Rant Of a Mad NFL Fan: Open Letter To Al Davis

James SenbetaCorrespondent ISeptember 22, 2008

Dear Al,

It’s funny when some individuals claim that they lost more knowledge of (insert topic here) than you will ever know. But what if that person lost enough to know less than what you know now?

Look Al, I know you want to be the big man in charge, but for every one good decision you make, there are at least five that sets your team back years. Player personnel, coaches, executives, you name it. They don’t work because you slap them together without any thought of chemistry or stability.

With all the money you dropped this offseason you are still another year away from a No.1 wideout with a screwed up salary cap. Maybe, just maybe, Jeremy Maclin can fall to you, or even Roy Williams opts out of Detroit.

I understand that you want to win again, and that 4-12 to 12-4 is not necessarily the most impossible thing in the world. But you can’t just simply buy your way to a winning record, you build your way to a winning record with smart draft selections and very few wise free agency finds.

Look at Denver in the 2006 NFL Draft: QB Jay Cutler first round, TE Tony Scheffler second round, no pick third round but they made up for it with WR Brandon Marshall and DE Elvis Dumervil in the fourth, and G Chris Kuper in the fifth. It took at least two years for all these pieces to work out the way they did but with time Mike Shanahan used most of these players to run over you in Oakland.

Better yet let’s do San Diego. 2004 NFL Draft: QB Eli Manning (later traded for QB Philip Rivers) first round, DT/DE Igor Olshansky second round, K Nick Kaeding and C Nick Hardwick third round, DE/LB Shaun Phillips fourth round, misstep with Dave Ball but also got RB Michael Turner in the fifth round, stole T Shane Olivea in the seventh (though drug testing got him off the team after last season).

Let’s do San Diego again with the 2005 NFL Draft: LB Shawne Merriman and DT/DE Luis Castillo first round, WR Vincent Jackson second round, no pick third round but RB Darren Sproles in the fourth. Do I really have to continue my point with this draft or even with 2006 for San Diego (McNeill, Cromartie)?

Look you can’t just slap pieces together and expect to win it all, at least two other teams in your division learned already. Hell, you gave the Patriots Randy Moss and they still couldn’t win it all. It’s probably time to get a legitimate full-time general manager to make personnel decisions for the future of the Raiders.

Also you have to give Lane Kiffin a break. All he did was help you team improve playing-wise with fundamentals, putting them in the best positions to win games.

Is it really his fault if Rob Ryan puts out the defense to let the Bills come back? The offense did all they could, as banged up as they were, against a defense that hasn’t allowed 100 yards rushing or 200 yards passing. 23-14 with 6:23 left in the fourth quarter and Rob Ryan’s defense let them off the hook (assist to Dennis Green).

At this point I am going to have to go with a wise leader of men who said once “When you’re asked to cook the meal, you want to be involved in buying the groceries.” Will you stop acting like the 79-year-old power obsessed baby and let Lane coach his players and direct his coordinators?

Didn’t you try to do this with Jon Gruden about a decade ago and had Rick McKay ditch you after that? Right now Kiffin is the best chance you have at winning because no one else wants the job, except maybe Rob Ryan. And there was a reason you chose Lane over wacky Rob wasn’t there (can we say that Rob is no Buddy)?

I’ll give you credit as a maverick when credit is due. You hired John Madden at a young age and won the Super Bowl along with 76% of your games. You followed him with the first minority head coach in the NFL with Tom Flores and scored another two Lombardi trophies to shove in Pete Rozelle’s face.

And you took Art Shell over Mike Shanahan, hiring the first African American head coach, though Shanahan has made you pay for it since with two championships and the latest standings in the AFC West.

But sometimes an old maverick’s ways just become old in a newer era. You can’t just do streaks anymore like you want or pound the rock with lost abandon like back in the day. You have to make defenses move on strings just to do deep balls, and then tire them out before you start pounding.

33-year-old Lane is the new young “offensive guru” you hired to head your whole team so can you at least let him decide what he should do with the team? You could just coach the team yourself, I guess. JoePa is still at Penn State and Bobby Bowden is still at Florida State so anything is possible.

Please stop trying to fire the guy. Either grab them up and pull the plug on Kiffin already or leave him alone because that team is definitely playing for him. Those players are willing to go all out for him even when they are past giving all that they have.

You may want two more Super Bowl titles before you retire but guaranteed if you get rid of Lane you will die before the Raiders have a winning record again. No one will ever want to be hired as the Raiders head coach and then you will complain to the league as to why coach candidates are blackballing you for jobs. Tough world, huh buddy?


From a former fan of yours who has lost all respect for you,

James Senbeta