't going to jump at the chance to lay blame or point fingers because we, the players, are usually the ones to blame for a bad game.

I’m going to start off by addressing what a coach’s job is on an NFL team. Coaches put in many hours when it comes to film study. The coach’s job is to come up with a game plan that will best fit the player personnel on his team, which means matching the talent on your team against the talent of your opponent’s team. It’s not a coach's job to be your friend or to be a player's emotional support, and it definitely isn't a coaches job to make plays on the football field. Coaches will always provide the best information to his players and will put them in the best position on the field to win the game. Now if the player that is put on the field can't get the job done, then it is the coach's job to replace that player. That is where a coach’s job stops. Many people might disagree with me, but I am here to tell them this is football not day care. NFL players don’t need a coach to hold their hands and to be asked if they need to go potty.

Coaches take a lot of heat for players mistakes, and somewhere along the line that started to be " the norm". What does this have to do with the Oakland Raiders? Everything. After a Raider's poor performance Tom Cable will stand in front of the media and take the heat for his player’s actions. He has done this time and again. Last time I checked, Cable hasn't jumped off sides or fumbled a football. And I've never seen Cable miss a tackle or snap a ball over the QB's head. We all like to watch him take the blame, but at some point you have to address the actual problem. Some of the players that Cable has chosen to stand behind are the problem.

Coaches often make the mistake of getting emotionally involved with players which is a professional no no. This is one of the biggest differences between the NFL and all other levels of football. Make no mistake this is a JOB. When coaches get emotionally involved it takes the professionalism out of the NFL. It's hard for a coach to make the right call when he is too close to the team, especially if the group of players he’s closest to need to be replaced. We all know Cable has a soft spot for the offensive line and it's no wonder that the offensive line is the worst part of the Oakland Raiders football team.

When the Oakland Raiders took on the Tennessee Titans, the Oakland offensive line was more then disappointing. Most will say this was the very reason for Oakland’s absolute failure. Sure the defense had a couple break downs but that wasn't the deciding factor in the game. There is no way around it, the Oakland Raiders have a solid team that can hold its own in the AFC west but the Raiders have got to change their offensive line. The team has made many positive changes but they keep holding on to the offensive line as if these guys were golden.

When a player has success he is the first one to jump up and take the credit, and he should. After all, it is his work that is being judged. When things begin to go south like they did in the Tennessee game, it is suddenly the coach’s fault. The media is partly to blame. Head coaches are constantly bombarded when something goes wrong on the football field. Why is that? All I am trying to say is that I think we should place the blame on the men at fault. In the case of the Tennessee massacre, the poor performance of our offensive line killed the Raiders.The players that failed to show up to work on Sundays game will most likely remain in the same starting positions as they were a week ago, and that is when you get to blame the coach.

I have been lucky enough to have been coached by some of the NFL’s greatest coaches. Each coach had a completely different philosophy, but the one thing they all agreed on was “Every man is responsible for his own actions”. Now it’s not asking too much for a player to do his job, and if he cannot do his job properly then he is a weak link and is at fault. If a coach is aware of this players poor performance and continues to play someone that cannot perform, the coach is at fault. The coach would be doing the team, fan, and himself an injustice. A coach’s reputation is his resume,so I know every coach wants the best players on the field because it’s a refection of him.

Through out this year I'm going to break down each week and assess players performance and critique their play. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best performance), Week ones' over all performance was a 2.5.  Due to poor performance of Oakland's offensive line it was the primary cause of the teams' breakdown, and it affected QB Jason Campbells' play. 

 All fans reading my blog today, let me know how you feel. Many analysts haven’t played in the NFL so their opinion is based on second and third hand information. In my blog you are getting the real view from an NFL player, not an analyst. 

Jarrod Cooper

8 year Veteran

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