Raiders hype vs reality

Mike SommersContributor ISeptember 11, 2008

I am like most of the Raider fans out there. I watched the whole off-season with renewed hope and anxious for the season.

Let's take a look at last season briefly.

We saw a young new coach named Kiffin take this team, clear out the cancer of negative players and got our team to score an average of 17 points... FANTASTIC NEWS INDEED. We also saw our Raiders lose 5+ games by 7 or less and it seemed like our defense couldn't hold a lead in the 4th quarter.... Sound familiar?

So rumors started to fly about Kiffin's time withthe Raiders coming to an end. As those rumors were flying, Al broke out the checkbook and started pulling some quality defensive players our way. Woooo hoooo! Could it be that Kiffin could keep his momentum (and his job) with a greatly enhanced defense? Woooo hoooo! HOPE HAD BEEN RESTORED IN THE RAIDER NATION.....

Then the 2008 season starts.... electricity in the air..... the Monday night game is sold out.... there is a playoff feel of electricity in the parking lot..... it was packed with happiness, hope and brotherly Raider Nation love!


The game comes and goes in a flash of our Raiders getting their butts handed to them..... Hopes dashed, outlook grim...... We all know the feeling I am talking about... but this article isn't about that tragedy..... It is about our leadership from top to bottom. Follow me on this and tell me what you think:

Before the Sept 8th game we ALL knew the game plan: run on offense to ease Russell into the game. Defensively, go man to man on the outside with Huff floating at FSand Wilson checking the run while our Line Backers blitz with their speed. Isn't or wasn't that the plan? I thought it was and an obvious choice for our d and offense.... The reality is the offensive game plan was vanilla (to ease Russell in) and ok. When Kiffin changed it up we just didn't execute... That can and will be fixed (including the penalties). 

Now let's talk about the defense: What was going on? The strength of our defense was not utilized in the slightest. We played off the receiver in what seemed a prevent defense and only rushed 4 (versus their 5 o linemen) and little (if any) blitzes..... WTF.... You know and I know it was a disaster..... but not the greatest tragedy... The greatest tragedy lies in this question: Who called the defensive schemes for that game?

I don't think any of us really have the true answer to that question...we can assume only (till Al gives us an interview--- not likely)....

So how do we fix the leadership of a d that gave up 44 points to a rookie WR and a young qb? is it Ryan or Al or both? Does Al fire his buddy Ryan? Does Ryan say it was Al's fault?---- not likely for either...... and that my friends is where the tragedy lies. We might get stuck all year with inept leadership on the defensive side ALL SEASON.... The KC game will reveal all!